Thursday, March 22, 2012

Girl In The Hood- Issue 7

"I Found That Essence Rare-----And Deadly!" 
 Elizabeth Airelle 

            This month we are back to our story involving Red Hood and the Outlaws in avenging The All-Caste. It opens with Crux being admitted to Arkham by a disguised Jason. Here he will be kept heavily sedated. Rather than let Starfire kill him, Jason reasons that it technically isn’t a crime to kill aliens, so killing a non-criminal would be against his (new?) code. Kori understandably isn’t happy with it but let’s Jason have his way with the promise she can kill who ever she wants if they visit her planet.

 After defeating Crux they commandeer his Inter-orbital transport with plans to steal from his “treasure trove of technology” he’s cobbled together hunting alien artifacts .Essence then appears, still only to Jason, which leads Kory and Roy to think he’s just talking to himself. This is how she appeared in the first issue, informing Jason of the defeat and slaughter of All-Caste by the Untitled.  She attempts to comfort him over the loss but Jason then attacks her. He accuses her of betraying the All-Caste and tricking him into killing a member of the Untitled. She denies it and attacks back becoming visible to everyone.

During the fight Essence reveals some of the Untitled’s past.  They were a clan of nomads that drank from the waters of absolute evil. She claims that Ducra was there and defied her brother but became linked to the Untitled. She also claims Ducra was her mother. Jason doesn’t want to believe her. Essence has the upper hand but vanishes when Jason pulls out some of Crux’s alien tech on her, in the hopes, something, anything can stop Essence. While the group continues out of Gotham, Jason calls the Flight Attendant, Isabel, from an earlier issue. She picks up but he gets cold feet, and hangs up reasoning he’s doing her a favor. Meanwhile in Gotham, Suzie Su has awoken from a coma after surgery for the gunshot wounds from Jason in issue 2, and swears revenge.

I liked this issue for a few reasons. Roy and Jason’s back and forth amuses me. I like the bit about killing anyone Kory wants on her planet seeing how they will be in space soon! Jason reveals that he and Essence were lovers at one point but I wasn’t that surprised by it. Ducra being revealed as her mom did surprise me thoug. There may have been an error because Baby Essence was behind a dark haired woman in one scene, then Ducra was depicted blonde, then back to black.  I was little confused for a second but figured it was a mistake.

 They only thing I didn’t like was the abrupt ending to this story. She just vanishes.  However, it was announced she is getting a backup feature so maybe we can learn more. Hopefully she joins them because I like this character. I heard Crux was supposed to join but considering he hasn’t been mentioned in future solicits and is currently sedated at Arkham I assume he’ll be around later at some point?  I would rather Essence join over Crux because she is more interesting and beautifully drawn. Speaking of the art, next month kicks off the Talon crossover and Red Robin will be guest-starring and I can’t wait for him to be drawn by Kenneth Rocafort.

See you then, hoodies!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Playing The Long Game

By Mike DePalo

         We come to the conclusion of the first arc of Red Hood And The Outlaws 7 months into the New 52. "Conclusion" might be the wrong word, we may have just completed the first leg of a long journey in a title where nothing has been as it seems. The in-your-face-loud-mouth archer is desperate for friends. The hot alien in a bikini is a Battling Buddha. And the killer vigilante from Gotham might just be a tribal warrior and humanity's last best hope from the forces of darkness. And who really is the big-bad is still up in the air... a lil' bit.

          The other thing we see from Lobdell is a Red Hood who might be growing beyond his hatred of Batman. Or at least a Red Hood that knows the end of the world stuff is more important than schmucking with the Bat-Family. A Red Hood that keeps his eye on the ball. No spoilers but bare in mind, Judd Winick had Jason close that zippo lid instead of igniting a gasoline covered Joker in Lost Days. And that was about highlighting that the character of Jason Todd was not about a better world but about revenge. Fast-forward to this month's issue and it's surprising how good a bad boy can be.

          Would you have believed it if I said this 6 months ago? Me either.

          But that's the thing about this comic, written by Scott Lobdell and pencilled by Kenneth Rocafort,  it requires a bit of faith and keeping the long game in mind. What has begun here was not just the first story arc of Outlaws but rather the end of the beginning of a saga- the story of the millennium old All-Caste and the Untitled, the teacher Ducra and her students, Jason Todd and Essence, and the roles everyone has been set in, because of their own choosing, or otherwise.  It's your good ol' fashioned biblical Doomsday stuff, mixed in with some giant megalomaniac green bat-dude, that steel-jawed James Bond-esque nuclear bomb smuggling submarine commander, Roy's crocodile AA sponsor, and a fat lady Yakuza boss straight out of a Tarantino movie for good measure.

          Oh yeah, after that: outer space.

          Stayed tuned...

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