Before I get into the review, there’s an observation I’d like to get out.  This book is a flop.  It’s not like there’s any interesting villains, cool plot points, stunning visuals, or character development in this book.  Unless you are a die-hard fan of Red Hood, or just want to stare at two poorly-drawn alien girls in revealing clothing, there’s really no reason to buy this.  It’s not that it’s excessively bad, it has no purpose; only now have I really understood that this series has never had a purpose.  Writers were given three damaged and complex characters and did little – outside of a Death of the Family tie-in – to do anything remotely interesting.  This entire line has been a failure outside of one or two very excellent issues.  Now, the review.

Remember how this arc was supposed to be all about how the team dealt with their respective addictions?  Well that’s resolved on the first page of the issue, as Jason and Roy are dumping out Jason’s lot of Venom into the ocean, which I’m sure will never have any repercussions.  Jason brings up his dead mother, which probably should have been more important during the whole “drug” arc, and then it’s back to finding Kori.  I feel like I’m having deja vu when I say that Scott Lobdell’s story arc is anticlimactic and not well thought out.

When it comes to Jason and Roy, nothing of consequence or any sort of conflict happened during this entire arc.  The point of any conflict is to challenge and change a character in some way that reveals some kind of truth about that character.  Having Jason just throw the Venom away after using it all of two times doesn’t really do anything for me, or build any sort of tension between characters.  All we got was a cool scene of him talking to his own mask, and that was about it.  Also, Roy was nearly burned alive by his girlfriend, only to be completely healed by Essence a few hours later.  So he doesn’t have to deal with that particular trial, because that would be too great an obstacle for the writing team to overcome?  I’m not sure, but they were pretty much set pieces, which is bad when they’re…also…the main characters.

They’re still with Crux, who is taking them to the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest to help them find Starfire, who has chained herself to a tree to fight her addiction.  So that’s cool.  Her sister Blackfire shows up to help her out and hides her from a group of alien’s who look particularly nasty because they ascribe to the “uniformed group carrying weapons traveling in a hover craft” trope of proper villainy.  She has come asking for Starfire’s help in taking down that particular group of extraterrestrial evil-doers.  There is no way that those aliens did not see the two girls, especially considering that Blackfire’s hair has what looks like tiny firecrackers going off in it.

It’s only moments before they’ve put down that the crew is attacked by an unknown assailant.  It would have been an awesome reveal that it was Rose Wilson but, you know, DC had to ruin it with the cover.  Turns out that Rose has a rather romantic past with Jason, and has been searching for Starfire on her own for the past week.  Kori’s actions in the previous issues has apparently upset a lot of people, and Rose was sent to kill her.  The two fighters meet in the forest, with Rose intent on bringing Kori down. 

Spoiler
  Yeah, Kori wins.  There was a funny moment when Jason says the fight will take three seconds, and Roy responds with “Only off by three seconds.”  I don’t know, I thought it was funny.

When the dust has settled, the group come across the main encampment of those evil blue alien dudes that we saw pages earlier.  There’s a call-back to those who read Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #2, and anyone who flipped through it knows who the new enemy of the crew will be.

Alright, I’m not going to harp on this for too long, because I’ve beaten this series enough as is.  Tom Derenick’s art is inconsistent and nails every one of my pet peeves.  I hate the stupid nose on Jason’s mask.  I hate that in half the panels, Kori’s face looks perfectly square, yet in the other half it looks angular.  I find it weird that Blackfire’s costume looks rigid and metallic.  I don’t get why Crux had to be here, probably for no other reason than to sacrifice himself in some half-assed attempt at redemption at the end of the arc.  I like Rose Wilson’s design and her half-mask that she’s rocking.  Please tell me in the comments why you’re still reading this book.

Spoiler

  • The villain is that blue-fiery hair guy from the Annual. Seems like he’s the last villain for Red Hood and the Outlaws.

Favorite Quote: “I feel that it is imperative that you see this know.” – Crux (because it’s some of the worst word-choice I’ve ever read)

Recommended If…

  • I’m sorry, it’s genuinely hard for me to come up with something for these recently. I’ll be honesty, I don’t see much reason to recommend this.  There’s nothing that coerces me to suggest this to other people.

Overall:  Pretty much everything that has gone into this series has been a bust, which is a shame for the fans of these characters.  From the perspective of a reader, if I wasn’t reviewing these, I wouldn’t be reading them.  All I can do is hope that once the team gets shaken up, there will be something salvaged from all the nonsense that this series has built itself on.

SCORE: 3/10