So reading these again, I have to say that I think there’s definitely a marked improvement from the first couple arcs of Lobdell’s previous Outlaws run. I’ve heard people attribute it to Geoff Johns being much more hands on during the beginning or Rebirth, but I think that’s mostly because at this point Lobdell just has a solid handling on Jason and, honestly, is utilizing characters that are a little lesser known and don’t have as strong, hardcore fanbases over.
“Dark Trinity” is a great start to the series. I like how it immediately brought back some of the more classic parts of Jason’s history, like having Batman meet Jason from him trying to jack the tires of the Batmobile instead of…what was it, stealing drugs from Leslie’s clinic, or something like that? It was a much slower burn than what we saw last volume, but I think it helps really get into the character work of all three of our leads. That said, Scott Lobdell sure does love his techno-organic viruses, doesn’t he?
“Who Is Artemis” was also pretty good, though with it’s length it doesn’t really do as much as it probably could. I liked how it separated our leads and put them in different directions and even at odds. The only thing that I thought was odd was the seeming need to make the fact that Artemis and Akila girlfriends as vague as possible. Like, I get that Scott was writing in the 90s when they couldn’t really hint at that kind of stuff a lot, but it’s the 21st century now, you can have Artemis call Akila her lover instead of “dearest friend” or whatever.
One thing that I thought was interesting about both arcs was how the villains of them, Black Mask and Akila, were dark reflections of Jason, specifically at his Under the Red Hood period. Black Mask was reflecting Jason’s “mob boss with morals” schtick he had back then, and Akila had the “died and came back WRONG” vibe going.
So yeah, great stuff. Looking forward to reading more, especially since at this point I haven’t really read any of what comes next. I’m curious to see what happens with Bizarro and I’m really curious about the whole “Jason was in Arkham and Harley was his psychologist” thing they hint at (even though timeline wise it makes NO SENSE).