Unlikely Friendship Meets Objectification – A Red Hood and the Outlaws: REDemption Review
TITLE: Red Hood and the Outlaws: REDemption
AUTHOR: Scott Lobdell
PENCILLER: Kenneth Rocafort
COLLECTS: Red Hood and the Outlaws #1-7
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2012
By Scott Grayson
When it comes to female characters in superhero comics, controversy is always surrounding the skintight outfights and ample bosoms. This new Red Hood and the Outlaws book is no exception, and early reviews have focused on the hyper-sexed portrayal of Starfire. However, the series does take an interesting stab at pairing up unlikely loners in search of a common goal. Fans of the series have praised author Scott Lobdell’s take on the unlikely teaming of Jason Todd with recovering addict Roy Harper and bitter alien Princess Koriand’r. Disappointed fans have criticized the series’ superficial plot, over-sexed characters and weak heroes.
Issue 1 has some neat ideas that make for a promising start. If anything, Red Hood and the Outlaws may, at the very least, inspire creative Halloween costumes this year. Teaming Jason Todd up with Roy Harper, a.k.a. Arsenal, offers an interesting platform to launch the team dynamic with. Harper and Todd have histories of serving as second fiddle sidekicks—Todd to Batman and Harper to Green Arrow—and this provides some common ground for the characters. No matter how long Todd has been the Red Hood, he remains in Batman’s shadow, and here we get to see him interact with another character who has something to prove.
Todd tries to leave the Red Hood behind, but is soon recruited by Arsenal, as well as Starfire, an alien who’s spent most of her life as an intergalactic POW. Lobdell has been quoted as saying the series is about “the redemptive power of friendship.” Red Hood sees himself as a loner, yet he can’t shake former addict Roy and intergalactic warrior Starfire—but does he really want to? Red Hood finds himself leading the pack with these two sidekicks as they seek answers to who has killed the All Caste, the order of warriors who trained Todd. The series has the trio traveling the globe, dealing with demons of their pasts, confronting zombies and battling an ancient evil known as The Untitled.
If you’re looking for clues on the new DC continuity as it pertains to the Teen Titans, the book feels deliberately vague, perhaps in the hopes of leaving possibilities for future writers. Too many background details would mean that future TT stories would be limited based on throwaway jokes and half-developed ideas tossed out in this story. With brief references to Cyborg and Beast Boy, the book does little more than establish that the poorly received Justice League: Cry for Justice has been wiped from the new DC’s storyline.
Overall, the book isn’t one of the most impressive of the New 52 DC stories and suggests that the publisher is in need of another overhaul. After the re-launch and kicking off the New 52, DC is plagued with too many monthlies and poor focus. DC seems to be terrified of what might happen if it really started over from scratch. We see them simply piecing the old DC continuity together a piece at a time. Red Hood and the Outlaws is hardly a bad comic book, but is it necessary?
For Rob Siebert’s First Impression of Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, click here.
For more, check out Red Hood: The Lost Days, Teen Titans: Fractured, and Justice League: Rise and Fall.
Front page image from eddiedangeroncomics.blogspot.com. Image 1 from badhaven.com. Image 2 from dc.wikia.com.