Previously on Red Hood and the Outlaws: Covering Issues #1-#7
Roy Harper (Arsenal) is about to be executed in the nation of Qurac when Jason Todd (Red Hood) sneaks in and breaks him out, while Jason's ally, Kori (Starfire), provides cover. While celebrating Roy's break out on a beach, Kori takes Roy to bed and Jason is contacted by an ex-girlfriend, a woman named Essence. The All Castes, the ancient sect that helped train Jason to be an assassin, are in danger. Jason, Roy, and Kori head to the Himalayas, killing gangsters and arguing about Kori's sexual appetite along the way. They find the All Castes dead and reanimated by their millenia old opponents, the Untitled. The group fights their way out and goes to S'aru the Proctor, a four-millenia-old being with access to the Chamber of All, a place where Jason can find answers as to what happened to the All Castes. S'aru holds on to the team's most precious memories while they brave the Chamber. S'aru takes a peek at each of their memories for his own amusement: Kori's is of killing one of the guards when she was a slave, Roy's is of fighting Killer Croc and being spared and, ultimately, saved by him, and Jason's is of being sidelined by Batman due to the flu, but the Dark Knight ends up taking a night off and spending it with Jason, instead.
Inside the Chamber, the team avoids several traps and Starfire lays low a giant monster. For their efforts, the team finds a clue, a snowglobe from Colorado. The Outlaws retrieve their memories and head to the U.S. A bar fight leads to Roy and Jason getting arrested, but their captor is none other than one of the Untitled, which Roy promptly fills with arrows. Kori is in a position to provide backup but is assaulted by a being calling itself Crux, a man who lost his parents due to an alien spacecraft and now wages war on aliens on Earth, even going as far as to genetically modify himself into a dragon-thing. He strips Kori of her powers using a Tamaranean device, but Roy comes to her aid at the last minute, holding off Crux long enough for Kori's powers to return and take Crux out.
Meanwhile, the Untitled gets back up and fights Jason, who uses a set of blades made by the All Castes to fight the Untitled and kill her. As she dies, her body returns to its human form, and a bunch of bystanders see Jason standing over top of her with blood-stained swords. The mob chases the gang out of town, and they use Crux's rebuilt alien ship as a getaway vehicle. While aboard, Essence comes back to Jason and he realizes she is in fact one of the Untitled herself. The Outlaws fight Essence with Jason, eventually taking her out using one of Crux's stolen alien guns.
Lobdell Tries, He Really Does: At best, Red Hood is a mediocre comic. Nothing about it wowed me and a lot about it frustrated me; however, Lobdell does make an effort in later issues to make up for the controversial first issue. Issue #6 has several great backpedals regarding Starfire, proving that she does have a brain, remembers Dick Grayson fondly, and that she and Jason never slept together.
Portrayal of Women: Starfire: We've all heard about the Starfire controversy, and yes, it is that bad. While Lobdell backs off on Starfire's sexual exploits, Jason and Roy use her as an upsetting element in their bromance at best and ignore her completely at worst. Seriously, the boys never heed Starfire's advice, even when it could have saved them a world of hurt, and the only time they notably pay attention to her is when she is taking off her clothes or in need of saving.
Portrayal of Women: In General: Excepting the old woman Ducra, every women introduced in the series to date is either connected to Jason by sex, such as Essence and Isabel the flight attendant, or horribly grotesque, like Susie Su, and, thus, only worthy of killing as far as Jason is concerned. Even the Untitled police officer is placed into highly sexualized poses before Roy rips her face apart. She only becomes a threat when she can no longer be identified as female.
Immaturity: The dialogue in Red Hood is terrible. Every character sounds like an eight year old. Everyone makes stupid jokes either by twisting spellings of words to try to be cute, uses the word “butt” far more frequently than you'd think you'd need to, and the male characters often talk of their sexual exploits. Even the editor's comments got on my nerves with its frequent (2-3 times an issue) reminders of “This happened last issue” and even at one point “You have read the last four issues, haven't you?” Yes, Bob, I've read the other issues and know what's going on, and I regret having spent the time on them.
All Castes: We know that there are nine Untitled, but does Jason have any other allies besides Roy and Kori? If the Untitled are split up across the globe, it would have made sense for the All Castes to do the same. If nothing else, more flashbacks of Jason's training would be a great way to learn more about this group. You can't go wrong with more Ducra.
Growing Up: An effort has been made to improve the quality of Red Hood and the Outlaws, making adjustments to the characters to try to overcome the sexism and immaturity found in earlier issues. Issues #6 and #7 aren't must reads, but they weren't offensive and tried to make up for some of the problems in earlier issues. If Lobdell can keep putting an effort into adjusting the feel of the story, then Red Hood and the Outlaws may have a chance of becoming a comic worth reading.