The first issue received highly negative reviews, with a wide list of criticisms which included (but was not limited to) the one-dimensional portrayal of Starfire, prompting readers to cry "social justice warrior". To this day, anyone speaking negatively about the series is accused of being a social justice warrior who has not read the book.
While the DC Rebirth series has generally been received better than previous runs, it's still drawn criticism, resulting fans leaving angry comments on negative reviews..
Arc Fatigue: Jason continues to be hung up on his death and resentful towards the Batfamily, bringing it up in every issue in the Rebirth series, even during Artemis's Day in the Limelight. It's even more jarring when compared to books he guest-stars in, where he's portrayed as having undergone progress.
Crux, who was originally intended to be the fourth member of the Outlaws, has a Heel–Face Turn near the end of the run which could be considered this.
Near the end of the first run Starfire was given two individual full-body suits, which was no doubt meant to pacify the fans who were upset that they took her Stripperrific costume Up to Eleven at the start of the series. However by the time these costumes first appeared it is far to late for most readers.
Awesome Art: Rocafort's run as penciler for the book, his backgrounds were breath-taking (when he bothered to draw backgrounds).
Badass Decay: Prior to the series, Jason was portrayed as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who planned ahead and was willing to kill to accomplish what he thought was necessary. In both the The New 52 and DC Rebirth series, Jason merely describes himself as a "bad guy", but actually spends most of his time angsting over having to follow Batman's rules.
Base Breaker: In the first run all three main characters have broken the fandom.
Some don't like Roy has had years of character development and maturity (from being a father) stripped away to in order to make him into One of the Boys that Jason has to babysit.
Even before the first issue came out she was this, as an ex-slave alien warrior princess seemed like an odd fit for a team where the only other characters are two Badass Normals. A lot of fans felt like fellow Badass Normal Rose Wilson/Ravager would have been a better fit, or Amazon Princess Donna Troy/Troia. The former because her character could have simply worked well to the story and her history isn't that complicated, and the latter because she has a personal relationship with the boys.
Best Known for the Fanservice: While the quality of the writing and characterization is questioned by readers, there are few who would deny that this series is not lacking in this, thanks to the gratuitous shots of Starfire.
To a much lesser extent the copious amounts of Female Gaze Jason and Roy (mostly Jason) tend to get now and then is somewhat well known.
The first issue was highly controversial and caused many fans to judge the series as unlikeable (Jason), shallow and sex obsessed (Starfire), amongst other terms. Some fans feel that the book has since fixed a few of these preconceptions. Others, however, still find the writing to be subpar.
The fact that the pre-Rebirth incarnation of the title and its sequel Red Hood Arsenal both deal with Jason becoming a less antagonistic figure and mending fences with the rest of the Batfamily: A interesting, welcome bit of character development that results in several heartwarming moments? A decent concept let down by bad writing and rushed development? Or an utter train-wreck that does nothing but make Jason a Karma Houdini and Creator's Pet?
Issue 18 gives closure to Jason's issues with Bruce and mends their relationship. Some liked this issue, finding it genuinely heartwarming and one of the better examples of Lobdell's writing. Others find Bruce's Easily Forgiven acceptance of Jason's lethal methods to be a cop-out, and a thinly-veiled excuse to include Jason in more Batfamily events.
The replacement of Roy and Joker's Daughter in favor of Artemis and Bizarro for DC Rebirth. Some think a change is sorely needed after years of Seasonal Rot, while others don't think that Scott Lobdell can effectively write those characters.
Reception towards the DC Rebirth series has been more mixed than the previous series: some think it's a genuine improvement, some are cautious and expect the series to Jump the Shark at any moment, some say it to be only So Okay, It's Average, and some find the writing to be just as poor as before.
There are heated discussions on Twitter regarding Jason's sexuality. Some argue that the character should be bisexual, due to numerous Ho Yay moments in this and previous Red Hood stories, while others insist having him be bi would be too big a departure from the character. And then there are others who say just having some Ho Yay moments doesn't equate to actual being attracted to the same-sex, and just consider the Ho Yay moments as fanservice.
Designated Hero: Many readers felt that the series' portrayals of Jason, Roy and Kori did not come across as heroic in any shape or form. Then again, they never identified themselves as heroes.
The issue 0 revealing that the Joker basically orchestrated Jason's becoming Robin and his death (as in even Jason finding his mom). Suffice to say, many don't like it, since the Joker comes off as a Villain Sue, and out of character, and outright ignore it. As of DC Rebirth, it is no longer canon.
Same said for Arsenal's new backstory of being a snotty child prodigy with a neglectful alcoholic dad.
Jason's interactions with the Batfamily are often ignored by most Batman fans, due to how out-of-character the others seem. Notably, this even applies to many fans that like Jason who feel that while the idea behind the series was promising, the execution was poorly handled, rushed and relied on telling instead of showing.
Starfire newest ongoing allows for fans to ignore her history with the boys.
Initial reactions to Starfire's characterisation in the first issue were extremely poor. She's depicted as a character only in the book to be an emotionless Ms. Fanservice with no apparent attachment to any of her former friends, and abruptly has sex with Roy for no real reason, whilst Jason also implies that he had slept with her as well, even making a joke about her breasts ("a pair of 38's") before she makes her initial appearance. Issue 6, which recounts how Starfire and Jason met, is an attempt to remedy Starfire's initial characterisation, which Retcons Jason's dialogue of being "with her" to mean that they had simply spent a night talking, with no sexual intimacy at all. It's also hinted that she may have been faking her memory problems all along, although the first issue has her explicitly narrating to herself about her inability to tell humans apart.
Batman believing that Jason would kill the mayor in the Rebirth makes zero sense, given that Jason is not known to kill innocent people, at least not intentionally. Although, taking into consideration the events that occurredin the previous seriesnote Wherein Jason murders the Iron Fist during a livestream to save Roy., Batman probably assumed the worst: that Jason had gone off-kilter again. It doesn't help that Jason didn't tell him of his real plan (curing the mayor from a techno-organic virus), which probably added to Batman's paranoia. The constant distrust Batman unwittingly casts towards Jason is also one of the themes explored going into the series.
Black Mask isn't bothered by Jason refusing to kill (despite the fact that he was shown shooting the mayor in public), and makes him the heir to his crime empire after a few minutes of conversation. Either he's carrying a major Villain Ball, or he's baiting Jason hard, in which case the latter would be carrying an even bigger Idiot Ball.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In the old 52 there was an AU sometimes called the Kingdom-verse that occasionally crossed over with the then mainstream continuity. In the Kindom-verse we were introduced to an older version of Lian (Roy's daughter from the old continuity) who went by the alias Red Hood. Note: This was long before Roy and Jason interacted much if at all.
This could also count as Heartwarming in Hindsight as well. If Lian is ever born in this continuity it's entirely possible that Jason, who is now teamed up with her father, will be a prominent figure in her life and would actually give her a reason to take up the name.
Many readers note that Jason comes across as an Unintentionally Unsympathetic "hero" who is often written like a angstier pastiche of Dick Grayson, which was the original reason voters called in to kill him in the first place.
Scott Lobdell's tendency to litter pages with dozens of exposition boxes describing in detail the characters' backgrounds, actions, and feelings in explicit detail is often mocked.
The various impossible and/or "sexy" poses Star does in the first issue are often parodied by replacing her with male characters doing the same poses. See here for an example.
Jason attempting to "steal" all of Nightwing's red-heads, to little success (other than Roy).
Team Carrot-Topnote In some continuities Jason is Strawberry-Blonde with dyed black hair. This makes it and entire team of red-heads.
Jason stole someone's costume again.note The suit Jason wears is actually one of Nightwing's old suits. Add the fact that in the previous continuity Jason had a tendency to take other peoples suits and...
At one point Starfire is drawn with a rather emoticon looking facial expression. Tumblr exploaded.
Mis-blamed: Fans of this series often pin the blame for poor reviews and sales on James Tynion and "social justice warriors", even though most of the criticisms and grievances of the series were originally directed towards Scott Lobdell's writing.
Roy's face sometimes falls under this, as it'll very randomly be drawn hyper-realistically in the worst way possible.
Jason's helmets tend to break a lot. Makes you wonder why he even wears it. The level of detail it's given in the artwork (to the point of having lips) is often mocked as well.
In the Rebirth issue, Batman taking a young and hungry Jason out for burgers goes quickly from heartwarming to silly, as he immediately begins training him as a Child Soldier.
Bruce sharing burgers with Jason at the end of the first arc is sweet and all... then you see that, apparently, wherever he buys from doesn't wrap their burgers. In anything. Does the artist not know how burgers are bought? It doesn't help that Bruce just eats the thing without taking off his gloves or anything.
Never Live It Down: The infamous first issue turned many people off from the series and years later is still one of the first things to surface anytime this book is talked about. Whether or not it has recovered since then is a point of debate, though sales and critical reception has not been kind, and even readers who enjoyed the first issue have been turned away by recent issues.
No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: The controversy over Starfire's portrayal in the first issue generated a lot of online discussion for a book that would most likely have been forgotten otherwise in the wave of New 52 #1s, which most likely helped the book avoid cancellation until Convergence, despite poor reviews. It drew quite a bit of attention from readers who opposed the feminist leanings of many comic journalists, while creating a straw man against anyone who gave the book poor reviews. In contrast, the sequel series Red Hood Arsenal and the DC Rebirth series have been relatively uncontroversial, and have seen diminishing returns on sales numbers.
One True Threesome: Part of what was the first wave of fanart for the series. After the title had ONLY been announced.
And after issue one, in which Starfire has sex with Roy, and Jason states he'd "been with" her. Issue six later reveals this to have been spending the entire night talking with her.
Pandering to the Base: The so-called "assassin training" with All-Caste seems to add more to "who would win" arguments on Internet forums than the book itself. It's part of the reason why Jason is frequently labeled a Creator's Pet.
Portmanteau Couple Name: Joyfire for when all three are being shipped. Redfire is ocassionally used for the Jason/Kori only ship, meanwhile Joy gets used for the Jason/Roy only ship. Roy/Starfire doesn't really have an official one but you'll occasionally see Royfire, and less commonly Arrowfire or Arrow-Star.
Jaytemis for those who ship Jason and Artemis in the Rebirth relaunch.
Relationship Writing Fumble / Romantic Plot Tumor: General consensus on the Roy and Starfire relationship is that it's forced and feels like an obvious response to the criticism of the series' early portrayal of Starfire as a nympho without agency. At the same time, the nature of the Questionable Consent of their first meeting is why many criticize the relationship in the first place.
So Bad, It's Good: Much of the dialogue falls into this category, especially in the Rebirth series, with lines like "you're like 50 shades of grating" achieving Memetic Mutation thanks to its Narm.
James Tynion IV's run made a number of changes to the status quo.
Roy Harper's new backstory. Many fans were unhappy that his Navajo upbringing was made a minor element on Roy's characterization and that his birth father was retconned from a forest ranger who died in a fire when Roy was three to a neglectful alcoholic that died much later.
The fact the all three main characters are In-Name-Only, and seem to be the polar opposites of what made them well-loved in the first place.
Unfortunate Implications: One of the biggest causes of Internet Backdraft was Kori's line in the first issue where she says that she doesn't remember anything about her time on Earth, which many readers took to mean that she has the memory of a goldfish and made the idea that she could consent pretty dubious. Later on it's shown that she was faking it, but even that doesn't come across as mentally healthy. Add to that the fact that Roy thought she really was amnesiac at the time and still had sex with her and he doesn't come out looking good either. In general, Starfire's character, especially the way her non-emotional promiscuity has been depicted. There are ways to portray a tired, lonely, emotionally defeated young woman seeking comfort through anonymous hookups, and this is not one of them. Her portrayal as an object of male fantasy is further discussed here. Keep in mind that this is the first issue, and thus her Establishing Character Moment, which is what Scott Lobdell expects readers to think of her.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Many readers fail to find Jason (and to a lesser extent, Roy) sympathetic, due to Jason being something of a Karma Houdini, who openly references the times he tried to kill members of the Batfamily.
Win Back the Crowd: Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth, the series' follow-up to the company-wide relaunch, was met with a warmer reception than the first series' #1. While fans are still exhibiting cold feet regarding Lobdell's involvement with the series, many are happy about numerous elements from the single issue, such as Jason's old origin story being restored, or badly written elements, such as the characterizations of Roy and Starfire, being removed. While it's still early, some are calling the second series a Surprisingly Improved Sequel.
The Woobie: Jason, on top of being killed and resurrected, had such an awful childhood that he considers his birth as the happiest day of his life.
According to his happiest memory, even after all that happened, he still considers his time as Robin the best time of his life.
Roy's a recovering alcoholic, and at one point notes that he only has two friends. His happiest memory is Killer Croc refusing to kill him when he was trying to commit suicide by Croc. That isn't even starting on his trust issues.