While it most of the news relating to The Batman Universe was announced on Monday, many people are still wondering what will actually happen in some of the books announced. One of the surprises was that Jason Todd will in fact have an ongoing series and will be leading a team of vigilantes. Newsarama had a chance to talk with the writer of the newly announced series, Scott Lobdell. Here are the highlights from the interview.
Newsarama: What's the overall tone of this comic? Is it as dark as it sounds with the "outlaws" title and the presence of the Red Hood? Or is it more action or adventure oriented?
Scott Lobdell: I don't really think of it as dark… but when you have a once dead guy relying on guns, a former addict guy on arrows and a one-time prisoner of war woman who is essentially a nuclear reactor with pretty much one power setting… certainly a lot of violence will ensue.
Since he crawled out of that grave, however, Jason hasn't done much mentally get out of that pine box: he hasn't left that "dark place." I'm looking forward to seeing him interact with other people that have nothing to do with his quest for vengeance or trying to kill his way through the Gotham City Yellow Pages of Crime.
While Roy has had his issues with drug abuse in the past, he's at a place now where — for better or for worse — his "off switch" is off. He'll tell you what he's thinking with the same aim for the heart he uses for his arrows.
And Kori…? She survived intergalactic death camps and now lives on a world trying to help aliens who — as a race — often confuse and confound her. Certainly, if the situation was reversed, and I was living on Tamara, I don't think I'd ever really feel at home.
So yeah, there are dark elements to the story, but if Jason and Roy and Kori aren't moving ahead, aren't slogging through the crappy hands they've been dealt, aren't trying to forge a future for themselves, then that is what I would consider "a dark book." But that's not what's happening here.
Newsarama: How are you approaching Jason Todd as a character, particularly if you're trying to reach new readers?
Scott Lobdell: I'll say this: We all know Superman was rocketed to Earth as a child and Batman was orphaned by a thug and dedicated his life to fighting crime, but those (and most every other superhero in the world) have come much farther than their point of origin. Jason, however, seems to only ever think about or talk about his past and how it informs his present.
I am more interest in who Jason has become than who he was. I think there is only one reference to Batman or Gotham City in issue #1 and none at all in issue #2. Could you imagine if Superman referenced Jor El and Smallville every issue… or Batman said "Eat, Alfred? How can I eat when my parents were murdered in front of my eyes twenty years ago?!"
Old fans picking up Jason will have extra insight into the character, and new fans will feel like they are picking up the first issue of a series about a guy who has made some really poor life choices and is looking at ways to do things better — and the more they come to like the character they'll be driven to watch Judd's excellent animated DVD or seek out all the great Red Hood stories that have come before.
I'll say this: In the "old days" you could pick up the first issue of a comic and you felt like you were getting in on the ground floor. Too often, today it feels like, if you pick up an issue of Moon Bat 1, you're actually picking up the 133rd issue of Moon Bat's 30-year publishing history of canceled series and team book appearance and sporadic relaunches over the years—- and the first issue feels like the writer has ushered you to your seat during the third reel of the movie.
As a fan, I find it really off-putting. So my hope is that with Red Hood and the Outlaws number one, people will feel like they are being brought into the first issue of new series and be excited to stay around until issue #100.
Newsarama: It seems strange to have these characters together as a team.
Scott Lobdell: Strange? Really?
Newsarama: Yeah, a little. We've seen them each in such different settings recently. It's strange to think they'd be in a team book together now.
Scott Lobdell: I think maybe people look at the title and think it might sound like a "team book" — like Batman and the Outsiders. But it isn't a team book… it is the story of Jason Todd as the Red Hood and a handful of similarly damaged good people who wind up in each other's orbit. Sometimes you pick your friends, and sometimes they pick you… that seems more natural than strange.
For the entire interview, head over to Newsarama. Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 launches in September with the entire Batman Version 2.0.
Posted by Dustin Fritschel