Friday, October 23, 2015

Red Hood Loves Arsenal #5

If Red Hood and Arsenal are busted by Batman, it's only because they wanted to be busted by Batman and he fell for it. What a dope!

Whenever I read this comic book, I think, "How does he do it? How does Scott Lobdell, a severely older person, manage to nail what it's like to be a young person?" I suppose he's just that great at writing and imagining things! I can never figure out how to make young characters act so I just fill all of my stories with old people. Otherwise my stories sound contrived and poorly researched. One time I went to an arcade to talk with young people so I could pick up some of their slang and learn to talk like them. Then I wrote this scene based on my observations.

Male Teenager: "Oh yeah. We're heading up to the Twenty One Pilots show later. You got the Molly?"
Female Teenager: "Not yet. I plan on scoring some on the...what the fuck?"
Male Teenager: "Hunh?"
Female Teenager: "Ew. That creepy fucking old guy at the next table keeps fucking staring at me."
Male Teenager: "Who? That weirdo with the 'fro scribbling in his notebook? What a fat loser."
Female Teenager: "Ugh. He's so gross. Hey! Old fuck! You never seen tits before?"
Male Teenager: "Want I should beat his ass?"
Female Teenager: "Fuck no. I'm going to beat his ass myself if he keeps fucking scribbling in that stupid fucking notebook! You hear me, you eye rapist?!"
Male Teenager: "Is he...oh god! He just pissed himself!"
Female Teenager: "Ha ha! Let's get the fuck out of here. Whackjob."

Most of that scene is fictional and only based slightly in reality on my observations. I made most of it up in my head and, anyways, I spilled my Coke in my lap.

Like last issue, this issue begins with Batman battling Red Hood and Arsenal. It starts off with Jason Todd thinking something super smart the way young people are constantly thinking things smartly.

I've left my house dozens of times and I still manage to get back in! Whoever made up that saying must have had a poor sense of direction.

Whoops. I guess Red Hood and Arsenal are now working with Batman. I couldn't remember if they'd gotten past the point where the good guys realize they should be teaming up instead of fighting. I guess they have. Batman is blasting Underbelly with sonic blasters which makes sense because loud music is cool to young people. Commissioner Gordon (who is in the bat armor in case you didn't know since nobody narrated that it was him so how could you know if you just picked up this issue?) is yelling, "Freeze! Or don't." I'm not sure that sounds like something Old Man Gordon would say since he's an old man and you know old men don't say snarky, whimsical things that totally crack me up every time.

Luckily for new readers, Red Hood introduces himself on the next page. And everybody is reminded that Roy Harper is a "Rockabilly Genius." I'm always thankful of that reminder so when Roy Harper creates some technological marvel out of silly putty and used retainers, I don't have to think, "Wait. What? How is that even possible?" I can just think, "Way to go, Rockabilly Genius! You are the master of the Day Sex Mockingjay!"

Underbelly, being a criminal thought and not actually a living organism, reconstitutes itself right when the Rockabilly Genius says it will. It then knocks out Batman because who needs an old person getting in the way of the hilariously exciting fight that's about to take place!

But first an appropriately overly long explanation of Underbelly's origin! By Underbelly! And to the two guys trying to kill it!

I'm so glad Scott Lobdell spends as much time as he does explaining and reexplaining the story or I'd never be able to follow this comic book. How can anybody of above average intelligence read this comic book? It probably comes off as patronizing to people who can actually remember things. New readers are probably really thankful for all of these reminders of things said and done in previous issues as well because how else would they follow the story if they didn't pick up the previous issue? As a person who reads this series consistently, I do not at all feel cheated by all of these wasted pages written without any thought to the loyal fans who already know all of this stuff. I get that it's a necessary evil in comic book writing. Also it makes writing each issue easier for poor, overworked Scott Lobdell who can burn through five or six pages just repeating things from the last issue.

Whoops! I thought the one page I scanned was the end of Underbelly's monologue. But he goes on to explain how he fed off the evil and corruption of Gotham until he became the evil and corruption of Gotham! He became the reason Gotham was so horrible! He was the ultimate criminal mastermind and evil influence! It all makes sense now. Underbelly is why Gotham is so awful and Red Hood and Arsenal are going to kill it and save the city!

I'm actually surprised they didn't kill Underbelly while he was wasting time explicating the plot. They're slackers.

Roy Harper is always ready with a timely cultural quip!

Three pages ago, Red Hood said he was going to kill Underbelly. But while writing the interim pages, Scott Lobdell had a better idea and that was to show how Red Hood is more compassionate than Old Man Batman! He realizes that Underbelly deserves a second chance because The Joker was involved with creating him. Hey! That's a lot like how Batman gave Red Hood a second chance even though he came back as a murderous jerk! Why shouldn't Jason Todd reform Underbelly? I knew Jason Todd was an empathetic, compassionate, understanding hunk! But before Red Hood can give Underbelly a hug, Old Man Batman jumps up and begins beating Underbelly in the face!

Ha ha! Yeah! He's totally a butt! Trying to arrest people who have broken multiple laws and murdered countless people! Daring to think people aren't above the law even if they're breaking the law for their own good reasons! Butt butt butt butt butt butt butt!

Roy Harper runs off to fetch his Day Sex Mockingjay when Jason Todd is suddenly possessed by Underbelly! Oh no! He's turned on Batman! I wonder how this is...oh wait. He's not possessed. That was twist? A bit of tension that totally wasn't contrived? Another point where Scott Lobdell changed his mind after he thought up a better idea a few panels later? I don't want to call that bit of drama a misstep know what? I'm probably just too dumb to understand this comic book. Red Hood was almost possessed because Underbelly can possess evil people but Red Hood isn't evil and that was the point of showing how he was possessed for a little bit. To show he's not evil because Underbelly can only possess evil hearts and Jason Todd's heart isn't evil which is why he was only possessed for a short time. Um. Anyway.

The Rockabilly Genius returns and shoots his Day Sex Mockingjay arrow into Underbelly and the fight is over. Underbelly is destroyed from coast to coast! "How did it work?" you ask? I'll tell you how it worked: Arsenal is a tech genius who is also rockabilly but not in any way that you would recognize as rockabilly which is why you have to constantly be reminded lest you forget. Boom! Underbelly destroying arrow. Totally explained in the comic book and completely makes sense. I suppose. I'm not a genius so if Roy says the arrow has an EMP neural disrupting gas delivered by electricity which can also be relayed through satellites to all parts of Underbelly across America, I'll take his word for it.

Old people lack all conviction! I thought Red Hood had a rap sheet a mile long? And now you aren't going to arrest him? Bah. No wonder old people ruined the world!

Meanwhile in Mexico some group called the Hero Manifesto are planning to kill Red Hood and Roy Harper. It's chilling! I can't wait!

Later, Jason Todd runs into Bruce Wayne at the Lucius Fox Home for Wayward Youths. Bruce Wayne doesn't recognize him and Jason Todd doesn't know why. But then that's perfect! Because Jason Todd is always thinking, "I would never say this out loud but..." and then he thinks something that he should really say out loud because it would be nice to hear! So now that Bruce doesn't know who he is, it's the perfect time to hug him and thank him for everything! Otherwise Jason Todd would have just thought, "I would never thank him out loud even though I totally want to thank him!" I guess Jason Todd now respects what Bruce did for him rather than still being angry for whatever reasons young people have to be angry at older people for?

Yay! Roy Harper is dead! No more fucking Roy Harper Narration Boxes! No more stupid inexplicable weapons! No more fucking rockabilly genius! No more...err, I mean, NOO! NOT ROY! NOOOOOOOOOO!

Red Hood Loves Arsenal #5 Rating: +1000 Rankings! How come DC Comics doesn't publish more comic books like this? Scott Lobdell has his pulse on the finger of the youth! Has any comic before this ever had this kind of plotting or characterization? I think you'd have to say, "No, sir! Not at all!" If DC Comics really loved money, they would remove Scott Lobdell's brain to find out how it worked. Then they would apply their knowledge to the hiring of other writers by comparing their brain to Scott Lobdell's! Judging by the results, they would know instantly if the new hire were a terrifically great writer or a superbly horrible writer who might be the worst writer ever! Scott Lobdell, I implore you for the sake of the comic book reading community: give your brain up for science!

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