REVIEW: Red Hood/Arsenal #4

WRITER: Scott Lobdell
ARTIST(s): Denis Medri
LETTERER: Dave Sharpe
COLORIST: Blond
COVER ARTIST(s): Howard Porter, Hi-Fi
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE DATE: 09/9/2015

Back with my monthly review of Red Hood/Arsenal, this time with our issue taking us to the home of the Bat himself, Gotham. Though, with what is going down in the monthly Batman book right now, the ensuing reunion isn’t what Jason expected.

This issue was actually the strongest one to come out of this series yet. First off, despite still having ugly character designs and a scratchy style that just doesn’t fit the book in its slower moments, Medri is admittedly pretty decent when it comes to fight scenes. I was hoping that Paolo Pantalena would come back, since he had done the last even-numbered issue, and I still wish another artist would replace Medri on this series (cough Howard Porter can clearly draw the characters amazingly well, check out those covers), but at least the action-packed moments don’t look horrid. And Blond’s coloring is a massive improvement over Tanya Horie’s (from the last couple of issues), making me hope that he’ll become a regular on the series.

Lobdell actually surprises with this issue. Honestly, between the exploration of Roy’s alcoholism and Jason’s childhood friend, it’s clear that Lobdell can definitely write these characters well. The only thing is, he seems to feel the need to constantly bombard us with jokes that don’t land at all. He seems to think that if a page doesn’t consist of twenty-four inner monologues, of which sixteen are jokes a twelve-year old would laugh at if he found them on 4Chan, we won’t like this series. Which is ironic, because the deeper moments are what make this series decent at points, not the dumbed-down, washed-up “humor” we’re constantly pegged with.

Though the art continues to be disappointing in basically every non-action scene, and Lobdell continues to be far better at writing ‘torn heroes with nothing to lose’ than ‘practical jokers with weapons,’ this issue far surpassed the last three and could be the sign of a series beginning to finally hit its stride.

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