If you cannot trust anyone … then perhaps all may be lost.
Writer: Ben Meares
Artwork: Babisu Kourtis
Colors: Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Letters: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
Mayor Nyguen takes the first big step in her sinister plot to take control of New York City when she recites Robyn’s last ally to her cause. Meanwhile, Robyn’s sanctuary is compromised and she finds herself going toe-to-toe against the same robots who nearly killed her. But she soon realizes that the ‘bots are the least of her worries when she meets the Vigilante Hunters Squad’s newest member: a bio-mechanical monstrosity who makes her mechanical foes look like harmless toys.
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
With nerves tense from Robyn’s last visit, the hired sentries who now guard former Commissioner Gengrich are of course cautious when they hear something approaching from the alleyway, ready to retaliate at the slightest provocation. With guns drawn, they anxiously await the telltale clicking of heels upon pavement to advance, only to lower their weapons once they see the visitor as none other than newly elected Mayor Nyguen. Confidence beaming from her overpowering demeanor, these so called protectors allow this city official to proceed without any question, not even asking their employer if she was expecting an uninvited guest. But when Julia welcomes Lisette into her home, this intrusion is not unexpected, nor is the topic that is once again discussed under obvious duress – the question if Locksley is a criminal. Both sides have their positions, however neither is willing to shift their standing on the matter, with the guest knowing of her host’s special relationship with this vigilante and how she saved her life recently. And yet the mayor will not allow this heroic action to sway her opinion, and more importantly neither should Julia since she now delivers an ultimatum: renounce her friend and she may reclaim her old job.
However as this strained situation becomes too tenuous for understanding, the valiant woman in question is far from nervous with her imminent future now in the balance. After barely escaping from the relentless robotic enforcers of the Vigilante Hunter Squad, Robyn is now taking full advantage of this lull in the pursuit, allowing herself a moment to relax with Emmett as she gorges on junk food. And yet neither notices a nearly silent drone outside the window is observing them, with perhaps exhaustion dulling her usually razor sharp senses, with the operator’s approach unseen, as it becomes too late to do anything in preparation. With mechanical monstrosities and human police breaching the windows simultaneously, neither can do anything as they are ruthlessly restrained before Locksley is able to retrieve her weapon. The full weight of the law is now threatening to take way any freedom they have left, and yet the teenager is still unwilling to release his hidden power of Golem, still haunted by the last memories of his grandmother being crushed underfoot. As both prisoners are now securely shackled, these artificial detainers now proceed to the next step in the capture: to pronounce punishment and carry out the sentence. It is only upon hearing the eerie echoes of this electronic voice does the does the commander countermand this supposed mistake, only to listen in horror as his desperate demand is ignored via a cold and unfeeling response. Is his the end of Robyn Hood or will an appeal be made on their behalf before it is too late?
This series keeps slanting toward one side as Robyn has tried to survive with what seems to be all of New York City turning against her, and now writer Ben Meares begins the issue with an ominous opening, with Nyguen attempting to coerce our heroine’s remaining ally, Julia. As if we didn’t feel our flaxen archer had the odds stacked against her, to have the only friend being threatened by this hidden villain makes the narrative feel all the more hopeless, more so since we have yet to learn the true objective behind this politician’s scheming. Although she did hint at her family’s lack of true power in the prior issue, one cannot but sense there is a darker plot simmering in the background, and yet with only two issues left in the series, optimistically it will not come to fruition too late to have any lasting impact. And while we watch this demented conversation between the two women come into play, the reader still has an inkling this Mayor is planning something bigger, with the need of eliminating Robyn as a linchpin to her plans, slowly closing the noose from the beginning. However now that she has contacted Gengrich directly, it appears the next step is from the Vigilante Hunter Squad, backing Robyn into a corner and allowing the narrative to naturally come full circle. This steering of the tale makes if feel as if this was the scheme from the start, making the whole come across as hollow in an effort to allow us to cheer for our favorite vigilante once she attempts to fight back. The underdog theme is effective, but at the same time, it is also formulaic by which the reader will suspect such a foundation once the keys begin locking into place, and as such it rarely has the effect desired. Hopefully this title will be the exception to the rule.
Even within such a character driven story, one cannot but appreciate the stunning artwork of Babisu Kourtis: his amazingly detailed work bringing a depth of detail to each image and allowing the reader to become absorbed within the narrative. Panels transition smoothly with each actor playing their part to propel the narrative forward, made all the more compelling due to Juan Manuel Rodriguez’s effective usage of color to tie background to the characters, allowing the latter to blend in smoothly with muted tones and the former to be projected to the forefront with a delicate application of slightly brighter skin shades, and yet all blend together seamlessly to create a visual treat as a whole. And yet even within this overwhelming barrage of information, the slight nuances which Kourtis slips in are amazing: the amusing image of Robyn stuffing her face with chips, differentiation between two brunette beauties all made possible due to Julia’s pleading expression versus the dispassionate tension on Nyguen’s face, but it all ends as the action explodes. We all knew this confrontation was coming after the last issue of Locksley needing to retreat, resulting in the mechanical enforcers barging as our heroes are relaxing and capturing them with no effort, but at the same time this scenario seems familiar as if captured from some movie with robotic sentinels sent in to pacify rebels. However, what truly throws this issue over the top is the appearance of a reformed Peacock – which in Robyn’s words seems ridiculous. One cannot but question how Kourtis concocted such a mechanical monstrosity, almost as if the head and arms were haphazardly applied to a hulking exoskeleton for comedic effect, with Rodriguez making the image all the more bizarre with the usage of purple to accent a shiny metallic sheen. This arrival stands out within any panel he appears in, and it is not made any better when even Robyn makes fun of his new presentation by calling him Roborooster, with a beak which seems better suited to be on a hummingbird. Hopefully, this will be the last we see of this abomination, otherwise, we may only remember the series due to this appalling distraction from an otherwise excellent artistic display.
Robyn Hood: Vigilante has come to the midpoint of its story, but with the narrative steering our attention toward a more ominous conclusion for Robyn, there does not seem to be much of a chance the series will end well. And while the artwork is immersive thanks to amazingly detailed and emotive characters plus colors that propel us into the story, there is a hiccup that make up wonder if this issue was an exception to the rule. But overall this series is satisfying, and yet with but two issues left, we have to hope there will be a chance for salvation for our favorite archer to come out on top in the end.
Rating: T (Teen)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: February 12th, 2020