Since the last two issues were the Christmas annual and the story of Roy/ Ollie history I'll do a recap. Not just for this arc but for a character we haven't really seen since RHATO #7.
Recap: After finding the remains of alien slaves Starfire relived the trauma of her own childhood of slavery. She wanted to slay the man who tormented her only for her friends to stop her. Not wanting to feel the pain anymore Kori took a drug left over from her past addiction leading to her accidentally burning Roy. Meanwhile Jason was trying to deal with terrorists by himself only to discover they were all on the super drug Venom. In a moment of desperation and fear of dying again Jason took the drug. Kori ran off and has been captured. Jason arranged for Essence to heal Roy while he took off to find Kori. To do this he has to break Crux out of Arkham where the team last put him as the alien hunter might be the only hope at finding Kori.
Crux was put in Arkham by Jason as he wasn't willing to let Kori kill him and wanted to make sure the guy didn't come after her again. Once he's able to get the guards to leave them alone he let's Crux know he'll kill him if he doesn't do what he says. Since no one else calls him by his code name Simon knows who he's dealing with and attacks. He seems to win (the art made this hard to tell but I'll sum that up later.)
In the location where Kori was taken from a woman with swords comes to tell the cops to close the case or she'll deal with them. They agree with her terms. Given a future cover I think it's Rose Wilson which makes sense as Lobdell has written her in Suoerboy. I have no idea why she'd be looking into Starfire/Aliens.
Jason wakes up back in the ship finding himself tied to the chair wondering why Simon didn't kill him. Simon says he needed a change of clothes once he went back to human form and asks if the helmet of as booby-trapped. Which everyone that's read Jason stories knows it is and he confirms. Voicing his confusion Jason wants to know why he wasn't killed as he can take Crux out. Delaying the answer Simon says he's more of a threat. Then he does something no one has ever done after trying to kill them: he hugs Jason and thanks him. For once going to Arkham did help someone as Simon realized he was wrong to blame someone else for his parents deaths and apologizes for attacking Jason earlier as he struggles for control in his Crux form. He explains that he would try to help the inmates at Arkham during the night and sneak back as Crux to stay longer.
This still sounds a little odd to Jason and Roy tries to use this time to attack (I guess the ship was parked long enough for him to catch up.) Simon stops him although he admits he understands as they did try to kill each other the last time they met. After giving Roy back his weapon Simon pilots the ship. Roy says he can't track Kori anymore which naturally isn't a problem for an alien hunter like Simon. Elsewhere Kori wakes up to be attacked by a panther. She defends herself then realizes she can't escape her chain. Blackfire waits for her with unclear intentions.
Overall: I really loved this issue. The art hasn't been consistently this good for a long time. While there have been some awkwardness I believe it's more to do with time strains. The only problem I had this issue was the shot of Crux slamming Jason into the building then a shot of what I thought was Jason's helmet in the rubble. Since Simon is holding it in his hand when Jason wakes up it's even more confusing.
While I would like to see Jason do impressive things (since other writers love making him into a pathetic punching bag) this was a lot of fun. I knew Lobdell would do something good with Crux and he proves it here. The former foe has a change of heart thanks to Jason and holds the key to finding Kori. It's such a wonderful trait of this book to have things look their worst then have it change on a dime thanks to a surprise twist. Jason saved Roy at the start, gets Kori to care about humanity again and now he redeemed someone. I'm not sure if Blackfire is trying to help Kori get rid off her addiction or working for her new master. Either way it dovetails neatly with Kori wishing she was with her sister early.
Questions Raised?: Simon says he was "cured", does that mean he could transform back to human form...because we saw that in the first issue. I choose to think he just means that his mind was clear.
Did You Notice?: The clothing, facial hair and race might be different but Jason is dressed as Professor Xavier from X-Men when he visits Crux. Lobdell is a past X-writer that has also alluded to them in his TT run.
It looks like Jason can use tech for illusions instead of costumes/make up. He can do the other as issue #1 showed.
Simon is wearing one of Jason's shirt (although it looks more like a tee than armor) and a pair of Roy's pants.
Say What?: Jason says he did some time in Arkham which doesn't make sense in the new canon. Before the relaunch Jason was in jail twice. A normal one at the end of the Robin series and Arkham in Winicks' last arc. The reason for him staying there never made sense and makes less sense now. It just came off as a cruel move on Bruce's part and it obviously traumatized Jason here. Of course Jason doesn't say he was a prisoner so maybe it was undercover work?
They know Cruxs' real name? I thought Jason put him down as a unknown in RHATO #8 with only the code name as an ID.
It was assumed that Crux took DNA from aliens but he didn't. He took it from Killer Croc, Man-Bat and Clayface.
Jason apparently gets creeped out by shapeshifters. I can't think of a reason for that except maybe something Clayface did.
I have to re-read the Starfire story in Secret Origins but I think it says her people gave up their warrior ways. It says here that everyone on her planet is born a warrior.
According to Blackfire Kori has chained herself in the wild to burn the toxins out of her system.