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Interview: James Tynion Talks RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, TALON and Possible Crossovers

We catch up with the new writer of RED HOOD.

Back in January, it was announced that Scott Lobdell was leaving RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS. Taking over the series with issue 19 is James Tynion IV. James, as you know, is the current writer of TALON and has worked on several back up stories in BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS.

We took the opportunity to ask James some questions about what we can expect when he takes over as well as what might happen in future issues of TALON.

Comic Vine: Congrats on RED HOOD. I know some things can't be revealed until Death of the Family ends but what can you tell us about where you're taking the series?

James Tynion IV: I want to really explore the bonds that tie the Outlaws together. They’ve each gone through really horrible things in their lives… Kori’s enslavement, Roy’s alcoholism, and Jason’s death and resurrection. But together, they are strong. They lift each other up and help each other move past those darker moments, and focus on a brighter future. Of course, the best way to explore those rich depths will be to throw an epically huge wrench into their dynamics, and how they’ve relied on each other over the last few years. That wrench will be connected to the aftermath of the Death of the Family storyline, and it will launch us into a huge story over the summer that will really push their friendship to the limits.

But I think that’s the key. This is a book about how you can overcome your deepest, darkest fears and desires when you have great friendships at your back. In the series, I want to both dig into the past, and pave a real path towards these characters’ futures in the DCU. What makes them Outlaws? And more than that… What makes them outcasts from the rest of the superhero community? There’s an incredible potential in each of these characters. Jason’s potential in particular was something that caught the eye of Batman, and later, the All-Caste... Roy’s potential was seen by Green Arrow, before he fell into the depths of his alcoholism… And Kori has the potential to be the powerful warrior leader of an entire alien race, and is powerful enough to fight side-by-side with the Justice League if she wanted to. They’ve all stepped away from that potential in the face of great darkness in their lives, but they’re still out there fighting. They’re still determined to stand by each other’s side.

I want to explore why they fight, and more importantly, why they fight together. And I think we have an incredible story that will explore just that.

== TEASER ==

CV: There's been talk of fleshing out Roy Harper's character and looking into his past. Will that include any time with Green Arrow?

JT: I think it’s a very safe bet that a thorough glimpse into Roy’s past would require us looking at his relationship with Green Arrow, and, in particular, the moment in which that relationship dissolved. We’ve only seen the ramifications of their fallout, and not the details. I think that’s a story that’s dying to be told, and like I’ve said in a few other places, I’m very eager to turn the focus onto Roy like we haven’t seen before. He’s the heart of the book, in many ways. I can’t say much more just yet, but stay tuned. We’re going to be learning lots about what led to Roy Harper becoming the man he is today.

CV: Any plans for adding to the ranks of the Outlaws?

JT: Not in the short-term, no. The first few stories I’m interested in telling are very much about the existing three outlaws, and what has brought them together. We’ll see some characters from their pasts come into the books, as unexpected allies, and as enemies… But at least for the next while this is very much the story of Jason Todd, Roy Harper, and Koriand’r.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #19

CV: We've seen different versions of Jason Todd since he returned from the 'dead.' How do you see him?

JT: Jason has been through a lot of terrible things. He had an incredibly rough childhood, his tenure as Robin was defined by the fact that he was impulsive and tended to follow his emotions rather than his orders, then he died terribly and was resurrected in a way he still doesn’t quite understand. But every step of the way, he wanted to do what’s right. Even coming to Gotham City and becoming a murderous vigilante was a plan to clean up crime in a way that he felt was more concrete and final than what Batman had to offer. His moral compass is pointed in the right direction, but the darker moments that defined his past have led him to a darker path of heroism.

In reading those stories, you can see that he’s evolving, re-evaluating his morality every step of the way to make sure he’s on the right path. And I don’t think he is sure. He knows that he has a deep rage and sadness in him that pushes him in the wrong direction. I think he’s doing his best to master that and try and become a better Jason Todd. Whether his interpretation of what’s better matches what Batman would think is another thing entirely. But Jason is a constantly evolving character, and I think that’s what makes it so exciting to write him, and bring him to the next step on his journey forward.

CV: Has he come to terms with his fallout with Batman? We know he's worked with him during Night of the Owls and in BATMAN INCORPORATED. Has Jason 'forgiven' Bruce?

JT: Forgiven is a strong word. I’d say that their relationship is becoming less defined by the singular moment of Jason’s death. This isn’t the brash, angry Jason Todd who emerged from the grave determined to get revenge on The Joker, and on Batman for not avenging his death. Jason’s relationship with Bruce now is a lot more complicated than that, now.

Obviously, Batman is a huge figure in his life. He’s the man who saved his life, and saw the potential in him to be something more than a petty criminal on the streets. That’s been tarnished, and there’s been a real loss of trust… But when Batman calls you to action, you come. They might not ever be able to overcome their troubled past, but I think deep down Jason still looks up to Bruce (it’s why it still hurts Jason that Bruce failed to save his life), and Bruce still believes in Jason (which is why it still hurts Bruce that Jason's rejected his path). Neither of them are the sort to talk it out, but that’s how I see their relationship.

CV: In RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #0, when Jason's dad was arrested, it appeared his mom was pregnant. Any plans to touch on that?

JT: With Jason’s childhood so much in the center of Scott L’s Death of the Family story across Red Hood and Titans, I didn’t want to dive back into that well so soon. We will be seeing some unknown corners of Jason’s past, but from a little bit further down the road.

CV: Will RED HOOD/OUTLAWS 19 be your first without co-writing with that Scott Snyder guy?

JT: I’ve been writing TALON solo from the very beginning, with Scott in more of a mentorship position, helping me shape the plot and stay true to the mythology he built in the original Court of Owls storyline. I also did the backup stories in both DETECTIVE COMICS and BATMAN #0 on my own…

But yes, this will be the first DC Comic with me named as the sole writer, cover to cover, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Scott and I have a lot in common in what we feel is important in a given story, but I think ultimately, our writerly voices are very different. I’m excited for RHATO to really give me the chance to show something that’s much more in my wheelhouse than I think anyone reading Talon or the Backups expects. This kind of book, with a larger cast, and bombastic superheroics involving young DC heroes, is literally the book I’ve been waiting to write my entire life. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity.

TALON #7

CV: As for TALON, will Calvin Rose be dealing with threats other than the Court of Owls?

JT:Yes. Absolutely yes. A very big threat will be revealing itself in just a few months. It’s going to really amp up the scale of the series to the next level. I wish I could say more about it, because we have incredible plans that will take us to a corner of the DCU we haven’t seen in New 52 continuity, and build it from the ground up. I am fiendishly excited about where the series is headed, and I hope everyone comes along for the ride.

CV: Of course we have to ask, what about a crossover between RED HOOD and TALON?

JT: There’s nothing on the docket just yet. There are huge stories coming up in both TALON and RED HOOD, and we’re focused on making those stories the absolute best they can be. I would absolutely love for Calvin Rose to come face to face with Jason Todd… I think there’s a great contrast there about how the two of them have dealt with their horrifying pasts and tried to work towards the future. There is another member of the Bat-Family who we might be seeing a bit sooner in the pages of Talon. Was that a Flying Graysons poster back in Issue #0? Not to mention… How does that Batman fella feel about a Talon running around Gotham City without his sanction? I think we might be seeing some of that coming up pretty soon.

CV: Speaking of crossovers, any thoughts on confrontation between Jason and Dick? Seems Kyle Higgins might be itching for them to face off against each other.

JT: He’s not the only one.

TALON #4 is now on sale. James' first issue of RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS is on sale April 17.

40 Comments
Posted by SupBatz

Hopefully this will be a good jumping point for RHATO. I read the first 6 or so, wasn't thrilled. And since then haven't touched the series. I definitely want to give Tynion's story a shot - so long as I'm not completely lost and without hope of knowing what's going on.

Posted by Nightflash

Get rid of Red Arrow and Starfire and make a series for Calvin and Roy

Posted by longbowhunter

I haven't read a single issue of RHATO. James is doing good work on Talon. I'm sure he'll do this title a service.

Posted by Dark_Guyver

I jumped on at issue 0 and have enjoyed the series. I haven't read any Talon but from what I hear people are enjoying it. Looking forward to what Tynion will bring to the table.

Posted by comic_shaun

Right, I'll say that RHATO did go off in a tangent. However this book has been really solid, Starfire turned from what could have been a "page 3 girl" to a defined character. Lobdell has worked wonders with the character, showing a brutal life that was not her own choice, then progessing into an armoured, ass kicking space captain with a well rounded friends circle.

Roy too has shown growth, in a leadership position with the "Tweet titans"(yes, I did mean "Tweet") he seems to be shaping up nicely. Jason, oooh..... he needs no development, as far as I see he needs to nurture the team now, and bow down a little. Hopefully James will finish the all caste story and focus on arsenal/starfire, maybe an agressive expansion of the team. This title has great potential and has survived this long, read it people, be a bit open minded and don't think of Roy Harper's blow, this is new 52, where its going , you don't need blow.

Fanboys commence your agressive/supportive commenting.

Posted by Batnandez

I'm going to give his run a try.

Posted by adamcrouch

Talon is pretty good, I ended up having to drop it... but i wish i hadnt.

Posted by MatKrenz

Well this sounds one hundred times more interesting and consistent to Lobdells run.

Posted by Outside_85

Question, didn't Roy retain that he was addicted to drugs rather than alcohol?

Edited by comic_shaun

Not that I recall, but alcohol's been the addiction so far, Killer croc forced him into AA. Keeps referecing it from issue to issue.

Posted by sentryman555

I love the artwork for the Red Hood cover. I hope they permanently take off the mouth on Red Hood's mask. I always found it weird.

Online
Posted by markslurpee

This make's me want to read Red Hood now. I've loved Tynion's writing for Talon.

Speaking of which, I can't be the online positively pissing my pants over a Nightwing/Batman crossover in the Talon storyline!

Posted by sweetesttoaster

Picked up the first few issues of RHATO and wasn't really interested. Something about Lobdell writing it threw me off. Now, I can't wait to jump on this book with Tynion writing it. I just wish that Rocafort stayed on though.

Posted by WonderHunter

Can't wait! :)

Posted by feargalr

He seems like he knows what he's doing so I figure I'll keep reading RH, although I wish Rocafort was still on this book :(

I really need to catch up on Talon, so far behind now, and I was enjoying it too!

Posted by KnightRise

I think Roy being a former alcoholic now is pretty lame. Thats way too tame compared to heroin. Drug addiction is much more compelling of a story than alcohol, which despite all its danger, is damn near comical. If they wanted relevancy, they should have gone with perscription pills, Molly, LSD, and other party drugs. Seriously, a 20ish year old alcoholic is stupid; and I'm always open to New 52 changes.

Posted by Mr_Athrilla

@KnightRise:

Funny My addictions councilor said the exact same thing to me.

Posted by Outside_85

@comic_shaun: Hmm...eh, so at the bottom of its become Roy drinking because he's miserable over the break with Ollie (he was kicked out of Q-Core?) rather than doing heroin for kicks(?)

Posted by UrbanChill

fans who never gave the series a chance and are jumping on ship now due to lobdells departure seems to rub me the wrong way

Posted by kid Apollo

@KnightRise: jus a heads up, Molly isnt addictive

but i totally agree they should have gone with a drug addiction instead of an alcoholic one. i work in a liquor store in the downtown area and most of the 20 somethings that could be considered alcoholics can play it off pretty well, usually it takes years for anyone to notice something is really going on

Posted by KnightRise

@Mr_Athrilla said:

@KnightRise:

Funny My addictions councilor said the exact same thing to me.

What do you mean?

Posted by Reignmaker

This writer has a good authentic voice when he writes Gotham. Big step up from Lobdell. Sorry, Superman fans.

Posted by dondave

@UrbanChill said:

fans who never gave the series a chance and are jumping on ship now due to lobdells departure seems to rub me the wrong way

QFT

Posted by Zeeguy91

@sentryman555 said:

I love the artwork for the Red Hood cover. I hope they permanently take off the mouth on Red Hood's mask. I always found it weird.

This right here. I don't know why anybody would put a mouth on him. I mean, isn't his mask supposed to be like a hard plastic helmet that covers his whole face?

Posted by Teerack

It be cool if Talon turned out to be Jason's little bro :P

Posted by Zeeguy91

@Teerack said:

It be cool if Talon turned out to be Jason's little bro :P

Pretty sure Calvin is actually older than Jason. Idk, though. Has there been much reference to Talon's age?

Speaking of crossovers, any thoughts on confrontation between Jason and Dick? Seems Kyle Higgins might be itching for them to face off against each other.

I would literally die of excitement if this came to pass. I would LOVE to see a crossover between Nightwing and Red Hood and the Outlaws, if only to see Dick and Starfire in the same room together again. I wanna know more about that "Titans" team that Dick, Kory, and Roy were all a part of.

Posted by Teerack

@Zeeguy91: They could blame it on the owls.

Posted by tjs4759

I'm looking forward to James taking over the series. I haven't been real impressed with Scott Lobdell's work on RHATO. Sure he has had some good issues, but he has also had some really terrible ones as well. James seems to have a grasp on the little nuances that make up and drive each character. His work on Talon has been great so far, so I'm definitely looking forward to his run.

On a side note - I really wish they would stop acting like Grant Morrison's Batman Inc is canon. His depiction of Jason was awful. His whole double agent as "WingMan" thing is completely out of character. Not to mention they gave him a fricken Jay Leno chin.

Posted by agonzo1

@markslurpee: I am, Talon vs Batman would be awesome, even if it's just a one issue in an annual or something that simple.

Posted by Perfect 10

red hood looks good!! love starfire's new look. hope it lives up to expectations

Posted by sentryman555

@Zeeguy91 said:

@sentryman555 said:

I love the artwork for the Red Hood cover. I hope they permanently take off the mouth on Red Hood's mask. I always found it weird.

This right here. I don't know why anybody would put a mouth on him. I mean, isn't his mask supposed to be like a hard plastic helmet that covers his whole face?

right? What's even more ridiculous is it would change to show his face being shocked and stuff. It was like the mask was actually molded to his face.

Online
Posted by Mucklefluga

James is doing great for DC already. RHATO should be awesome too.

Posted by save.me.now

@KnightRise: wtf!? I was pretty sure he still used heroin or at least coke. Didn't Waylon put him on methadone in his flashbacks?

Posted by KnightRise

@save.me.now said:

@KnightRise: wtf!? I was pretty sure he still used heroin or at least coke. Didn't Waylon put him on methadone in his flashbacks?

He gave Roy a medical box, but I'm going to pretend it really was methadone.

Like @kid Apollo said drug abuse would have made a stronger story for a young adult. (Btw I meant like a cocktail of designer/rager drugs. Molly, X, percs, xannie, coke, serotonin, LSD, etc. He's 20ish and formerly rich. Beer and liqour are weak if they're going to update Snowbirds.

Posted by mattwing87

Id like to see Talon join the team. I think he would fit the team pretty well. I'd also like to see Raven join but it seems she will be in Teen Titans though.

Posted by akbogert

@comic_shaun said:

Right, I'll say that RHATO did go off in a tangent. However this book has been really solid, Starfire turned from what could have been a "page 3 girl" to a defined character. Lobdell has worked wonders with the character, showing a brutal life that was not her own choice, then progessing into an armoured, ass kicking space captain with a well rounded friends circle.

Roy too has shown growth, in a leadership position with the "Tweet titans"(yes, I did mean "Tweet") he seems to be shaping up nicely. Jason, oooh..... he needs no development, as far as I see he needs to nurture the team now, and bow down a little. Hopefully James will finish the all caste story and focus on arsenal/starfire, maybe an agressive expansion of the team. This title has great potential and has survived this long, read it people, be a bit open minded and don't think of Roy Harper's blow, this is new 52, where its going , you don't need blow.

Fanboys commence your agressive/supportive commenting.

Agreed, particularly on the bolded points, and especially on how Starfire is awesome and anyone who dropped (or avoided) this book and missed out on her arc definitely missed some very good growth for her and the team in general. I have been loving how different this book is from all the other "bat" books; it's generally had a pretty fun tone, though it has gone to some dark places as well. Tynion seems to have a very good grasp of what has made the fans of this book fans of it, and I hope that the people who are jumping onboard now will go back and give Lobdell's run a chance, because he really has done well here, even if other books and teams seem to have fared poorly under his hand. Tynion may usher this book into greatness, but he has been handed a very good team to work from, and I think dismissing what Lobdell has done here is quite unfair.

I will say, I kind of miss seeing Starfire's captain armor outfit...it was classier by far. Also she just looks angry and unloveable here. Not a fan of the cover.

Posted by Splinx

I'm taken back to a time just after the New 52 was first announced and the list of titles were coming in. I was quite pleased to find out that Jason Todd, even as a member of a team, was getting his own book. Jason is so unique and has this great potential as a character but has been consistently inconsistent from writer to writer. I was hoping with the revamp(which I still have mixed feelings about) that I could get a good Jason Todd, a Red Hood that I could be proud of . . . but I didn't. I didn't care for(to put it lightly) Lobdell's take on the character(or for any other character he's touched for that matter) and while I understand that this title has a fan base I would really like it to take a different tone/direction. I see this as a new beginning with Tynion, I'm choosing to be optimistic. I've been reading Talon and most of the backups Tynion's done and he has talent, I just hope I'm not let down again.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Really intrigued by how Tynion's gonna give his spin to the title. Should be interesting, to say the least!

Posted by Cavemold

Loving Talon cant wait for the next issue.

Posted by DocFishstick

love the work he is doing on Talon and when i hear he will take scott's place on Red hood i was happy. can't wait to see what he will do with Red Hood.