The Psychotic Perspective: Red Hood and the Outlaws
We Are Family - Come on Everybody and Die!
I've been sitting on the sidelines of the DCNU for the most part spending my time reading mostly back issues of DC comics, but I was glad to hear that the Red Hood was finally getting his own series. Jason definitely has the potential to be a fascinating character, but his pre-DCNU appearances have been all over the map at times portraying him as simply a hero willing to use lethal force, and at times making him out to be a sociopath wacko eager to kill heroes and villains alike if they have the misfortune of crossing his path. Giving Jason his own book gives him the chance to be under the direction of one writer, and hopefully Jason will finally gain a coherent character. My excitement grew when I learned that Red Hood would be partnering with two other former heroes who have decided lethal force is the way to go. With all this in mind, I picked up my first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws hoping for the best.
I've start in the middle of a story arc, and little was done to explain how are protagonists made it to this point. Apparently, the Outlaws are in space. There is a war raging between Starfire's people, the Tamarans, and some other alien race. Starfire, as princess of the Tamarans, leads the resistance while her sister, Komand'r, is working with the enemy. At the same time, Arsenal plays the part of a fool while hatching a master plan, and Red Hood flirts with space women.
The Happy Killers
The tone of the book surprised me. Since this is a book about vigilantes who are willing to kill, I expected a serious and dark tone, but contrary to my expectations, everything is actually pretty upbeat and positive despite the fact that all the heroes currently believe they are about to be exterminated. Though this is odd, it did not bother me. Perhaps levity is required to make up for protagonists who kill quite freely. In many ways, the book seemed to transmit a feeling of companionship. The Outlaws are not teammates or family or even necessarily friends, but they are brothers in arms united for a common purpose. Live, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we go out in a blaze of glory. In the end, it all works quite well.
Are These the Same Characters We Know and Love?
Though Jason was a bit schizophrenic pre-Flashpoint, Roy and Kory both had well established personalities in the old DC universe. When watching the reboot of the characters interact, I do not feel like I am watching the same characters from the old universe, but they do seem like very similar characters. Basically, it is the old personalities reimagined for the new age, and though I am sure that these reimaginings upset many longtime fans of Starfire and Arsenal, I have to admit that I actually found the altered personalities to be sound choices. Starfire is a less peppy and idealistic than she was in the old universe, but she still has those elements of her personality. Arsenal, on the other hand, has gone from being a mostly serous character with a willingness to joke to being a character who plays the part of a goofball to hide the depths of his intelligence. I would not say that these interpretations are better than the pre-Flashpoint versions, but I do think they work well for the team. Jason Todd, for his part, is much more subdued than his pre-Flashpoint doppelganger and seems to finally have something on his mind other than vengeance.
The Nature of Komand'r
All God's Children Got Problems
I did not think this was a perfect issue. Though it was quite fun, I did feel that some panels were filler and added nothing to the story. Also, though Green II's artwork is pretty good in general, I felt his designs for all the space costumes looked really bad.
I really hate what Lodbell has done with the Teen Titans, so though I hoped for much when reading this issue, I expected little. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lodbell has done a very good job with this series. I look forward to seeing what comes next for the Outlaws.