What Happened Previously: Jason Todd/Red Hood was told of the Untitled murdering his teachers the All Caste. Roy Harper/Arsenal and Kori/Starfire decide to help him look into the matter. Their journey takes them to Colorado. What none of them realize is that Crux has been tracking Starfire ever since a little boy posted a sighting online.
Story Title: "Come Fly With Me--Come Die, Just Die Away!"
Thoughts: I know it's an unpopular opinion but loved this issue. There have been complaints ranging from different tastes to the absurd with this book but one of them was the characterization with Roy and Kori. Were they in character? "Is Roy an Idiot and Kori a beeping beep"? (No I'm not even going to write what she was called. I don't care if you dislike a character portrayal or not there's no excuse for those words.) Lobdell gives more insight into what makes these two tick in different way. He's slowly been revealing Roys' life in DCnU throughout the past few issues. Someone who is rejected by most of the superhero community, lost his partnership with Ollie and is currently struggling to find a niche for himself. Roy darkly mutters about being treated like a kid implying that Ollie still does play a role in his fall from grace. Although it seems Roys' addiction has gone from heroin to alcohol as he thinks on how he should avoid going to bars even if he's only drinking ice water. Which actually says a lot about him since he's willing to risk the temptation just to back Jason up.
He doesn't come off as the comic relief here but more as the truth sayer as he reflects on himself, Jason and their current situation. Making interesting observations on Jason showing that he is learning from all the bits of information he's gleamed in the last few issues. Roy knows that everyone sees Jason as a trouble maker but he sees that Jason is trying to make things right. Our archer actually comes across as rather insightful, I particularly liked this bit:
Bartender: (Clearly shocked after Jason effortlessly took down three men that were threatening him) Umm...your friend is cut off.
Roy Harper: That's what I'm always telling him. He needs to be able to open up more--to vent. Otherwise, things like this happen.
Of course she means that she's not giving Jason anymore beer but Roys' comment is rather telling for both Jason and himself. This is the reason Roy can't keep his mouth shut, because he knows from experience how it feels to bottle things up. Jason has trouble opening up because he's been hurt in the past. Lobdell also shows that Roy is rather fond of Jason by referring to him as his best and only friend. Something that got tons of people ranty because it begs the question of what Dicks' relationship to him is. I'm not worried, Lobdell stated that he doesn't see Dick as the type to snub him but I can see Jason being on more equal footing with Roy than Dick in the relaunch. The point is that Roy feels a bond with him and much to my amusement calls him "Jaybird." (Something that he's been called by fans as his pre-crisis self was usually nicknamed Jay.) He comes to Jasons' rescue, even points out that they have to help Kori who's only here because of Jason. Shockingly Jason agrees with him showing that he's still getting used to having friends but does actually care.
I'm not sure what Lobdell is doing with Kori but I'm hardly going to call him slurs because I don't get it yet. She's seems to regard the two humans as clowns like she did in number one although she admits that she knows there's something deeper to them than that. I didn't know what her fight with Crux was going to be like as I was expecting more of a Dragonball Z like throw down but I like that Crux used his brain and his sense of irony. It's too early to get a real feel for his character but I think his backstory is sympathetic. Kori even states she's sorry to hear it and is straight up awesome in this. The only reason she loses is because she doesn't expect her foe to do anything outside of brute force. What he does isn't quite clear yet as Crux states he just erased the line between them. As he flies off the one word she speaks proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's not the mindless sex thing everyone claims her to be. It's rather moving and this is said by someone that's not a fan of the relationship just because of the way Dick treated her.
Lastly there's Jason himself, what I found interesting in this one was the fact that his line of thinking isn't quite clear. Well the reason for the bar fight is obvious through Koris' text boxes but not if he meant to use Roy as back up (and didn't explain this to him) or if he suspected the cop. I just find it funny that he couldn't hack into her computer or break into her office to check for himself. I didn't see a reason for him to explain himself to her when a normal person would likely think it's a crazy story. It took me awhile to figure out how she knew who he was but Roy uses Jasons' first and last name in front of her. Codenames Roy, use them. Jason shows more growth as he prepares to fight the Untitled, something that's finally explained. It cuts off just when I was getting hyped up for the fight. NOT ANOTHER MONTH TO WAIT!
All the current Information on the Untitled: Can take the organs from bodies without cutting the flesh. Able to absorb information by eating said organs. The All Caste was trained to be able to take them down but formed a truce with them for unknown reasons. Copper can harm them. According to the Untitled Cop most of her kind want to control humans. Being able to kill a whole town single handedly is apparently something one should be able to do effortlessly. They appears to be black smoke inside their human disguises.
Jason Todd: "A very ancient and evil mystical race--maybe a dozen left on the planet--who have been hiding among humans for centuries." "They never travel together. It's too risky. They usually hide in positions of authority in order to make it easier to cover their tracks."
Say What?: Jason shouldn't be able to legally drink beer. Dick and Roy have both been stated as 21 in the relaunch, Jason has always been younger, around two years older than Tim. He'd have to still be in his teens, likely 18. Of course he's legally dead so I'm sure he has fake I.D.s and such. He did used to smoke pre-death so he likely drank a little too.
Waylon is the name Roy calls his sponsor and it happens to be Killer Crocs' real name. Waylon Jones to be exact. Croc was seen last issue in Roys' most cherished memory as someone who refused to end Roys' life and basically encouraged him (in his own way) to pick himself up. This implies their relationship didn't end there and if true is ironic as Waylon told Roy to keep away from troublemakers. What makes it more ironic is that Killer Croc was invented Pre-Crisis when Jason Todd first appeared as the one who murdered Jasons' parents. Two-Face was his fathers' murderer Post-Crisis but Croc showed up in Nightwing year one during Jasons' first mission as Robin.
Despite upgrading his body with alien DNA Crux admits that the best he could hope for with a one on one fight was a draw. So Kori still seems to be the most powerful being in the book or rather was until he "erased that line" between them.
Another alien connection to a Mayan temple? (The other being the Blue Beetle scarab.) It was used for time travel in the old DCU but Crux says he got the tech he uses against her from a temple.
Did You Notice?: Why is Jason dressing up? This was the street kid that loved punk.
How did Crux get that HUGE thing way out there given the travel time of the group he was following?
Jasons' blades seem to be made out of copper.
SPOILER Theories for future issues:
I think Crux might have taken away some of her powers. Covers seem to suggest otherwise though.
The Untitled cop thinks the All Caste broke the truce. This was already spoiled in the solicits for #7 but it seems that Essence has set this up although the why isn't clear. I think she's part of the Untitled, whether a full member of half Untitled and half All Caste. Her eyes are black as the cops' turned, she has smoke like powers and as Jason says their mystical. He makes a joke alluding to her being a witch in #1. She was kicked out of the All Caste. But there are unanswered questions like why was there a truce. It looks like the All Caste out numbered the Untitled if Jasons' deduction was correct. Why would she kill them then make Jason go after her people if this is true?
There's also the naming bit which if true was rather clever of Scott Lobdell. The Untitled and Essence. It just feels very meta and I love that. According to the definition of Essence it means :
1. The intrinsic or indispensable properties that serve to characterize or identify something.
2. The most important ingredient; the crucial element
3. The inherent, unchanging nature of a thing or class of things.
4. An extract that has the fundamental properties of a substance in concentrated form.
5. Something that exists, especially a spiritual or incorporeal entity.
"Identify something" just works so well for a character that's from a race that wasn't properly defined. She's been missing since issue one but it can tie the plot together so well. I'm annoyed that people are already calling fowl and suggesting she's a Dragon Lady. Umm no. She hasn't hit on the heroes yet or worn skimpy clothes and the only sign she knows how to physically fight is the cover to seven. Just because she's asian and MAYBE a bad guy does not mean she automatically fits the bill. I'm hoping she's like the Outlaws, a character we can feel for and even understand her motives. I can't wait to see how this unravels.