Could you talk about Red Hood/Arsenal? If you follow it.
I’ve been putting this off because, frankly, I enjoy pretending this comic doesn’t exist. It doesn’t sell well, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I look forward to the day it trickles off into non-existence, and until then I just turn away my head whenever I see it.
But, okay. Let’s talk about it.
I’m going to be really harsh on this comic here, so if you’re a fan of it and don’t want to handle that, I suggest moving on. If you’re hardcore in love with this title, I’m probably not going to change your mind about that, and I can promise you won’t change mine, so it’s best to just go on with our lives living in acceptance that we don’t agree.
Alright? Alright. Moving on.
I went into Red Hood/Arsenal expecting to be very annoyed by Jason’s portrayal. After all, I was annoyed with how Jason was written by Lobdell in Red Hood and the Outlaws. But as it turns out, I’m not overly bothered by Jason in RH/A. If anything I find him kind of bland, but not the worst writing he’s ever experienced.
No, the character that annoys me to Hell and back in this comic is Roy Harper.
I don’t know how it’s possible that I find a character who I have historically loved (still love) so. Goddamn. Annoying.
He’s an idiot (and just about everyone keeps telling him so, because it’s true) and he’s easily more useless than he’s ever been in his entire ~75 year existence.
I’m really trying to limit the number of panels I pull here, but there’s literally multiple instances of Roy being stupid, saying stupid things, or being called stupid in every single issue.
Now keep in mind that this is the man who, prior to Lobdell getting his hands on him, was:
- A founding member of the Titans
- A leader of the Outsiders
- A father
- A solo vigilante
Roy Harper was a fucking badass pre-52, and there was no reason to have to retcon a lot of that post-Flashpoint. Hell, a lot of it still stands as being “technically canon.” But Roy still acts like he can’t tie his own shoelaces without Jason there to pat his back.
I mean, take a look at this page at the very beginning of the first issue:
Are you seriously trying to tell me that Roy fucking Harper is jittery about working a solo mission? (By the way, he ends up needing Jason to save his ass here anyways)
Speaking of that first issue, I’ve bitched before about how Roy should have been the leader of the Outlaws, not Jason. Jason has no experience leading a team of equals, he’s younger and inexperienced, and has always been written as more volatile. Roy is a seasoned vigilante who has already “been there done that” with a lot of the issues Jason faces (being on bad terms with a father-figure billionaire vigilante and having to learn to grow and accept who you both are? Roy had that shit down years before Jason). He’s already been a leader, worked with the Titans, has a rapport with Starfire… I mean fucking hell, the only reason Jason was made “team leader” is because it was financially profitable to DC to push a Red Hood title while his popularity was peaked.
So it should come as no surprise that I’m still annoyed that Roy is treated like Jason’s sidekick so fucking much.
Annnnd that second panel leads me into my next point: pandering. This whole comic is a mess of JayRoy pandering.
Listen, I will be the first to admit I ship the fuck out of JayRoy. I shipped it before I’d even heard of Red Hood and the Outlaws. I wanted to like RHatO because I’d always wanted a Jason/Roy team up. But this comic is so obviously aimed at pandering to the “shippers,” and it’ shows in all the worst ways it could. I mean…
It’s like bad fanfiction, it really is. Someone please save these characters from Lobdell.
Now I’m going to backtrack a bit to Roy being an idiot… and constantly using Jason’s name (or “Jaybird,” to be exact. This comic has actually made me hate that nickname for him, congrats) in the field. What are secret identities anyways?
They’re outlaws whose real identities aren’t known even by the government, and yet Roy keeps using Jay’s name in the field as a means to reinforce what great “bros” they are. And seriously, this comic tries so hard to push “Jason and Roy are best friends.” It might very well be true within the scope of the n52, but you don’t need them to say it, and to “bro talk” each other every issue.
Also, Roy is a child. He cannot be left on his own, he cannot do hero work solo, and in addition to that: he can’t manage his finances. Roy literally empties his and Jay’s bank account at least twice in the span of 5 issues.
So Roy’s genius plan to make them more money (that he can blow without thought) is to advertise that they’re “vigilantes for hire” (which, btw, means they would not be vigilantes. That’s called a mercenary). He spends all of their money on ad campaigns for this without talking to Jason, because remember: Roy doesn’t know how to teamwork.
This combines my annoyance with DC’s need to push Jason as if he’s part of the batclan with Roy just being an overall moron. There is no world in which this would work. And, of course, it doesn’t. Making Roy look like he’s unable to make intelligent calls once again. The first (and only, thus far) job they get hired for, they get hired by a super villain (durr). The guy is clearly evil scum, outright kills a man in front of Roy and Jason, and so Jason shoots him to high hell.
And what’s Roy’s response to this? What does the man who has been a vigilante on the “right side” of justice far longer and more often than Jason?
“Jason! That evil guy was going to pay us to help him do evil things!!!”
What the actual fuck.
I don’t even recognize this character anymore. This whiny, useless, childish, greedy, irresponsible man is not Roy Harper. He’s not even the Roy Harper of RHatO. I find this character legitimately annoying. At this point, I have no plans to continue to read this comic post issue #5 because Roy Harper annoys me so much that I find it tiresome to read.
To sum up, I want to post just a few panels of Roy being… y’know… a well adjusted adult and a seasoned hero; as in: not written by Lobdell.
(Convergence: Titans #1)
(Green Arrow v3 #49)
(Outsiders v3 #1)
(Outsiders v3 #2)
Roy Harper is a damn fine character, probably one of my favorites in DC outside of the Batclan. It’s really quite painful to see the caricature character that exists in RH/A. But, like I said, that comic doesn’t sell well, and I’m glad for it. Maybe once Lobdell is finally removed from the title someone can give it a decent work over. Who knows.