Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 10, originally released June 20th, 2012.
Patrick: Red Hood and the Outlaws is a kitchen sink sort of series. There are aliens, there are mist-women, there are secret races of warrior people – and at the heart of it is a trio of heroes that don’t really make sense in each other’s worlds. Whenever the series teeters on the edge of a metaphysical discovery of the ancient mystical world, a spaceship flies in, or some classic Batman villain makes an appearance. So much of the series’ appeal comes from the way our core group of heroes interacts and adapts to these insanely diverse (diversely insane?) scenarios.
This seems like an extra-bizarre issue of RHatO because it sets up an adventure the likes of which we have yet to see in this series: OUTERSPACE WARFARE. But not all the much actually happens here. Jason returns to the hotel the team is staying in after a good long date with that stewardess from a few issues back. Naturally, Jason has kept his mouth shut about who he is, because… well, he’s got a crazy history EVEN BY COMIC BOOK STANDARDS. But the gloves are off (and the mask is on) when he’s attacked by a space-orc named Orn. That turns out mostly to be a misunderstanding – Orn is just there to call Starfire back to her ship. Everyone present, including Jason’s not-quite-girlfriend is beamed aboard the ship. Evidently, the Tamarans are engaged in a conflict with a force called The Blight, and they need Kori to take control of her old ship, “The Starfire” (hey, neat, that’s where her superhero name comes from).
The issue ends just as it seems like Kori is about to rain down justice on the Blight’s fleet. Jason and Roy are swept up in the excitement of how fucking cool it is that they’re about to be in some kind of Star-Trek-style space-battle. But they’re also surprised as hell that this is going on.
Kori welcomes Orn and takes command of Starfire like it’s second nature to her. Because it is. I feel a lot like Jason and Roy (or, more pointedly, Isabel – seen here passed out). I’m intrigued by everything that’s happening here, but like… what exactly is going on here? Wasn’t Kori expelled from her society or something? These guys seem to be ready to let exiled alien princess lead them into certain doom. But doesn’t that seem… kinda rash? The previous 9 issues (particularly issues 1-8) has taught me to be patient – the expository information will come about as the story arc unfolds. Yeah, I’m a little lost/overwhelmed right now, but I trust Scott Lobdell to deliver me to the other side of this space-conflict with enough information to really groove on it.
I’m not super crazy about taking the focus off of Jason. The psychology behind Red Hood is such a compelling component of this series, it makes me nervous to move that out of the spotlight. However, the Retcon Punchers have been bemoaning the lack of Kori-development, so maybe I should just shut my mouth let the focus slide around the cast for a little bit. I’m already digging the variety of alien soldiers she commands. Orn is this huge imposing character who seems like he’s probably a teddy bear at heart. There’s also this like second in command dude – he’s like a piranha-man monster:
There’s also the on-going issue called “Kenneth Rocafort draws Starfire disrespectfully.” So much leering. So many giant tits and and mostly-revealed asses. It’s totally gotten better as the series has progressed, but I know there’s a common conception that this series is shitty with its women. And while Kori does spend a portion of this issue covered in a bed sheet, she also dons a full suit of body armor that leaves no non-head skin exposed. There are still contours you might not expect in battle-armor, but even Sharkman (above) has visible abs in his suit. There’s also the first page of this issue, which shows Roy and Kori naked in bed together. A less enlightened artist would have switched their sleeping positions.
There’s also a back-up story about Essence and The Untitled… I’ll be honest, this story confused me in a substantive way. Essence is Untitled? I thought she was a member of All? Didn’t she train with Jason (or just before Jason)? The writing also seemed to take a dive, with characters stating ridiculous exposition like “When he broke us out of prison this morning it seemed like he had it all together.” No one talks like that. Also, if you’re going to use blatant exposition like that, I shouldn’t have so many questions about an 8-page story. I’m gonna leave the summary and analysis of that story to you, Peter.
Peter: Despite the fact that the focus is taken off Jason in this issue, I actually like it. Kori’s story has been all weird since the beginning of this book, having suddenly lost her memories. I hope that this will give us the insight as to why or how this happened. I never really read a lot of the old Titans books, but what I did see of Kori is pretty much the opposite of the way she is now. So I’d really like how and why she ended up this way.
I think at this point people are going to have to get over the fact that everyone, everywhere will alway draw Kori in skimpy suggestive clothing. Her costume was always pretty much the closest thing to porn in mainstream comics. We’ve also learned that, despite bemoaning, costume changes can suck. (See the new Power Girl costume).
I really liked this story overall. Jason’s short interaction with Isabel is pretty interesting. Other than letting everyone know that Jason is an incredibly smooth operator, it tells us more about him and how he likes to pick up women. Kori is interesting as well, since we learn a little about her past, and he abilities as a starship commander. Also, I am curious as to why she didn’t recognize Orn. She said it’s been a few years. I can still remember people I met years ago. Does this have something to do with her mysterious memory loss? That would make sense… I guess. Roy is kind of a throw away. He shows up naked, makes that crack in the last panel, and that’s about it.
I can bet we will see some interesting for Kori next time with in reintroduction of her sister, Blackfire. Despite this being in Tamaranian space, I hope that Roy and Jason can still contribute to the story. Also, I enjoy that Roy is the little spoon.
The back up story about Essence is – as you said Patrick – confusing. I am not really sure what to make of it at this point. Like the Two-Face back up from Detective Comics, it’s seems to be moving suuuuuuper slow. Lets pray to ends up being better.
I will say, that I don’t think that this says that Essence is an Untitled. The guy with the Lifehammer is an Untitled, and Essence calls herself a “Daughter of the Untitled”. Perhaps they are connected, but I don’t think that Essence is one of the Untitled. As in the early stories, some connection may explain how she can sense them and such, maybe she’s half-Untitled or something?
I do really like this shot, it makes Essence a super mist-ninja. I also like that it clear that she feeds on the evil of others, kind of like a pale, mist-ninja version of the Ghost Rider.
Also, when one of the goons mentions the Daemonites, that’s a connection to the Wildstorm universe, and the Wild C.A.T.S. I don’t know much about that, but maybe this will help us out a little? I feel like the majority of the people reading the New 52 obviously know of the main DCverse, and the Vertigoverse, but many, myself included, may not know a whole lot, if anything about Wildstorm.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?