Monday, October 03, 2011

DCnU - Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 from DC's New 52

Red Hood and the Outlaws is written by Scott Lobdell and features art by Kenneth Rocafort.

Okay... so here it is. For those of you who were worried there was edict from DC to "de-sexy" DC's comics, your answer is here. For those of you were hoping there was an edict from DC to treat female characters better... your answer is also here.

I wanted to get this out of the way right at the beginning. Clearly, editorial at DC is still okay with cheesecake, in case Catwoman didn't convince you.

Apparently Tamaraneans are very different in the New DCU. In the old continuity, Starfire was fiercely loyal, caring, and very open, if a little naive at times. Now, she isn't nearly as loyal, because she doesn't really see humans as poeple, but instead as vague collections of sights and smells.

She doesn't remember the Titans she used to hang with - not Dick, not Garth, none of them. It's not a change I am a fan of. It's an interesting concept for a character, particularly for an alien on earth. It would be terribly lonely to be surrounded by creatures that you don't really see as people, but as kind of close. There could be a lot to explore here.

Instead, Starfire deals with it by having sex. A lot. Within seconds of her introduction, as they are in a battle, Jason manages to brag about the fact that she "has been with me."

And then the moment Jason wanders off, we get Starfire confirming to Roy (Arsenal) that she doesn't remember any of the Titans, and saying that she is bored with him and offering to have sex.

They do, and Jason walks in on them lying together in the morning, walking past them non-nonchalantly to get his mask and heading off while they lie sleeping.

So, apparently, banging Starfire is a perq of being on the Outlaws? Really?

And this is a shame. Because there are some really good bits in this comic. The character called Essence who shows up is very interesting. She is somehow linked to the training that Jason underwent on the way to becoming the Red Hood, and proof that not all women are to be objectified in this comic. The way Rocafort draws here is very reminiscent to me of Tony DiTerlizzi's work on the Planescape setting for Dungeons and Dragons, and on Changeling for White Wolf. That is not faint praise. DiTerlizzi's work on Planescape was one of the best parts of a very strong setting.

In fact, overall, I really like Rocafort's art. It feel very "right" for this book. It is kind of cartoony, which may well turn some people off. A close friend commented on how ridiculous it is that the Red Hood has facial expressions with his hard mask on. I get how that bothers some people, but I'm okay with it.

To be honest, I feel like this book is almost two completely different things - one is everything to do with Starfire, and the other is kind of good. I was amused by some of the interaction between Red Hood and Arsenal when Jason was rescuing Roy right at the beginning of the book. I was intrigued by Essence and the promise of knowing more about Jason's training. I didn't overlook that when Roy was naming titans, neither Donna Troy nor Wally West came up. I'm interested in why someone in Chicago (where I think I spotted the Mysterious Lady in Red, in one of the harder to see appearances this side of Batgirl) is waiting for evidence of a Tamaranean on Earth. And I even liked that the comic was ended with "To be explained" rather than "To be continued."

The problem is, right now for me, the negative is overwhelming the positive. Not just because I don't like the changes to Starfire, but because in this form, the character is aggressively unlikable. And Roy is a douche for sleeping with her. Yes, he has always been a lady's man, but this seemed almost... taking advantage of her. Which I have never associated with him.

If they can turn Starfire around a little and make me care about the character, or at least tone down her interactions a little, I may stay past the opening story arc. Otherwise, this one is likely to drop any time.

1 comment:

David H. said...

i've known a few women in my time where a lot like the Starfire of the DC 52. they just didn't look that good!