REVIEW: Red Hood & the Outlaws #1

Red Hood & the Outlaws #1Written by SCOTT LOBDELL / Art by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Colors by BLOND / Letters by CARLOS M. MANGUAL

Admittedly, this review is a little late. That could be because I’m lazy (unlikely) or because the past two weeks were spent piecing my person back together after spontaneously combusting upon reading and then rereading Red Hood & the Outlaws #1 (HIGHLY likely).

Scott Lobdell has angered a lot of fans with his portryal of Starfire in this book and we’ll get to that. But first we’ll tackle the rest of it. The jailbreak scene has potential but just continues to inject the New 52 with excess amounts of violence. (Not that violence is bad but this seems unnecessary.) Red Hood, historically, is a cool character and Roy Harper is new enough that I don’t have much of an opinion of him at the start. The jailbreak scene gives Lobdell a kind of goal for his characters to carry out but the rest of the book peters out while the writer tries and fails to create compelling personal narratives for this strange semblance of a team that we’re left with. This is due to the fact that Lobdell never fully gets the reigns on any of their voices. Instead he amps up the sex and violence, beating the reader over the head with “Hey look! Boobs!” and “Man, isn’t all this killing fun!?” These characters are one note and boring almost from the outset.

By far the character that he completely misses on is Starfire. She is an alien in a different mold than Superman or others that we’ve seen in the DCU but Lobdell decides to make her an undiscerning super slut. Not that we don’t need undiscerning super sluts in fiction but it fundamentally changes Starfire’s character and therein lies the problem. Now Lobdell has tried to soften the charges of SlutGate by saying that her dialogue was meant to be sarcastic and that it didn’t translate well to the comic. I’m read that comic over a few times and sarcastic or not, Starfire still sounds like she just wants it. Roy and Jason come off as a couple of frat boys the whole time too and the threats that are in store are hard to pay attention to when your mind is trying to come to terms with Starfire’s unbelieveable behavior.

Kenneth Rocafort and Blond might be the only redeeming thing about this book. Rocafort’s sketchy style is undeserving of such a mess of a plot. He tries to make the best of it though. He’s quite adept at drawing guns with a side of T and A. In fact, I don’t know if people would be in such an uproar about Starfire if she wasn’t drawn so stunningly. Hopefully, this book gets cancelled and Rocafort and Blond can move on to a different book. They’re like the Turner & Hooch of comic book art teams, overlooked and underated. And their style together has an edge that might help books with good stories but less than desirable art.

Do whatever you can to stay away from this book. It’s an embarrassment to DC’s New 52 line. So many great stories are just beginning and then we get something like this, a steaming turd wrapped in a pretty package. So far, Scott Lobdell is 0-for-2 in his New 52 offerings and hopefully, for the sake of the Teen Titans, the next one isn’t as bad.

 WRITING: 0 / ART: 3.5 / OVERALL: 1.75

About Pierce Lydon

Co-Founder & Staff Writer of Kabooooom. Writer. Journo. Freelancer. Lead singer of Cutters. Comics for life. Yankees 'til death.

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