A new arc and a new writer helps breathe some fresh life into Red Hood and the Outlaws, which has been struggling to regain its footing following the end of the League of Assassins Arc.  The last four issues have been dedicated to a well-done one-shot, and a short line featuring Lobo attempting to use nanobots to wipe out life on Earth.  Scott Lobdell returns as writer – he was the first writer behind the story of Jason Todd, Roy Harper, and Koriand’r – I have high hopes for this series going forward.

The aptly named “Red Hood and the Outlaws!” is a pretty good place to jump on for new readers, as there is a bit of explaining by Jason in the beginning about his connection with Arsenal and Starfire.  They are on a mission to stop a terrorist group from attacking Washington, DC, and Jason gives his thoughts on terrorist cells and super-criminals. 

Spoiler
If he’s so intent on putting “a bullet through the head” of someone like the Joker, Poison Ivy, or any of the other super-criminals in Gotham, why doesn’t he just do it?  It’s not like he has reservations about killing people…
  The first few pages are a cool throwback to the very first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws, which is one of my personal favorite #1 issues in the New 52, so that was fun for me.

We meet a new villain, but his plan is a bit too cliché and overdone to make him interesting at all, which is probably why the story moves on from him midway through. 

Spoiler
Whoever is behind the terrorist group really doesn’t like Americans, and is so insignificant that he goes unnamed throughout the entirety of the book.  He’s also pretty bad at having the demeanor of a villain, as if he was trying too hard to be funny.
  We shift to what seems like the start of a new arc, one that will center around Kori.  Lobdell has a history of giving Kori more time in the spotlight, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that gets to develop as a character.

The artwork is decent, if just a little too cartoon-y.  Jason is drawn very well, except for a few scenes where his hood’s eyeholes switch from being covered to showing his eyes.  Please just pick one or the other, and by “one or the other” I mean “with the eyes covered.”  It looks cooler and is more realistic for someone who has arrows and bullets flying around him all the time.  Roy and Kori are somewhat lacking in detail, and Kori in particular looks like she was rushed.

Regardless of the slight qualms with the artwork, this was a rather fun issue.  Kori is all energy and reckless abandon, and the Lobdell is allowing her personality to come through – something that was missing in the previous two arcs.

Spoiler
She kicks a nuke in mid-air and was chill about it.  Got to love crazy alien girls.
  There’s a potential threat that sort of gets lost by the end of the issue, but it seems there’s a new danger that the team will have to face.  A cool cameo at the end will be a familiar face to bat-fans, but the direction of Red Hood and the Outlaws seems to be shifting even further away from a typical bat-book and more towards the likes of Justice League Dark and the Agents of S.H.A.D.E.

Spoiler

  • There’s a weird scene where Kori makes out with Jason because Roy said that Jason was lonely following his breakup with Isabel.  We haven’t seen the free-love and uncaring side of Kori since Lobdell left Red Hood and the Outlaws.  I don’t particularly like it, seeing as how only four issues ago, we saw Kori break some guys arm because he was hitting on her in front of Roy.  I liked that Kori was able to develop emotional attachments and “mature” at least in human terms, and that felt like a step back for Kori.  Then again, one of the biggest complaints against Lobdell’s run was his hyper-sexualized portrayal of Starfire…don’t make the same mistake twice, Scott.
  • S.H.A.D.E. kidnaps the team, which seems totally unnecessary, and they are greeted by the Man-Bat, Kirk Langstrom, who is working for S.H.A.D.E.
  • Apparently, whatever fell from space has come looking for Kori, who is seemingly the last hope for some alien race.  Looks like we’re heading back into space.
  • This book is basically becoming a space-travel-adventure book, so if you’re looking for a bat-book, please go elsewhere.

Favorite Quote: “Am I really being hacked by a racist hologram?  Man, how far have I fallen?” – Roy Harper

Recommended If…

  • You’ve been looking for a good jumping-on point.
  • You’ve been waiting for Red Hood and the Outlaws to get fun again.
  • You want a space-travel-adventure book.

Overall:

The start of a new arc brings back Scott Lobdell as writer and a return of fun to a title that has been seriously lacking in it.  Steps back for Kori’s development, however, and a half-formed villain coupled with average art, make this issue more of a jumbled mess than a proper opening to a new storyline.

SCORE: 6.5/10