RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Every fanboy and his dog loves a little controversy. In fact, from my observations of people living, we like to have “an” opinion voiced. We like to have problems with what the world presents us. Trust me, I’ve worked in enough restaurants to realize how much free shit people think they deserve. Anyway, the reason I chose Red Hood is because of the controversy that surrounds it. I didn’t choose this issue because I want to voice my particular opinion, but because I am in a unique position to offer my thoughts on the subject. (Remember that our Hero has just started reading comics and knows little history to compare to!)
The morning of this week’s release I was so excited to read *New comics that I waited outside Hastings for them to open. (One of the day’s I made it to class on time…) The comics were still in the boxes since my friend who categorizes the comics there doesn’t work until the evenings. Judging books by their covers, I sifted through the boxes. Red Hood was actually that comic that I kept putting in my stack then setting it aside, and right before I left I decided the team looked just too badass for me to pass up. What can I say; I like hoods, guns, and outlaws.
After class I jumped right in. Initially, I didn’t really think much about the issue. Not bad, but not great either. It starts with Roy Harper in a Middle Eastern prison. A pastor visits Roy for him to confess his sins, which turns out to be Red Hood in Disguise. Guns and Bow in hand they own some baddies inside and head out for their escape. They jump into a “not-very-armored” jeep and then run into some tanks. To Roy’s surprise, Lil’ Kim, er Starfire, appears and roasts the remaining obstacles. Three weeks later our heroes find themselves at Island Paradise of St. Martinique. Here we find Starfire, unknowingly?, posing for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover, or a prepubescent boy in this case, while Jason and Roy discuss work and women over drinks. Mid conversation a Gothic, Porcelain Doll lady appears only to Jason who explains to him of a conspiracy at hand. While Jason is away, Starfire decides she wants sex and Roy obliges. Meanwhile some guy, who I have no idea is, discovers the pictures of our alien friend Kori/Starfire on the internet. Later, Red Hood, taking no mind of Starfire and Roy in bed, grabs his hood and heads to what appears to be an ancient temple of sorts. The temple seems empty at first, then all of sudden Red Hood is surrounded, only to be explained in the next issue!
Pros & Cons
First off, the art, for the most part, is phenomenal. The only aspect that ever bugged me during the read is some of the shading or lines being very defined. I’m assuming it’s part of our illustrator’s style, but at times I felt the characters were dirty or needed to bathe. I loved the creativity in the panels and how smoothly I was able to read between them. In some of the comics I’ve been reading I’ve noticed that not all artists can accomplish this well. I don’t mind humor, especially when getting to know characters, but the pair of 38s reference was horrible. Even The Blind Side pokes fun at the 38. (It has one of the lowest pressure cartridges in use today). Not to mention that we only see one bust, not a pair. I think the lack of knowledge of our author confused me the most. Since I didn’t know the history of Starfire I was literally looking for revolvers in the panel because there was no way his editors let that joke slide. The last portion I want to pick on is the flow of the story. Scott Lobdell did not set this ending up for me. I felt there was just too much in the first two scenes that had nothing to do with our story other than characterization. I really wanted to be on edge and imagine what beast of a villain our party has to deal with, but the last page just seems to be random durdles. I want an idea of The End Boss, not just more minions! With all of this in mind, that gives us one redeeming(ish) quality, the art, so Red Hood and the Outlaws earns 2 out 5 stars from me.
On the Controversy at hand
For someone reading about these characters for the first time in this issue I only had what was presented to me in that moment to learn about them. Starfire, our character in question, came across to me as a borderline sociopath or carefree individual who was possibly abused or just liked sex and didn’t care what others thought of her approach. To me, the approach wasn’t poorly written or in bad taste, but simply a way to create our character for this comic. For those who don’t think Starfire should have been written this way due to who she has been in previous comics and shows I completely understand where they are coming from. Because I am a newb it is not my place to join in an argument surrounding this aspect. The only way I feel a change this drastic should take place is if something has happened to her in recent comics or this issue lets the reader know that something is up with her, now let’s find out what that is. Whether or not we will find out, I do not know. Now for those who don’t like the “unnecessary” sex or slutty depictions of women in comics here are my 2 cents:
1.) If you don’t believe that there are really women like this then I would suggest to venture past that dark hallway you are afraid of and discover that there is place beyond those stairs some of us like to call, “The World.” Here you will find, men and women alike, people just like this, either to your dismay or pleasure.
2.) Horny teen fanboy, is not a legitimate argument. 300 had a $70m opening weekend in a March and I know everyone went to see that movie for the story…Stating that valued readers don’t like sex and violence in their comics is uneducated.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed my review. If there are any particular comics in The New 52 that you would like to hear my take on just let me know!