DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
I’m still not sure what’s more startling to me—that Scott Lobdell is writing three monthly superhero books in the year 2011—all selling, as of October, above the 50,000-unit mark, no less—or that he actually managed to kick off a wave of indignation with one of them.
Because, if there’s one thing I’m absolutely clear on here, it’s that the contents of the books are of no surprise whatsoever. Mr. Lobdell is mostly known for wild, sloppy, often brainless make-it-up-as-you-go action comics with kinetic, often stylish artwork. And this, pretty much, is what Lobdell and artist Kenneth Rocafort deliver in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
The scenes that caused an uproar here are the ones involving Starfire, a fan-favorite female character created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez in 1980 for their Teen Titans revamp. In Lobdell’s story, Starfire appears to be amnesiac and, much to the joy of her two male buddies Jason Todd and Roy Harper, likes to stick her breasts and buttocks in the camera and have casual sex with with men. In short, Lobdell and Rocafort revamp her as every socially awkward 12-year-old superhero fanboy’s wettest fever dream.
It’s dumb as a post, of course, and its chances of appealing to your below-the-belt pleasure centers gravitate towards nil if you like your fantasies to look and behave remotely like real people. But that said, it’s pretty tame stuff, and if something like this is enough to quicken your pulse, then please steer well clear of, say, the first six issues of J. Scott Campbell’s Gen13 series from 1994 or so—they will surely kill you.
Apart from the Starfire business, the book consists of some foreshadowing and subplots and, thankfully, a lot of dumb action told in big, flashy pictures courtesy of Mr. Rocafort’s crisp and attractive-looking style.
As a “buddy book,” Red Hood fails, because there isn’t much to distinguish the two male protagonists—and because the female protagonist is an amnesiac cypher whose primary function in the book is to get her “buddies” laid. But, ultimately, it’s just a dumb, sloppily-written superhero comic with a lot of dumb, fun-looking action sequences and some dumb clichés. It’s no more offensive than Top Gun.