In Review: Robyn Hood: Outlaw #5

A fun transition issue as characters get from Point A to Point B.

The covers: Eight covers to find on the penultimate issue of this series. The A frontpiece by Geebo Vigonte and Ivan Nunes has Robyn standing on the left with her bow held low but an arrow nocked for action. Just behind her is an old home with a tower. On the right side of the cover is the smiling face of a tree-like creature. Its fingertips are emerging from both sides of the cover as if it were trying to grasp the title character. Very nice. The B by Sheldon Goh and Grostieta is a much more action oriented cover. Robyn is the foreground, squatting down with her weight on her left knee. She’s looking over her right shoulder as she readies an arrow to take out the tree monster that’s reaching for her. Robyn looks sensational and the creature looks threatening. I really like the colors on this with the hero standing out and the villain looking dark, but still having all elements of its composition clearly seen. Really cool! Claudia Inacello is responsible for the C cover which could qualify as a “good girl” cover. This spotlights Tatter who smiles up against a brick wall. She holds her left arm before her as if to ward off the objects streaking at her, as well as exposing her belly. These could be tin cans, but the blur effect is so strong, it’s impossible to tell. I hate when comic book use this effect — the artists are more than capable in creating motion within their own visuals. I like this, except for the blurry objects. I have no idea who this is on the D cover by Caanan White and Vinicius Andrade, even after reading this issue. A gnarly old man holds a pen in his hand and flashes a nasty smile from his desk. The reflective surface of his desk shows him to be one of the tree creatures that’s on the A and B cover. This is creepy looking but I have no context for this. The Heroes Con Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by David Nakayama features blonde beauty in black tight pants, featuring the Zenescope logo on the right leg, and matching tight black halter top, featuring the Heroes Con logo on the back, turns her head to look at the reader after waving two flags and a pair of cars race past her. Good motion in her hair and the flags and Nakayama’s women always look good. There are three other Exclusive covers, but I couldn’t find images of them online. They include the Wizard World Chicago Exclusive (limited to 250) by Michale Dooney and Ula Mos and the San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Exclusives (250/50) by Dawn McTeigue and Sanju Nivangune. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A. B A, C B, D C+ and Heroes Con Exclusive A

The story: Robyn has an arrow drawn and pointed at her group of new allies. They’re nervous why she’s taken this stance, but it’s not for any of them, it’s for the creature that’s behind them. Specifically, behind Tatter. The young woman ducks, Robyn hits the creature in the eye, and Watts zaps the thing. Matter uses his abilities to pull out its heart, tossing it to Goldrush, who’s touch makes it become 24K. This character also has a groan worthy response to what he’s done. I groaned, but I love bad puns. Watts tells Robyn that they don’t know what kind of creature it is, though they’ve been encountered before. Goldrush states that they could be guard dogs for the mark that Gynt sent them out to get: Spriggan. This is a really smooth introduction to all the characters, old and new, showing what their abilities are and reminding the reader what their goal is. I really like when books do this, as every issue is someone’s first, and Dave Franchini and Howard Mackie, who thought up this tale, with Mackie ultimately writing it, have started things off well. The group’s journey is briefly interrupted to show Ms. Nyguen at a rally for mayor and she says something rather disturbing and incredibly funny for it being so unexpected. Back Underground, a large group of foes are encountered, a battle is fought, and the team makes its way to Spriggan’s house where things don’t go as easily as they expected. This is solid hero storytelling, with the characters having to go from Point A to Point B. It’s entertaining, but not stellar. Overall grade: B+

The art: The first page of this book is a full-paged splash of Robyn pointing an arrow at the reader. Artist Babisu Kourtis certainly shows she start this book off with a thrilling image! I love the look of the character and the setting around her shows the reader that the character is in a cave without being told. A turn of the page reveals the other characters and their distance form the title character; this is important as they, and the reader, don’t know who her target is. The partial reveal of the monster in the third panel is good, with the creature fully shown at the top of 3 great. The four bottom panels on that page show three of the new characters’ abilities quickly and concisely. There are several characters that Kourtis has to deal with in a fairly tight space and he does a solid job in making each look like an individual, with Goldsmith being a terrifically skeevy looking person. The large panel on 5 reminded me of a key moment from Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring — I loved it! The political rally is full of over a hundred characters in the crowd and they are mostly outlines rather than fully rendered characters. Nyguen is a dour looking individual in the two panels she appears, increasing the dread that her words contain. The large space where the characters battle is good, allowing several people to battle at once; these are the battle scenes I looked forward to in comics when I was younger and Kortis makes this very exciting. Naturally Robyn gets her own four panel sequence to show how agile is she and she looks great. The large panel on Page 16 is an excellent environment panel and a good way to show the characters on the move. The action on the next four pages is solid, with the creature’s hands cool, although the bottom of 20 and 21 has the creature’s “flesh” not looking as detailed as the monsters from earlier. The final page is a full-paged splash that perfectly sets up the reader for the finale. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The majority of this book is Underground, so colorist Juan Manuel Rodriguez had every right to make this a dark book. Thankfully, he does not. The opening page has Robyn looking awesome in greens of every shade, but look at the work done with the cave’s walls — really nice! The partial emergence of the creature out of the dark is terrific for having its teeth and eyes pop out. The coloring on the creature when it’s fully revealed is a sickly yellow and brown. I really like the work in the large panel on 5. The rally’s chants pop in yellows and I like the lights in the ceiling. When Watts powers up her panel goes a cool flat blue to show the energy that’s enveloping her. When Robyn goes acrobatic her backgrounds get some strong yellows and oranges that increase her fight. I like the eerie yellow and orange sky for the final setting, but it disappears on the final three pages with the backgrounds going black. What happened? Is this a story point or just an artistic choice? It doesn’t fit the previous pages. Overall grade: B

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates dialogue, sounds, scene settings, a chant, yells, and Spriggan’s unique speech. The sounds are great, with creature wails and roars and impact sounds from arrows looking cool. Scene settings from Esposito are definite strong points, with them being exciting and instant eye catchers. The chant at the rally looks as it would sound. I really have to give praise for Spriggan’s unique speech font, which further separates the character from humanity. It’s creepy, ancient, and awesome looking. Overall grade: A

The final line: A fun transition issue as characters get from Point A to Point B. There’s some good characterization moments, though whether Robyn has learned who among her team is trying to kill her is left unrevealed. The visuals are striking, with the settings looking tremendous, especially with some nods to a J.R.R. Tolkien film. I’ve enjoyed this series and am looking forward to seeing how all is resolved. 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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