Thursday, March 19, 2015

Red Hood and the Outlaws #40

The final issue. The leads will be relaunched into two series but it just won't be the same. We've been through a lot, the many controversies from the first issue to Roys' hat, the two other writers and tie in material.


Jason figures out Helspont is behind them and attacks to everyone's surprise. Since he didn't bring along an alien weapon the bullets don't do much. Everyone else gets involved not that it does much good. Helspont once backhanded Superman which makes his view of them more understandable. Their not as powerful as he is which means he's not worried. The Citadel surround them on Blackfires' orders which is the first time Kori is aware of her sisters' involvement with their enemy. Since she's helping their planet will have some freedom, Komand'r asks that her sister be spared. Helspont doesn't think that's a very likely outcome.

Simon notes something else during all of this. Since he's an expert on aliens he figured out the Citadel have the armor wired into the brains. They just need a distraction to buy him the time he needs. Jason does this by reminding Helspont of his message and promise that he's not getting Earth. Helspont decides to use Blackfire to deal with them and she chooses that moment to turn on him. It doesn't do much and naturally he's pissed. He tosses her like a football. Taking advantage of the opening Jason shoots a Citadel lackey and takes the weapon it was holding giving Simon the time he needs to work.

Kori wants to kill Helspont but Jason tells her to go after her sister. Rose annoys Simon as he's trying to concentrate. Simon finishes his work at frying the soldiers as Kori finds Komand'r apparently dead. Her anguished scream distracts Jason giving Helspont the chance he needs. He tells Jason that he will die knowing he accomplished nothing. Roy scores the save at the last moment apparently killing the big bad. Later on Kori has her badly injured sister aboard Blackfires' ship to take her home. She thanks the boys for letting her do this alone as its a family matter. Given the boys' history with their own family they understand.

Kori hugs Jason and gives Roy a sweet goodbye that makes me love them as a couple even more. Roy goes off for awhile leaving Rose with Jason. She comments on how hard it must be for Jason to lose his team and he says they were never a team. They were friends helping each other through some hard times and they were outlaws.

Overall: I liked this which I wasn't expecting after last issue. Having Rose jammed in all of the sudden was awkward. Since she didn't appear throughout the series it wasn't earned and her past with Jason felt very fanfic-y. Almost as if the relationship with Isabel wasn't liked so Lobdell decided to go with a more cliché pairing. Helspont, Blackfire and Crux all have some prior history in this series which made them feel more natural. She fits much better in this issue especially her last exchange with Jason. If that was how they talked last issue I wouldn't have rolled my eyes had them having a past together. It shows that she actually cares and dare I say understands him.

There were some plot elements that were dropped or seemed to change. S.H.A.D.E. blamed Kori for the alien deaths then said they had another lead but wouldn't explain themselves. The terrorist group are never mentioned again after Jason takes out the cell of Venom users. Was that connected? It might have been but I can't recall at the moment. We never got full closure on the fallout of them refusing to let Kori kill her tormentor in cold blood. Did she decide to go undercover without telling them because she felt they wronged her? There doesn't seem to be any lingering resentment but her decision was still questionable. Kori also has no reaction to Crux helping them after he attacked her. It can work given his help and her forgiving nature it just would have been nice to see. I suppose the big event and new titles made the ending rushed which is a shame.

I knew Roy was going to save Jason when Helspont mentions weapons and I noticed Roy had been missing for awhile. I did see the hug between the guys online before I read the comics so that wasn't a surprise. I think he's also missing Kori and Jason knows he needs some space.

As for the series as a whole? Without the editorial interference and writer changes I think a lot more could have been done. The Untitled were being set up as the archenemies before Tynion tosses them out making Helspont the one to get a showdown instead. Even though he never met the leads prior to this it still works. Given his history I doubt he's dead but it's nice that the Outlaws were able to defeat him when others couldn't. There's a lot of development here for most of the characters involved. Blackfire goes from always putting her people first to turning on Helspont when he refuses to spare Kori. Simon Amal goes from the angry revenge seeking potential enemy to a more emotionally stable ally that was invaluable in this show down. I hope he shows up in Red Hood and Arsenal.

The reason for Kori leaving makes sense although I don't know how this will fit into the Starfire series since the creative team says she wants to keep away from superhero types. She leaves on good terms with her friends. The only reason I can think of is her needing time to recover from everything and maybe being more curious of humans after seeing Simons' change. (I know he's not "normal" thanks to his changed DNA but at heart he still is.) Her goodbye with Roy was especially touching given the start of the series when he was upset that she didn't say hi to him. Kori was aloof for awhile and there was the whole memory controversy. Under Lobdell Roy seems to suspect it wasn't truthful and here he asks that she remembers him.

"Forever and a day."

With Kori and Jason there's a understanding especially where family matters are concerned. He told her to check on her sister because he knew that's where she should be. Their goodbye is simple, nothing more than a hug because they don't need to say more. Their friendship changed them both for the better and helped them love again (platonically.) I'm not sure if plans changed, if Roy was originally going to Green Arrow since their goodbye has the vibe that their all splitting up. Jason has kept Roy at a distance slowly warming up because of Roys' persistence. This is someone that used to get mad when mentions of friends/being a team came up. That didn't want to compliment Roy and would later comment on something impressive the archer did. Kori would get hugs but Roy didn't and last issue refused to do so. Here there's no hesitation making one of the best friendship developments I've seen in awhile.

Still it's a little bittersweet given how Kori promised Jason would always have them at the start of this arc. He opened up to Roy (unlikely he could do this with Kori before she left) and was a good friend. This is made worse because of the Futures' End tie in although the event there occurred because of different reasons. I'm not sure if Rose and him are going to be a thing in the new series. If not then this cameo is pretty pointless and if so I don't know how I feel about that. I'm not sure if I'll like the new Starfire series given the interviews I've read and the fact I haven't particularly cared for the series the creative team have done. I hope Red Hood/Arsenal isn't grim and gritty. I'm already missing this series, it was my favorite of the new 52.

Did You Notice?: Hard to miss but Blackfires' posing with Helspont is too fan service-y.

The art when Jason reminds Helspont of his message is a shout out to the panel where he talks directly to him in the second annual.

Kori is wearing her space captain uniform at the end.

Say What?: The editor notes list RHATO Annual #3 as a source but sadly it never came out. They mean #2.

Nothing big but Jason was able to figure out they were facing Helspont without ever seeing him before.

Rose, I'm usually okay with, I like Joey when he's written right. But Rose is the last person to tell Kori she comes from a loser family. Seriously.

It will always be weird to see Jason saying "dude", he missed the 90s!

Questions Asked?: Was Rose counting her body count or the seconds it was taking for Simon to work?

If it's a family matter then why is Simon with her? Before this battle he attacked her.

Jason is a bat kid so he should always be prepared. For awhile he used mystic swords and doesn't carry an alien weapon?

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