If Starfire is your heroine of choice, this book is for you. Last time we visited Red Hood and the Outlaws, the team of Jason Todd, Roy Harper, and Koriand’r had been kidnapped by the agents of Dr. Langstrom and taken to the headquarters of S.H.A.D.E. The fellows over at S.H.A.D.E. are in possession of an alien spacecraft which crashed into Earth looking for Kori. After looking inside, Kori blasts off into space enraged, leaving Jason and Roy behind.
Rather than pick up where last issue left off, the reader is treated to a flashback taking place seven years before Starfire’s arrival on Earth. The entire first half of the issue is dedicated to the story of Kori’s life after being freed from slavery, yet before her arrival on Earth. It’s actually one of the more interesting stories that I can remember from Red Hood and the Outlaws, and we’re treated to a more empathetic Starfire than what we have currently.
Kori is acting as an ambassador for Tamaran, travelling the galaxy on a goodwill tour. The sprawling images of Eseru Prime, better known as The Cat-People Planet, are extremely well done, the pages seemingly lighting up with the vibrant color schemes of R.B. Silva. Her tour, however, is a front for her operations as an abolitionist, freeing enslaved peoples at each stop. There are hints to her brutality and almost sociopathic tendencies throughout this issue, and it’s both impressive and terrifying to see this girl – who looks like a young teenager – operate so coldly.
The rest of the issue takes place where the last one left off, with Jason and Roy stuck at S.H.A.D.E. with Doctor Langstrom and the alien craft. Kori also heads off to another part of the world and faces off against who she believes to be the culprits behind the crashed spaceship. It seems that these aliens will be the new enemies, but it’s immensely underwhelming. The aliens don’t seem to be anything special, and really shouldn’t put up much of a resistance against the Outlaws. This seems to be one of the issues with the Kori stories in Red Hood and the Outlaws. All of the enemies that are Kori-centric aren’t particularly interesting or threatening, but I hope that can change with this new arc.
There’s something weird about this issue that I found myself thinking about a lot after putting it down. Kori and her crew acting as a kind of trans-universe slave-freeing space crew would make a decent book for Kori herself. The only part of the book I was interested in was the slave breakout, which was criminally underused. Her crewmembers, who we met several arcs ago, are all present and would make an interesting supporting cast for the espionage/stealth Kori stories.
A possible storyline would involve this younger Kori, still dealing with the trauma of being kidnapped and enslaved, acting as a political delegate as a cover to free slaves. She’s also very new to her powers, which would also show her learning to use her new abilities properly while balancing a public ambassadorial life while moonlighting as an abolitionist with the help of her crew. I think that would be a cool storyline that would not have to deal with the continuity problems of the New 52.
The artwork of R.B. Silva is pretty decent this issue, with a strong color palette but lacking in details. Younger Kori is extremely well done from the very first page, but the second half of the book felt lacking in many ways. The shading and lighting felt off during the S.H.A.D.E. sequences, and the facial features take a decided down turn after the flashback.
Finally, could there be a more generic cover? It was as if Lobdell went to Ed Benes and Pete Pantazs (the cover artists) and told them, “Hey, this is a story pretty much about Kori rescuing slaves, but can you put up just a shot of the three of them posing all bad-ass and whatnot?” There is literally zero team fighting in this comic, so rather than have something about Kori as a stealthy freedom fighter, let’s just have them look menacing. Those All-Blades make it even worse.
- Roy is using Jaybird again and it hurts my very soul.
- Langstrom turning into Man-Bat instantaneously was a pretty cool scene, just wish they could have emphasized the change.
- I don’t know who those aliens were at the end, especially the one who is supposed to be the “big, bad alien,” (I’m assuming they’re slavers?) and I really am not invested in it too much.
- The dead bodies in the alien ship could have been presented differently, to get the horror across.
Favorite Quote: “You can die quickly like your friend. Or I can take days to spit-roast you from the inside out.” – Kori.
- Starfire is your favorite character.
- You want to learn more about Starfire’s backstory.
- You’re big into abolition.
This article is pretty much meant for fans of Starfire, while Red Hood and Arsenal take a noticeable back seat. If you want decent artwork and don’t mind the lack of real story progression, then pick this up. If Kori isn’t one of your favorite heroes, I’d suggest you pass on this one.