Red Hood and the Outlaws

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Red Hood and the Outlaws #11 wraps up the four-part Artemis arc with the Outlaws finding themselves on opposite sides of the the Qurac conflict. However, it doesn’t take much more of Akila‘s out-of-control behavior for Artemis to recognize her friend, dead or reborn, is long lost to her. The tragic end helps cement a bond between the former Amazon and Red Hood, although the issue’s final panel does suggest some serious fallout for the other member of the team. As for Artemis, she’s not got a new godly weapon (one that drove her oldest friend into a murdering psychopath) to look after. Yeah… that should end well. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Red Hood and the Outlaws begins its second arc by shifting focus away from the Red Hood to Artemis. Red Hood and the Outlaws #8 offers a bit of backstory for the rogue Amazon including both in Themyscira and in the desert where her world would come crashing down and eventually put her on a path to meet the other Outlaws.

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Jason Todd isn’t know for making the hard choice when an easier path presents itself. At least he wasn’t before the recent Rebirth reboot. Now, things appear to be different. First, the reboot curbed most of his villainous murder history. No it focuses on the man actually thinking through hard decisions and responsibilities rather than shooting first and asking questions later.

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The series’ opening arc “Dark Trinity” comes to a close as Red Hood and Artemis work together to stop Black Mask and break his control over Bizarro. This new Rebirth version of Jason Todd continues to walk the edge of the anti-hero line without falling any further. By the end of the issue, even Batman is impressed with what he accomplished (even if it does take a major Bat-villain off the board for the foreseeable future). Jason keeps his work to the Dark Knight, although he has to rely on the questionable logic of Batman Begins to do so where choosing inaction apparently isn’t a choice.

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Continuing the comic’s opening arc, Red Hood and the Outlaws #5 mainly centers around the Red Hood fighting for his life against the Black Mask controlled Bizarro. Unwilling to let Jason fend for himself, Artemis returns to help even-up the odds allowing the Red Hood to distract the super-villain while Artemis attempts to control his super pawn (easier said than done).

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Red Hood‘s undercover mission inside Black Mask‘s criminal organization is put in jeopardy by the realization that the crime lord has gotten his hands on Bizarro. Jason attempts to make nice with the immensely powerful Superman clone while also attempting to keep his cover intact. Well, one out of two ain’t bad.

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With both Artemis and the Superman clone now prisoners of Black Mask, the Red Hood struggles with how to proceed. Watching the deformed creature go through a similar process of rebirth as he himself survived at the hands of the Lazarus Pit, Jason can’t help but feel some empathy for Bizarro.

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While still keeping the focus on Red Hood, Red Hood and the Outlaws #2 introduces us to one of the characters who will eventually make up a third of the new team. While attempting to acquire a weapon for Black Mask, Jason Todd runs into an unexpected complication in the form of the Amazon Artemis who is also searching for a powerful weapon on the derailed train. While it takes the a little while to consider they may be after different prizes, the pair fight and then form a tentative truce as the series reveals just what Black Mask is after – the eventual third member of the team.

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The All Caste/League of Assassins storyline comes to an end here with a tale about as confusing as everything else concerning the All Caste as Jason Todd punches all the magic out of Ra’s al Ghul thus saving the world and fulfilling his destiny. Seriously, that’s what happens.

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While Starfire and Roy Harper fight among each other, with Professor Hugo Strange (who in the New 52 is Roy’s psychologist), and with The Untitled who make a dramatic entrance to break-up Roy’s latest session, the Red Hood flees from members of the League of Assassins who are chasing him down (but not for the reason he thinks).

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