Red Hood and the Outlaws: Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort, Blond, Carlos M. Mangual
Still Raging After All These Years: Scott Lobdell, Ario Anindito, Blond, Carlos M. Mangual
Last issue was disappointing…but here. This is where it’s at. So I said about last ish that the series used to have a spark of life that made it fun. A really kind of “anything goes,” “devil-may-care” attitude about the characters that made them a great dynamic. But then it got all serious with Jason’s past and the Al-Caste. So I thought the success of this book was solely in its warmth and humor.
Not so. This issue is dark. It’s full of brooding. It’s about friendship. Starfire’s with Roy and Jason. Also her friendship with Orn, Depalo, and K’Tten. Even her relationship with her sister, Komand’r. So it appears that success can be found within those qualities, those themes.
This issue starts with a captured Roy being tortured and interrogated for the whereabouts of Starfire. He distracts them with the story of this issue…what happened where we last left off. After the space battle, Starfire spoke with Roy and Jason about how she didn’t feel like fighting for her homeworld, because of how they betrayed her and gave her away to the enemy to broker peace. Frankly? She’s right. Jason says it. I think that’s honestly what I would do too.
And then Roy comes along and makes me feel like a jerk. He argues, with some really moving words, how Starfire should act from a place of pureness, with who she could have become, not because of what her people made her into.
Meanwhile, Isabel, Jason’s date from Earth that got sucked up to space with the rest of them, is getting acclimated to space-flight and befriending the crew. They all amusingly </sarcasm> stumble over each other’s names and it’s good fun. Not much else happens. We get a few glimpses from the past, of Kori’s life as a slave…but this is nothing new to those who’ve read the previous issues.
Rocafort’s art makes a huge comeback in this issue, whereas before I thought a lot of page space was wasted. Here, everything is rich, there’s lots of design elements, and it’s a very full book. I have to had it to him for the design of Starfire’s iconic sister, too. We finally get to see her, in all her villainous glory. Can’t wait to see that confrontation, just like Roy.
Speaking of Roy, I mentioned last ish how I was disappointed at his apparent uselessness. But here he’s the central point of the issue. So, nice. That makes me happy. He really does a good job carrying the weight this time. I kind of wish the whole series were based from his perspective. Or maybe if it alternated between the three, like Legion Lost did on Nicieza’s run.
The second issue…I don’t even know what’s going on with this stupidness. It’s like I finish up a great issue and then I’m subjected to this awkward follow-up that has absolutely nothing to do with what I’ve just read, and none of it makes sense even as a standalone deal. The art’s good, so that much is great. I like the lettering by Mangual, too. But the story is weak, the motivations are weak, and the clarity is non-existent. I don’t understand Essence. I get that she’s Ducra’s daughter and one of the Untitled. That’s it, though. What can she do? Why is her touch toxic? How can she melt this dude by holding onto him? Why didn’t that happen when he grabbed her neck? I don’t get it.
Drop this other crap. Use those pages for Red Hood.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #11, the verdict: While the main issue was MILES better than the last two, the backup story’s just not cutting it. I have no idea why they’re still pursuing this venture. Do they think we care? Anyway, I’m really excited about the main story, and seeing just how Starfire left Roy behind. That much could possibly make tactical sense, and without context I’m one to throw Starfire the benefit of the doubt. Obviously Roy’s either faking being upset, or he’s exaggerating how he actually feels. Either way, it does prompt Starfire’s sister out of hiding and we get that really great final page. Awesome.
(Photo Source: Batman Wikia)