When last we left Red Hood and the Outlaws, Jason had finally confronted the despotic General Heinle only to realize that the military dictator hadn’t fired the Bow of Ra on Jason and Co’s ship. No, it was the resurrected Akila who is currently leading the Amazons, including Artemis, on a charge against Heinle.
Well, that got awkward super quickly.
Jason tries to defend the General against Akila’s latest accusations, now knowing the truth. It brings him into direct conflict with Artemis, who is loathe to lose Akila again right after getting her love back. Akila and Heinle challenge each other, with Heinle refusing to give any ground. In the end, Jason and Artemis’ standoff is moot. Once Akila unleashes the Bow of Ra on Heinle and incinerates his men, it becomes pretty apparent that Jason is right. Artemis is once again heartbroken and horrified at what her love has become.
She asks why Akila lied to her, why she destroyed an entire village of innocent civilians and fired on her team. Akila is unrepentant and tries one last time to bring Artemis to her side.
Oh, wait. That village Akila wiped out? Those refugees were being led by Bizarro who was in the process of smashing a mountain to bring the people to Jason and Artemis. In the award for the best entrance of the year, Bizarro’s mountain toppling blaze of glory reunites the team. And caves the mountain directly on top of Akila.
It only takes her out momentarily, however, and she blasts out spitting mad. Artemis resigns herself to having to fight Akila again, and they fight. Akila gets the upper hand and aims the bow at the fleeing refugees. Artemis is horrified at how far gone Akila is and throws herself between the blast and everyone else. Artemis survives, thanks to her own axe, but she’s down. Jason tries to take on Akila with the All-Blades and manages to wound her, but not nearly enough to take her down. It’s touching, as Jason fights her, angry on Artemis’ behalf. He screams at Akila that Artemis loves her and is just trying to save her, but again; Akila is too far gone. She winds up to strike a death blow, but Bizarro comes to the rescue.
Jason has a fun moment with Bizarro where he asks “Remember how I tell you not to hit people too hard? This one time forget it!” Bizarro launches himself at Akila, and manages to hit her hard enough to get her to drop the Bow of Ra. It’s all the distraction Artemis needs to pick it up herself. Only the Bow doesn’t hurt her. In fact, it bends to her will. It wasn’t her axe at all that saved her, but the Bow of Ra. Artemis, not Akila was worthy of wielding the weapon, and though Akila had the best of intentions, it warped her into something unrecognizable.
With no other choice, Artemis fires on Ra and realizes the truth of Ra’s will. While she was unharmed by the weapon, Akila isn’t so lucky. She’s alive, but now she’s overloading and about to literally go kaboom and take everyone with her. In a final moment of reclaiming her humanity, she begs Artemis to do what is right. Bizarro scoops her up and flies her out of the atmosphere where she detonates safely.
After, Jason checks on Artemis to see how she’s holding up. Not well, but she’s got Jason and Bizarro, and now the Bow of Ra. She’ll pull it together. Her fellow Amazons ask her what now, and she tells them her time is Qurac is over. Let her sisters and the people of Qurac choose their own leader now.
Before anything else can happen, Bizarro keels over and his heart stops. End issue.
This entire arc has been a wild ride and my poor heart is bruised and battered in the best possible way. In this run with Red Hood, Scott Lobdell and the art team have tapped into some kind of bottled lightning. They managed to add solid, organic character growth to this team. And for many of us, this is the type of cathartic resolution we’ve been waiting for Jason to have so he can grow and be the man we know he can be for years. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat myself. This is currently one of the best teams right now in comics.
To top it off, they somehow managed to do the one extra thing to make it even better by giving me a Kenneth Rocafort cover. They literally gave me a Rocafort cherry on top of a Soy and Gandini sundae. What more can we I ask for?
Oh, wait. I know.
Leave my precious Bizarro alone. Again, Lobdell’s take on Bizarro continues to be my absolute favorite as Mr. B continues to grow into his role as a friend and hero. Character growth abounds for everyone in Red Hood and the Outlaws, but still! Don’t kill my precious! I’m watching you…
Red Hood and the Outlaws #11
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Art: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito