Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Red Hood and the Outlaws

Go To

General Tropes

  • 8.8: The series' writer did not take well to criticism, even accusing a reviewer of bias during an interview, because the reviewer docked points for bad dialogue.
  • 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. Somehow getting to this point with no redemption arc or Heel Realization from his previous mass murdering activities.
    • Advertisement:
    • Reversed with The Outlaw, which sees a more murderous Jason.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Putting aside the quality of the writing, few would deny that this series offers plenty of this, thanks to the gratuitous shots of Starfire (and later Artemis), Jason and Roy. Kenneth Rocafort's tenure in the book in particular.
  • Broken Base:
    • For Volume 1
      • 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.
      • 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 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?
      • 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?
      • 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.
      • 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.
    • Advertisement:
    • For Volume 2
      • Reception towards the DC Rebirth series has been more mixed than the previous series: some think it's a genuine improvement, some say it to be only So Okay, It's Average and only comes off as favorable when compared to the low bar of the previous run, and others find that it has done nothing to improve its status as one of DC's worst ongoings.
      • Jason's promise of not killing to Bruce in Volume 2 disappointed those who expected the return of a more brutal Red Hood.
      • The Annual with Jason and Dick bonding has split a few fandoms. Some enjoyed seeing the brotherly relationship being played out. Some dislike that elements of Tim's backstory (mainly, him seeing the Flying Graysons as a child) were given to Jason. And then there are some who aren't fond of Jason having a positive relationship with any of the Batfamily due to Fandom Rivalry, especially towards Nightwing.
    • Advertisement:
    • For Volume 3
      • Fans are divided on this new direction, between those who like the idea of a Darker and Edgier Anti-Villain Jason, and those who find that the execution falls flat on its face and doesn't fix any of the problems of the previous runs.
      • Jason's involvement in Year of the Villain when he became a teacher is rife with this, with many wanting the kids gone and would rather only have Artemis and Bizarro on the team.
  • Cliché Storm: Both the New 52 and Rebirth series check off a number of cliches, including a bitter loner with daddy issues who eventually learns The Power of Friendship, a Stripperific warrior woman who is often drawn for Male Gaze, villains who frequently monologue about their motivations during the climax, and numerous The Chosen One references.
  • Creator Worship: Scott Lobdell has a vocal fanbase that is absolutely notorious for defending his writing at every turn, from attacking critics to blaming anyone else for writing missteps to even defending his sexual harassment actions.
  • 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 Dark Trinity version of the team plays with this trope, with the Outlaws playing the role of criminals to take down Gotham's underworld from the inside.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Lobdell's take on Killer Croc has become quite popular among fans by giving him a rarely seen depth.
    • Bizarro is well-liked for being an Iron Woobie with a heart of gold, even among readers who find the other two characters completely unlikeable. In fact, the reception of the series dropped sharply when Bizarro departed the book.
    • Cloud 9 is the most liked of all the metahumans Jason teaches for her cool design and plucky attitude.
  • Fandom Rivalry: It's a well-known running joke that fans of this particular series get extremely salty over the good critical and financial reception over Grayson and Nightwing.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Jason/Roy is a major ship, partly thanks to several Ho Yay moments between the two and partly due to Jason's lack of love interests, and partly due to the Relationship Writing Fumble of Roy and Kori.
    • As of Rebirth Jason/Artemis has quickly become the fan favorite, with Bizarro being their adopted son type.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • For Volume 1
      • Reactions to Starfire's characterization 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 characterization, 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.
    • For Volume 2
      • Batman believing that Jason would kill the mayor in the Rebirth issue makes zero sense, given that Jason is not known to kill innocent people, at least not intentionally. Although, taking into consideration the events that occurred in the previous seriesnote , 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 of 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.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!:
    • 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. Scott Lobdell's own hostile response to the criticism didn't help matters, either.
  • 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 an angstier pastiche of Dick Grayson, which was the original reason voters called in to kill him in the first place.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Eisners: A common sentiment among readers is that they're only reading for flashy action scenes, one which Scott Lobdell shares.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • 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, too little success (other than Roy).
    • Team Carrot-Top note 
    • Jason stole someone's costume again. note 
    • At one point Starfire is drawn with a rather emoticon looking facial expression. Tumblr exploded.
    • The anti-hero "Outlaw" outfit for Jason. The Internet made numerous comparisons to Mortal Kombat, Shredder, and Coldsteel the Hedgeheg.
  • Mis-blamed: Scott Lobdell's most die-hard fans are eager to blame editorial, or other writers, for writing missteps. However, multiple interviews confirm that Lobdell's Rebirth run (which was decently well-received in relation to his body of work as a whole) had its direction, the roster make-up, and even some of the creative decisions tightly controlled by editorial. Lobdell himself has admitted that he often doesn't bother planning story arcs in advance, or doing research on characters that he's writing.
  • Narm:
    • Scott Lobdell's writing style, which tends to consist of heaps of narration boxes and expository dialogue, often has describing their thoughts and feelings in explicit detail (which was the convention in the 80s/90s), rather than allow for the artwork to convey them instead.
    • Starfire's new costume (often described as "dental floss") is so ridiculous to many people that she's impossible to take seriously.
    • 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 during Volume 1(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. Furthermore, Bruce sharing burgers with Jason 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.
    • This ruined the cover for issue 21 in the Rebirth run, which features Red Hood pointing his gun at the Penguin's face while Cobblepot smugly blows smoke in his face. Most of the cover is very well drawn until you realize that Jason's hand looks like it's coming from his crotch.
    • Jason impaling someone with the American flag, and anally penetrating another man with a flare feels like Scott Lobdell was trying to make the book more "adult", but just comes across as cheap, cringe shock value.
  • 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.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy:
    • There is a lot of discussion regarding Scott Lobdell's history of sexual harassment, stalking, and racist comments, along with reports that senior staffers are told to keep him away from young female employees during company meetings. Adding further to the controversy are die-hard Red Hood fans who've harassed the women online for speaking out. The fact that Lobdell is friends with Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras (who is known for playing favorites and protecting sexual harassers) complicates this controversy further.
    • With a white male '90s Anti-Hero lead, a focus on action over story, an avoidance of political themes, and copious amounts of Male Gaze fanservice, Red Hood and the Outlaws has seen considerable support from an online harassment campaign that favors "style over substance" 90s comics and aggressively oppose diverse writers and characters (along with political themes) in the comics of today.
  • 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 occasionally 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. And Jaytemis for those who ship Jason and Artemis in the Rebirth relaunch.
  • The Scrappy: Nearly every starring character has been considered The Scrappy in one way or another.
    • Many don't like Red Hood as just another generic Unintentionally Unsympathetic "bad boy" anti-hero with Creator's Pet qualities, and preferred him as a tragic and nuanced Batman antagonist.
    • Roy has had years of character development and maturity (from being a father) stripped away in order to make him into an Adult Child that Jason has to babysit.
    • Many were critical that Lobdell had Starfire's bending over Roy and propositioning him for sex while lacking mental agency.
    • Wonder Woman fans hate that Artemis has been relegated to replacing Starfire as the token Ms. Fanservice and as an object of lust for Jason.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • For those who didn't hate the Rebirth run, the series took a sharp downward turn with #25, with Bizarro out of the picture, and Jason going solo as a '90s Anti-Hero.
    • The general consensus has been that Jason Todd is better off dead than continuing to be written by Scott Lobdell.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • For the Dark Trinity, Batman's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Jason feels like an unintended Take That, Scrappy! moment, given that Jason haphazardly shot Penguin in front of an audience with no thought or consideration, breaking his one promise to the father figure who raised him. Despite Scott Lobdell's attempts to portray Batman as an abusive father figure and an unrelenting Jerkass, Batman comes off as morally justified, considering that Jason has been long-established as a murderous psychopath with limited restraint.

     The New 52 
  • Author's Saving Throw: 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.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • 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.
  • Fetish Retardant: Spines don't bend that way!
  • 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.
  • One True Threesome: A consistent element found on fanart of the series, a trend that continues even after the team's separation.
  • 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.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • James Tynion IV's changes to the series status quo were heavily criticized and promptly swept under the rug after Lobdell's return to the book.
    • 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: 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.
  • 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.

     The Dark Trinity 
  • 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.
    • The "Smart Bizarro" arc ran for 12 issues at glacial pacing, to the detriment of Artemis and Jason's plotlines.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: While the DC Rebirth series has generally been received better than previous runs, it's still drawn criticism, resulting in fans harassing reviewers who didn't like it.
  • Ho Yay: The second Annual in which Jason and Roy team up again was dripping with this.
  • Les Yay: Between Artemis and her friend Akila, it's never shown or said if they were lovers but it is heavily implied.
  • So Okay, It's Average / Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The series relaunch in Rebirth has been hailed by some improvement over the New 52 launch.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Harvest, a villain from the New 52 widely despised for being an Invincible Villain with hazy motives and a generic personality, is unceremoniously found dead in one of his old bases in Issue #17 of the Rebirth series, having been murdered and crucified offscreen, and nobody is interested in looking further into his death. Given that Scott Lobdell created Harvest, this also counts as Self-Deprecating Humor.
  • What an Idiot!: Yes, Jason, shoot the Penguin on live TV. What could go wrong?

  • Die for Our Ship: Downplayed example. Isabel returning was not accepted by fans of Jason/Artemis, Jason/Starfire or any other ships.
  • Shocking Swerve: The reveal that Wingman is Willis Todd is this, considering all the foreshadowing that Solidary is supposed to be Willis Todd and even Ma Gunn is shown to recognize Solidary as the former.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Jason coming back to Gotham, taking over the Iceberg Lounge, becoming a Don and messing with Batman? It would have been a great Character Rerailment arc for Jason for those who like to see him return to his antagonistic ways if it wasn't quickly rushed. Albeit the Year of the Villain tie in may had something to do with it getting cut short.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • Jason's new outfit was really derided by fans as many feel like its a cheap copy to The Punisher or Sub Zero. While there are some who admit to liking the new outfit, nobody likes his new buzz haircut. It's kinda telling when Jason's old haircut was brought back after a few issues and various artists try his best to salvage the outfit to positive reviews.
    • Artemis's undercut likewise got the same reaction as Jason's buzz cut with many wishing she can grow back her hair really fast. Which she did in one chapter.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: