Thursday, January 11, 2018

Red Hood and the Outlaws #18 Vol.2

The Outlaws face H.I.V.E. and Bizarro potentially recruits the Creeper.

Jason confronts the H.I.V.E. Queen but she's able to read his mind. Bizarro knocks her out before she could say whatever Jason apparently knows. When Bizarro offers to clean up Jason agrees since he wants to visit Ma Gunn who asked him to see her. This worries Bizarro. Jason arrives at Gunn's place to find a note for him saying she left.

Artemis finds Creeper waiting for her and apparently they know each other's names. They begin fighting before their joined by her teammates. Bizarro thinks he's recruiting Creeper who declines, Jason and Artemis tell him to talk to them instead of doing things without them.

Bizarro bathes in a liquid kryptonite and seems to have Gunn shrunk down into a bottle.

Overall: I made a connection between Bizarro and Joker's Daughter in another post comparing how they affect Jason. With JD we saw Jason suspecting her even though he seemed to ignore his instincts for a while. We haven't had an inkling of him feeling the same concerns over Bizarro. The implication that he does suspect something and/or worries about what their doing doesn't surprise me in the least. I think that it's implied that Gunn's disappearance is setting off warning signs for Jason. The gathering newspapers are the first clue and the "compatriots" bit in the letter sounds like something smart Bizarro has been saying.

Whether or not Jason currently knows and that's what shocked H.I.V.E. Queen isn't as certain. Bizarro seems to assume that's what she's going to say. This is what she actually says before he knocks her out:

H.I.V.E. Queen: (After Red Hood threatens her.) Fine. I'll leave before... Uh-oh... You...don't see it?

Red Hood: See what?

H.I.V.E. Queen: (Looking shaken up.) N-no. It's buried in your subconscious. You know but you can't accept the--

My first thought was she discovered something related to Jason's death/resurrection. Her reaction doesn't make much sense in regards to Bizarro unless Jason already knows what Bizarro is doing , is ignoring it and it's scary in general. Which I don't buy, I can see him suspecting something is off but there's no way he'd know everything and bury it. There's no reason for her to start to freak out if Jason just suspects Bizarro is doing something.

The mystery guy? Even if it's someone Jason knows I can't see why she'd react this way. His rebirth though? That would give just about anyone pause especially a telepathic person who just realizes she might be dealing with someone that's not normal.

There have been potential hints of Jason's experience in the Future's End issue where he mentioned being ripped from heaven. Jason has previously said he didn't remember what happened after he died until he was in the pit. He does recall being buried when the plane crashed in Qurac when he has a panic attack though. There was also a rumor a while back about Lobdell exploring Jason's soul. His soul was mentioned in relation to the All Blades when he fought Akila. Lobdell said in an interview that Jason fears how he came back. I'd love to see this thread used in the future.

Pup Pup appears as Bizarro's conscious wanting him to just tell his friends the truth. I like the symbolism of the doll representing his trust for his team which links back to Jason showing him compassion by giving him Pup Pup. I'm not sure if Bizarro is just being selfish (addicted?) and/or scarily devoted to "protecting" Jason. Maybe both? The Krytonite and the letter/Gunn plots don't seem connected beyond Bizarro hiding them from his teammates.

Is he lying to himself about losing his intelligence? Kryptonite was used by Lex to save his life and he's using a lot of it. Why would he use it for if not that?

Artemis is a little more subtle about her concerns with Bizarro than usual but it's still there. Her connection with Creeper is surprising and for a moment I thought Lobdell was going to hit us with a swerve that they dated. Which is really a WTF pairing. She knows who he really is and they want to kill each other. Granted that doesn't rule out the possibility that they dated but I'm not sure I could see them working together either.

Creeper isn't the off the wall borderline annoying character I recall from Batman the Animated series or JL. He's more grounded which I appreciate and his appearance isn't entirely surprising if you recall his alter ego showing up at the start of #9. At present I see more value to his reporter side for the team but Lobdell has sold me on stories before. Although I'm not sure if I'm ready for more members just yet.

Jason tells us what he's feeling and at the same time gives the impression he's not narrating everything. He knows Gunn wants to talk to him about something important then she's gone? She's a meticulous con artist yet she didn't cancel her mail? Jason's response to Bizarro when he asks about Gunn is curious. He doesn't say she left just that "You know Faye." Which suggests Bizarro doesn't but Jason does.

The concern over them losing sight of what's important was also a nice character bit.

At some point I'll have to do a review for this entire arc to give a better overall impression. The sinister feel to Bizarro having Gunn in his own version of a bottled city of Kandor (in a version of her own home) really makes it feel creepy.

As far as the "date" goes I think it will just be a mission. Either way I'm not worried.

Did You Notice?: Bizarro has a picture of what appears to be their mission at the circus.

Say What?: I know it's for his cover by it looks so wrong to have Jason listing himself along villains from Batman's rogue gallery. Especially Joker.

Jason says he hated Ma Gunns' place but has come to think of it as a second home. It makes me wonder how their relationship has changed to make him feel that way. He does say that he's fine if she in trouble because of her own actions not if it's because of them.

Again with the Artemis "Grace"? So that's not a typo. Maybe a name she took in man's world as Artemis of Bana-Mighdall is pretty long.

Hierve el agua? As in "Boil the water?" Or did I translate that wrong?

Questions Raised?: Why was Jason facing the H.I.V.E. Queen alone? In Red Hood/Arsenal he was able to block the H.I.V.E. member from entering his mind. He doesn't seem to be able to do that here. How much does she know? Because she could ruin his cover if she knows his mission.

Does Faye Gunn have a family or did Bizarro make that up? She did mention a husband in the Post Crisis origin story.

Why did Bizarro want Creeper on the team?

Does Gunn know what's going on? She seems oblivious.

Are her patients like Black Mask with her? Her leaving them without having a staff or taking them with her is suspicious.


  1. "Jason says he hated Ma Gunns' place but has come to think of it as a second home." Yes I was a little surprised about it when I read that part. We hardly see them together in her place. Maybe their interactions were off-screen? I know the 'school' holds a special place in Jason's heart, but 'seond home' really highlights its importance, as if it's already something comparable to Wayne Manor.

    1. I could see it if he means that he's felt comfortable living there with his friends and not Gunn. It's strange to think he's had so little on panel time with Gunn.