Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

B

Guest post by: Devildrag Deathwish

Every time I mention to anyone that I’m going to be subscribing to Red Hood and the Outlaws, I get reactions akin to me telling them I’m going to start smoking crack. They think I’m nuts and ask me why I would possibly want to read such limb-lossedness. I gather my thoughts and then calmly and collectedly… jump kick them in the throat.

Well, I suppose I verbally jump kick them in the throat. Really, with this book I’m only interested in the illustration. Kenneth Rocafort’s work is stunning to me and he’s been one of my favorites for years. Man, did he not disappoint.

What better way for a Marvel Comics guy to dive into his first subscription to a DC comic than with abundant depictions from Rocafort of Starfire in a tasteful two-piece bikini?! About 13 or 14 pages in and I’m greeted with loose sexual morals and an alien ass that you could bounce a quarter off of. Suddenly my imagination takes me to a place where I could be a super hero and get it on with someone hot from outer space! Oh also, I believe there was something in there about Jason Todd and Roy Harper too. I’m not sure.

Seriously though, it feels like writer Scott Lobdell says to Rocafort, “We need fanboys to read this. You draw pretty girls. I’ll give you all the opportunity to draw pretty girls in the story. Let’s ride.” The book starts off pretty fast-paced. Red Hood breaks Red Arrow out of a Middle Eastern prison and they start killing the hell out of everyone trying to escape before running into big freakin’ tanks. Obviously the only way to deal with big freakin’ tanks is to send a full-page spread of Starfire at them; the more scantily clad, the better. I’ve seen pictures of Starfire in the past and she’s wearing even less into battle now. I suppose less armor means more protection? Yeah, that’s how that works.

I didn’t have high expectations with this book story-wise. Everything anyone has told me about the characters in Red Hood and the Outlaws made me think I was going to get as much gratuitous push-the-envelope situations as humanly possible. Luckily, there weren’t quite as many as I would have thought. Really, the only things I could loosely label as gratuitous were a little violence and Starfire proposing sex with Roy. Insert your very own Red Arrow double entendre, kids!

I’m happy I wasn’t put off in any way. I stuck with the characters and I’m interested to see what happens next with the story. Rocafort’s kinetic lines were absolutely beautiful and are more than enough to keep me around.

Pull list verdict: KEEP IT

tags: kenneth rocafort, red hood and the outlaws, scott lobdell, the new 52

  • Dwight

    I thought this review was awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678019951 Andrew Stamm

    Reading this issue reminded me of Spinal Täp…

    “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

    “Ist! He said sex-ist”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678019951 Andrew Stamm

    One more comment… I’m really sad that they went the way they did with Starfire, because otherwise this would’ve been a really fun, well-drawn issue… instead we get a 12-year old boy’s fantasy.

    And since Nerdy Nothings is kinda lacking in a female perspective at the moment, I feel I should link to this well-written article; please check it out

    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/?a_dgi=aolshare_twitter

  • Anonymous

    This is a really good article. Also, our pending Catwoman review is from a lady, so at least that should help us out a little. :)

  • Dwight

    I’m 26 and this is still my fantasy. My sweet sweet fantasy, baby.

  • Anonymous

    You know, I read this yesterday, and… I didn’t hate it. I actually didn’t feel as though the purported sexism was that egregious. Yes, Starfire’s drawn in a bikini and yes, she’s very forward sexually, but commenters who characterize her as a bimbo aren’t reading this correctly – she’s a super fish-out-of-water as alwasy, but in the New 52 apparently has become very uninterested in humanity, which goes a long way to explaining her actions in-story — she doesn’t understand Earth customs, nor does she care to. Does that make it okay? I don’t know, but in my opinion it’s far more justifiable than the wanton sexism of “Suicide Squad” (still the worst reboot book I’ve read by a wide margin), where several leading female characters were turned into sexual objects just because the creators thought it looked cooler. 

    My only serious problem with this issue was some confusing plotting that, in my opinion, didn’t do a great job of setting up the climax. Other than that… I mean, I didn’t love it and I won’t be reading it regularly, but I really don’t feel this book is as bad as everyone says. 

  • Thomas Foss

    She doesn’t understand Earth customs, nor does she care to. She just wants to have no-strings-attached anonymous casual sex with no emotional component, and pose in contorted ways for the audience. It’s like a male sex fantasy distilled into a single person. Seriously, that shot where she’s reaching over one of the guys for a drink? That’s egregious.

  • Anonymous

    It is a male sex fantasy, but I can still imagine a character like that exists, and I think Lobdell does enough to at least give a reason for it. Of course Rocafort goes a little far… the art reminded me too much of those gross X-Men Swimsuit Issue pin-ups you’d get in Wizard and shit… but as far as characterization, I can let it slide, even if it wouldn’t have been my first choice. 

  • Thomas Foss

    I don’t see why a character like that *would* exist, outside of ‘someone wanted to write them that way.’ Moreover, I don’t see why she would be a superhero of any sort. It’s a major downgrade for Starfire, who’s always had a ‘sexy’/liberated/don’t get the need for clothes aspect to her character, but (as a panel or two floating around the net post-Red Hood show) because Tamaraneans are just so full of love and affection and openness.

    The worst part, though, is that part of DC’s likely new audience–and especially the people likely to pick up a book with Starfire on the cover–are the kids-now-teens who grew up on Teen Titans as a cartoon. I can’t imagine anyone going from fish-out-of-water hilariously innocent ingenue Starfire to…this…and thinking it an upgrade.

    If a character like this existed, we’d be submitting her for psychiatric care or some serious therapy, not putting her with other damaged people as ersatz antiheroes.

  • Anonymous

    Well yeah, that’s a fair point, but as you say, everyone in this book is damaged. It’s not like any of these people are characters you really want to spend time with, which is one reason I think the book has a weak premise to begin with. 

    I mean, I guess I just think that if you take Rocafort’s art out of the equation, Lobdell didn’t do anything to Starfire as bad as what, say, JT Krul did to Speedy last year. Sure it’s awkward and unnecessary, but I just can’t see it in the same way I see what Suicide Squad did to Harley/Waller. It could be because I have less of an investment in Starfire (outside of Teen Titans Go she never really worked for me anyway, and that’s not really a serious take on the character), so I’m not comparing this new version to much of anything. 

  • Dwight

    I told you it wasn’t as bad as you thought. I think that going into it with low expectations made it as okay as it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Meneghini/651216408 Michael Meneghini

    I really liked this issue.I personally thought it was one the best of 52′s so far.It was a whole lot of fun..This and Animal Man have the best art of the 52′s so far.Also like at the end it says to be explained instead to be continued.

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