In Review: Robyn Hood: I Love NY #9

Typical hero vs hero shenanigans that's enjoyable.

The covers: Eight covers to track down if one is feeling the need to collect everything Locksley related. The A cover is by Riveiro and Grostieta and it’s the one I purchased and accompanies this review. A gigantic bust shot of Death Force forms the background, with a healthy smattering of blood on his mask. Emerging from the right is Robyn, who looks surprisingly pleased as she nocks an arrow. She looks great, albeit a little too happy, and he looks monstrous. The colors are bright and bold. I like this cover. The B is by Marc Rosete and Erick Arciniega. The elements on this are tops, but the layout has too much wasted space. Death Force is in the bottom left corner, holding his shield ready to deflect the arrow that Robyn’s about to release as she leaps in the air in the upper right. Both characters look sensational, but there’s too much empty space in the top left. It’s almost as if Rosete expected the copy to go there, rather than shrunk in the bottom right. Heck, I would have been happy if only Robyn had been shown in the same pose. Allan Otero and Ceci de la Cruz do the C cover which features Death Force’s partner, Missy. She’s getting out of a red van and walking toward her left. Behind her is a nice set of skyscrapers. This is a neat cover and I’m glad to see Missy getting some cover time for this story. The white background really makes the colors pop up. The D cover is by Jose Luis and Mohan Sivakami which is an image showing Death Force holding the limp body of Robyn, whose soul is emerging from her body. The scene is set in a back alley which makes the image bleaker, and the colors nicely put the spotlight on her exiting spirit. There’s an In Store Exclusive, limited to 100 copies, illustrated by Paul Green. I couldn’t find a copy of this online. There’s also a Secret Retailer Exclusive with artwork by Green. Again, I couldn’t find a copy to review. However, the Cosplay Exclusive, limited to 350 copies, by Mike Krome, with colors by Ula Mos, I could find a copy. This has Robyn dressed as Daenerys Targaryen, the dragon girl from Game of Thrones. There’s even a dragon on her shoulder. This is nice, but Robyn is too far from the reader. I think Krome wanted to include as much of the background as he could, and it’s good, but I’d rather be closer to the subject. The final cover is the Emerald City Comic Con Exclusive cover by Jamie Tyndall, featuring colors by Ula Mos, which is limited to 350 copies. This has Robyn dressed as Spider Gwen-Carnage. It’s Tyndall, how it could be anything other than awesome? Overall grades: A A, B C+, C B, D B, Cosplay Exclusive B, and Emerald City Comic Con Exclusive A

The story: This issue opens with a man in a large pit, looking upon the beaten body of another man who is barely able to mutter, “Help me.” The standing man turns around to see there’s another in the pit with him. He pleads to his opponent, who’s wielding a bloody baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, “No, please. What have I done!” He’s promptly brained. At the top of the pit, a well dressed man throws in the next victim. This victim begs, but the killer, revealed as Death Force, says, “I only live to serve the master! I am the hand of bedlam, the harbinger of chaos! For you, my master!” and then kills the man. Looking down upon his human-turned-agent-of-chaos, the demon that commands Death Force gives approval to his minion. Meanwhile in NYC, Robyn’s waxing philosophical before being called out by a fellow passenger on the Roosevelt Island Tram. This issue comes from a story conceived by Joe Brusha and written by Lou Iovino. This conversation has some nice foreshadowing before Robyn meets up with Missy, who brings the hero up to date with Rick’s, aka Death Force, situation. Robyn, naturally, goes to help and that’s where the conflict springs from for this issue. The battle is good, but the conclusion is better, because something major changes in Rick’s life. The final two pages of the book returns to two characters who have been looking for Robyn for some time and it appears they’re finally going to get their wish. A fun read with two of Zenescope’s heroes duking it out in traditional superhero mode. The expected mayhem occurs, but with a neat outcome. Overall grade: B+

The art: Three different artists on this issue: Sergio Arino, Renan Shody, and Riveiro. There’s nothing specified in the credits as to who is responsible for what, which surprised me, since most Zenescope books state the pages each contributor did. Anyhoo, the art on the book is consistent enough for me not to notice too often different artists created this issue. The reveal of Death Force on Page 2 is good, with him looking appropriately fearsome, but that full-paged splash opposite it is a real Wow! moment, as the demon that DF serves is revealed. The raised bat from the anti-hero is a nice salute to his master. The woman that speaks with Robyn on the tram is well drawn, as is the flashback sequence that gives the origin of Death Force. The battle between the two characters is very well done; it’s got a lot of physicality, which is what a reader would want. Considering the speed at which this fight must occur, the artist who drew those pages deserves praise. The fight is very easy to follow. Page 16 has a good surprise in the story that also has some very strong visuals. The final three pages of the book aren’t that great, however. Page 20 pulls back from all the characters and in doing so has the majority of the backgrounds be suggestions and the characters just sketches. 21 and 22 have some murky visuals. The layout is fine, but the backgrounds and the characters are underdeveloped. The female character looks the best, but both characters don’t move naturally. This isn’t horrible art, but is not up to the level of the previous pages. Overall grade: B-

The colors: There are four colorists on this issue: Grostieta, Jorge Cortes, Federico Blee, and Valentina Cuomo. As with the artistic credits, no pages are specified for each contributor. The opening three pages could have been much darker, but the colorist rightly made them bright enough for the visuals to be clearly seen. Death Force’s reveal and the entity on Page 3 have some really nice highlights on them. The old woman on 4 is also very well colored, with the fourth panel on the page looking extremely well done. Lighting effects on this book are well done throughout, first appearing in the top panel on 5 and whenever a gun is discharged. The flashback sequence gets some nice hues, primarily pinks, to visual show the reader the change in the time period. The surprise on 16 has a terrific splash of color that really makes the moment come to life. My favorite coloring of the issue is the second panel on the penultimate page, reminding me of a Theron character. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studio provides this issue’s dying words, dialogue, screams, yells, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, scene settings, narration, a broadcast, and the tease for next issue. I always think a sure sign of an outstanding letterer is when the narration from a character is a different font from their dialogue. That occurs here and I’m so glad that Esposito was allowed to do so. This book has a lot of yelling, but it’s not one rote font that Esposito uses to death. Just as in life, there are many different types of yells and this is demonstrated by Page 7. Missy yells at Rick, he ends his response with a word accentuated by underlining. When Missy continues to plead, his yelling increases to block-like letters, ending with a radical font to show his intense turn. This is a visual way to show the building of tension through lettering. Outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Typical hero vs hero shenanigans that’s enjoyable. This is a good introduction to Death Force and a nice showcase for Robyn, if one hasn’t read either of their other books. I’m a fan of both and enjoyed this. Overall grade: B+

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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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