In Review: Robyn Hood #16

Robyn Hood is a title I look forward to reading every month.

The covers: Three covers show three different versions of law enforcement in New York. The A cover is by Richard Ortiz and Ylenia Di Napoli. This features Robyn strongly resisting arrest as she’s handcuffed but trying to take down any officer that touches her. One man is already on the ground, another is holding his his nose, while another has just been head butted by her. Two larger officers watch from a distance as the hero fights the men. Good action image from Ortiz with a bright red background from Di Napoli. The B cover is just flat out funny and the one I had to use for this review. It features three different women posing for their police pictures. Number 1 is blowing bubbles with her gum, Number 2 is flipping the bird (which has been digitized out), and Number 3 just looks incredibly miffed. Number 2 is the only one smiling and that’s Robyn. This cover by Roberta Ingranata and Di Napoli continues to make me smile. The final cover, the C, is by Ted Hammond. This features Robyn in a police officer’s uniform getting into her vehicle. She gives the reader a “Don’t mess with me” look, while the individual in the back seat, an obvious criminal, is more than happy to look at her tight fitting slacks. A nice image, but the background is so busy (but well drawn) that it distracts from Robyn. Overall grades: A B+, B A+, and C B-

The story: The first page shows a Ruby Wiley getting on a plane. Her trip is intercut with scenes of a masked female character committing violent acts. This is the Red Death that the Coming Next Month at the end of this book teases. “The Cops” kicks into overdrive on the second page with Julia Gengrich on her phone with Robyn. She’s calling for help because she’s just killed two fellow officers and is being chased by several more. She doesn’t trust Locksley, but she doesn’t know who else to call. Robyn gives her some directions to elude her pursuers and Gengrich is off and running. As she makes her way through the streets, she remembers a moment from her past that set her on the path to her career as a police officer. It’s an incredibly violent moment and writer Pat Shand uses it to great effect to show why Julia is the way she is, justifying the gruff nature she’s shown in earlier issues. I love the individual who actually picks up the officer and their dialogue here and throughout the book is great. The reason she’s being targeted by the police department is revealed on 9 and it’s pretty creepy. There’s a lot of action in this issue and Shand nicely includes moments from Gengrich’s past throughout, giving her a full past and allowing readers, old and new, to better understand her, and I know I now do. Pages 20 and 21 have the group making plans to take on the Cabal, but, wouldn’t you know it?, the final page puts all their plans on hold because someone is on their doorstep. This continues to be one of the best written monthlies from Zenescope because Shand has characters consistently grow while moving the big story arc forward. Overall grade: A 

The art: Roberta Ingranata’s style has grown on me. I’m liking how she has a cartoony style that lures readers into a false sense of security and then hits them over the head with a violent image that is unexpected. For example, the first page, which introduces the Red Death, does this very neatly. Distant and close up shots of Ruby have four strong scenes of the Red Death killing someone or walking away from created chaos. This is a ten panel page that looks great. I also have to admit to Ingranata winning me over with the circular panel insert at the start of Page 2. This is just a classy layout for me that harkens back to old comics such as Carl Barks’ duck tales. She also can tell a story without dialogue; the first two panels on Page 3 have Gengrich on the phone, which then cuts to Robyn doing the same, though she’s passing a message to Marian that tells the reader that this character will soon appear. It’s just two panels, and there is text, but they communicate action and future appearances just with the visuals. I also like that Gengrich is shown in profile in several panels, considering her future and past. The action is also good, with a lot happening in that small apartment. I really like the look of this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: For a book set in New York, at night, on the streets, I’m not expecting a very bright experience reading this book, but Slamet Mujiono does a terrific job. The reds that appear in the Red Death sequences create a vivid splash that contrasts with Ruby getting on the plane. Julia’s run through the streets is bright thanks to the color of the jacket that she’s wearing and the streaks of color behind her as she tools along. The interior of Robyn and Marian’s apartment gives a good bit of color with its lime colored walls. The energy that whips around Marian is good in neon blue, giving it an extra magical appearance. The colors of the final page increase the humor of the situation, because these characters’ arrival should be a cause for concern, but the colors make it humorous. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Jim Campbell creates dialogue, ticket text, signage, phone conversations, sounds, text for a news broadcast, several monologues, and Cabal speech. Campbell gets to do a wide variety of fonts and they all look good. I’m especially fond of the Cabal speech, which makes these characters’ speech look as insane as their countenance. Overall grade: A

The final line: I love this book! The story is exciting and the art is good. Robyn Hood is a title I look forward to reading every month. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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