If Robyn is cornered … she will always fight back.
Writer: Ben Meares
Artwork: Babisu Kourtis
Colors: Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Letters: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
Picking up where we last saw her, Robyn is in a battle for her freedom with a unit of robots designed specifically to take her down. It’s Robyn vs. the Vigilante Hunter Squad, as she hopes her smarts and skills will be enough to help her walk away from this battle. Our archer will be put to the test against this new type of robotic foe, but will she prevail?
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
Robyn has finally found the one who tried to assassinate Julia, the Peacock, however it seems she is not the only one after this criminal, as New York’s Finest interrupts the interrogation equipped with some new toys, and they were not the kind willing to wait for surrender. Although as both sides prepare for the confrontation, the commander in charge halts his men and tells them it was time to break in their robotic reinforcements, instead proposing they sit back and watch what will surely be an entertaining show. Having no other choice than to join forces with the man who she wished to cause serious bodily harm earlier, Locksley teams up with the killer to oppose the pack of mechanical monstrosities rushing forward with all due speed to inflict physical harm upon the vigilantes. But as Robyn observes the pitiful offense her colorful ally makes these artificial menaces and answers with a first strike of her own, it is only then does the caustic archer remember a similarly one sided battle with an inferior model only a few weeks ago … with but painfully improved results.
As Robyn struggles to get up with two broken ribs, she proposes a new plan to the Peacock: in her prior skirmish with this robotic assailant, the automaton could not multitask and she was able to use that opportunity to distract her opponent and follow up with a strategic attack to a vulnerable area. Having no other choice since the Russian could not come up with an idea of his own, this gaudily dressed murderer becomes the diversion as Locksley takes careful aim at what she assumes to be a blind spot … only to have her precisely fired arrow easily plucked from the air and flung back to pierce her vulnerable yet tender thigh. Now overcome by maddening pain and seeing no other choice open, the spiteful archer takes notice of a new target as another enforcer dashes over to pacify its potential prisoner, ignoring the overwhelming urge to pass out she let her own blood soaked shaft fly. The arrow has successfully hobbled her former ally the Peacock, with his anger now livid by this betrayal the robots have a prison incapable of fleeing and Robyn has a chance to escape if she could equally incapacitate the human keepers, but that shouldn’t be much of a challenge for the now heavily injured heroine.
As the action picks up with Robyn at the center of a disaster once again not of her making, we are thrust into a scene which seems more at home within Hong Kong action cinema if it also had elements of science fiction sprinkled into the mix, à la The Matrix. However this spontaneity does work for the story as writer Ben Meares continues with the concept of Terminator inspired enforcers which he introduced within Grimm Universe Presents Fall 2019, and yet as he continues with the concept of these robotic menaces, it also seems as if our heroine is wandering farther away from the realm of magic and venturing into the land of science. While this tangential premise may have been established within the prior series, the farther we step into this strange new world the more our favorite vigilante is becoming dependant upon concepts which are foreign to the core of the Zenescope universe: foundations anchored to fairy tales and sorcery. Although Robyn Hood has always been based on a gritty reality which mirrors our own with a heroine sporting a mystical eye, the stories have not been afraid of challenging Locksley against foes who primarily have magical powers and not dependant on weapons which seem to originate from the distant future. And yet Meares continues to expand upon this puzzling horizon with no hint of explanation as to how it has come to pass, instead asking us to suspend our disbelief with new standards which seem gleamed from some dystopian reality with mammoth sentinels used to enforce a new world order. Though I cannot blame him for continuing with this charade, at the same time I also welcome the need to return to what we are used to, or if not at least offer an explanation as to what is going on within the title sooner than later.
But as the frenetic actions of Robyn continue to draw readers into this unsettling world, one cannot deny the crisp delineations of Babisu Kourtis’ fantastic illustrations are what keep our attention centered upon this formidable heroine and her unparalleled determination to survive an impossible situation. It all begins enticingly with her nickname of Cyclops made manifest within that spartan opening panel, all thanks to Juan Manuel Rodriguez’s stunning usage of color that allows her mystical eye to hypnotize the audience with an otherworldly glow, the stark beauty of her face balanced by sternness of unwavering courage. And yet even within a barren atmosphere of our heroine facing down metallic menaces within a dank and almost lifeless color environment, one cannot ignore the tension reflected by static images as one can feel rage building up. Almost like an old west showdown, Kourtis forced these panels to lead the reader along with a fluid progression, with selective close ups of Locksley’s glowing eye harboring the emotional stress as the situation grows from bad to worse. Rodriguez keeps the scenery muted in the background, allowing for the foreground to entice us with explosive action lines and their accompanying splashes to keep the reader focused on Robyn’s actions and as she sees how useless they are, creating a sense of hopelessness as we see the bloodshot worry expressed within her emerald orb. And while I would have liked to see our archer succeed in this endeavor, one can also learn new lessons from failure if they are cloaked within such visual excellence such as this issue.
As we begin to adjust to the departure of what we are used to seeing within a Robyn Hood story, Robyn Hood: Vigilante continues to surprise us with the depth of its artwork and the range of what is possible for our determined heroine. While it is normal to see Locksley being chased by foes who wish to do her harm, the nature of those same enemies is foreign as we witness something which seems odd for her usual mystical world – an overabundance of technology. Although we can miss those times of facing the unexplainable, one can only hope this series will give us what we truly need – excitement only defined by the biting tongue of our favorite archer.
Rating: T (Teen)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: December 11, 2019