I’m back with another review of the Red Hood And The Outlaws series, written by Scott Lodbell. Issue 9 sees the much needed return of artist Dexter Soy. Red Hood and Bizarro have agreed to help Artemis find the Bow of Ra and the trio have travelled to the country of Qurac. The country is a war zone, full of disparate groups battling for survival. It’s also the place Jason Todd was murdered by The Joker.
The issue opens with a news report of an unidentified weapon of mass destruction levelling cities. Red Hood and Artemis are tuning in aboard a plane and they quickly figure out that it’s the Bow of Ra. Artemis is angry that the Bow has fallen into the hands of a dictator called General Heinle. She despairs over the story of her friend, Akila, falling to the Bow’s power. Jason is about to comfort her when they are interrupted by a message from Heinle.
The Outlaws plane is attacked by Quraci fighters and Bizarro flies in to take them out. However, a bright light appears in the sky and separates the trio. Jason wakes up in a field of ice and is taken prisoner by Heinle’s men.
Meanwhile, Bizarro has crashed in a refugee town and agrees to help the people.
Jason is held in a prison and interrogated by guards. While looking through the bars he sees the compound where The Joker blew him up and believes the Clown Prince of Crime is involved. When the guards leave, a younger version of Jason manifests in front of him.
The story ends with Artemis waking up in the labyrinth she trained in as a child. When she opens her eyes she comes face to face with Akila, who tells her it’s time to save the world.
With the Bow of Ra arc, it was inevitable that magic would creep into the plot eventually. Jason having to relive his trauma by seeing his younger self is an interesting twist. Lobdell continues to build him as being a capable, rough around the edges leader who is trying to find his place in the world.
We also get to see more of Artemis’ vulnerability, which is a great change of pace from her usual sarcasm. Bizarro also receives development by choosing to help the Quraci people. This shows the positive influence Red Hood and Artemis are having on him.
Soy’s art is a welcome return to form, with stunning landscapes and strong facial expressions. Red Hood And The Outlaws 9 is an interesting metaphor for the Syrian struggle because it mirrors certain events. It’s another strong issue and remains my favourite title of DC Rebirth.