Knight Knights (Red Hood and the Outlaws #15 Comic Review)

Two vigilante groups collide in Gotham City. Which one will survive?

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #15
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Cover Artist: Mike McKone and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Colorist: Veronica Gandini
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need To Know:

Once dead side-kick to Batman, Jason Todd, has returned to battle evil under the guise of Red Hood. Unlike most caped heroes, with Batman’s approval, Red Hood acts as a criminal outlaw in order to infiltrate Gotham City’s crime underbelly. Together with the rogue Amazon Artemis and the genetic Superman clone Bizarro, the trio work together to defeat evil and form a make-shift family of misunderstood heroes.

After Bizarro’s near death, criminal mastermind Lex Luthor arrives to provide assistance in saving the Kryptonian clone’s life. With little options available, Red Hood and Artemis reluctantly give him the go-ahead but fear the worst. When the procedure is over, they discover that not only is Bizarro’s life signs back to normal, but his previous simple intellect is now replaced with that of a genius. Using his newfound mental skills, Bizarro creates a new cloaked state-of-the-art headquarters in record time for the trio that is several city blocks wide, filled with advanced technology, and hovers unnoticed above Gotham City’s Crime Alley.

While Red Hood relishes in Bizarro’s new change and team home, Artemis is unsure of the repercussions but agrees to play along until her questioning intuition is proven correct.

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What You’ll Find Out:

Between Batman, the Outlaws, and the Batman Inc. team, the various caped heroes of Gotham manage to bring crime reports in the city down to zero. This doesn’t sit well with Batwing, who not only discovers this statistic but also manages to find the cloaked Outlaws base floating stationary above Gotham City. Unsure of whom it belongs to, he calls in his team, which consists of: Batwing, Batwoman, Clayface, Orphan and Azrael, to investigate if anyone is aboard the visually shielded fortress, and to find out why they are there.

Once they discover the base belongs to the Outlaws, Batwoman explains to the others that they are “estranged friends of the family”, lead by Red Hood. Feeling he has overstepped his bounds, she and Batwing instruct their team to bringing in the Outlaws for questioning.

While Bizarro contemplates new ways to help reduce crime in the lab, Artemis takes the opportunity to question all of the changes happening with Red Hood alone. Red Hood convinces Artemis to, yet again, look at the bigger picture and to see that although Bizarro’s intellect has changed, that his heart hasn’t. Agreeing, Artemis explains that it isn’t Bizarro that she doesn’t trust, but Lex Luthor and what he may have done to him.

While Bizarro has a momentary lapse in intellect, Clayface uses the opportunity to sneak in and capture Bizarro. The Batman Inc. team place him in a containment device meant to hold Clayface, hoping it will hold. When Red Hood and Artemis find Bizarro missing, they ask the headquarters AI system to locate Bizarro. It does and programs a quantum doorway to teleport the two teammates to their friend. They find him held captive with the entire Batman Inc. team blocking their access to him.

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Clayface morphs his body around Red Hood and Artemis to stop them from interfering while Batwoman asks Bizarro why they are there. He responds that the Outlaws plan to eradicate crime in Gotham, the same as the Inc. team. Not liking their predicament, Artemis summons her battle axe, which hurts Clayface, causing him to release the heroes. A full on brawl ensues, during which the Outlaws manage to free Bizarro from the containment device. Batwoman slips a pill into Bizarro’s system, which causes the oxygen in his lungs to become silicon. This takes him out of the battle, leaving him unconscious. When Red Hood runs to his side, Batwing shoots him in the back with a taser gun while Clayface uses his brute strength to take out Artemis. The three Outlaws all lay knocked out cold while the Batman Inc. team surround them. When Azrael asks, “What now?”, Batwoman responds with, “Now we call HER.” The final teaser reveals that in the next issue we not only find out who “her” is, but will also see members of the Suicide Squad take center stage.

What Just Happened?

A line in the sand is drawn between the various Gotham City super capes. While they all have the same agenda, to protect Gotham from crime, it seems that the sizes of the egos involved between the two teams has gotten in the way of making anyone want to get along. Another factor too may be Lex Luthor’s behind the scenes involvement in the superhero turf war, and what that may mean for Bizarro. The thought process he had during the entire scuffle was calm and calculating, with a somewhat suggestion that things were happening as he had planned all along. It may take “Her” or even papa Batman himself to sort things out and make the bat children play nice together, but only if they don’t kill each other beforehand. We’ll have to wait until next month to see which scenario ends up playing out.

Rating: 8/10

Final Thought: I really loved this issue. As with the past issues, the art is simply gorgeous and the story lines are pretty fluid. Dexter Soy has a beautiful way of capturing the kinetic action of each issue, making the art really nice to look at in each panel. It’s reminiscent of both Terry Dodson and Joe Madureira art, which makes a perfect love child to me.

This issue brings a lot of comic book fan’s inner geek to the forefront with the always popular hero against hero scenario. For fans of the Batman family, this one was a long time coming. It was only a matter of time before the various costumed heroes in the city ran into one another, and this issue gives readers a nice look into what that run-in could mean when they are pushed to the wall due to outside machinations.

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I’m a HUGE fan of Artemis, so it was fun to see her pit her Amazon strength and training against that of a deadly ninja warrior like Orphan. Seeing Red Hood go toe-to-toe against Batwing was also a lot of fun too. Of course the various character’s normal smarts are put aside so that we can see a battle like this happen (as is often the case in storylines like this), but it was fun none-the-less to see the Comic Con geek discussion of ‘who would win in a battle between such and such characters‘ play out in front of you. I’m really excited too to see what it is exactly that Lex Luthor put into play among the Outlaws.

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