Most of the time hero versus hero encounters are due to a misunderstanding (I use the term "hero" loosely for Jason Todd and his team) and that's exactly the case with Superman in this issue. The kryptonian just wants to have a chat with Starfire, but things are never really that simple in comics, are they? A fight breaks out and it's more than transparent that Superman should have little to no trouble defeating this team. Thankfully, the battle is written in a fairly entertaining manner and wraps up once someone with an ounce of common sense puts them in their places. It's clear the Man of Steel could have made short work of them if he wanted to and I was pleased to see he wasn't toned down to make it more even.
Speaking of that battle, artist Pascal Alixe and Blond's colors create an incredible panel of Superman standing confidently, almost with an amused look on his face, as all of their weapons pointlessly strike into his chest. That's certainly not the only panel worth praising either. It's amazing how something as simple as a shadowed villain hanging out on a ledge can look so excellent.
'Death of the Family' has a huge opportunity here in RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS. It goes without saying that the two have a twisted history, so I'm optimistic to see where writer Scott Lobdell will take this and if we'll see a closer connection between Todd and Batman. I just really hope Joker has something more sinister up his sleeve than calling the cops on Todd.
Todd spends a good portion of the issue saying how powerful Kal-El is and knows he's outclassed, so what good does he think his firearms will do? Why bother having them aimed after the teleport? Why bother fighting, especially when Superman blatantly said he wants to say his piece and then leave? I get this is a team of "outlaws," but this was pointless and stupid aggression on their behalf.
Some facial work is a bit awkward (the initial panel of Superman looks like he has swelling around his lips and Todd is lacking an iris and pupil in the last page) but my real gripe is when objects and characters cross into other panels. It's jarring and distracting. The second splash page of Superman is great, but then we have a gun (from another panel) giving the illusion that it's aiming right aim him. It really takes away from the moment. The same thing happened later on with a GCPD officer as Todd was holding Isabel. Is the police officer in the last panel leaping through the air? That seems like a hugely awkwardly pose, especially since the rest are on their feet.
Superman could hear them in the ship, therefore he knows Starfire knows who he is because she referred to him by name. So, why'd he feel the need to introduce himself on the island? Superman was clearly listening in on that conversation seeing as he responded to Arsenal's remark.
Having not read SUPERMAN ANNUAL #1, I felt left in the dark surrounding the Helspont subplot. It's clear the focus is immediately shifting lanes into 'Death of the Family' territory, but I assume Helspont will be addressed afterwards or even in a side plot. It looks like I'll need to pick up the annual to find out the latest with Helspont and how it'll impact this book in the future.
While it's not anything exceptional, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS is far from bad. I'd say it manages to land somewhere in the middle and thankfully has some great art to compliment it.
There's so much possibility when it comes to Joker's diabolical plans for the second Robin, especially after the twist in the zero issue. I hope Lobdell steps up to the plate and knocks this one out of the park because this story has the potential to be an emotional masterpiece if handled properly. I can't help but wonder if we'll see Arsenal and Starfire as Red Hood battles the Clown Prince of Crime over in Gotham City, though. Honestly, I'd be perfectly fine with the duo taking a backseat as the tie-in focuses solely on Todd's struggle with the Bat-villain because it definitely has the ability to fill that much space.