Red Hood has gone missing and it’s up to Arsenal and Starfire to find him. But can they reach the mystical realm of the All Caste with the mysterious Essence out to stop them?
Oh, that was fun, I’ve always wanted to write DC solicitations copy. But I also like writing reviews. And this issue gets consideration as we’ve a new writer on board, as James Tynion IV replaces Scott Lobdell. And honestly, if I’d not known, I’d likely have been unable to tell the difference. That’s a compliment – I’ve a lot of respect for writers who take over a book and don’t immediately blow the place up >cough Jim Starlin’s Stormwatch< but take things softly softly, catching that monkey later. From what I've seen on the Bat-books, Tynion's a talent, and I don't doubt that before long he'll start tweaking this book to match his own storytelling sensibilities. But before he moves the characters forward, he's showing us that he understands Starfire, Arsenal and Red Hood as they are, recreated by Lobdell for DC's New 52 promotion.
So here’s Red Hood, aka Jason Todd, troubled by recent events in the Batman titles and taking drastic action to move on with his life. Here’s Koriand’r, the confident, fierce warrior, brimming with empathy. And Arsenal – Roy Harper – still wounded by the break-up of his superhero partnership with Green Arrow and dealing with addiction issues. These three are the charismatic cast who interact so entertainingly on adventures on Earth and beyond.
This time the quest is personal, as Kori and Roy travel halfway around the world, at great personal cost, to find Jason. They know he wants to be alone, and while Kori respects that, she cares enough for Roy to accompany him on his fool’s errand to find Jason – Roy worries Jason’s in such a bad place, he’ll never come back. And on a more selfish note, Jason is part of the family unit he’s forged with Kori, something he needs to keep him sane.
It’s Roy who is the standout character this issue, using his intelligence and heart to track down his friend. While Jason wants to get away from his heartache, Roy embraces his own painful memories to forge ahead and find the All Caste’s Acres of All hideaway. And when he does reach the secret spot, and comes across Jason, there’s a new mystery to be solved.
If Gopez wants to especially please me, though – and why wouldn’t he? – he should alter Kori’s costume and quit with the ‘sexy’ postures. A few issues back Kori looked great in a skin-covering space suit, but now she’s back in barely more than boots and a couple of nipple pasties. It’s demeaning, and distracts from a great character. And yes, I realise Kori is at ease with her body – I followed her in the New Teen Titans from Day One – but there’s carefree and there’s offensively ridiculous, and here we’re well into embarrassingly juvenile territory; Kory is a princess and a superhero, not a Brazilian carnival transvestite. Cover her up.