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. Crux, a human that transformed himself with alien DNA, attacked Starfire blaming all aliens for the death of his parents. Jason fights a member of the Untitled.
Story Title: "I'm free as a bird--and this bird you cannot kill!"
Thoughts: I'm going to break this down to look at each character by themselves. First let's start with the new guy Crux. We don't get too much information on Simon Amal in this issue. He's tougher than Roy gives him credit for and is very obsessed with his goal. Last issue (and the start of this one) he was willing to let Kori live as long as it was without her powers. This issue Roys' attack affects him. He can't understand why Roy, a human, would care about an alien. It's a sad moment where he honestly expected to have humans on his side regardless of what he did. This concern shown for Kori over him actually gets him furious once he recovers acting more threatening to Roy than Kori. I can't wait to see what they do with him as it's been revealed that he's a future member. Roy was willing to kill him if Kori was hurt but he's not sure once she prepares to deal with him.
It's important to note that even though these characters do kill they aren't kill happy. They only take lives when it's needed or the heat of the moment.
The Kori situation gets a better look as it's revealed that Lobdell actually had a plot in mind when writing her.(Just in case it's not clear I never believed he was just writing her for T & A. This is a series about damaged characters coping with things together.) Roy notes how he doesn't really know Kori that well and how she never opened up to him emotionally. Both Roy and Crux comment on how the boys treat her. Crux taking the view of some of the naysayers of this series that they only care about her for less than pure reasons. There has been a distance between them as both her and Jason seem to keep others at arms length. Roy feels bad about not being there for her when they were expecting her to be back up for them. (Which isn't entirely true. She kept her distance from them around humans because she stands out in a crowd. Roys' also the one that's always worried about her in the last two issues.) Kori admits that Earth hasn't always been kind to her showing sorrow and later anger saying she doesn't want to talk about the past.
Roy gets to shine as he holds his own against Crux (although Kori gets the final hit.) It's interesting to note that the emotional center to the group is Roy. Kori is the powerhouse, Jason is the planner but Roy sees things the clearest. He says what he feels. Last issue he got who Jason was this time he sees things clearer with Kori. It's kind of funny that both Jason and Kori refer to him as a nice/kind guy/man then say he's an idiot. More of a joking manner for Kori but he sees that they all need each other because all of them have been hurt. He's daring, impulsive, heroic and points out the obvious of irony of Crux judging Kori.
This issue marks a huge turning point as Jason finally puts behind his anger with the Joker and Batman to focus on being a warrior. I like that Lobdell explores a new angle with Jason to help set him a part from the Bat family some more. You would think that someone else would have thought of using him in a different setting given his backstory of coming back from the dead. I love how Jason interacts with the old lady, his teacher (too lazy to spell check her name.) Their bantering works well and there's a obvious affection between them. The faith she had in him overcoming the fury was rather sweet making his change all the more touching. Yes Jason was duped into this mission because he let his emotions get the better of him and he sort of messes up later on but this was a big moment for him. Is he over his Bat issues? Probably not but he has but behind his anger with the Joker situation.
The issue ends on a rather surprising note because Bat characters don't usually get these face palm worthy moments. It should be fun seeing how they deal with the fall out. There were some funny jokes in this one of them adding more depth to Jason as more of his vulnerable side is show. His public speaking skills are teased in the flashback before it's referenced again by Roy.
This series keeps getting better and better. It's a shame more people aren't willing to give it a shot or stopped reading because of issue #1. My favorite bits were 1.) Roy/Kori bonding while he tells her that all of them have been hurt but will make it together, 2.) Jason realizing he was moving on as he fights 3.) The flashback with teacher and student and 4.)Cruxs' expression as he tries to process Roy not taking his side.
I'm both excited and nervous for the next issue which will show how Kori meet Jason before issue #1. Since this will likely show how they "hooked up" I expect more online complaining even if it's written to perfection. You can't please everyone but even still I'm a little leery. Issue #6 also promises to shed light on the reason for Jason wearing a bat symbol on his chest.
Crux claims he followed the trio. He knows the name Red Hood so why did he ask "who uses arrows"? He didn't figure out who Roy was? Granted Roy only used arrows when he escaped in prison in #1 (Crux wasn't tracking them then) and during their time at the All Caste. So how did he track them? On the planes?
How did Jasons' helmet come off? Winick had the past helmet designed so it wouldn't shake off his head. Does this mean the world now knows what the Red Hood looks like?
Kori mentions the fact that her DNA is different than most of her people because of the experiments done to her. This implies that these powers are already present in this canon but were increased. Crux didn't know that since his information didn't apply to her.
Roy claims he can make more arrows but didn't he say he raided Ollies' company for designer arrows in #3? Also there's a artist glitch as Roy says he doesn't have anymore arrows but he's still wearing his side sling of arrows around his hips.