Thursday, August 22, 2013

Red Hood and the Outlaws #23


It's a rare comic that has it's own characters pointing out how insane the plot is. Namely that the league of assassins is asking a memory wiped Jason Todd to lead them. Jason, most of the LOA council and the Untitled have said this now. Okay to be fair one of the robed people with the Untitled argues that it's not that crazy since Jason was trained by Ducra. It took awhile for me to figure out that this wasn't an Untitled member because of the robes. The speech bubbles are different colors and the way he talked about the Drakar's people make it more apparent but at first I was just confused. I think my theory is pretty much confirmed.

You know how I've been saying that Tynion has written Roy the best and his Jason needs a lot of work since he usually looks pathetic? That gets turned up to eleven here since Roy takes on the league of assassins looking better than the freaking bat kid has this entire arc! He even uses things from the Batman rogues' gallery! Didn't Jason say he'd be "hard pressed" to defeat even one member of the council? Well fuck that noise because Roy Harper can apparently take them all on and the rest of the killers in the city.

Tynion is showing us how insane Cheshire is but there's far too much pandering to the preboot tryst. We know she's not right in the head yet everyone treats her obsession with Roy like it's normal. So while Jason freaked out over her last issue Roy takes out her short range teleporter. Jason's encounter with Roy made me wonder if pages were missing but I think it's more of an art thing than the writing. It opens with Roy aiming at Jason instead of making it look like he appeared around the corner to surprise him. Jason tries to reason with him suddenly changing his mind again to state he's there because he wants to be. Which wasn't true last issue he just knows the Untitled can't get through. He doesn't really know about the Well of fact I don't think they ever explain that fact to him. The readers learn that through Essence. He knows it's being protected just not why. Jason tries to stop Roy before he blasts it open.

A bat kid gets knocked to the side that easily? Really? A kick to his HELMET and he's down? After that pathetic bit of anti-climatic Kori shows up to stop Roy. I get that he's mad that she didn't tell him the truth but why would he think she was abandoning Jason and him? She's obviously trying to explain her actions. Rictus attacks and I never got much of an impression of him in this arc. Now we learn he hates aliens? Okay. I'm not sure that his powers would defeat Kori so fast but okay whatever. That shamefully quick beat down isn't given much attention anyway. Roy gets his ass kicked by Bronze Tiger, Shiva and Jason. That's such a let down. I was looking forward to an actual fight between Jason and Roy. But no, after Roy sucker kicks him (which shouldn't have worked) Jason has to tag team him. Are you fucking kidding me? That would have been so emotional if they fought one on one and we get this instead. I love Roy but come on! You're telling me none of these three know how to take him down in one move? I call bullshit. I'm sorry but this scene really bugs me. Jason claims he doesn't want to hurt Roy. So he let's the others help him beat the crap out of him? Jason was taken because of Greystone but Roy HAS to get taken down by three people AFTER fighting the entire LOA single handedly?

Although Jason's prior defeat against the LOA was better than Kori who got taken out by Rictus of all people. (More on that below.) But come on, Roy is the one that lasts the longest against the LOA? He's not even knocked out after getting beaten up! Anyway they want to kill Roy and Kori off but Jason says no. He agrees to lead the league as long as his friends are spared. Ben says that if he leads them he has to do things the way Ra's would have but Jason says that if he's the leader they do as he says. He suggests that they lock them up and see if he can defeat the Untitled. Kori tells him that she rather die than be chained again. She explains that the pool is the key (at least in this version) to stopping the Untitled. Instead of arguing more about being locked up or demanding to fight with him Kori tells him not to die. Huh?

...Wait. Jason's HANDS GLOW and CREATE SWORDS? Yeah I groaned out loud again. Look I know people complained that Lobdell made Jason into Harry Potter because of the mystic side by he didn't. Jason doesn't do magic, or at least he shouldn't. Even that I could have sort of gone with since he came back from the dead. Maybe. Then it goes into the much used "you always had this power within you" bit. No, just no. I believe Jason is a good person that had to survive horrible things and is trying to recover. But this and the "restore the balance between good and evil" concepts are just so cookie cutter. Also Talia was apparently wrong since Ducra has to calm him down to produce these swords. Otherwise he wouldn't know what to do. The Untitled attack with just the council and Jason to fight them.

On characterizations, let's start with the Untitled. Since I've been over why their depiction doesn't make sense I'll move on to things I haven't gotten to yet. Their speech is off and this is noticeable with Essence too. Once they stop pretending to be human the Untitled (with the exception of Durca) will talk in a more olden style. In fact that was mentioned in the Essence back up when a human noticed the Untitled they were with started to act differently. The cop Jason fought did the same thing. I was expecting something more interesting with the big bads that were built up. These are extremely cliché bad guys that come across very bland. Lobdell at least would lampshade his ancient warrior monks by how S'aru and Ducra acted. They haven't done anything threatening to prove their as scary as the other characters say they are. Just plotting and taking about the plot.

Kori's gets taken out by the least developed member of the council and is basically useless in the fight. She goes from the team power house to this?! I liked her frankness about preferring her freedom to being locked away. But it was just sort of dropped awkwardly to have her give him the Cliff Notes the LOA should have told him about. Then she doesn't even try to get him to let her help him fight? That makes no sense. Kori would want to fight with him. Yes she believes in him but the way it's written doesn't flow right. She just goes along with it even though this means Jason would have to trust the assassins to watch his back.

While Roy is the most badass of the Outlaws he's an idiot here. He should know that Kori would never want to hurt them. Yet he takes a moment to snap at their personal issues instead of thinking enough to trust her. I was more annoyed by the lengths gone to make him better than the other two which was trying too hard and was, well over the top. Roy Harper isn't Batman and the resident bat kid has done nothing this impressive this whole arc. Jason, I know I said this before but I hate how helpless Tynion writes Jason. He should be able to do more and I really doubt any of the build up or coming fight can make up for how horribly his character was treated in this arc. The only bright spot is his concern for his friends which is often overshadowed by his complaining, confusion or getting thrown around.

A lot of the heart and wit is gone not just from the main characters, the remaining members of the All Caste being prime examples. Ducra was moving on to the afterlife, told Jason to stop avenging and said she'd see him on the other side. Now she got Obi-Wan-ed into this and apparently has been scheming all this time. This just makes S'aru and her very unlikable and like the Untitled places them into very cliché roles. Ancient beings that know better than those they trained that will control their lives as they see fit for the greater good. How does that make them any better than the Untitled?

Tynion has said his favorite part about this book is the three leads bouncing off each other. Well guess what, they've only been together when Jasons' memory is wiped and they talk about him like he's not there. Roy treats him like an idiot which doesn't help things. This arc has seriously dragged and no battle dealing with assassins and ancient evil should be this dull. This issue was another bad one with spots of enjoyable parts but they were far too fleeting. Now this may surprise people but I'm looking forward to next month because I think Villains month will be Tynions' best issue. It focuses on what seems to be his favorite bit of this arc, the League of Assassins.

Say What?: Based on what Roy said it's been three days since he slept, likely since Jason left. That raises a lot of questions and I'm going to assume the LOA captured Jason at the end of the second day or start of the third. Because having Ben wait three days to say anything to Jason about this destiny is a stretch for me. Sure he didn't explain anything in a satisfactory manner but it would have been better than building up nothing. He honestly had nothing to reveal except Jason would know what to do because Talia said so. Again Kori had to explain the Well of Sins, something Ben should have mentioned.

Roy says that he got the ice weapon idea from Mr. Freeze a year ago. I think that might mean the NOTO tie in but according to Roy in #19 they've only been hanging out for months.

Roy can stop powerful magic with salt? That's just really anti-climatic and I hate to say it but cheap. If it was for stopping ghosts that would be one thing but are we to believe Batman hasn't pulled this one? Constantine wouldn't be able to do jack if people could do this. Or does this just work with Greystone because he's always cutting himself and the salt got in his wounds? Roy knows about prep time but Jason doesn't?

So as the Untitled awkwardly explain they have been watching the assassins talk to Jason. Why ? No seriously that raises a hell of a lot of questions like why they needed to find the Outlaws in the first place! If they can spy on them no matter where they are--and this is at least the second time they've done this--then why bother with the bounty?! Hugo Strange was even more pointless. Kori and Roy know they can do this because they showed them a image of Jason getting taken so it's not like they just did the bounty to keep that hidden. To use them against Jason? Well that only half worked.

"Pretty little head?" I never got the impression Lobdell was seriously slashing Roy and Jason even though Roy's clinginess made it easy to label it a one sided romance at times. But having Roy say this makes me wonder if Tynion is intentionally playing that card with the fans. Pretty sure Jason would have gotten pissed over that comment because of the condescending tone.

Questions Raised?: How did Cheshire know what the force shield generator looked like? Is this the type of thing that has everyone in the know about tech even though Roy made it on the fly and it's a custom?

Essence is no where to be seen and while I can understand that given her connection to the Well of Sins she's trying to stop her family. Would she really just opt out if the fate of the world was at hand and she assumed they would take over?

Did you notice?: Jasons' helmet apparently can open it's mouth to show it's teeth.

I'm just adding this because I think I forget to in the last reviews. I don't think it's odd that Jason can fight without his memory since he had muscle memory in lost days. I think it's weird that he's often the helpless guy that hasn't really done much, at least here.

The All Blades are wrong again. Wrong style and they aren't made from Jason! Their made from copper.

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