Saturday, May 19, 2012

Girl In The Hood- Red Hood # 9 Edition

Elizabeth Airelle

Who Are You?--Hoo Hoo?

     Continuing from the last issue it’s the night of owls and the Outlaws are in Chinatown which almost all of it has been frozen solid by Mr. Freeze in an attempt to bunker down.  Freeze has an assassin called a Talon from the Court of Owls after him [one of many high profile Talon targets the Bat-Family has to protect], so the Outlaws have come to look out for Freeze while trying to save the city from Freeze as well. The team splits up with Jason going after Freeze and Kory with Roy clearing the ice and getting people away to safety. Jason uses the moment to be alone with the city he was born and raised in. Being home makes him feel confused and anxious. With all that’s happened he would suspect that this was all just a ruse to ambush him and arrest him, if not for the ice fort he’s breaking into.

     Red Hood feels off his game and he is when the Talon gets a jump on him, but he's the only thing between Freeze and Talon. Our frozen foe is understandably confused as to why Red Hood is trying to protect him and refuses his aid because he won’t take any help from Batman. Freeze then cold-blasts Jason’s hand to his gun and in the confusion Talon attempts to slip away.

     Jason goes up against the Talon who explains about his past and Jason begins to understand him. The  Talons have risen from the dead to serve out the court of Owls mission to assassinate key figures in Gotham. Jason criticize him by saying “You get a chance to come back to life- and the only thing that comes to mind is “assassin”” It's an important moment we'll come back to later.

     Talon is about to strike when Roy intervenes. He fixes Jason’s frozen hand with a heat arrow, Jason remarking how brilliant he is at making weapons. They decide to switch with Red Hood going after Talon and Roy with Kory finishing Freeze. Starfire attempts to offer protection for Freeze, but he refuses blasting her out of the sky, warning there will be a frozen death for the next person who tries to enter his lab.

     Kory and Freeze battle out with her flames vs his ice. She feels repulsed and impressed by him. Freeze tells her everything he does is for love. Starfire not believing him states “Love does not leave suffering and death in its wake” realizing that she only pities him now.  The Court of Owls seemed to use Freeze’s experimental work to reanimate their Talons. It is the reason he got mixed up in this. He agreed to work with them because they promised the end of Batman. Roy finally ends the fight, shorting out Freeze with an electrical arrow, and a Back to the Future reference [1.21 gigawatts anyone?]

     Meanwhile Talon seems to lead Jason to an empty lot that was occupied by Haley’s Circus. The same circus that Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, came from. Jason notes that Talon’s movements are that of an acrobat. Jason figures out that Talon must of “ran away and joined the circus”. Afterwards the Court of Owls enlisted him. Talon says they own his body, not his soul, which he feels has become a mockery since his return to life. Jason can understand. Talon revels himself as Xiao Loong [the name itself is a reference to Bruce Lee, Li Xiaolong being one of Lee's stage names in China]. Wanting to end this “life” on his terms, Xiao asks Jason to shoot him, almost begging. Jason complies [or does he?]

     On top of the Gotham Police department Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, having defeated her Talon waits for Batman.  She is surprised to see Jason dropping off Mr. Freeze. Batgirl tells her that this one act won’t make up for everything he has done and to leave Gotham. Jason says that better bats have tried and to tell Bruce he’s welcome.

     I really liked the second page with Chinatown covered in ice! It reminds the audience of the epic power Mr. Freeze has. Victor Fries as a villain I always liked, and made me sad at the same time.  The “love” he does this for is for his wife Nora.  His actions have always been about trying to save her.  He’s a tragic villain, not a pun saying, eskimo henchmen having villain (Damn you Batman & Robin movie!).

     The Talon Jason fight was good. A Talon not wanting to start again and end his life is understandable. I wish this had been two parts, just to see more of his past and how/why he was picked. Jason really is not the same Red Hood from the Under The Red Hood days. It’s displayed with his remark to Xiao about second chances being squandered as an assassin highlighting that change in him. A few years ago someone could have easily said  to Jason “You came back to life and all you want is revenge?”  This shows a lot of character growth.

     Batgirl’s cameo was a surprise! Now, I got into comics when Barbara was Oracle and read through Cassandra Cain to Stephanie Brown and I liked that dynamic so it’s been hard to wrap my head around still that she is Batgirl again. I loved how she was drawn and understandably did not like her attitude. Makes me wish it had been Tim Drake or Alfred at the end but I guess someone had to kick the three out of Gotham.

     I cannot wait for next month because the Outlaws will be heading into space. I’m hoping this changes the dynamic with Starfire in charge and the boys following her lead. Until next month Hoodies !!