Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The New 52 Review: RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1



WRITER: Scott Lobdell
ARTIST: Kenneth Rocafort
LETTERS: Carlos M. Mangual
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S.

The Red Hood is an alias used by various adversaries of Batman. Before the Joker was the Joker, he was the Red Hood in Detective Comics #168 (February 1951). Jason Todd, the second Robin, became the Red Hood after being resurrected. Todd was in fact killed by the Joker in the famous storyline, Batman: A Death in the Family (Batman #426-429).

As part of “The New 52,” DC Comics’ re-launch of its superhero line, Jason Todd gets his own comic book, Red Hood and the Outlaws, with Todd leading a group of antiheroes. As Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (“I Fought the Law and Kicked its Butt!”) opens, Red Hood undertakes a mission to rescue Roy Harper AKA Arsenal from a prison in the Middle Eastern country of Qurac.

They later join fellow Outlaw, Koriand’r AKA Starfire, the former Teen Titan, on the island of St. Martinique. While Roy and Kori… frolic, Jason gets a visit and dark news from Essence. What has happened to the All Caste?

Visually, Red Hood and the Outlaws mostly looks like an OEL manga (original English language) from TOKYOPOP (or maybe even Del Rey Manga). When it comes to drawing Starfire, artist Kenneth Rocafort offers pretty much what those Top Cow pin-up comic books did in the mid-1990s Barbie doll mixed with Pamela Anderson proportions and weird hair. The art and coloring is at its worst during the opening sequence, where the inking creates a hodge podge of ugly line work and confusing textures.

As for the story, writer Scott Lobdell spins a yarn that is no better or worse than early Image Comics – an action comic book focusing on babes, boobs, and shootouts. It’s not bad; it’s just nothing special. Too many of “The New 52” are like this, and when a publisher is making a big push like this, there should be as little mediocrity as possible.


September 21st

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