Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Girl In The Hood

Elizabeth Airelle
Red Hood And The Outlaws #6 [February 2012]  

Red Hood and the Outsiders has been my favorite series since the new 52 relaunch, and issue 6 has been my favorite issue so far. This book has been written by Scott Lobdell who I think has been doing a great job with Jason, as there has been much growth for the character than ever before. The art is by Kenneth Rocafort and it is really beautiful. Between the awesome spread of the spaceship, to the tropical island setting, to Starfire herself (say what you will, Kori looks awesome). The book has been amazing looking since the beginning.
This issue focuses on Jason Todd aka Red Hood and his first meeting with Starfire aka Kori which takes place one month before the series began. Spoiler Warning: The issue opens with Jason stopping a submarine from smuggling nuclear weapons into Miami in which he succeeds but barely escapes with his life. He is saved and nursed back to health by Princess Koriand'ar, who has been in seclusion on an island where her spaceship has been hidden.  There he discovers that Starfire had a relationship with Dick Grayson aka Nightwing who was Robin before Jason. She cannot remember his name but knows when she sees him again; she will. Kori has a few of his costumes which helps her remember him. This is how Jason gets his new costume which was Grayson’s Batman suit but he may or may not have used it [not sure yet].
Jason opens up to Kori telling her everything about him from beginning to end and she does not judge him because she doesn’t believe in living in the past. Their friendship builds from this, he believes that friendship and romance aren’t different just a different variation of love. It ends with Jason finding out online that Roy Harper is a prisoner in Qurac and he and Starfire take off to save him leading into the first issue.
When we first met Starfire in issue one she didn’t really say nor do much. Kori spent most of the issue posing to me. She didn’t acknowledge Roy aka Arsenal when they saved him; nothing until she propositioned him on the beach later. Now I didn’t see what the big whoopla was about. Firstly on her planet they all dress like Kori does, even the men. I always thought they absorbed sun light in as well. As for her fling with Arsenal I think people put too much thought into it. I wasn’t bothered by it at all. I just figured they would have a relationship down the road, if not friendships sometimes start differently than others. This could have been a way for her to get to know him. If not it was a booty call and I thought that everyone overreacted. I really liked getting to know Starfire more in this issue. She is a smart, spirited person who will live her life to her own standards and not judge others which I think most people can’t do.  I believed then and still do now that Scott Lobdell gets these characters right. Roy and Jason’s interactions remind me of my friends and how they talk to each other. Judd Winick may have brought back Jason as Red Hood but Mr. Lobdell is giving life to him.
As any other fangirl will tell you the best part of the issue we got Jason who is naked (except for some well- placed leaves) for almost half this issue.  When the first issue came out Starfire was in some teeny tiny bikini and everyone went off, Jason was naked and this issue has been one of the best. This book is equal opportunity for nudity! Now I don’t think that was the sole reason this issue has been greatly reviewed. It was just really good storytelling and it was really sweet to watch this friendship start. I recommend this book and I think that people who stopped reading after the first issue should pick this one up and give it another chance.

Editor's Note:  Saw this and thought of you Liz
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Red Hood And The Outlaws #6 Review [Smart Space Kitty Edition]

Mike DePalo
The Internet owes Scott Lobdell an apology.
Because if issue #5 showed us the warrior path of Jason Todd Lobdell is taking us on then issue six is all about just how wrong so many people were in their preconcieved notions about Starfire. It goes without saying the alien princess is hot, she's a walking nuclear reactor, but she's also the wisest member of this team. Todd comes from a world of characters who can't let go of the past, where everything they do is about some scarring event from youth. Batman characters are in many ways some of the most frail, human people of the DCU. So of course it would have to be a girl from the stars to set Jason straight. The past should not be forgotten but it shouldn't be lived in. You cannot define yourself by the people you've known or their trappings. Lobdell delivers everything with a little bit of a wink saying Kory is the "space kitty who is smarter than anyone gives her credit for. Reminds me of me". Out Jason's mouth, but Lobdell's words [with an assist from Josh Williamson on some of the dialogue]. He's right, she is. We come to understand not only how much goes on in that pretty little bean of hers but also how she works physiologically. She explains how Tamaranean memory works off sights and smells [pheromones] and while she's haunted by her time with Dick Grayson, she won't truly remember him until he's right there in front of her. It's by far one of the coolest things I've ever seen done with Starfire.
The book breaks completely free of the All-Caste/Untitled plot to give us that set-up so many clamored about "Why are these people together?". You don't mind that on this book. We bounce all over the world just like in the first issue. But this travel exists on the dream plane, the memory, the flashback. Aboard a nuclear sub vs. a James Bond-esque baddie, on a deserted island with a starship embedded in it, back and forth to Gotham as both Robin and Red Hood with some guy named Nightwing always there. And speaking of Nightwing, we see a group not called the Titans fighting together, and finally, full circle off to Qurac. Nothing with the Untitled, no plot development there but everything is changed in this book. This was the "here's why" moment and it just works so damn well.
You can't credit Lobdell and Williamson alone. Kenneth Rocafort's pencils and layouts make this book uniquely alive in the new 52. Everything jumps out and nothing is conventional. And colorist Blond does everything in his palette's power to make this book *PoP* month after month. We get plenty of unique redesigns by Rocafort this issue. We see Kory's original costume, a new version of the Disco era Nightwing suit, even his Batmaan suit has been redesigned [and uniquely explained], but don't worry there's some green scaled undies around for good measure. My favorite one is Rocafort's redesign of Jason's original Red Hood biker costume in a Under The Hood flashback. Ken absolutely owns the black leather look and his work really does convince me it was the best of Jason's costumes, even outshining Rocafort's new 52 design from issue 1 on.
So next month we advance back to the future, back to the masses in Colorado chasing Jason, Roy and Kory for killing their local space alien sheriff. But we do it with far greater understanding.
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