Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SPOILERS: Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1

You know what's dumb? Robot ninjas. You know who also thinks so, a certain big pissed off cat looking member of the League of Assassins. Said robot ninja tried to join their ranks once, was laughed away, and now tries to get in on their bounty, yeah, pissed off mysterious cat like man (who is not Catman... bring Secret Six back!) ain't too happy about that, and cuts this dude's throat.

Elsewhere, on the Outlaws' secret island, a air ship lands, weird looking robots alert "the Roy" and amnesiac Jason Todd gets upset by finding out how many people he's killed.

Deeper in the Outlaws' complex, Roy lays awake next to Kori as he remembers a therapy session with Hugo strange, years ago, where trust between he and Green Arrow was brought up, with Roy believing Ollie never actually trusted him, and things eventually leading to his alcoholism (I guessed heroin got New 52'd). With his alarms going off, Roy gets dressed to go and check, but not before opening up to Kori (who he believes to be sleeping) about how hurt he is that she's keeping something from him. Through some more Hugo Strange flashbacks, we learn that Roy built tech for Green Arrow, but was never allowed to go out and be a sidekick.

As Roy goes out to check the alarm, Kori "wakes up" and kicks herself for not saying something to roy, but gets lured deeper into the building by someone she believes could be Roy.... But it's not! As Roy is outside, finding Green Arrow trapped by his weird tentacle robots, or "Roybots" because hey... Roy isn't that cool. Anyways, Ollie tells Roy that there's a hit on the Outlaws' friends, so Roy asks him just what exactly he was thinking when he flew to the secret island that no one knows about. Elsewhere, Kori enters a dark room, lights a flame with her finger, and finds out the hard way that the room is full of gasoline.

Roy see's the explosion from the beach, frees Ollie, and the two both run towards the compound, where Cheshire is standing over Kori, having had her inhale an aerosolized poison that flooded into the room once all the oxygen got burned up by the gas explosion. When the two archers show up, Roy has Ollie go look for Jason as he takes on Cheshire, who've he's never met before, but Cheshire takes a familiar liking to him, almost flirting (with a deadly twist) while she kicks his ass.

Elsewhere, Ollie finds Jason, who is still all fucking moody, doesn't cooperate, and allows Cheshire (with Roy's hat that she took for a souvenir) to catch up to both Jason and Ollie. Cheshire doesn't quite buy Jason's amnesia, but it doesn't matter as she just continues to kick everyone's ass, with the apparent intention that the LoA wants Jason back for something. Roy ends up in the fight again, but just gets a neckfull of Cheshire's poison laced fingernails, which leads Ollie to ignore Jason, and try to find Roy's anti-venom instead.

Luckily, while Ollie is ignoring Roy's demands to go help Jason, Kori comes back to and spears Cheshire right off Jason, and out the building. Flying over the sea, Cheshire seems defeated, but doesn't quite see it that way, as she lets Kori know she got what she came for, blowing some powder in her face. As soon as Kori lets go of Cheshire, she starts to disappear, telling Kori two things: First, a war is coming, and it's time to pick sides, and two, she's keeping the hat, next time she sees Roy, she may take more.

When everyone reconvenes in the base, Jason goes all whiney again, upset about how his "friends" lied to him, saying he was good, when he can clearly see how many people he's killed, and storms off despite Roy and Kori saying things aren't that simple. Ollie is still there, and it's getting pretty awkward, so Roy just tells him to leave. Later, Roy tells Kori that he'll eventually make up with Ollie, but he's going to keep his one secret from her by not telling her what exactly triggered the animosity between the two... then they find a note from Jason to say he's left and not to follow him. Considering it's an island they're on, Roy and Kori don't put too much thought into it.

Buuuuuuut, as Ollie flies off the island talking to Steve Trevor who has a team ready to bring the three into Belle Reeve (Ollie calls them off), Jason is attached to the bottom of the airship with some suction cups and away he goes!

Elsewhere, news of Cheshire's exploits and information she gathered during her fight reach Bronze Tiger who declares it is time that the League of Assassins takes back what is theirs.


The Good:

Lots of fun action this issue, mainly manifesting in Cheshire, whose sadistic flirting with Roy was as entertaining as it was confusing to Roy. We also get a bunch of Roy's back story which has been one of the things that have been lacking, just waiting to be told in the New 52, so its nice that we finally got some of it. On the art side of things, Al Barrionuevo's work was better than what we're getting in the series currently, with more consistency in how characters look from page to page, and he didn't draw Kori's eyebrows extending vertically up her forehead and into her hair, so that's a good thing.

The Bad:

Every time Jason speaks in this issue, I just want to smack him. This "I lost my memories but I was a killer? Oh no!" deal is just obnoxious. I'm pretty sure every page he's on I internally said "shut up!" or something close to that. If this is how he's going to continue, god damn, give me a break... you can't have the main character whining like this every issue.

There was also some differences in the color, as it seemed Javier Mena's pages were shaded with pencil, and BIT's pages used much darker blacks and were inked a bit heavier. Not a huge problem, I just almost thought it was two artists initially.

The Bottom Line:

I may not be a fan of the circumstances that have lead to this issue, but I have to judge each issue against only itself to be fair, and given that, I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. Cheshire was entertaining, and I look forward to her's and the rest of the League of Assassins' further appearances in the title, as they could give this book a connection to the greater DCU that it's lacked outside of crossovers. The only thing to take away from this issue is that the namesake character is just being an annoying whiney bastard, which you have to figure will eventually change? Hopefully... please? I don't think I can put up with Jason complaining about himself on a monthly basis.



  1. Good review. But I don't think Jason is whining...who wouldn't be upset knowing they've killed 83 people, making them look like a "bad guy".

    1. Whining, or however you want to call it, he's just coming off annoying to me. I don't buy nor care about him being mind wiped and all the sudden having moral issues with himself, it's just obnoxious every time he spoke.

  2. In terms of the character, the mind wipe would be something to take into consideration, when viewing his behavior. Anyway, I always thought Red Hood was pretty obnoxious and sarcastic off the bat anyway. Pretty much a douche. IMO.

  3. Jason's sudden "killing is bad! you're bad people!" is annoying because it doesn't suit him at all... I want my old anti-hero, cold-ass killer back. beside that I enjoyed this issue, the humor is back ("stop being sexy and fight me!") and the league of assassins looks interesting, let's see where all of this leads.

    1. "I want my old anti-hero, cold-ass killer back."

      I want my lovable but street-hardened, milk-drinking Robin back.

    2. As a robin, I don't think Jason was a good character... It got good with the moral struggle he and batman had for a few issues before death in the family. the "son of the diplomat" incident was great, I mean... Robin killing someone? He totally deserved it, but that brought up a lot to the table and could've been used in so many different and interesting ways. But 4 issues later Jason was dead. Personally, jason's my favorite member of the bat-family and as the red hood persona he can be written into great storylines. he has enormous pontential.

    3. Potential that, in my opinion, so far has not been reached post-ressurection. I think Earth-0 Jason should've stayed dead and Jason from another Earth could become Red Hood and cross over into main continuity.

      To Denny O'Neil's credit, they really did the best they could building Jason up from scratch post-Crisis (f*ck the Flying Todds.) It would've been cool if they had more time to flesh out his character but I guess he really was destined to die... I can see why his Robin would be unpopular with some but, I still liked it.

    4. I get that Jason's "whining" was annoying, but all I'm trying to see is, keep in mind that this was BASE Jason. He doesn't have the memory of being that hardened robin or cold-ass killer. He's just a rough tough guy with good intentions at heart.

      I'm with you though. I want the old Jason back too.

  4. I think the mind wipe was Tyion's way to put Jason in the background and bringing Roy to the foreground, which I can get behind

  5. The thing about the mind wipe is, you don't know whether the person will retain his original personality or take a 180 degree change. I mean if we're discussing about it, don't you think that DC is a bit rash in making Jason a goody-goody two shoes after having his memories erased? It's like saying humans are inherently good in nature (which may attract lengthy philosophical, theological arguments).

    Anyway, when Jason was saying "I can't find what my future holds until I know my past" I was like, "The hell?! You were so against on having Kori and Roy take your memories back from that memory-thieving kid and now you try to remember your past?!" That's... kinda stupid, don't you think? Or are we seeing Jason developing a split-personality?

    Nonetheless, with all my ranting, I still love RHATO and will continue reading it.