New RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS Team Wants 'Fun Adventure Book'
In preparation for April solicitations, DC has announced that Red Hood and the Outlaws gets a new creative team with issue #19.
The new writer will be Talon and Batman back-up writer James Tynion IV. He'll be working with former Marvel artist Mico Suayan, who has been providing cover art for Red Hood since issue #17.
Tynion takes over the story from Scott Lobdell, who launched the book last year with Kenneth Rocafort. The two are now working together on DC's Superman title, which they took over in September.
Newsarama talked to Tynion and found out:
- Lobdell's final issues set up the new direction for Tynion, who told us he had to pitch for the chance to write Red Hood.
- Tynion has some longer-form storylines in mind for Red Hood,
- Roy Harper is the focus of the first story arc, and he'll be "meeting" for the first time some characters who were associated with him in pre-52 continuity.
- Tynion's first threat for the team is a secret until the end of "Death of the Family," although the cover for issue #19 implies there might be trouble within the ranks of the Outlaws.
- Tynion assured readers that he would not make the book more moody or dark, despite his work on Talon. In fact, he called Red Hood an "energetic," "adventure" book with "high action."
- The writer also professed a special love for DC's teen characters.
Tynion himself broke into comics as an intern at Vertigo, then began co-writing the back-up stories in Scott Snyder's Batman series and assisted on Batman Annual #1.
Tynion's evolution over the last few months to the lead writer on an established ongoing comic like Red Hood is part of a simmering trend at DC where known writers like Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder are playing mentor and co-writer to up-and-coming writers. Through this process, DC has been bringing a few new voices into the fold over the last year, including writers like Tynion, Matt Kindt and Ray Fawkes.
When Newsarama talked to Tynion in November, we discussed the growth he's experiencing since taking over the Talon series and finding his own voice separate from Snyder.
Now he'll be starting a run on his own, and he's excited for readers to see what he can bring to the characters in Red Hood. For our complete conversation with the writer, read on.
James Tynion IV: Yeah. Basically, the last two issues of Scott's run are dealing with repercussions of "Death of the Family," and there are going to be some major, major repercussions that will impact this book.
So I'm going to be picking up the series after some fairly major events that will set the stage for some new stories and an exciting new direction for the book overall.
Nrama: Will the book have the same cast? The main three characters are the same?
Tynion: Absolutely. We're going to be focusing on all three of them. And actually, one character we'll be putting front-and-center for the first batch of issues is going to be Roy Harper/Arsenal. We're going to start seeing parts of his path in the New 52 that we've only seen glimpses of before. And we're going to learn a bit more about how he became Arsenal, and what his position is in the Outlaws. What are the things that he screwed up in his life that led to him getting captured across the world way back in Red Hood #1.
I'm really excited to explore that character, because in the series, we've seen Starfire's past, with the major space arc. And now we're going into a very, very deep and emotional Jason arc with what's happening in "Death of the Family."
So we're going to put Arsenal in the focus for a bit, and I think fans are going to be really, really happy.
Nrama: Fans have seen your work on Talon and the Batman back-ups. How is your work on Red Hood different from those? And what similarities?
Tynion: I think tonally, they're very different books. Obviously, there's some darkness lurking around these characters, and even moreso right as I'm going to jump onto this run.
But I think that, at its essence, this is a fun,adventure book with three friends that are doing these insane things all over the world. And that's not going to changes.
I'm not looking to take this book in a grim and gritty, dark direction. It's not going to be a moody, dark book.
It's going to be high action, high concepts, lots of new villains, threats lurking in the darkness.
I'm having so much fun writing it, and I think that will come across on the page. I think Talon has an inherit darkness to it. This does too, but it's muted by the fact that the personalities of the characters, except for Jason, are brighter. Roy in particular.
Anyone who's worried that I'm going to take the book and make it a bit darker and moodier like Talon don't have anything to worry about.
Tynion: I'll be doing a few more multi-issue arcs rather than stand-alone issues, but the book is an energetic book that propels itself forward. And I think that's going to continue.
For me, I am looking to build the few threats in the darkness that will lead to longer arcs that play off the characters' pasts and their relationships with one another.
Nrama: You keep using the word "threat," and the cover indicates there may be some trouble within the team, particularly Jason and Kori. You said the story focuses on Roy. Can you describe the threat the Outlaws encounter in your first story arc? Or can you give some set-up for issue #19?
Tynion: The description of the issue is going to have to wait until we see the fall-out of "Death of the Family."
But it's safe to say that we're going to see characters from Roy's past emerging forward — both people from his past in the current continuity of the character who we aren't aware have a connection to Roy, and then we're going to see some people who had a connection to Roy pre-52, and we're going to see him interact with him for the first time.
So there's a lot of fun to come in those first few issues.
The central threat of issue #19 is something we'll ask to hold off on until a bit more gets out into the open.
Nrama: Why do you think you fit with this book? And did you pitch for the book? Can you describe the process?
My favorite thing I've written up until now is the back-up in Batman #0 with the Bat-signal going up for the first time, and just getting to play with those Robins.
So they knew that I had this fascination with the young characters. So when this opened up, they asked me if I'd be interested in pitching for it, and I did not need to think about it. These are characters that I've been wanting to write for years and years and years.
And I love the Outlaws in particular. It's these three characters who, before the New 52, you wouldn't really have associated together.
You have Starfire, who's this incredibly powerful warrior princess.
You have Roy, who's this former partner of Green Arrow who's a bit more of a goofball.
And you have Jason, who before now has been falling more in the villain cast than the hero, since his resurrection.
It's a really interesting dynamic between these three characters, so I'm really excited to get to play with that.
I guess my excitement came through in my pitch, and they decided to give me a shot.
Nrama: I know you're friends with Scott Snyder, and I also know Scott's close to Jeff Lemire. Now that Jeff is taking over Green Arrow, is there any chance Roy and Ollie might be interacting in those books, or that you guys will be exploring that history the two characters have?
Tynion: We're going to see some of that history. I know Jeff is setting up something incredible in Green Arrow, and I can't wait to read it. I'm looking forward to talking to him about the characters and their history together and exploring the opportunity to bring them together.
But there are no plans right off the bat to make that happen in the first few issues.
Nrama: I know it's early for you to have seen pages from Mico, but I'm sure you've looked at the interiors he's been doing for Marvel. What do you think he'll bring to the book? And why are you excited to work with him in particular?
Those issues' covers were blowing me away.
So when I heard that he'd be coming in to do interiors, I was extremely excited because I think he's a really, really great artist. And I very much look forward to seeing what he can bring to the book.
And I've really enjoyed talking to him and working with him. So far, we're just getting going, but I can't wait to see more art from him. I think this is going to be a beautiful book.