Thursday, October 27, 2011

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (or: where I mostly rant about how they screwed up Starfire)

I was debating whether or not I should write about Red Hood and the Outlaws. It seems that everyone who has even remotely glanced at a comic book has already talked about it at length. So what is there to say that hasn't already been said? Well, for starters, how's about my own two cents on what I thought of the first issue...

When this issue was released I had the chance to read it before I saw any reviews or read any of the controversy floating around about Starfire's portrayal. I went into the book with an open mind. I like Jason Todd's character as the Red Hood and I had a small appreciation for Starfire; I always thought she was fun and sexy. And Speedy? Well, lets just say The Rise of Arsenal didn't exactly help shape a good opinion of what I thought of him. But overall I thought the team-up of these three characters was interesting enough to give it a chance. Besides, I wanted to learn more about them. And boy did I ever.

The story opens up with Jason Todd rescuing Roy Harper (Speedy) from a prison in Qurac (a fictional country in the DC universe), whereupon they escape with the help of Starfire.

And here's my first problem with this issue. It's the dialogue between Jason and Roy that seems so, fratboy'ish. They talk about Starfire the way teenage boys would talk about a cheerleader. It seems wrong to me and out of character.

After the rescue they retreat to an island paradise, which brings the perfect opportunity for the artist to show off Starfire's assets...

Starfire goes on about how she feels unwanted on earth and how her only two companions are Jason and Roy. Who, according to her inner monologue, she can't even tell apart. I'll get back to this later.

But enough with the summary, lets get to the money shot of this issue shall we?

It's here, later in the issue, out of the blue, where Starfire suddenly wants to sleep with Roy; asking him point black, if he wanted to have sex with her. Roy being surprised (just as I was) asks Starfire if she was Jason's girl, to which she replies "I'm free to do what I want when I want." And of course, she goes on to explain that "love has nothing to do" with having sex with a Tamaranean.

This made me pretty darn unhappy and I'm not even the biggest Starfire fan! I have no problems with popular female characters being sexy or even yes, having the urge to have sex if they want to. It's just the way this issue went about it is just inexplicable to me. Starfire, as I know, is a sweet caring woman, who's not afraid of her emotions. In fact she embraces love and sexuality.

So why in Red Hood and the Outlaws does she come off as cold and completely devoid of any real character?

I think the writer wanted to show Starfire as a strong independent woman who had free range to do whatever she wanted (almost literally in this case), and by doing so he made a very big mistake by assuming that "sleeping with any guy you please" equals "female empowerment." Imagine if you will, for just a moment, if Starfire were a man who slept around with any woman he pleased. It wouldn't make him cool or that much more interesting. It would just make him shallow. And that's, unfortunately, how Starfire comes off in the book: not slutty or whore-ish, as some folks have commented online, but shallow.

This was just a bad issue. It was a poor rendition of each character with the exception of Roy Harper. His character was actually an improvement compared to his character in Rise of Arsenal, but I must admit he still came off a little annoying at times.

I hope in the grand scheme of things, Starfire's character will be expanded upon and much more fleshed out. But until I hear otherwise, I won't be reading any further issues.

Keep swimming,


  1. remember seeing a picture on 4chan of basically the same comic except the characters were drawn to look like if they were back in the Teen Titans cartoon; and the dialogue was more light hearted and kiddish.

    But it was 1000 times more fun looking than the real deal. But I guess we can say one good thing came out of this; your awesome drawing, Glass.

  2. I've never been a fan of Jason Todd as a hero, or even an anti-hero, so building a team around him had me scratching my head before the issue even came out.

    However, I WAS a big fan of Stafire, and also Roy Harper (prior to Rise of Arsenal, of course). Some of my favorite DC comics just a few years ago were Teen Titans and the Outsiders, so I was really into these characters. Starfire especially became more interesting to me during her time with Animal Man and his family. But this? Bleh. Even if these were completely new characters (which they basically are), they're still uninteresting and unlikeable.

  3. Maybe she'll turn out to be a skrull.

    Though I do like seeing you draw starfire. :3

  4. @Squall lee
    That Teen Titan picture you described sounds funny. It would've been interesting to see that scene in the TT cartoon style.

    I heard good things about Starfire, Animal Man, and Adam Strange during the 52 event. I might have to track those issues down and give it a read.

    @Ome Quicksilver
    If Starfire was a part of the Marvel universe I would've believed she was a skrull too.

  5. @Glassfish
    I would highly advise you to read all of the 52 event, it was fantastic.

  6. This issue of a cold and uncaring Starfire has been getting tons of comment, which I'm afraid will only encourage them in this nonsense. I can't say I'm a fan of the 52 since it looks like another stunt to me. But I'm a grouch...

  7. Busty heroines are incredible!

  8. This series actually had some good moments in it, as well as a ton of issues but in the end it was one of my favorite comics in the new 52. Their futures end comic was excellent.

    1. I did give it chance after I wrote this article way back when and I do agree it has it moments. But I really didn't like the characterization and dropped the book not long after.

      But it's good that it's one of your favorites of the new52! It may not have been my cup of tea but I know there are a lot of fans who enjoyed the series.