Pullbox Reviews: Robyn Hood: Outlaw #1

  • Robyn Hood: Outlaw #1
  • Zenescope
  • Story but Dave Franchini & Howard Mackie
  • Written by Howard Mackie
  • Art by Babisu Kourtis
  • Colors by Juan Manuel Rodriquez
  • Letters by Taylor Esposito (of Ghost Glyph Studios)
  • Editor, Kellie Supplee
  • Available February 13, 2019
  • The Grimm Universe created by Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco

Robyn Locksley is back in New York and looking to return to her normal life. She soon learns this won’t be possible when she finds herself entangled in a new mystery that pits her against her greatest adversary yet.

Robyn Locksley is back in New York and looking to return to her normal life. She soon learns this won’t be possible when she finds herself entangled in a new mystery that pits her against her greatest adversary yet.

(Cue power cords…)

Fans of Zenescope’s Grimm Universe know that when Robyn Hood graces the cover of a book, they’re in for quips, flips, and high flying kicks. Critics believe that it’s all just over-hyped shock and awe, pandering to readers who would prefer a cheeseburger and fries over a fine steak dinner. I say that as delicious as a slow-cooked ribeye is, you can’t eat it every night. Somedays you just wanna to hit your local greasy spoon diner where the ground beef is fresh off the grill.

Never one to shy away from the entertainment aspect of the industry, the House of Grimm can be counted on to do one thing, and do it well. They bring us the kind of title that Jerry Bruckheimer or Michael Bay would put out, if they could figure out how to get the slow walk away from an explosion to work in a comicbook panel.

For one thing, that’d have to be a two page spread, for sure… full page splash, at minimum.

Howard Mackie seems to “get it”. While the action is nearly non-stop, he manages to work in those “down beats” that give his characters- and the reader- a few seconds to take a breath and process what’s going on. It’s in those quieter moments that the story builds. Honestly, it’s not all arrow slinging and fisticuffs… Ms. Locksley has a bit of a mystery on her hands in this one, and every mystery, like every hero, requires a worthy antagonist. In this case, it looks like Robyn Hood isn’t the only archer lurking the rooftops of New York City. It’s kinda cool that Mackie hasn’t just thrown in some lug of the week to act as a punching bag for Robyn, but given her more of an equal to sink her teeth into. Both she and her fans are gonna have to wait a bit to figure out who’s behind the other bow, and what their long game is before things come to a head.

Bringing the action to two dimensional life is the team of artist Babisu Kourtis, and colorist Juan Manuel Rodriquez. Kourtis does an outstanding job of upholding Zenescope’s standard, and deserves some kudos on a couple of the finer points. Point number one, it irritates the hell out of me whenever I see an action heroine kicking ass and counting coup… while wearing stiletto heels. Thankfully, Kourtis sees the problem there, and recognizes that Robyn’s crime fighting career will last a lot longer with proper arch and ankle support. Combat boots for the win, all the way. The second point is in the attention to detail he takes in the extended fight scene that’s the centerpiece for this opening issue of Outlaw’s story arc. Not content to give us sultry poses or throw random kicks and punches, he illustrates Robyn with some skill in traditional martial arts (maybe some Wushu?) and it’s pretty obvious that Kourtis took the time and effort to get it right. In the angles of attack, elbow blocks, and ridge hand strikes, there’s a correct use of form that we don’t see often enough in comics (I cut my teeth on the action films of the ’80’s and ‘90’s, so I don’t even care that everyone is conveniently an expert in Kung Fu and Karate). For his part, Rodriquez fills out the visuals with sharp colors that bring out the details in the action. His use of shadows and lighting effects, particularly on the second and third pages, goes a long way toward setting the tone of a mystery. Once the action kicks into high gear, he shifts into brighter backgrounds to highlight the great work laid out by Kourtis. It’s a great combination of style and color that makes the visuals of this book sing a song of destruction.

I’ll be the first to admit it, not all of Zenescope’s lineup works for me, but I always have a soft spot for Robyn Hood (I doubt that I’m the only one, as evidenced by the live action short starring Lili Simmons, found here on YouTube- or drop down to the embedded video… Matter of fact, the Hood in all of his and/or her outlaw glory, has always been among my favorite stories, from movies to television and cartoons, and of course in comics. So long as the Grimm Universe keeps their very own ass kicking, straight shooting emerald archer pulling strings, I’ll keep coming back. Fans of unapologetically high energy action titles should do the same.

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