Insert Waylon Jennings here...
I've read all 5 issues of Red Hood and The Outlaws, and from these issues I've been noticing 3 problems that just keep popping up. 1)This series would work so much better as a solo series for Jason Todd than as a team series 2) some characters are horribly mischaracterized (you know who i'm talking about) and, what I've come to realize in this issue, is that 3) the series does try to have some serious personal and emotional moments for the characters, and in many ways succeeds. However, the series is just not presented seriously enough to truly pull it off. Some of these problems have been slowly fixed over the course of these past few issues, and this issue gives Roy a bit of much needed room to grow.
This issue begins decent enough, with Roy FINALLY getting some strong expose to who he really is as a character, something he has all but failed to receive so far. we see him as a capable fighter, someone smarter than he lets on, someone who is far more perceptive than we would have realized. In this regard, Scott Lobdell shines. His characterization of Roy also leads to moments where it seems a deeper bond is growing between him and Kori, though whether it is romantic or not is not expressed. Regardless, it is still a nice touch. The antagonist of this story, however, remains bland. Instead of a potentially tragic figure, driven mad by his loss, he just seems like a whiny idiot, just another thow-away villain that just doesn't hold my interest. the same goes for the Red Hood's opponent, who hints at bigger things to come but again is obviously just introduced to give a few lines of information and then be tossed aside. Jason's resurrection and anger at both Batman and the Joker are finally brought up, as is Kori's time as a slave, but again it's only bringing up what we already knew, for the most part. There are some problems story telling wise,
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The resolution of Kori being depowered last issue wa handled very poorly. Basically, instead of actually going through with it Lobdell basically backed out at the last second, making up something about being experimented on while a slave, but it just feels... clunky. and doesn't make much sense considering that she is a super-powered warrior who has killed slavers (as revealed in issue 3). why would they make her more powerful and harder to handle? it just came off as being either weak or lazy, and just unsatisfying. Again, some of the humor in this series (and past issues) falls flat (seriously, a "he's behind me, isn't he" line?), but its partially forgiven considering some of the growth to Roy, who is by far the biggest offender here. Like I said before, the series is too unintelligent while also trying to be poignant. another example is when Jason defeats his opponent, who reverts back to a human (why would she do that? its not her base form) he comments about how the townspeople will see him as a villain, and about how he feels that more will turn on him because of how they were tricked into thinking they are good people. which is all well and good, but then they run off, but they are chased by the townspeople, mostly farmers on ATV's chasing after them with pitchforks, shotguns, hunting dogs and even a butcher knife. Throw in the general lee and its almost like an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard.
Moments like this really drag the rest of the story down, which is a shame because the story is otherwise enjoyable and engrossing. The art has, in my opinion, significantly improved in this installment, and I do have some hope I'm trying to cling onto. what Lobdell really needs to realize is that this story isn't like Louie, or even Scrubs, where the blend of stupid and serious is done very well. He needs to approach the series with more intelligence to really succeed in telling his story. Maybe I'm just being incredibly biased, maybe i'm just not the audience for this title, but these things just keep RHATOL from really reaching it's full potential.