What’s That Giant Sucking Sound? – Review Of Red Hood And The Outlaws #1

This is the least you'll see Starfire's breasts for the whole issue.  Seriously.18 days ago, when this very Website opened for business, I pointed out that Rob still believes that DC owes him $1.99 because he voted in a phone poll to have Jason Todd killed and they wouldn’t let the fucker stay dead.

I now believe we can tack at least another dollar on to that. That would bring us up to the current cover cost of Red Hood And The Outlaws #1, written by Scott Lobdell with art by Kenneth Rocafort.

This book started with potential. Roy Harper supposedly went to Qurac to help the local populace overthrow their dictator and got thrown in prison for his troubles. Jason Todd travels to Qurac to break Roy Harper out of prison.

Hilarity and a body count ensue. Ok, not really. Just the body count.


Butch? Sundance. Sundance? Butch. Oh. You've met.

There are nifty fake, fat priest disguises, hidden weaponry and large explosions. Rocafort draws a fluid, graphic battle scene. These are not heroes. Todd is pretty clear that they are soldiers of fortune. The resulting fight to get away from the prison is brutal and gory. Opponents die, many looking like arrow covered pin cushions, courtesy of Roy. Welcome to the new DCU! Don’t worry about the blood; I think we’ve got some baking soda if you’re worried about staining.

In all seriousness, the violence and the gore didn’t bother me, but I’m inured to pretty much any disturbing image you can throw at me at this stage of my life. I’ve got a lot of Takashi Miike movies under my belt. And I’ve seen Showgirls.

Speaking of vapid, soulless sex-bots for a moment, let’s talk about Starfire.

Must...resist...John Boehner...tranny...joke...

In an effort to keep Starfire, former member of the Teen Titans and Titan crews, in the DCnU, Lobdell has written Kori into The Outlaws. Ok, fine. Lobdell is actually on record, in the interview printed in the back of this issue, that the page this panel is from is his favorite page in the whole issue:

Kori stepping out of the ocean, just basking in the sunshine. I love the joy on her face. The people of this planet may not want her here…but, God, how she loves this place.

Maybe. But that’s not how the panel looks to me. I’ve been happy, nay, joyous coming out of the water on many an occasion and I’ve never done that. Ok, honestly, I mostly just look for leeches, but that panel looks like someone watched a lot of Fast Times At Ridgemont High in their formative years and took the word of a ten year old Willow Smith a little too seriously when trying to figure out how a woman behaves when she is joyous.

There are other issues with the character, largely centered on Kori’s almost Jersey Shore-like decision to casually sleep her way through the Outlaw roster, most of which have been pretty thoroughly hashed out in this article at Comics Alliance by Laura Hudson. Here’s one of the bigger talking points:

This is not about these women wanting things; it’s about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering — the idea that women can own their sexuality — and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their “sexual liberation” into just another way for dudes to get off. And that is at least ten times as gross as regular cheesecake, minimum.

You know, cheesecake is fine. I grew up in a house that had a big, fat book of Boris Vallejo art sitting on our coffee table. And Kenneth Rocafort, having done the art for Madame Mirage, is certainly no stranger to drawing it. But, I have to agree with Hudson. This isn’t about cheesecake; it’s about excuses to get Kori naked for the sake of getting her naked. It does nothing to move the story along and we’ve already been down the path of making Starfire’s storyline more about “what soft core contortion can I draw her in this week” and less about making her a compelling character back in 2008 during Judd Winick and Ian Churchill’s run on Titans. Which, now that I think about it, means that maybe folks shouldn’t have been quite as surprised with what Winick did in Catwoman #1, but I digress.

I find it interesting, also, that this is the week that DC chose to release the Teen Titans graphic novel, Games. It’s as though they are saying, “Look, if you want your classic ‘free love, warm, and fuzzy’ Starfire, who ‘ships with Dick Grayson instead of indiscriminately sleeping with all her new teammates because it’s something to do when she’s bored, we’ve still got you covered!”. I don’t feel as though they’ve “got me covered”; I just think it points out the glaring character faults in the Red Hood And The Outlaws. Perhaps time will tell and Lobdell has an amazing arc that will explain why Kori appears to have the emotional depth of an avocado and the sexual impulse control of Snooki in this first book – but I don’t think I’ll be getting the second book to find out.