This month’s Red Hood and the Outlaws sparks a new adventure for the group. While recent issues focused on Red Hood’s past, before and after his resurrection, this one centers on Starfire. The main story is only fourteen pages, and much new information is crammed in. Though the tactic is off putting, it sets the stage for a larger conflict to come.
Starfire is visited by an old friend, Orn, from her life off of Earth. He implores her to defend her alien race in battle. Understanding that her people are in a dire circumstance for Orn to travel at such a great length, she accepts the plea. On board the space craft, not much information is given to the audience. One or two names of crew members and the objective at hand; that’s about it. However, there is a clear view of the ship’s main deck and its operators. The deck has a Star Trek type of vibe. After the rundown of the objective, Starfire takes the Captain’s chair and prepares for battle, surprising Red Hood and Arsenal by her knack for assuming authority. Hopefully, other crew members will be introduced within the next issue or so.
This issue has a particularly entertaining attribute to it: the twist of an innocent bystander. Her name’s Isabel, and was nearing the end of a seemingly pleasant date with Jason Todd (a.k.a. Red Hood) before the abrupt appearance of Orn. It occurs to her that Todd/Hood showered her with lies during their brief, first date. Without developing the common sense to flee, she mistakenly ventures to the space craft with Starfire and the others. Now, Isabel acts as a burden and potential casualty while Starfire leads the ship’s crew into battle. Red Hood is worried for her safety, while Arsenal finds the situation amusing.
I don’t tend to enjoy the insertions of shorter stories in the back of comics such as Red Hood and the Outlaws. I find that it clutters the main story of the protagonists. And in a few cases, it is an ostensible method to take up space in an issue. I thought differently of the short story in Red Hood and the Outlaws #10.
It depicts Essence, and her endeavor to hunt down the members of the Untitled, one by one. It did not show much plot-wise, except for the eerie execution of an Untitled’s henchmen. However, it shows more insight to her motives and further demonstration of her abilities, yet making her no less mysterious. It also involves a direct confrontation with an Untitled and his weapon of unknown potential. Luckily, Scott Lobdell’s (Uncanny X-Men) writing and Blond’s remarkable coloring maintain the energy that is employed monthly in Red Hood and the Outlaws. And within the span of six pages, Lobdell still manages to make the characters real. Even the grunts that do the dirty work have depth. By entitling the characters to versatile, outward thoughts and opinions, such as in the short, it creates an immense effect of creating life-like characters.
Anyway, the main story was primarily introductory, and though Lobdell gave it much room to expand in the future, he attempted to do too much in a condensed amount of time. Also, the forthcoming conflict is a verbatim “bad guys are attacking” scenario, making the basis of the story dull. The dialogue still gives the piece personality, and Kenneth Rocafort’s art keeps it invigorating. Though the collaboration is too eye catching to ignore, this issue is a bit of a gyp.
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