In Review: Robyn Hood: I Love NY #3

This is the issue to give to new readers to make them fans.

The covers: Six to find on this third installment of Robyn’s exploits in New York. Paolo Pantalena and Arif Prianto do the A cover. It’s Robyn with her back to a wall and it’s showing the signs of being hit by some type of projectiles, as the plaster has been blasted out to reveal bricks. She’s got an arrow nocked to use against the individual who’s hairy, clawed hands are reaching for her. The coloring on this highlights the character, yet makes the setting and the antagonist real. A well done job. The B is by Michele Bandini and Walter Pereyra. This has Robyn in dire straits, having stepped in a bear trap in a city park. As she’s holding her caught foot, a strong silhouette of a figure makes its way to her. A decent cover, but this scene doesn’t (exactly) appear in this issue. Renato Rei and Wes Hartman are responsible for the C cover with the two heroines sharing the space. The pair are atop a building in the city, with Robyn taking a bead on an unseen victim, while Britney stands behind her, holding a sword across her shoulders. Good composition and great colors make this look fine. Riveriro and Grostieta do the D, which is a dramatic shot of Britney standing over an unconscious Robyn. The characters look outstanding and the setting every better. Plus, this image creates a million questions in a reader’s mind. Though, like the B, this is nowhere in the issue. The Wizard World Chicago Exclusive, which is limited to 500 copies, is by Paul Green, with colors by Ula Mos. This has a really cute Robyn wearing a tight blue tee shirt that sports the Bears’ logo on it. She’s not wearing pants, and a black thong can just be seen at the bottom of the image. If one were to tear their eyes off the character, the background is extremely well done. There’s also a VIP Exclusive, limited to 350, and has the same artistic credits, but I couldn’t find a picture of it anywhere online, so good luck finding that one! Overall grades: A A, B C+, C A-, D A-, and Wizard World Chicago Exclusive A+

The story: Lou Iovino provides the words for “Red Agent in the Big Apple!” which is a story conceived by Joe Brusha. The issue has Robyn in an unusual situation: taking a job to check on a husband’s perversion. She tells the upset wife she’s not a divorce attorney, but the woman says, “Give me what I want and I’ll pay you double the amount.” Opening the envelope, Robyn sees more money that she’s seen in a long time. Robyn narrates for the reader, ‘I should be taking down monsters and demons and, I don’t know, politicians and stuff. Not checking up on this socialite’s twisted hubby. But a girl’s gotta eat.’ That night outside the club High Times, Robyn shoots a line to the roof of the building to gain entrance. Once in, what she sees startles her. What’s revealed is very cool and surprising that it hasn’t been shown in other Zenescope books earlier. Realizing she’s got some unexpected information, she runs off and comes face to face with the Red Agent. The two have a brief scuffle — Duh, this is comic books! — but soon the pair are working together, exchanging information and fighting the bad guys. This story has a clever introduction to get Robyn involved in this mess and having Britney included in the action is a nice way to have her in action outside of her own, recently completed, series. I like both characters, so having them team up was pushing all the right buttons for me. The climax of the issue is well done, with both characters not having an easy time for success. The final page foreshadows that one villain is not done with Ms. Locksley and he, and the mysterious stranger, will undoubtedly be trouble in the future. A good read and one that requires no previous reading to understand. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on this book are as strong as the story. Sergio Arino provides the art for Pages 1 – 20 and Riveiro creates the art for 21 – 22. The book begins with the focus on the upset wife, whose pounding of the table is nicely accentuated by the food and drink on the table, and the patron behind her. Transitioning to Robyn clicking her pen is a great way to show that the heroine is done with this woman’s tale. This might sound odd, but the taxi that takes the wife away looks fantastic. Automobiles provide much consternation for some artists, but Arino does a stellar job on this vehicle. When Robyn is first revealed in her costume, she looks fantastic, and the cityscape behind her is also well drawn. Arino creates a great sense of motion in the top two panels and the bottom three panels on 4, with her completion of the action in the final panel being an excellent pose. The reveal on 6 was a good surprise, and I admit to thinking of a famous Avenger from the 1980s looking at this splash. I’m also sure that some of the patrons of this establishment are Zenescope names and I’m hoping that when this series is collected names are named. Pages 8 – 11 contain a really great action sequence with both characters looking superb: I like the bottom of 8, the positioning of the characters in the third panel on 9, every panel of 10, and the leap on 11. It’s rare to see a fight between two characters so easily understood, so much so that I could tell you where each character is in relationship to the other. When the pair of heroines leave the scene, it’s so well done I’m sure it will end up online in several places, it’s that good. The last panel on 15 is a great reaction shot from a someone who feels the wrath of one of the protagonists. When Britney goes into action on 16 she looks excellent. I was really surprised by the visual that’s the fourth panel on 20: this type of climax has to occur often in Hood tales, but this is the first I’ve seen that looked this cool and shocking. Riveiro’s pages also look good, with 21 being excellent, especially with the two heroines. This book looks really good. Overall grade: A

The colors: Continuing this book’s winning streaks are the colors provided by Grostieta, who did Pages 1 – 20, and Hedwin Zaldivar, 21 – 22. Even though Robyn isn’t in her costume for the first two pages, greens dominate, subtly shown in the setting and in the lead character’s narration dialogue. The shading on Robyn on 3 is beautiful, making the character appear three dimensional. The neon of the High Times’ sign is foretold by the speed wake in Robyn’s arrow in the third panel. The glow from the windows of the background buildings on 4 is great. The work that Grostieta put into the camouflage pants is amazing — and it’s done for such a small visual. The use of yellows for the backgrounds on 8 – 11 makes the actions really intense, and it highlights the greens on Robyn and the reds on Britney. Check out the slick neon pale blue outlining on the characters’ exit on 13: it makes it seem very 1980s, yet very cool. The coloring of the villain’s skin at the bottom of 15 is outstanding. Page 19 is a terrific emerald hue to emphasize something the characters are wearing, and a sly nod to the title character. Zaldivar does an equally good job on his pages, with the leads coming off as completely warm characters, and the villains looking threatening in their harsh skin tones. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates scene settings, dialogue, narration, the story’s title, the book’s credits, sounds, a song, musical notes, yells, signage, and the tease for next issue. I’m glad to see that the narration and the dialogue are in two different fonts; I’m always happy when letterers make this distinction. The yells are really good, but the sounds steal the show, with the bottom of Page 15 featuring the perfect sound, but please take note as it’s incorporated around the artwork. Truly, Esposito is a pro. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the issue to give to new readers to make them fans. A solid story, with some good turns for even long term fans, and excellent visuals. Perfect comic book reading! 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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