Koriand'r returns to her post as captain bringing the Outlaws to space. It's awesome.
Essence back up:
I'm starting with the backup first because...well, it was the most disappointing thing about this issue. I'm not really sure what's going on through most of this and that ruins it. The main bad guy refers to his henchmen as human but also has a weapon to protect himself from members of the Untitled. Okay. Does that mean he's a member? I think Essence is returning from where ever Jason sent her in #7 to take over the body of the cop these guys killed.
She shows remorse for the deaths she causes which is a nice moment. The unnamed bad guy takes aim at her saying that the Red Hood and her forced him to reveal himself since they declared war. (Not entirely true since Essence got Jason to kill one member in self defense before he called her out on killing her own mother.) Just a downer after reading the main story, it's not the history of Essence that I was hoping for. Also, why does the colorist Blond put such heavy make up on her? It doesn't look right especially since she's taking over another body.
Did you Notice?: Essence has a sword when she appears fully formed but it's never seen again. Though she didn't really need it.
RHATO: "Star Light, Star Bright--First Star I kill Tonight!:
I seriously had the biggest grin on my face on the first page. I'm honesty sick and tired of Kori being with/pining over Dick Grayson. He treated her awful pre-Flashpoint. So seeing her in bed with Roy (again) was great because I'm all for this relationship and like how lovingly their snuggling together. The art really tells a lot about them with just one page.
One of the complaints I have with this book is when Lobdell skips over certain details that would be interesting to see and feels a little disjointed without those scenes. Like how Jason left the other two in issue 1 then we see him on a plane with Roy in issue 2 without explaining how that happened. This happens again with the date subplot. In 7 Jason felt compelled to call Isabel because he realized he doesn't know any "normal" people but hung up because of his doubts. Now he's on an actual date with her without any explainations on what changed his mind. Jasons' had to do the standard superhero bit where he has to lie more than the usual spiel because he can't tell her any of his past including coming back from the dead. Who would believe him, right?
To his credit Jason is obviously uncomfortable lying. A nice character trait that was used when he met Kori and felt the need to tell her the whole truth about the man she saved. I don't know if it's a callback to his pre-Robin story with Batman where Jason tells him that just because he's a street kid doesn't make him a liar but it's a nice connection. Isabel seems to really like Jason and ignores his repeated attempts to flee the awkwardness he feels, to kiss him. I like the expression/body changes in the three panels during the kiss. Jason goes from shocked, looking guilty, then annoyed/alert when he sees a heavy alien falling from above. Quickly getting into attack mode he tries to protect Isabel while aiming at the alien. Isabel takes it remarkably well. Only the others come down and it turns out the alien knows Kori but made the mistake of surprising her. Oops.
His name is Orn (despite what the boys call him) and he says Kori is needed to save her planet. She knows that her people don't want her but nevertheless agrees to go. The boys don't want her going off alone so she takes them along. As soon as she's on the ship (named the Starfire) she takes command. Roy not so subtly clues Jason into the fact that the teleporter picked up his date. Isabel is starting to get a little upset and tells him that he should have told her who he was from the start. First date or not she could have made up her mind. She screams in frustration freaking out Orn but Kori just tells him it's the humans. In just a few scenes Lobdell manages to give Kori more respect and commanding presence than anything I ever read Starfire in. Even if she's "with" Roy (not clear how serious they are at this point) she isn't defined by the relationship. A change that's very welcomed.
Roy may take a backseat so far (the Ollie/Roy arc was canned for the GA series to use) but he's the one that seems to be trying to get his friends to open up. Little by little it's working. He knows why Jason has misgivings over entering a relationship and seems to be shaping into someone Jason can trust with his problems. That's a pretty big development. We FINALLY have Jason on a date something that hasn't happened since what, pre-crisis? His struggles with a normal life are interesting, I don't think anyone has really touched on this issue before. Jason IS the bat family member that stands out from the norm the most because he came back from the dead. This is only mentioned once but I think it's important. It's one of the reasons he feels unwanted, different. Sadly Kenneth Rocofort isn't staying after this arc. He will be missed. I hope whoever takes over fits the book and can draw these guys at their proper ages.