In Review: Robyn Hood: Outlaw #4

Robyn is buried under a ton of debris, wondering who tried to kill her.

The covers: Summer is here with all the variant convention covers available. This issue features ten different covers for collectors to find. The A by Marco Mastrazzo has Robyn standing atop a yellow colored chrome item pulling back an arrow to hit the reader right between the eyes. Robyn looks intense, her pose is cool, the streaking white increases the action, and the background looks great. If I could only figure out what she’s standing on. The next cover, the B by Edgar Salazar and Ivan Nunes, is an action piece of Robyn battling Golem, the young teen who can turn into an oversized rock monster. Robyn is in the bottom center, loosing an arrow at her foe, but it shatters upon impact. Golem dwarfs the title character, as he pulls his right fist back to deliver a powerful punch. Debris is flying everywhere, with Golem’s right foot fall smashing the ground beneath it. I love the size of the characters and the colors are aces, with Robyn colored more intensely than Golem to draw the reader’s eye. The “Good Girl” cover is the C created by Michael DiPascale and Sanju Nivangune. Robyn is shown from the knees up, her hands behind her head holding three arrows in each fist. She’s gorgeous. There’s a bright red target behind her and the lower half of the image is filled with a gray silhouette of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty. This is fantastic. Definitely poster, print, and tee shirt worthy. Anthony Spay and Vinicius Andrade have created a horrific bit of foreshadowing on their D cover. Robyn leans to the left of this frontpiece holding her left hand with her left. She looks in horror as her left hand has turned golden with the supernatural effect making its way up her arm. She looks great and the background looks exactly like one that appears in this issue — that’s rare to see in a cover, so my hat’s off to Spay. The colors are great, with her arm’s transformation creating a glow that extends onto its victim’s face. Rally cool. There are five other covers to find, but I couldn’t find images of them online. They include the Denver Comic Con Cosplay Edition (limited to 350 copies) by Keith Garvey, the San Diego Comic Con ZenBOX Exclusive (limited to 150) is by Mike Krome and Ula Mos, and the San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Edition (350/350), San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Wraparound Exclusive (100), and San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive (100) all by Paul Green and Mos. Good luck, collectors! Overall grade: A A, B A+, C A+, and D A

The story: “How does this keep happening to me in this place?” Robyn says to herself. “Though, the place is called the Underground, so…I shouldn’t be terribly surprised. And yet…I am.” She is sitting under a pile of debris in a space just large enough for her to ignite an arrow head to use as a torch. The story flashes back to the past to show Robyn in Gynt’s quarters with an arrow nocked to take down Golem who’s transformed out of anger for having to work with the archer. Watts steps between the pair, thanking Robyn for rescuing her (last issue), but Golem is part of the team she’s on, “…If you tried to kill him…that would be a mistake. I’d feel bad about it, but I would fry you where you stand.” Having seen enough, Gynt intercedes, stopping all the action. This leads to a conversation between him and Robyn in private with scenes in the present cutting in to show the hero’s progress in trying to escape being buried alive. Robyn is given yet another task by Gynt to prove herself and this introduces the rest of Watt and Golem’s team. It’s a very smart way by Dave Franchini and Howard Mackie, with Mr. Mackie writing the issue, to have these characters enter. I’m particularly interested in the abilities of the character that appears on Page 17. The book ends with Robyn trying to learn which of these characters tried to kill her. The clues are there. Are you smarter than Robyn? I’ll have to find out next month who tried to put her down. This was a solid read, with new characters introduced and a neat mystery begun. Overall grade: A

The art: I am a tremendous fan of a nine paneled comic book page. I blame/thank Keith Giffen for instilling my love of it. Babisu Kourtis begins this book with this format and uses it each time Robyn is shown making her way out of her grave. This first page could have been a splash page, but broken into nine panels allows the reader to take in every element surrounding the character, with her sitting in the dead center, looking incredibly small. Pages 2 and 3 are a double-paged splash that shows Golem raging while all the others recoil, save Robyn who stands steady with arrow ready. Watts’s panel at the bottom of 4 is an excellent demonstration of her abilities. The stare down between the two characters on the page that follows establishes who’s in charge as well as making their personalities clear on how they handle the situation. The nine panel layout returns on 8 with the top and bottom three panels each a single image split into three, with the middle trio having a great tease of doom — plus, you’ve got to love Robyn’s brief appearance in the sixth panel. There’s a neat battle on Pages 14 and 15 that has a perfect ending that sums up Robyn’s fighting style beautifully through a visual. 16 has a great progression of action with lots of fantastic details. The final page has a great round up image of all the individuals, with one a killer. Agatha Christie would be happy with this showcase of characters. Overall grade: A

The colors: Juan Manuel Rodriguez also does a solid job on this book. Look how he spotlights Robyn on the first page with the small yellow patch in the center to draw the reader into the illustration. I like how the Rodriguez is not saturating the page in grays, but uses several shades of the color, as well as others, to bring this deadly environment to life. The next page has Rodriguez doing a great job with Golem’s rocky form and the many shades of characters’ costumes. Panels go electric blue when Watts demonstrates her powers. The blues and whites for water on the book stand out against the tomb of the hero. When Robyn and Gynt’s conversation closes, notice how the background goes yellow, signifying underlying tension. Nice. Robyn is in one location when she challenges each of the characters, but they go very bright when she battles Matter, bringing an extra energy to the scuffle. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios is responsible for the book’s scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, an editorial note and narration, a sign, and the tease for next issue. Esposito’s scene settings are always neat to encounter in any book he does: they’re energetic and slant to the right, pulling the reader into the new location. The dialogue is differed from yells and screams by size and girth, alerting the reader in how each outburst should be heard. The sounds are great, especially when Golem is involved. I like that narration is differed by being in italics; it’s a little thing, but it’s a visual that I appreciate because I hear it differently from the dialogue. Overall grade: A

The final line: Robyn is buried under a ton of debris, wondering who tried to kill her. The story goes to the past to explain how she ended up in this situation and introducing a list of suspects. This is a very fun read with visuals that outstanding — I can’t get enough of nine panel pages. Everything about this book works. 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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