Red Hood And The Outlaws #17 And More: Kyle’s Comic Reviews For 2/20/13

I read five books this week, and I’m greatly surprised by what turned out to be my favorite.

I picked up Red Hood and the Outlaws #17 (by Scott Lobdell, with art from Ardian Syaf, Robson Rocha, Ken Lashley and Wayne Faucher) on a whim despite the fact that I had previously decided to stop following the series, and ended up getting the book that maybe should’ve been billed as the actual conclusion to Batman’s “Death Of The Family” series.

Last week I complained that the official ending of the crossover event in Batman #17 came off a bit hollow, that everyone being ok, the Joker being gone and no one wanting to talk about it seemed like an empty finish. This issue is something of an epilogue, then, with Jason Todd actually talking to several members of the Bat Family and finally giving us a true vision of what the actual aftermath of the event may look like.

Damian Wayne plays an odd role in this book as something of a brooding teenager (more on him later), although he does sum up everything I don’t like about Arsenal’s look by asking him if he’s supposed to be “Redneck Man.” The third member of Red Hood’s team is Starfire, who is still dressed as a near-nude space slut, but at least now is being written as if she isn’t completely one-dimensional and emotionless.

All told, I’ll probably try to get over my issues with this series and pick up a couple of months to see where this goes. It’s the only thing I picked up this week that I’d classify as “must read.”

The crossover aftermath is also the big story in Nightwing #17 (written by Kyle Higgins with art from Juan Jose Ryp and Roger Bonet), where we see Dick Grayson struggling to come to grips with his crumbling life following the Joker’s assault on Haly’s Circus. This time we get another odd cameo from Damian Wayne as the voice of reason, and the one person who realizes Nightwing isn’t ok.

Let me detour for a moment from this conversation on Nightwing to say something about Damian Wayne. He makes a pair of appearances this week, once as a somewhat petulant child and once as the only one observant enough to spot the problem with Dick Grayson and prevent him from doing something regrettable. Not only do those two appearances seem to contradict each other, but they’re also both more substantial than his role in his own book from last week.

Getting back to Nightwing, though, the events in this issue have me seriously concerned about where this book is going. The storyline about resurrecting Haly’s Circus appears to have been cast aside, and this month’s “Channel 52″ pages (an awful idea, by the way) suggest Nightwing is leaving Gotham City for Chicago.  If they’re serious about removing Nightwing from Gotham (and presumably the Bat Family storylines), then I wonder how long this series can last as a stand-alone feature.

Elsewhere in books whose long-term direction I’m questioning, we have Birds of Prey #17 (by Duane Swierczynski, art by Romano Molenaar and Vicente Cifuentes), the latest installment in a series that could probably just be called “Black Canary and Friends.”

I picked up Volume 1 of this series a few months ago and loved it, back when the BoP team was:

  • Black Canary
  • Starling
  • Batgirl
  • Katana
  • Poison Ivy

The mix was a little weird, but their interactions were good and the story was compelling. Less than a year later, 40% of that original team is gone and Katana and Poison Ivy have been replaced by Strix, a Talon who does not speak, and Condor, a bizarre fit as a male character on what had been an all-female team.

And, for a variety of reasons, I’m just not invested in this current group.

  • Black Canary has been dealing with the same issue (inability to control her powers) for four issues now with no notable steps towards identifying the reason or fixing it.
  • I’ve read eleven of the 17 issues in this series and all I can tell you about Starling is that she wears a corset and “people” appear to be after her.
  • Batgirl is Batgirl, but she has her own series to do Batgirl things.
  • Condor was a villain in this series three issues ago, and seems completely out of place on this team.
  • Strix is a voiceless, faceless character.

When you combine a nondescript team with a storyline that doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get anywhere, you have a book I’m considering dumping from my pulls.

I’ve complained loudly about Green Lantern before, so I won’t burn too much space on the same complaints regarding Green Lantern #17 (written by Geoff Johns, art by Doug Mahnke et al). Suffice it to say my concerns about Hal Jordan being shelved in his own book remain in play as he’s a fringe character in this issue, but this time so is Simon Baz.

Finally, for the sake of nostalgia I ventured outside of my DC bubble and picked up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #19. One of the truly pleasant surprises of my adulthood is the fact that the TMNT still have some wide appeal decades after I loved the cartoon as a kid. It’s cool to pick up a comic and see fringe characters from the cartoon (whose action figures I have around here somewhere) back in action.

With that said, before I finished this book (which features the TMNT and the Neutrinos teaming up to fight Krang), my feeling went from nostalgic to “I’ve seen this before.” There’s nothing about this retelling of the story that compelled me to give it any more than a cursory glance again.

I also meant to pick up a copy of Justice League of America #1 this week, but didn’t reserve one and my comic shop sold out before I got there on Wednesday. I haven’t seen many reviews of the book yet, but the fact that so many people were interested (anecdotally at least) seems like good news to me.

On my pull list for next week: Justice League Dark #17 and The Flash #17.

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3 Responses to Red Hood And The Outlaws #17 And More: Kyle’s Comic Reviews For 2/20/13

  1. Ross says:

    Hey Kyle,
    I found this through your mention at Brew Crew Ball. Is TMNT #19 the first issue of the TMNT reboot under the nickelodeon/IDW comics? Were the 1987-1996 tv series and likely the 3 live action movies released during that span your only previous experience with the turtles? (They’re currently on their 4th tv series and the 5th movie is set to release in 2014 to coincide with the 30th anniversary) I only ask to see where you’re coming from in terms of your criticism of #19, which I won’t read until the Krang Wars tpb is available. (I own volumes 1-4, the 2 micro-series volumes, and I’m collecting the reissus of the original Mirage Comics)

    The new series is trying to pull characters from across the different continuities created as well as new characters (Old Hob, Alopex, Savate Ninjas) into one continuity. (Mirage still owns the right to publish 18 issues a year in their continuity) Characters like Krang, Rocksteady, Bebop, the Neutrinos, etc. didn’t exist in the official canon and the Shredder was killed off in the very first issue of the original comics, although he did return for a couple more issues before being killed off for good in the Return to New York story arc. Although it isn’t exactly what I would do in an Ultimate style turtle story, I’ve enjoyed what they’ve done with it and especially enjoy co-creator Kevin Eastman returning to the Turtles. His last Turtle story was the 4-part “Bodycount” story originally written in 1994 as a Raphael and Casey miniseries, cancelled after 1 issue, but published by Image in 1996.

    Through all my rambling, I guess my point is I’d recommend you check out the earlier tpb if you haven’t already.

    • kylelobner says:

      Hey Ross, thanks for the comment.

      #19 was my first venture into this TMNT series, but my experience with the brand includes:

      • Obviously, the 1980’s cartoon and the four movies. I’ve also caught at least some episodes (in some cases more than others) of all of the various cartoon reboots, including the current Nickelodeon version (which I’m actually really enjoying).
      • Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s I read the comics, but rarely on an every-issue basis. I was about 8 at the time and only got them when I a) spotted them in the grocery store (yeah, I had a grocery stole that sold comics) and b) was able to convince my parents to buy them. I still have the books around here somewhere, and specifically recall having both the Mirage and Archie versions.
      • Back in college (I think it was probably 2002-03 or so) I got into comics for a while again and picked up several issues of both the TMNT and Tales of the TMNT series.

      So I have some experience with and knowledge of the brand, but less than absolute.

      At any rate, I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the series, and if I get a chance I’ll take your advice and pick up some of the other issues. As I said in the post, knowing the Turtles are still around and relevant long after I watched them as a kid is a pleasant surprise of adulthood.

      • Ross says:

        I’m surprised your experience with TMNT is as much as it is considering your review. Not that I can say anything about the Krang War arc and issue #19 as I’m waiting until the trade comes out. I don’t know if I’d suggest individual issues over the trades because of the decompression of the story and all the little threads they open and close throughout it. It seems to be a really planned out universe they’re taking the reader through.

        Although the story does follow a lot of previous established stories and will likely have future stories that do the same, it’s done a nice job, in my opinion, of introducing different angles, new arrangement of events/relationships, or new/revised characters to create something new and recognizable at the same time. I’d say they’re definitely gearing up for a City at War arc with the different factions popping up in the story, and I have to believe they’ll tell the Exile to Northampton and the Return to New York arcs in some fashion as well.

        The one thing I’m curious in seeing how they’ll pull off is the introduction of the Triceratons as they’ve drastically changed parts of the original story that brought the Turtles in conflict with the Triceratons and the Federation. Krang is the only active Utrom in the series and Professor Honeycutt, aka the Fugitoid, is a Neutrino that brings the Shredder and the Foot into conflict with Krang. I’m also intrigued by the potential foreshadowing of the next mutation. (the movie concept, not the tv series) I say potential because we don’t know if they’ll actually go there and it won’t be for a good while if they do go there.

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