Red Hood and the Outlaws 12
To boldy go where no man has gone before…the end of an issue of Red Hood!
A few months ago I decided to go through all the #1 issues of the two New 52 title waves (hehe) to track down all of Pandora’s cameo appearances. It was quite an enjoyable two hours, but I digress…Anyway, through my work on that small project I read my way through Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, and put it down. “This is strange,” I thought. “Jason Todd is a badass…what’s he doing hanging out with these losers in this weird title?” So I decided that Red Hood wasn’t for me and that was that. Then I started hearing good things about the title. Whenever anyone asked for DC recommendations, almost every answer was about Red Hood. So I reasoned that perhaps the title’s direction changed, that maybe they had changed writers, or the cast, or brought Red Hood back to his roots. So I picked up issue 11 and 12…and I am sad to report that I was mistaken.
I like Jason Todd. I think his story is very interesting, despite my annoyance with comic creators insisting on bringing back dead characters. Resurrecting a character makes their prior death a farce! They died in vain and all of those who grieved for them were wasting their time! But…I digress again. Red Hood is not Jason Todd. Or at least, not the Jason Todd he should be.
The primary focus of issues 11 and 12 has been Starfire and her quest to save her homeworld of Tamaran against an invasion of Ivan Ooze/Darth-Vader-sans-helmet lovechildren named the Blight. So the “team” – the eponymous Outlaws – set off into space with the useless blow-up doll Isabel in tow. The problem with Red Hood is that it deals in the world of the Bat Family, but it sucks. Everyone knows that Batman is his lamest when he’s fighting aliens with the Justice League. Get him in Gotham and he’s the best. That rule also applies to ANY of the Bat Family. Catwoman in space? Batwing Goes to the Moon? Nightwing vs. Predator? I understand that as an alien, Starfire has problems and stories different than humans that require off-world adventures. I can get on board with that. But what I can’t get on board with is the hack writing, the backgrounding of the main character, and the bipolarity of the characterization of the “spotlight” character – Starfire.
Jason Todd has maybe 100 words over both issues, specially reserved for either an arbitrary dialogue between himself and Isabel (just in case you forgot that he was there with the team) or to act the patronizing leader in a tonality-shift buttfuck of a scene at the end of issue 12. I wish they had called the book The Outlaws so that I would have known what I was getting into; I would’ve never picked it up! I don’t understand what Lobdell is doing to Todd. He’s the notorious second Robin. He’s back from the dead. He’s pissed off. Make him act like it instead of some socially awkward nerd in Bionicle armor trying to impress an extra from Tron: Legacy. In space. He mentions that he is more “the street fighter vigilante type” at one point. Really? That’s weird because I took you more for a junior-year Psychology major who just plucked up the nerve to talk to his first girl. Twat.
Starfire has her own issues in this story as well. At one point when Roy saves the ship from some threat (something about .03 capacity and life support systems, although no one seems that worried) Starfire is happy and then IMMEDIATELY bitchy about it to him. And then we IMMEDIATELY go into a battle. Just dialogue, diagloue, dialogue…HEY, THEY’RE TELPORTING IN! Battle. As Ron Burgundy would say: that escalated quickly.
I know by this point you all are probably thinking that I’m just looking for things to gripe about and that might be true. I came into this comic with low expectations, but I wasn’t disappointed. Another example: Roy Harper. God damn, I hate that guy. The story over both issues is told from his POV and man, that exposition is unbearable. Lobdell is trying to recreate the same witty banter of Wally West or Peter Parker, but it just comes across as inane.
I don’t think Scott Lobdell should be allowed to write anymore. The only thing that this title had going for it in my humble opinion was a) the artwork of Kenneth Rocafort and b) the potentiality of having Jason Todd as the main character. Now that Rocafort has left (I had the distinct displeasure of having to look at 18 pages of Timothy Green III artwork) I have abandoned all hope for this book. Perhaps in the upcoming creative shuffle, Red Hood will get placed into more capable hands. Maybe we’ll see Red Hood back to his antiheroic vigilantism in the streets of Gotham. Maybe Arsenal will have his tongue removed painfully. But I dream…