RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #19 / Writer: Scott Lobdell / Artist: Marcio Takara / Colors: Rob Schwager and Felix Serrano / Letters by Taylor Esposito/ Publisher: DC Comics / February 14, 2018
Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 is marketed as the perfect Valentine’s Day issue. Previously on the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws the Creeper was invited to join the Outlaws by Bizarro despite the clone not inferring with either Jason or Artemis. While Jason and Artemis lament how unacceptable it is for Bizarro to make team decisions on his own, Bizarro’s hallucination of Pup Pup—his Superman plush—begs him to tell his friends what’s truly wrong. We then see Bizarro dip himself into a pool of liquid green Kryptonite while his plush pulls on his leg and begs him, “Don’t do this again.”
We return to the Outlaws’ base where Artemis is looking flawless in a black mini-dress while glancing over her shoulder at a speechless Jason. The two are headed out on a date due a bet Jason lost. Bizarro gives them keys to “Outlaw-Mobile” but not before Artemis asks if instead they can take the Quantum Doorway, citing “We all know the dangers of drinking and driving.”
While Jason and Artemis heavily flirt at a restaurant in Gotham Bizzaro spys on the couple while in his pool of liquid kryptonite. We also see Pup Pup paddling beside him making some logical arguments for a hallucination.
As Artemis and Jason grow closer she asks him to find them a somewhere private where Bizarro can’t see them. Once in the cave Artemis and Jason converse about the Bizarro’s behavior. While it becomes clear the Artemis only wanted to go on the date to speak to Jason alone about Bizarro, she does LOUDLY hint there is more.
The art on this issue was solid. I thought all the scenes between Jason and Artemis were adorable and drew just enough of a squeal of delight from me. Partiulary the moments betwen Artemis and Jason exchanting notes on the dry erasing board. I loved the idea of seeing Artemis in a more elegant, feminie design, though as a woman I will say her earrings look ridiculous. The color palete of this book is pretty dark despite this being a date. However they are some beautiful panels that play where Takara clearly plays with the shadows. Esposito’s lettering is always a delight on this book. I particularly enjoy Jason’s thought boxes.
This issue shows the other side of the shift for Bizarro although he isn’t in it a lot. Artemis and Jason are finally seeing the break down in Bizarro’s consciousness. Considering the last issue Bizarro tried to add another teammate it is clear he does not think he has much time left on the team. The Death of Bizarro arc was incredibly impactful so I look forward to more emotional storytelling in the same vein.
This issue feels like the beginning of a bigger arc to come and consequently a bit of a filler however, I had a lot of fun. I wish there was a little more romance since it was a Valentine’s Day release. The flirting between Jason and Artemis is endearing, funny, and relatable. I love that, despite Jason’s tough guy persona, he is at heart a dork. It is also nice to see a softer side to Artemis throughout the entirity of the issue. Her playful taunting of Jason during their “date” is amusing. Overall, the chemistry between the “Dark Trinity” works so well in this series, and this issue is no exception.
This Rebirth series has been such a surprise hit for me and I will obviously continue reading it.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Valentine’s Day chocolates.
In addition to writing and tweeting into the void, Elizabeth Garcia enjoys applying ethical and political theory to modern comics while wearing leggings and drinking wine with her cat on her beat-up couch.