In Review: Robyn Hood: Outlaw #1

A great mystery has Robyn on the run and picking up a potential new ally.

The covers: There are eleven covers to pick up, so “Run…Now” and get them. The A is by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes and is a stunner with Robyn leaping between buildings as she twists her body to the left to fire an arrow behind her, right at the reader. The character looks great, the pose is perfect, and the colors are great. Having the sun directly behind her makes it seem like she’s an avenging angel. Robyn is shown taking out some bad guys on the B cover by Igor Vitorino and Hedwin Zaldivar. Robyn is almost on the ground after shooting two men in the chest from her bow. She’s pulling an arrow to nock it to fire on the one uninjured man in the lower left. She looks like a terror as she yells as she makes her descent. The background is also excellent, with this looking to be occurring at a storage facility under a full moon. The coloring directs the reader to look at the heroine first and then take in the villains due to the green shafts protruding from their chests. This is terrific! Next is Ula Mos on the C cover. This has Robyn atop a skyscraper in the daytime. She’s moving backwards and firing an arrow at an unseen foe. She’s got an arrow ready to unleash and she looks awesome. I love the character, the colors, and the background, which appears to be a photo insertion, but it works incredibly well, especially with those colors. The D frontpiece hails from Riveiro and Ceci de la Cruz. This point of view has the reader on the ground, on their back, looking up at Robyn who is up close with an arrow pulled back and in the reader’s face. The background is full of skyscrapers that thrust into the sky. Great illustration and fantastic coloring. I love the greens and blues on this. The last regular cover is the E by Leonardo Colapietro. Robyn’s face comprises the cover, with her hair blowing wildly to the left. Starting behind her and spiraling around her before circling down and around her face is the outline of the city. She looks intense, the colors are on fire in the bottom right, and the spiral of the city that covers her face makes the entire image look hypnotic. Different, yet cool cover. There’s also a Blank Sketch Edition cover that features only the text at the top that states the title, publisher, number, and price. This is a terrific cover for someone to get a one of kind, unique illustration or the signatures of the contributors to this issue. I love the idea of these covers, but on their own they’re not too much to look at. I couldn’t find images for the final five covers. They include a Subscription Exclusive (limited to 75 copies) by Eric Basaldua, the St. Paddy’s Day Exclusives (limited to 250/75 copies) with artwork by Mike Krome and Ula Mos, and the Wizard World Philly Exclusives (limited to 350/100) by Basaldua and Mos. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A, B A, C A+, D A, E A-, and Blank Sketch Edition C

The story: This issue was created by Dave Franchini and Howard Mackie, with Mackie writing the issue. Robyn is making her way up the stairs of her building to get into her apartment. She just wants to sleep for 24 hours after saving the world for Chang, as shown in Grimm Universe Presents 2019. On her floor, she sees her front down smashed in. She nocks an arrow and enters to find the room destroyed. “If you are still here…I suggest you run…now!” she warns the trespassers. Hearing a moan coming from the bathroom, she breaks the door down to find someone on the floor, pointing a gun at her, with a shaft sticking out of her chest. The identify of this character was a surprise and what happens on Page 7 is a bigger one. The title of this series becomes evident with the pair of characters she next encounters. The action is great, with Robyn clueless as to what’s going on. There’s a great tease on 13, but it’s followed by a surprise in the third panel. This leads to a big action sequence involving a helicopter which is very exciting. A new character is encountered on 19 who does something surprising that creates this issue’s cliffhanger. There is a lot of action as Robyn starts to run. Though, she won’t be running too much if the final panel goes the wrong way. This was fun. Overall grade: A

The art: The first page of Babisu Kourtis’s art is a full-paged splash that shows Robyn’s apartment complex that sets the dark tone of this book from the start: it’s an old building, not well lit, and shown from the point of view from an alley across from it, which sports trashcans, still water, and even a rat. Kourtis does a good job in building suspense as Robyn makes her way up the stairs, as there are no lights so there’s no backgrounds. There’s just Robyn and the staircase. The panel that shows her door broken in is jarring, which sets up the full-paged splash on 3 that’s set in the room, looking down on Robyn entering through the door. By showing it from this point of view the reader can take in all the damage. Kicking in the door at the bottom of 4, Robyn looks incredibly strong, especially with pieces of the wooden door flying about as debris. The fifth page is another full-paged splash, but Kourtis has not overused this format, because he is a master of the point of view: now the reader is in the victim’s point of view, on the floor of the bathroom, holding a gun up at Robyn as she races in with an arrow ready to be unleashed. This is a great page. Notice how Kortis puts the arrow that’s in the victim in the foreground and it’s designed so that Robyn’s rampant fans know that arrow did not come from her. The reveal on 6 is good, but the third panel looks as though Kourtis was thinking there would be more dialogue, as there’s a lot of empty space in the upper right. The same can be said of the bottom panel, with the left fourth of the panel wasted on a door. The head turn that ends the next page is perfect: it captures the character’s movement and emotion. The three panels that end 8 is a great cinematic move — slowly pulling into the character to show the anger on her face. The action on the page that follows is composed of four vertical panels that really show some great action that the reader can smoothly follow. The next three panels continue with excellent and complex action moves; they are thrilling and easy to follow. The second panel on 13 is great shock that doesn’t need to be any larger because it perfectly conveys the action: Korutis does a really good job on these action sequences. The third panel on 15 is great, once again showing the character’s emotion excellently. The helicopter action sequence has the character looking good, but the helicopter is not very fluid; I can tell what’s going on, but that machine just looks as though it’s hanging in space. The new character looks fine, not much time is given to her, but she’s certainly memorable for the action that ends the book. I’m liking the majority of Kourtis’s art, though there are a few minor speed bumps. Overall grade: B+

The colors: Before one looks at the art, one will be looking at the narration boxes that start this issue. They are given a light green coloring for white letters and a yellow outline that makes them pop. This is very clever of Juan Manuel Rodriguez because there are several times the reader needs to know what she’s thinking. Also on the front page, Robyn’s apartment is given very dreary colors to age it and make it slightly ominous. A turn of the page and the threat increases due to all the blacks used to make her building foreboding. I like that one word in Robyn’s dialogue on Page 3 is colored red to put some added heat to it. There are also some reds with a yellow line within them for the massive sound on 4. Notice how all the lights have come on once Robyn is in the bathroom so that everything can be seen, such as that green and yellow feather arrow in the foreground. The coloring on the individuals that come into Robyn’s apartment to confront her seem as though their clothing is made out of plastic due to the colors. I know that the light colors are supposed to represent highlights, but with their clothes already a dull color, the highlights made it seem like they were wearing latex. The reds on 13 are perfect. The colors for the last two panels on 18 are not good, with the character’s face and clothes looking rubbery. As with the art, I’m liking the majority of work on this book, not all of it. Overall grade: B-

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios is the letterer, creating scene settings, narration, dialogue, yells, sounds, weakened speech, and the tease for next issue. I’m glad to see Esposito using different fonts for the dialogue and narration, which I always consider a sign of a strong letterer. The scene settings are exciting, tall, block letters that lean slightly into the right to lead the reader into the art. The yells are big and the sounds are explosive, and there a lot of sounds in this book. I really like the helicopter’s noise. Overall grade: A

The final line: A great mystery has Robyn on the run and picking up a potential new ally. The story is exciting and how couldn’t it be? Whenever a hero is trying to escape from their allies it’s surprising and entertaining. The visuals are good, though there are a few moments that leave me scratching my head. However, there’s enough to enjoy and have me return to see who put Robyn in this position. Overall grade: A-

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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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