Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cosmic Review #19! Red Hood and The Outlaws #4 and words of wisdom from Dan Slott!

Hey there comic readers!

    I am back with another week of comic reviewing. I apologize for being a day late as my Wednesday evening was spent distributing Xmas gifts and going over some very important information related to the coming weeks. The holidays can be hectic, but the reviews must go on! This week was such a great pick up for me, I had tons of titles to read through and it was such a huge task that I actually fell asleep trying to read them all. If any of you have not been aware, I have written and produced my own comic book. Yesterday while at work I thought it would be fun to tweet a variety of comic writers asking them an interesting question (that they probably get all the time) which was, “Any advice you could offer an aspiring comic book writer who just self-published his own book?”. I sent this tweet to Francis Manapul,  Rick Remender, Gail Simone, Brian Michael Bendis, and Dan Slott. While I did not receive replies from Manapul, Remender, Simone, or Bendis, Mr. Slott responded to me almost instantly with an answer that got me thinking quite a bit.

    “Look both ways before crossing the street. Drink lots of fluids. And always swim with a buddy.”
-Dan Slott

Now it could just be me trying to be positive or looking into this way too much, but this response really got me thinking about my experience over the past year while writing the comic. So humour me for a bit while I go over an interpretation or just skip down to the review, whichever you prefer. For me the words of wisdom given to me by Dan Slott really hit home with me in a lot of ways. So let’s break down this response into its three parts and my thoughts on them:  

“Look both ways before crossing the street” seemed to me that he was telling me “Don’t rush”, work things out with your story, and don’t be content with a first or even second draft. Try to get perspective on your story and look at it from the point of the reader. As an independent comic book, my story will always be viewed in the shadow of the big publishers and therefore it requires an extreme amount of care to get readers to take the chance and pick up something that may be out of their comfort zone. If you rush, your only setting yourself up for a big hit.

“Drink lots of fluids” reminded me of the many late nights I spent pouring over drafts before submitting them to the artists, coffee was a powerful ally.

“Always swim with a buddy” to me means never feel that you have to work alone. It is only fair to admit that your work, no matter how long you spend on it or how well received past work has been, is always subject to the criticisms and judgement of the reader you are writing for. Some will love it, some may hate it, it is an undeniable truth that all writers must learn to accept. In the end the obstacles you’ll overcome by accepting this will far outweigh the criticisms you will likely endure along the way. Friends, family, and fans all have something to offer in terms of insight, perspective, and praises but in the end the pen is controlled by you, the writer. My comic is just another story in an infinite sea of literary works and it will be the feedback I receive, and more importantly how I use that feedback that will determine my success or failure in the future. It’s sink or swim out there, and I intend to swim for as long as I am able.

     I just want to thank Dan Slott for his time for responding to my question and I hope that my interpretation of your tweet is not too far off from the message you were trying to express. Since we are on the subject of Dan Slott, for any of you who have not read ASM #676 this week I definitely recommend picking it up. The issue featured some awesome conflict that will definitely give people a glimpse of what to expect from ASM in 2012. I know that I am really excited for the new story arc and I can’t wait to pick up the next issue! Now that we have spent a sizeable portion of this week’s post on my personal thoughts let’s move on to what you all came here to see, Cosmic Comic Review #19! This week I shall be taking a look at Red Hood and the Outlaws #4, but first a quick look at my pull list for the week of Dec 21/11:


Batman #4
Batman Incorporated (One-Shot)
Captain Atom #4
Catwoman #4
DC Universe Online Legends #19
Green Lantern Corps #4
Justice League #4
Nightwing #4
Red Hood and the Outlaws #4


Bionic Man #5


The Amazing Spider-Man #676
The Incredible Hulk #3
Venom #11
Wolverine and the X-Men #3

    A big pull indeed, great Christmas present to myself. Now without anymore delay let’s review Red Hood and the Outlaws #4!

Red Hood and the Outlaws #4
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Kenneth Rocafort

    Once again this week I am reminded why Red Hood and The Outlaws is my favourite book of the New 52. The issue is full of action, dialogue, and gives another slice of info on the Outlaws that keeps me interested and excited to keep following. Lobdell has discussed in various interviews how he intends to give glimpses into the each members past and reasons for staying on with the Outlaws. If you have stayed away from this title because of the negative press it received after its launch I urge you to reconsider and catch up now while there is still only four issues, this book is definitely something I see myself staying on board with indefinitely going into 2012. In this issue we see Jason moving forward in his quest to avenge the All-Caste with Starfire and Arsenal alongside him. This issue brings two threats to the team, one in the form of an ancient and powerful being, the other an alien hunter driven by revenge. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and loved the action in this issue. The art by Rocafort is something I have really grown to love. Since issue one I really felt that his style fit perfectly with the story, his pencils have a sort of crispness that I can’t really explain. For me, it really sets the mood that the story is portraying, and defines it from the other Batman with a darkness and edge that is all it’s own. Between the opening bar scene, and the various confrontations and fight panels throughout the issue, I was fully immersed from cover to cover. The ending has us ready for some major action next issue and I can not wait to get my hands on it. Seriously, read this comic and see for yourself!

Cosmic Rating: 5/5

- More spotlight on Arsenal and Starfire
- Tons of action, and the first look at “The Untitled”
- Not one but TWO villains, with great action scenes.

- I wish I had issue 5 now.

    This is without question the longest post I have written to date. Thank you for staying with me all the way to the end. As it happens, this weekend shall be filled with all sorts of festivities, relaxation, and time spent with family and friends. To all of you out there who see this I wish you a very Happy and Safe Holidays. Take some of the free time to catch up on some back issues, track down some holes in your collection, and enjoy your free time! Until next time, take care and happy reading!

Luca “Joriko” Baldassarra

Follow me on Twitter @Lucacosmic AND Check out my fan-page on Facebook at!

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