Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Story by
Art by
Kenneth Rocafort
Colors by
Letters by
Carlos M. Mangual
Cover by
DC Comics

I could tell you that DC has pulled together a team of characters to serve as their version of the "A-Team" on this comic. I could tell you that the characters in this book are compelling and interesting. I could tell you that I cannot wait to read more. I could also tell you that of all the new DC titles, this one is far and away my favorite.

If I told you any one of the above, I'd be lying like a rug.

This book opens with the largest needless display of violence I've seen yet - and this new relaunched DCU has had its share of violence - as Red Hood and Roy Harper take out an entire blended forces war prison. The forces appear to be both Allied and Quraci, but the end result is the same: wholesale slaughter of every character whose first name doesn't start with "R" and have only three characters (oh, and both of the survivors/escapees last names start with "H," but that's not important right now). Their escape gets a little messy, and that's when Starfire shows up to melt down some tanks. After all, you need a scantily clad female melting down tanks to sell books nowadays. Or at least DC would tell you so. Hardly the "A-Team."

As for the characters being interesting and compelling, Scott Lobdell takes anything redeeming about Roy Harper - who, mind you, has recently been sent on a very hellish path to alienate every fan of the character - and flushes it down the toilet. Harper is a careless murderer and unapologetic horndog. The horndog part of this conversation speaks volumes about how DC is trying to sell this book, as a Starfire is included for borderline-pornographic content. DC offers up a caricature of their presumed target audience in the form of a twelve-year-old boy, sitting on a nearby beach, snapping Starfire's picture as she conveniently emerges from the ocean in a bikini that makes bar napkins look large. His dialog thereafter is, "Internet, here we come!"

Kenneth Rocafort then uses the bikini-clad heroine (can I call her that when she's done absolutely nothing heroic yet?) as a simple plot device, switching the point of view to Starfire's (slightly more covered) backside and thereby shifts the story from Starfire and the hormonally amped up picture taker to Starfire's equally-amped "teammates."

I pretty well dialed out at this point, but managed to catch that the rest of the story involves some mysterious cult that I'm supposed to care about that is somehow tied to Jason Todd, who I am also suddenly supposed to care about. The big problem? I don't care. This book offered me nothing - nothing!! - to come back for, to look forward to, or to spend money on (except maybe any and every other book on the stands!). Had this been my first of the new DC books, I have no doubt it would have been my last. I didn't even mention the fact (although I am now!) that Red Hood is sporting a bat logo on his chest, which I cannot fathom how that's allowed to happen in this new DCU, as Batman would surely break multiple bones on Jason Todd's body to impede him from functioning as he does in this book while sullying the legend of the bat. This isn't what I thought the new DC was going to be about, and I want no part of this title.

It's a shame, really, that this book was so awful. I like Kenneth Rocafort's style. The lines he uses and the sketchiness of it all is quite unlike so many of today's comic artists. I find it to be a nice change-up. It's certainly not "house-style," but it is also misdirected here. I'm hoping that once this book gets cancelled, Rocafort can move on to a title that doesn't reduce itself to overly-simplistic sex and violence in an attempt to bring in readers.

Lobdell's story hits on two notes: sex and violence. Neither one really has any reason for being in this book save for the fact that without either one, this book wouldn't exist. If you're up for a pointless, violent, sexist romp that offers nothing of substance, then this is your book. Otherwise, stay the heck away. Buy some back issues. Go get a three-dollar coffee. Download three ninety-nine-cent songs. Don't waste your time or money and don't say I didn't warn you.

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