When we last left off the trio were having problems stemming from the friction over their various secrets (such as Koris' lie and the boys past coming back to haunt them.) Roy has been coming off the best so far, Kori has been so-so and Jasons' mainly been complaining. At the mid-way point of the story we should get some answers right?
Roy talks to Hugo Strange about what's been going on with the Outlaws. I know he trusts Strange but I can't see Roy revealing any secrets about his friends to anyone. Now I don't find it too odd that he had counseling since he was in AA and talked like he knew healthy ways of dealing under Lobdell. (Although what's shown here isn't healthy at all.) But Strange was someone that Roy went to when things were going bad with Ollie. He's part of his dark memory mind trip so out of the blue he's okay going back to him? Why not go to Killer Croc, keep out his friends' names, and vent to him? Yes, I seriously think that would have been better than going to Strange who never actually helped him get past his past demons. Sure enough Strange starts spouting the same crap about Roy trusting the wrong people that he did during the flashbacks.
I brought this up in my annual review but the whole destiny thing did in fact come back into play. It was in Jasons' goodbye note and Roys' musing over it with Strange as he thinks the Outlaws are meant to be together. He mentions another problem I had with Jason willingly getting his memories erased, we don't know if S'aru actually showed real events or faked the memory of Jason asking for them to be removed. If someone else is forcing things to go in a certain direction it's not really destiny, right? Recently Tynion said in a interview that Kori wasn't just upset about a bad break up with Dick but at present? She looks bad. Roy even says that she acted like he was disposable. Any way you cut it that's not going to look good. She might not have seen it that way but he did. Worse yet she's eavesdropping on the conversation in the hallway.
For some reason Kori sees Essence and decides to crash out the window after her. As was previously shown no one except perhaps members of the All Caste and Untitled can see her unless she wishes it or she's hurt/loses concentration. Another head scratcher is that Kori suddenly assumes Essence is working with the All Caste. Last time she saw the other woman in her proper form they all thought she was still a outcast that murdered the All Caste. Thinking she's involved in some form isn't too far off but this claim comes out of no where. Then Essence instantly agrees but says they don't know she's there? Why would she feel the need to say such a thing when she obvious saw Jasons' friends as children in her way in #7? This is just a clunky way of moving the plot along and feels like the audience needs a refresher on something that happened earlier in the arc.
Instead of being offended that Kori would dare attack her (something she vowed to make Kori pay for that last time they fought) when she offered help Essence spills her reason for being there. Just like Jason suddenly changing his opinion between issues we suddenly find out that the Strange set up was just to have the Outlaws betrayed two pages after he appears. In other words a very rushed plotline that never had the proper build up. This story is risky enough already since it needs the right amount of focus to make you care but it can also cause the readers to tire of it fast. As a result everything is mushed together without proper breathing space. Essence says she can't stop "them" this time--implying she did something for the Outlaws off panel--disappears instead of trying to help.
How the hell is Jason able to do anything ? Since this began he's chopped a monster head off, then attaching himself to a 'copter or totally useless in a fight. He mostly runs here but the fact he's able to last so long without showing how is weird. I seriously hate this League of Assassins "we trained you" crap. It rubs me wrong for so many reasons. In Lost Days Jason killed most of his teachers because they were murdering assholes who preyed on the innocent. In the relaunch he had the All Caste who had their own code of honor. But Jason was okay with working with these jackasses and letting them continue their merry way? Worst yet their taking credit for all the great things Jason either learned from Bruce or came up with on his own? Why, just so we can get a Who's Who of bad guys? Was that why Hugo Strange was here? Forget the Annual, THIS is pandering. Everything is repeatedly being beaten into our heads. "Destiny, Essence is working with the All Caste, Jason runs from his past, and Jason is the chosen one."
Now we learn that Jason was trained by Lady Shiva. Great, would have been cooler if she didn't look like Scorpion. Not something I'm blaming on this title but I never liked the look for her. I'm fairly sure I shouldn't be groaning in annoyance so much while reading a comic. But...the Untitled for some reason...appear in white robes claiming to be gods. The Untitled have been shown via the one Jason killed and the one Essence fought. They blend into human ranks taking positions of authority and don't work together. After all the build up they had THIS is what we get? The number is off unless Tynion is saying Essence didn't kill her uncle. In all honesty I had hoped the comic ended here or there was only a page left. That's how much I disliked this section.
Shiva talks about how Jason being "chosen" and he FINALLY does something! By tossing his helmet and shooting it making it explode. How did he know he could do that? Does this mean my theory about the helmet Damian stole having TNT in it is true? Someone named "Blood Mage" starts toying with him and flirting. The only league assassin I liked in this was Bronze Tiger, likely because he seems like the most stable. At least in this issue. Strange ran off, the Untitled bring up the fact the bounty on their heads was just a ruse. Something we already knew from the Annual although I guess they mean neither group officially wanted them. They just wanted the group "on their feet." Seriously Tynion did you really need to put that part about them knowing his name because Durca screamed it when she was killed and her brother implying she had a thing for him? You know Jasons' grandmother figure? WTF?!
The Untitled claim they want to storm the gates to save Jason and stop the League of Assassins. Which we know isn't true because: a.) The Untitled killed the All Caste (thanks to the retcon) which Jason said that nothing short of an alien invasion could do. They don't need the man power. b.) Jason is said to be the one Durca knew would continue their work. For better or for worse he's the only one that can kill the Untitled (well Essence might have killed her uncle. That was unclear.) Kori realizes she can't be part of it since they both know their be stabbed in the back. She goes off to find Essence. Roy decides to use them to get to Jason. Meanwhile the assassins take Jason to the city of the assassins. And once there it's revealed that Jason was chosen to lead them. ...What? Is it custom to attack your leader?
Overall: ...This was just really forced. Dragging in the Untitled like this to shoehorn Jason into the League of Assassins. I know he had connections via the Al Ghuls but his past with them and suddenly being chosen felt tacked on. The build up with Strange fizzled out pretty fast with no real pay off. He briefly manipulates Roy but only adds plot convenience. Roy just so happened to have stopped by so Strange could sell him out then disappear. Maybe he'll be back but at present that's pretty disappointing. Kori feels left out of the narrative with nothing outside her relationship woes and concern over Jason to add. Essence wasn't written in character and before anyone says it yes I know she wasn't fleshed out much. But tell me this is the same woman that Jason said was frightening when pissed off. She wouldn't be so quick to let herself be manhandled. Roy still remains the best written but since I find this to be the worst issue out of this arc that's not saying much.
The introductions with the LOA members was wince worthy. I just don't see the point of any of this. Tynion said Jason lost his memories so he can see himself from someone elses' POV. Why couldn't he come across a son of a mob boss he killed? See that the kid was innocent and feel bad for that? My question for the unneeded retcon of LOA training is answered since the plot wouldn't work otherwise. Or it would since Tim was also in this position in Red Robin. It's not a new idea. Speaking of which, what is it with Ras picking Bruces' kids to be his heirs? It's creepy as hell. There was Cass who was trained to be "the one that is all" and while drugged to be evil killed her way to the top. Damian could have led someday, if his granddad liked him. Tim and now Jason. I would say that at least Ras didn't try to send someone to get preggers like he did with Tim but Tynion had that panel with Jason in bed asking a dressed Talia why she brought him back? If that means what I think it does it's messed up. Not that it wasn't before but the idea that Talia might sleep with him because he was picked as the new heir is...just tell me that didn't happen. Remember Jasons' still supposed to be a teen. Likely 18, which means Talia would have slept with a minor if that happened.
Anyway I'm hoping for a lot of misleads. The Untitled need to kill Jason since he's (and maybe Essence) the only one that can kill them. The LOA presents another group that wants to rule the world which is why they have to die. I'm guessing the LOA want Jason because he can kill the Untitled and because he came back from the dead, something that interests Ras.
Did You Notice?: Roy wears a "Taco Robot" baseball cap when he speaks to Strange. Forget the complaints many seem to have with his hat what the hell is up with him wearing a sleeveless plaid shirt over his uniform? That's not camouflage Roy.
For some reason Stranges' tissues look like they have graffiti on them.
One of the Untitled looks like Ras Al Ghul.
Does Cheshire still teleport? Why would they two need two teleporters?
Say What?: I had to goggle Rictus and if he's Mr. Rictus then I have to ask why we needed to have a guy that sleeps with cows in this comic.
Strange was said to have called them and the Untitled showed up. How the hell did Hugo Strange have the Untitled number?
Jason also used Arabic in DITF.
Transforming into the Bronze Tiger takes away a piece of Bens' soul. Argh. That's not a good development.