And this would be the New 52 comic I was most expecting to hate. A title starring the ever-annoying Jason Todd and the patron saint of rubbish choices, Roy Harper – in a baseball cap! Gotta hate it. Well, unless the presence of the always enjoyable Starfire lifts it.
I rather liked it. And I feel a tiny bit bad about that.
The story has Jason rescue old pal Roy from jail in Qurac, where he wound up after packing in the life of a hero to be a soldier of (mis)fortune. Jason arrives in a fat suit, disguised as a man of the cloth. Kory arrives in a few strips of purple metal. Weeks later, back on Jason’s home turf, Gotha … St Martinique?
Hang on, what’s a member of the Batman Family in bad standing doing hanging out in a happy place?
Having fun. Lots of it. And much of that with Koriand’r, but she’s as happy to get Roy into bed as Jason. Not that Jason notices, as he’s put on to a mystery by another old friend, Essence, albino oracle, and is soon in the Himalayas, getting into trouble all on his lonesome.
So what’s to feel guilty about? Starfire, for one thing – certainly she’s been a bit of a sex kitten (literally, with her people being descended from cats) since her first appearance, tonguing Dick Grayson to learn English. And she’s never been shy of showing some flesh. But pretty much every panel of Kory in this issue includes a wiggle of the hips, shake of the tits or arch of the back. She can’t remember Dick, or any other New Teen Titans, because, says Jason, ‘Tamaraneans don’t see humans as much more than sights and smells. And they have a terribly short attention span about all things Earth.’
Ohhhh dear. I know the DC relaunch is a chance to tweak characters and situations, but this is basically a lobotomy. Kory has fans for a reason. Yes. she’s relaxed with her sexuality, but she’s never been a slapper – the girl just loves to be in love. As well as being open with her feelings, she’s whip smart, a born warrior, loyal to her friends … can she even have friends now? Using a made-up-ten-seconds-ago species-specific trait as an excuse to have the female star sleep with both of the males, well, it’s a bit wet dream, isn’t it?
I suppose the cover is our first clue – the boys have bodies, Kory is a head, breasts and a couple of stunted arms.
Worse, though, is that her fresh perspective on Earthlings looks to have made her happy to turns tanks to slag with men inside them. The old Kory killed, yes, but not when there are other options; this version is oblivious to the murders she’s committing. I’m all for alien perspectives, but heroic ones are preferred.
It’s a shame the treatment of Kory is so annoying, as there’s plenty to like in this comic book – the recreation of Jason as adventurer rather than Black Sheep of the Robin line; the implications of Jason and Roy’s friendship (traditionally Dick Grayson was his best friend, has that changed?); adventuresome larks around the world; a visually arresting new supporting character in Essence; a mystery man in Chicago with an even more enigmatic shadow; genuinely funny lines and some enjoyable groaners.
And Starfire’s contortions apart, Kenneth Rocafort’s artwork is perfect for the comic, full of facial expressions that speak volumes, well-pitched battles and mad dashes. He varies panel design to control pace, jollying the story along nicely, and adds fun bits of business such as tropical panel borders. Blond seems to have spent days perfecting Kory’s skin tones, but has still found time to produce cracking colourwork throughout – never mind the comely Kory, I could spend all day just staring at his twinkling Caribbean.
I’ll certainly give this book a few issues, to see how things settle down – Kory having bedded the supremely dim Roy, and the more interesting Jason, there’ll likely be a bit of tension, but hopefully everyone will move on and concentrate on derring-do. Who knows, Kory and Roy may even grow a brain between them. If nothing else, I’ll hang around long enough for the following statement to be explained. (click to enlarge image as you marvel at Kory’s flexibility/deformity).