The start of the Artemis arc where we'll see what her background is in Rebirth. Rocafort also returns to draw more Outlaws.
Jason and Artemis are at the same bar for super villains where Jason was invited to join Black Mask's crew. The bartender says Red Hood is wanted by the police but he's not going to get any favors there. Jason claims he just wants to hire a man. They start bar fight when another Amazon appears and Artemis recognizes her as Akila. Which might be surprising since the dialogue implies she was dead. Jason knocks "her" out since he figured it was the guy they were looking for, Stirk. A man that's a psionic shape shifter and since Jason knew that he's easy enough to take down.
He calls her out on being shaken by what she saw and naturally Artemis is snippy about it. Jason does start to approach it in a more mature fashion as he points out that anything that affects her performance in the field put them at risk. What he says impresses Artemis giving her the push to talk about her past.
Akila beat Artemis when sparring but didn't take the responsibilities of their people as seriously. Jason asks why her people weren't living on Themscira. Artemis explains the falling out with Queen Hippolyta leading to them leaving to worship another pantheon. Getting back on track Artemis talks about Akila disappearing for weeks then finding her changed. She had become the Shim'tar, chosen by the gods.
Believing she had no place amoung her people Artemis left only to return when Qurac attacked. They found a way to get through the sandstorm but Artemis arrived once the place was in flames with an injured Akila holding the Bow of Ra. Wonder Woman is there too and promises not to let what Akila did stand. Artemis isn't impressed with Diana and attacks her. Any fight they would have ends once it becomes clear that Akila has gone insane. She died after they fight her and the Bow was lost in the conflict.
The Outlaws decide to go and find it.
Overall: There's some good background for Artemis something I thought was pretty lacking before Rebirth as we mostly got information in passing. Part of the reason for her attitude is how she views her training (and likely her missions) as a sacred duty. Not being her best, being viewed as lacking, doesn't sit well with her. Likely because of Artemis thinking she was destined for greatness based on the hopes of others. She did mention her mother giving her assurances last arc.
As a result she is invested on doing her best to better herself. While Artemis wanted to do this in hopes of pleasing their gods Akila thinks they have been abandoned. I wonder if that played a part in what happened to Akila. She could tell something changed in her friend.
I remember Scott Lobdell talking about the friction that would keep coming up between Jason and Artemis. This threw me off last issue since they seemed to get along perfectly and Artemis seemed like another person. Her snark is back even if she's not as hostile towards Jason as she used to be. The important part of canon still seem in place while more is expanded upon. We get to see why the Bow means so much to her. It's not just a possession she wants it's a responsibility. Artemis doesn't want a repeat of what happened with Akila.
I can honestly say that no one at DC has written Jason Todd in a way that pulls at my heartstrings like Lobdell does. His honest happiness for Artemis having a real friend growing up was sweet. Jason sees the value of friends, especially now. This is instantly made heartbreaking when he mentions his best friend growing up being quiet and we see it's the same gargoyle Batman said was Jason's favorite. Jason really didn't have any friends as Robin as he barely saw the TT, Kid Devil was a penpal and there was no one his age that was ever around. Artemis needs to learn compassion but I'm not actually annoys with her.
I really like that the battle isn't shown as Artemis doesn't want to talk about it but Jason figured it out due to his own experiences. Even lampshading the cliches of the genre. I stated how I feel on Jason drinking many times but I'll just say that I worry that at this rate it looks like he's an alcoholic. Given his past with his dad, Roy and his mom's addiction I really don't want that to become a thing.
I enjoyed this issue, it was a strong Artemis issue that gave Jason a nice supporting role. It explained her past while also building upon their growing relationship. I'm still not clear on how invested Artemis is with staying a team or Jason as a person but I'm looking forward to more of this arc.
Questions Raised?: #1 most wanted is an exaggeration right? Because putting Red Hood above Batman's rogues gallery seems like the cops aren't putting the biggest threats first.
Why does Akila think the gods have abandoned them? We've seen a 16 year old Artemis speaking to one when she first saw the Bow of Ra.
How did anyone break through the enchanted sandstorm? Did it happen because Artemis left?
How old is Artemis? Diana calls her child but I thought this version was way older.
Was Akila insane or was she following the orders of the Gods? Was Artemis the true Shim'tar or was Akila simply trying to say she was more worthy?
Was Jason pretending to be drunk? He doesn't act drunk after that scene.
Why did they want Strik?
Did you notice?: The mayor being assassinated is on the the tv. I remember hearing about it happening in another bat book and thinking it was ironic. Jason going to such lengths to appear to attack the mayor but actually saving him only for the guy to die in another book. I'm drawing a blank on which one at the moment.
I can ignore the face Rocafort does for the helmet but it seems odd to have Mistress drawn so small.
Say What?: Lobdell shows he knows his stuff with Bana Mighdall lore by bringing up the Shim'tar. Which is the greatest warrior of the Bana Mighdall. Artemis didn't start out as one in previous canon but eventually earned the title. He also remembered the sandstorm! Yes, Akila is an old character too.
Given the teenage girls Jason has known it strikes me as odd that he'd say Artemis was acting like one that's scared. Not really a Jason kind of line.
It shows how much Jason has grown that he went from someone that got annoyed at the mention of teams and partnerships to someone that brings it up so naturally. I like how he knows not to mention the leader thing to Artemis but yeah he is basically the leader. At least so far. He's the one going to others to see if their okay.
Flashback Artemis calling Akila a pup reminds me of Ducra calling Jason a pup. It also made me make a connection between "little one" and "pup" too. With Akila it's said as she's angry but with Jason these names seem like endearments based on his youth.
Akila nicknamed Artemis Ar.
I just wonder if Jason, as Robin, really believed men blew up if they stepped on the island. Given the Rebirth confusion it's hard to say since any visits Batman would have had would be fake.
Diana comes off a little arrogant when she warns her not to fight her.