REVIEW: Robyn Hood #1

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With the popularity of archery in pop culture, it’s not altogether surprising that Zenescope Entertainment would give the original Emerald Archer a mini-series, nor is it surprising that they gave that archer a gender-bending twist. Major Spoilers takes a look at Robyn Hood #1!

ROBYN HOOD #1
Story: Joe Brusha, Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco, Pat Shand
Writer: Pat Shand
Penciller: Dan Glasl
Colorists: Tom Mullin and Jason Embury
Letters: Jim Campbell
Editor: Hannah Gorfinkel
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Robyn Hood: Nothing. This is the first issue of the miniseries. In the overarching Zenescope universe there are four non-Earth realms; Myst, Neverland, Wonderland and Oz, and this book takes place in both Myst and Earth. As long as you know that (and it tells you that on the first page), you should be good!

SHARP DIALOGUE

The issue had particularly well-written dialogue and narration. I had no idea what to expect, story-wise, going in, so I came in with no expectations. It turns out our Robyn Hood is sent to the mundane world by a martial artist monk-warlock type guy working for the big bads even though he was supposed to kill her. This gives rise to a high school montage that immediately caused me to liken it to the Amethyst story in Sword of Sorcery #0, and while on the surface there are quite a few similarities–a girl from a mystical universe lives her life as a loner in the real world only to eventually find out her magical heritage–the way Robyn’s high school experience is written goes a much darker direction than Amethyst’s. I particularly liked the line that “This high school is the kind of place that normally only exists in movies. You know the kind… The school with the kind of class system that would inspire the French to start polishing their guillotines.”

AN UNFORTUNATE TURN

As mentioned, this story takes a dark turn; while Sword of Sorcery #0 drew criticism for its portrayal of an attempted rape, this issue heavily implies a rape of the main character after she steals the car of a local kingpin’s son and the son and his cronies catch up with her. It was rather shocking and it wasn’t explicitly mentioned on panel, but the son rips open her shirt and she’s laying in front of them with her legs splayed wide, and on the next page two of the boys appear to have just pulled their pants back up. It was a disturbing scene, and I felt that what seemed to be the goal of it (vilifying the boys, enforcing the idea that Robyn isn’t a perfect thief and there are consequences to her actions) could have easily been handled without rape.

POLISHED ART

The art by Dan Glasl in this issue was great. Facial expressions were genuine, and in the fight scenes bodies seemed to react to impact in appropriate ways. The woman who defends baby Robyn from Shang had a lot of cheese-cake going on, but as I’ve found to be about usual for Zenescope books most of the unnecessary cheesecake is on the cover and the art in the actual story is tightly focused on telling the story rather than titillation.

BOTTOM LINE: I’M AT LEAST IN FOR ISSUE TWO

The more I think about how this issue dealt with the implied rape of the main character, the more I am bothered by it, and I wish it just hadn’t happened, because I liked everything else about this story. The writing was witty and clever, the art was polished and nuanced, but I can’t help but feel that a publisher that often comes under fire for the perceived injustices to women on the cover of their comics ought to be a bit more sensitive to how they actually treat the women in their stories. From the Major Spoilers interviews that have been done with Zenescope editorial staff they really seem like genuinely nice comics creators, but the use of rape as shorthand in a comic story always bugs me. Without that, this probably would have been a four to a four and a half star issue, but with it all I can give Robyn Hood #1 is three out of five stars. I liked it enough to give issue #2 a try, but it’s going to be on thin ice in terms of how it treats the women in the comic.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!
Reader Rating

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