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Red Hood and the Outlaws, Volume 4 by James Tynion IV

Arsenal and Starfire return to save their friend Jason (Red Hood) from erasing his memories and forgetting who he is – at the worst possible time.

Title: Red Hood and the Outlaws, Volume 4: League of Assasins
Author:  James Tynion IV (Writer), Julius M. Gopez (Illustrations), Ray McCarthy (Illustrator)
Publish Date:  June 17, 2014
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Publisher’s Description:  A new era begins for Red Hood and the Outlaws!
Following the Joker’s horrifying attack on the Bat-family, Jason Todd finds himself lost in his own past. Kori and Arsenal set out on a treacherous journey to the far reaches of the globe to rescue him, but when they come face to face with the All Caste, Hugo Strange, and the League of Assassins, the Outlaws might reach their breaking point.

 

 

 

 


Kat Mandu says…

Arsenal and Starfire return to save their friend Jason (Red Hood) from erasing his memories and forgetting who he is – at the worst possible time.

At the end of Death of the Family, Jason is fed up with the demons in his head telling him what he can and can’t be. He wants to forget all the wrong he’s done, all the people he’s hurt. He doesn’t want to feel anymore pain himself. So he rids himself of his memories just as Starfire and Arsenal show up to try to stop him.

But they’re not the only ones who are trying to get the Red Hood. The League of Assassins are searching for Jason, because with their leader vanished, someone needs to step in and if they’re able to show Jason the darkness in his heart, he’ll be able to lead them into a very terrifying victory against the Al Caste, which is the formidable group that trained Jason in the first place.

Overall, this really focuses on friendship as an arc. Arsenal and Starfire have their first lovers’ quarrel. Starfire hides that she can so easily forget someone (like her relationship with Nightwing, the original Robin) and Arsenal, plagued by feelings of disappointment and anger, sinks in lower by choosing the wrong side in a fight, despite Starfire’s protests. And poor Jason, without his memory, is targeted by assassins across the globe, left slightly defenseless without the memory of his training and history.

But *spoiler alert* Arsenal manages to get Jason back in the groove by being a friend, and in the end Jason ends up even more powerful than how he started. Plus he has a glowing blade, so that’s nice. Now the three are back together and facing off against a threat poor Arsenal didn’t see coming. I imagine it’ll be quite the fight, so I’m eager to see what happens in the next one.

To wrap up the fourth installment though, I’ll admit again that as much as I enjoy the story, sometimes it is just hard to follow. I enjoy comic books a lot, the artwork is always done so beautifully. But sometimes it’s just easier for me to read regular books. I tend to understand their flow and detailed descriptions better. And I catch on faster. But still, I give it a four.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws, Volume 3 by Scott Lobdell

Death of the Family is quick to the punches as the Joker returns to set fire to Gotham and the Bat Family legacy.

Title: Red Hood and the Outlaws, Volume 3: Death of the Family
Author: Scott Lobdell (Writer), Fabian Nicieza (Writer), Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Timothy Green II (Illustrator), Pasqual Ferry (Illustrator), Brett Booth (Illustrator), Ig Guara (Illustrator), Wayne Faucher (Illustrator), Norm Rapmund (Illustrator), Greg Capullo (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator), Ardian Syaf (Illustrator), Robson Rocha (Illustrator), Ken Lashley (Illustrator), Julio Ferreira (Illustrator), Jaime Mendoza (Illustrator), Le Beau L. Underwood (Illustrator), Tyler Kirkham (Illustrator)
Series: Red Hood and the Outlaws #3
Publish Date:  December 3, 2013
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Publisher’s Description:  As if Batman’s former sidekick Jason Todd, now known as the Red Hood, didn’t have enough problems leading the team of outlaws such as Arsenal and Starfire, now his “estranged” brother Red Robin is knocking on his door because The Night of Owls is here! With Batman in dire need of help, will Red Hood answer the call?

And when Jason and the team find out that Starfire is one of the most feared (and dangerous) commanders in all of space, the team will find their adventures taken to the stars and beyond to help decide the fate of the throne of Tamaran. Witness the galactic struggle between Starfire and her sister Blackfire as Red Hood and the Outlaws are caught in the middle of an interstellar war!


Kat Mandu says…

Death of the Family is quick to the punches as the Joker returns to set fire to Gotham and the Bat Family legacy. Jason Todd aka Red Hood is caught in the crossfire again between his former mentor and his own psychotic murderer.

And although Jason is one of the Joker’s favorite creations, and therefore one he enjoys torturing the most, Jason finds he’s not the only chew toy this time around. The Joker has kidnapped all the former and current Robins, plus Batgirl. And Batman! Because it’s his birthday and the Joker gives no shits.

The Joker has a sick game for Batman planned – and he’ll stop at nothing to win. Which means the Bat Family have to team up and face down their demons to turn the tables… and make it out alive.

Intermingled with this story is the perspective of both Starfire and Arsenal as they hop into the fight in an attempt to save their best friend. They team up with the Teen Titans to help stop the spread of The Joker’s madness within Gotham and save a lot of people along the way.

What I like: the intensity of this story arc is phenomenal. One trap laid after another. Suspenseful and engaging. Red Hood is my favorite DC character and he continues to be full of surprises. I’m very eager to see where this goes in the fourth installment.

Arsenal and Starfire are the best, with fierce friendship skills and awesome one liners.

What I didn’t like: It’s one thing to be able to immerse yourself into a comic book world. But the Death of the Family arc spans about twelve different stories, just told by several different characters. So it’s hard to jump into the series and still understand everything that’s going on. I found this book to be jumpy and choppy, with unnecessary fillers.

And sadly, as much as I adore Starfire and Arsenal for being goofy and formidable, their story arc distracts from the story too much, only adding to the chaos. This comic could have done with a bit more editing to help with the flow.

Overall though, it’s an enjoyable read.

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Red Hood & The Outlaws, Volume 2 by Scott Lobdell

DC Universe and comic book fans will love this intergalactic story that features Red Hood, Arsenal, and Starfire as they venture across the universe to save it.

Title: Red Hood and the Outlaws, Volume 2: The Starfire
Author: Scott Lobdell (Writer), Kenneth Rocafort (Illustrator), Timothy Green II (Illustrator), Pascal Alixe (Illustrator), Ario Anindito (Illustrator)
Series: Red Hood and the Outlaws #2
Publish Date:  July 2, 2013
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Publisher’s Description:  As if Batman’s former sidekick Jason Todd, now known as the Red Hood, didn’t have enough problems leading the team of outlaws such as Arsenal and Starfire, now his “estranged” brother Red Robin is knocking on his door because The Night of Owls is here! With Batman in dire need of help, will Red Hood answer the call?

And when Jason and the team find out that Starfire is one of the most feared (and dangerous) commanders in all of space, the team will find their adventures taken to the stars and beyond to help decide the fate of the throne of Tamaran. Witness the galactic struggle between Starfire and her sister Blackfire as Red Hood and the Outlaws are caught in the middle of an interstellar war!


Kat Mandu says…

DC Universe and comic book fans will love this intergalactic story that features Red Hood, Arsenal, and Starfire as they venture across the universe to save it.

I love that these comic books feature side stories from all the characters. In this installment, you’re able to get a glimpse of Kori (aka Starfire) and her origins. She’s an alien who was sold by her princess sister, Blackfire, to a group of slavers in hopes that they might make peace. Instead, she was abused and tortured through a lot of it. In the comics, she’s somewhat rescued by a rag tag team of alien prisoners and after everything she’s been through, she leaves that prison behind in the dust. Quite literally. But along the way she has discovered confidence, forgiveness, and power.

Arsenal and Red Hood are dealing with their own issues. Arsenal still has ghosts about the way things fell out between him and Green Arrow, while Red Hood fights to maintain peace in Gotham against the Night Owls. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Red Hood has always toed that anti-hero line, and now he’s got to figure out if stepping in to help his former friend, Red Robin (Tim Drake) and mentor (Batman) or if letting the Night Owls take out the criminals is what Gotham needs.

As much as I was a fan of the story, it jumped around a lot and Starfire’s story was the hardest to understand. Certain frames were harder for me to follow in a lot of scenes, so I had to go back and reread a ton.

Plus, I LOVED the artwork of the first book so much that I was really sad that it changed so drastically in this one. Starfire always looks great. She’s beautiful and powerful and dangerous and that artwork really comes through for her. But Jason and Arsenal don’t get justice I feel like. Jason just magically has a spacesuit that he carries with him at all times??? I know that he’s a very prepared guy, but I think even that takes it too extreme.

Anyway, this is a great book. Eager for the next one since this leaves you hanging at the end.

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Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes by Kyle Higgins

It’s a long convoluted story how DC started over and relaunched 52 titles, this being one of them. I won’t claim to understand it. I was drawn to it because it was starting over, with issue number one, and going forward. I knew that Dick Grayson, the original Robin, had moved on to being Nightwing decades ago. I hadn’t read a title until now.

Title: Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes
Author: Kyle Higgins and illustrators
Series: Nightwing (2011)
Publish Date: October 1st, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: graphic novel, superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Eddy Barrows (SUPERMAN)!

Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, makes a stop on its tour in Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery, and superhuman evil. To uncover more clues as to why a mysterious assassin is targetting him, Nightwing joins the circus’s tour. But as Dick becomes reacquainted with the big top he once called home, he learns there are darker secrets to be discovered.

Collects NIGHTWING #1-7.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

This blew me away.  It was just that good.  It moves things forward in Dick’s life while taking a step back and looking at his past, where he came from, and those he left behind. It starts with a murder, and soon Dick finds that he has inherited the circus where his parents worked. While trying to figure out that murder, it turns out there is more going on than he thought.

The circus was more than a traveling entertainment venue. It has hidden secrets for over a century! And as Dick Grayson digs deeper, it brings up memories and forces him to look at things in a new way.

This was a great story that could only work with Nightwing and how it dealt with his past. It felt like a mystery for him and served the story well. The art was clean and there are some good appearances by others that fit without overshadowing Dick’s own story.

I highly recommend this. 5 stars

Other New 52 reviews…

I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino

Another title of the new 52, a reboot of sorts from DC.  However, don’t ask me to explain all of the things DC has done in the past twenty years, with three different storylines, as I don’t think I can explain it.

Title: I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love
Author: Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino (illus)
Series: I, Vampire
Publish Date: October 9th, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: graphic novel, superhero, horror
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, I, Vampire is reborn in this new ongoing series!

For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU! Their past behind them, they find themselves ready to battle to the death…but only if those feelings really are all gone. Knowing the difficult battle before him, Andrew will have to work with John Constantine and Gotham’s Dark Knight, Batman!

Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino mix the world horror with super-heroes in one of DC Comics’ most exciting new series!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

In this collection, it really is a story of Tainted Love. Andrew Bennett made a vampire out of Mary, but while he isn’t a killer and feeds to live, Mary took to being a vampire like breathing. And she reveled in it—in the hunt, the kills, the feeding—to a level Andrew doesn’t like. Now, some of this is in the flashbacks, and I get the sense that maybe the two of them traveled well together, but she slowly embraced the violence more than Andrew. I don’t understand why he didn’t act on this sooner.

For me, that was the tip of the proverbial iceberg of issues I had with this story. Andrew knows what Mary has become . . . so leaves her for decades and only reappears when she might give away that they exist. I don’t get that. In a world of aliens, caped crusaders, and powered people, who would blink at vampires? And wouldn’t it be better to let the general populace know about them? When several other DC heroes are brought into the story, I don’t understand why vampires aren’t made public. Further, having waited so long, now she has created so many, it’s not easy for Andrew to just get to her. He created a problem and is trying to deal with it, but it’s all too forced.

Not knowing anything about vampires in the DC universe, their powers made no sense to me. It’s as if they have any power ever mentioned by any source. Turning to mist, strength, speed, senses, shapeshifting into animals, even flying just seems to happen as needed for the plot, which doesn’t work for me. Then there is a twist at the end with a big reveal, but again, with no foreshadowing, it all fell flat.

Finally, the art was not good. There were times where it didn’t direct me in the correct direction to read, which didn’t help. I should have gone across both pages but read down one because it wasn’t obvious which way to go.

The only reason I am giving this a two instead of a one is that there are some good moments and some standout art. However, it was a close thing. Further, I don’t even see how this story could have been improved. It was too cliche.

Other New 52 reviews:

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