“I didn’t ask you to be Robin because I wanted someone perfect. I wanted someone who can do their best. Who can learn from their mistakes. Someone who makes me a better person just by being with them.” – Batman
Today, I’m reviewing my favourite comic with Red Hood And The Outlaws #6, written by Scott Lobdell. For those who haven’t been following the series, Jason Todd has been working to bring down Black Mask. In the last issue, Black Mask took control of Bizarro by linking their minds together with a virus. Artemis is on the scene and she’s battling with Bizzaro while Jason is fighting Black Mask.
The issue opens with Jason and Artemis working together until Mask starts speaking in Kryptonian. His mind is unable to take the pressure of being linked with an unstable clone and he goes into a seizure. Jason makes one of the most important decisions of his life and chooses not to kill the crime lord. However, he refuses to save him and leaves Mask to his fate. This is a pivotal moment of character development, yet it still fits with Jason’s ruthlessness against criminals.
Bizarro is freed from mind control and the trio decide to stay together to help Artemis search for The Bow Of Ra. The most emotional scene comes when Jason reunites with Batman. The Dark Knight laughs, and I found that as unsettling as Jason. It’s a deep exchange between two characters who have existed in a state of conflict for years. Their conversation feeds well into a flashback to when Jason was Robin, featuring broody gargoyles and a valuable lesson.
There’s also a wonderfully-creepy epilogue involving Black Mask and Ma Gunn, who appeared in an earlier issue. Dexter Soy has been handling the art and he’s delivered consistently for the past six months. Character expressions and splash pages are beautiful, with darker backgrounds that capture the moodiness of Gotham.
The humour is appreciated, with Red Hood, Bizarro and Artemis getting in their quips. Lobdell is an expert at balancing light-heartedness with grim themes. What I enjoy most about the issue is how it redefines Jason’s approach to fighting crime. He’s finally on good terms with Batman and is set to expand his influence outside of Gotham.
Next issue will focus on Artemis’ quest so be sure to look out for my review of number 7 in February.