Red Hood and the Outlaws has had its fair share of intense battles and more somber moments, but overall has been a rather light romp through a series of space adventures and explorations into the supernatural.  Fun may not be the right word, but it certainly hasn’t had the gravitas of a Batman or the darkness of a Batman and Robin.  This latest issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws got really dark, really fast.

In the previous issue, our trio was unceremoniously kidnapped by agents of Kirk Langstrom and Ray Palmer, and brought to the headquarters of S.H.A.D.E.  There, they found an alien craft, containing the bodies of dead slaves, who had apparently been sending out a distress signal to reach Kori.  As it turns out, Kori spent her years post-slavery as a member of an abolitionist group and operated under the guise of a diplomatic tour.

This issue picks up where Issue 32 left off, in the carnage of the Abu Dhabi night club where Starfire had just lain waste to dozens of aliens.  After a brief interrogation, Starfire finds the target of her search, which leads to one of the more intense and disturbing sequences I’ve personally read anywhere in comics.

I won’t go into detail more here, but if you’re curious, check out the Spoiler Section and Overall Section below for more info.   I’ll say that this issue was probably my favorite since Issue 3, where the Outlaws delved into their pasts.  There’s threatening, computer-using, murder, suicide, stand-offs, and I’m assuming drug use; that makes for a rather full plate.  It’s done by Scott Lobdell in such a way that I most definitely did not expect and had not seen from him before in quite a while.

It’s weird when the artwork is the weaker of the two elements.  Everything seems to be out of focus or with little detail, and it felt to me like some of the Starfire’s more important proportions like her height, were inconsistent.  The oversexualization I had come to expect from this series is pretty much absent, which is a step in the right direction.  I haven’t anticipated the release of a Red Hood issue for over a year now, but I’m starting to come around on this series again.

Spoiler

  • Dark Moment #1. So Starfire is responsible for the deaths of dozens of aliens, including, I believe, dropping some guy from hundreds of feet in the air.
  • Dark Moment #2. Appearing in that guy’s window like the second coming of every slasher-monster-killer ever.
  • Dark Moment #3. Stand-off between teammates, with Roy and Jason ready to take Kori down.
  • Dark Moment #4. Former slaver and resident horror movie victim blows his own head off with one of Roy’s arrows. Damn…
  • Dark Moment #5.  Kori lying on the beach after what I’m assuming was a drug binge.  I don’t know what was in those vials, but the end result didn’t seem very pleasant.

Favorite Quote: “You know, Jason.  You above everyone else know why I have to do this!” – Starfire.

Recommended If…

  • You want to know more about Starfire’s past.
  • You want to explore the deeper aspects of the Outlaws.
  • You don’t mind when things get real.

Overall:

Sometimes the darkness is what makes an issue stand out and reveal a tiny glimmer of what the soul of a book is made of.  This issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws cuts deep to the heart of who the Outlaws are in their most basic forms – void-like dark, irreparably broken, and they might just be unsalvageable.

SCORE: 8/10