Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Written by Scott Lobdell, Art & Cover by Kenneth Rocafort

Solicitation Info (from Previews): No sooner has Batman’s former sidekick, Jason Todd, put his past as the Red Hood behind him than he finds himself cornered by a pair of modern day outlaws: Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal, the damaged soldier of fortune, and the alien Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war who won’t be chained again. As a loner, Jason has absolutely no interest in this motley crew of outlaws. So what’s he going to do when they choose the Red Hood as their leader? Find out in this hot new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men), featuring art by rising star Kenneth Rocafort (ACTION COMICS)!

Bias: I don’t like Jason Todd. I couldn’t care less about Arsenal. And Starfire has always been more style (ie. eye candy) than substance (ie. interesting character). Yet for some reason, this one really has me interested. I think a big part of it is Kenneth Rocafort’s art, but it probably also has something to do with the “rebel without a cause” kinda vibe I get from the interviews and previews. I certainly hope it lives up to the hype!

What I liked: It was a fun book – the back and forth between Red Hood and Arsenal was especially enjoyable.

What I disliked: None of the characters felt properly portrayed. Honestly, that made me happy where Roy was concerned, and amused where Jason was concerned, but annoyed where Koriand’r was concerned. The changes to her character were just…weird.  There were also a number of odd contradictions throughout the book. For the most part, it was fun and fast paced, and you didn’t think too much about them, but they were there.

Verdict: This one’s an odd duck. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t have any desire to go any further, either. I’m dropping this title.

As always, SPOILERS in comments, including my favorite scene, thoughts on what happened, and questions about what’s to come.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

  1. My favorite scene was actually one line. When discussing why Red Hood rescued Arsenal, he replies “The only reason I’m here is ‘cause if anything happens to you—that would make me the worst former sidekick ever.” The rest of the back and forth between the two was absolutely terrific, and I could easily have included the whole scene as my favorite, but nothing compared with that one line…

    As for the changes to each of the characters: Roy was taken to some pretty dark places, and it felt pretty good to pull back from that (he’s got both his arms, and looks younger, so that gives a good indication that he’s been regressed to before all that crap happened – he was still a drug addict and has lots of problems, but at least it isn’t what’d been done to him lately.) He did used to be a bit of a ladies man, and that seems to be absent this issue (the girl got him, not the other way around), but all in all, I was pretty happy with Roy’s portrayal.

    Jason seemed odd. I know the writer mentioned removing his obsession with Batman, but since that was so integral to his character, he seems odd without it. His view on Gotham was both amusing and refreshing, if strange to hear from him: “Pffft. Gotham sucks. The psychopaths that live there deserve each other. Even the bad guys.” There was an addition to the character’s history, as he now has some kind of connection to what appears to be a secret society involved in magic called the All Caste. Given that the last page didn’t say “to be continued,” but rather “to be explained,” I’m pretty sure this is new, and will be what’s explained next issue.

    Koriand’r was the strangest change: she now has no long term memory where Earth is concerned. She doesn’t remember being in the Teen Titans, or even who Dick Grayson is. I didn’t mind her open sexuality, or her forwardness and honest – both of these have been a part of her character for a long time. But her lack of memory is both disconcerting and something I didn’t particularly care for. Most of all, it made the rest of the changes to the other characters more jarring – made them stand out, too. Also, more in periphery of Starfire, but when her picture is uploaded to the internet, we get an African American looking at it, saying “A Tamaranean. On Earth. At last.” They’d already told us that she’d been on Earth as a member of the Teen Titans. How does this guy know of her species, but not know she’d been here the whole time? Maybe that’ll be something else explained next issue…

    Whatever the case, I found the book enjoyable, but didn’t feel the need – or desire – to read it further. So while I’m dropping the title, I feel more like it’s a parting on good terms, rather than actually being upset about the title.

    As for the mysterious, hooded woman from Flashpoint #5 (and every other DCnU book to come out so far), she appears next to a large truck in the first panel of page 22.

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