Red Hood and the Outlaws are holed up in their “secret island lair.” And yes, you have to make the Dr. Evil quotation mark gesticulations when you say that. Red Hood/Jason Todd is searching for answers after he was mindwiped a few issues ago. Roy/Arsenal is looking for respect, of which he seems to get very little. Starfire is looking for… that’s a good question, actually. Not a more concealing battle-leotard, that’s for damn sure. (It’s funny because comic book women are scantily clad.)
Oh yeah, and there’s a 500 million dollar bounty on Red Hood and the Outlaws’ heads and certainly myriad assassins on the way to collect. No big deal, right? But is it good?
Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1 (DC Comics)
We open with a robot ninja being tortured. Based on my extensive knowledge of robot ninjas (Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid), the rule of thumb is usually “You don’t fuck with robot ninjas.” So basically what Tynion IV is trying to tell us is that whoever has this poor guy skewered on several sharp, pointy torture stakes — they’re a group of bad mothas. What’s more disconcerting, however, is the color of robo-ninja’s vital fluids:
Nobody makes me bleed my own purple drank!
Cue Red Hood. He got mindwiped last issue of “everything connected to the darkness” in his life. Basically, he doesn’t remember much. So he goes looking for answers:
And he’s none too happy with what he finds. Namely that he’s murdered 83 people. Not something you can just sweep under the rug, huh Red Hood? Also, when did Jason start wearing figure-hugging, Samus Aran jumpsuits? Stupid sexy Red Hood.
”Feels like I’m wearing… nothing at all!”
Elsewhere Roy is having flashbacks to his psychology sessions with Hugo Strange. (I’m sure those weren’t Machiavellian in any way, shape, or form.) In them he tells Strange:
“I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous – everyone hasn’t met me yet.”
That’s actually a little Rodney Dangerfield humor for you. Applicable however, since Roy vents about the beef he had with Green Arrow during his tenure as the guy’s sidekick and the common theme was that he was treated with very little respect. Or trust.
Roy snaps out of it just in time to meet this issue’s guest star. Well, isn’t that a coincidence? It’s the Green Arrow himself, Oliver Queen. And he’s there to warn Roy and his friends that they’re in grave danger:
From none other than… Cheshire. One of the premiere martial artists in the DC Universe. We’re talking almost on Lady Shiva’s level. Which means our protagonists are in for a fight. A dangerous one. One that spans pretty much the entire duration of the issue and features multiple near-death poisonings.
Cheshire’s poison-based powers are a bit undefined, but fun to watch in both their application and the havoc they wreak on others. She’s also a bad-ass woman — taking on nearly the whole Outlaw team plus Green Arrow by herself at one point. My only problem? Tynion IV writes her dialogue like a conflation of the horniest highschool cheerleader ever/the Kardashian sisters/and that teen mom who just did a porn. That is to say, 99.5% of her dialogue includes her calling someone “cute, hot,” some combination of the two, or making a thinly-veiled, embarrassing sexual euphemism. So basically how every guy that goes to comic book conventions acts when they see a booth babe.
I don’t get it, does she really like concert pianists or something? And who doesn’t, quite frankly?
- Smooth, sexy artwork by Al Barrionuevo.
- Exciting fight sequences.
- Tynion’s moving the story back into territory better suited for Red Hood.
- Cheshire’s dialogue.
- Red Hood is still mindwiped and pretty much written out of the issue.
Is It Good?
Yes, solid issue overall and much better than the series has been. The art was done by Al Barrionuevo and it’s an improvement over Julius Gopez. And thank you Tynion IV for finally putting the protagonists in an action sequence that didn’t include chimerical beasts, fantasy realms, or levitating baby Dhalsims. Next up: Red Hood and the Outlaws vs. the League of Assassins. Looks balla.