BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS [Comic Review]: On The Outside, Looking In!

“The Dean” Gene Selassie

This review is prefaced by the fact that the Outsiders are one of my all time favorite DC teams. Also, Bryan Hill is one of my top current writers. That being said, something was inharmonious about this issue.

The crux of the story is about the survivors of metahuman experiments being hunted down, and the Outsiders being tasked to find and protect them. The concept alone sounds interesting enough. However, much like the Suicide Squad movie from a few years ago, it is a plot that doesn’t play to the strengths of the characters or concept.

Mike W. Barr had a simple concept when the team was founded, to handle threats that the Justice League can’t get involved in, or be seen getting involved in. The political thriller aspect being missing from this book makes it feel like just another super hero team book. I’m also concerned with some of the characterization.

Black Lightning and Katana should feel like they’ve worked with each other for years, yet they don’t. The Signal in some ways is like Tim Drake where, even though he’s a kid, he’s not prone to make dumb kid mistakes, yet he doesn’t feel that way here, despite their explanation. I don’t know if it’s due to the onslaught of reboots/retooling of the universe or characters, but something just feels off here. What was most jarring was the reveal at the end of the book, which felt like it would work in a comic 25 years ago, but not so much today.

Dexter Soy’s art has always been either a draw or a turn off for me; there really is no in-between. This book, he definitely brought his A-game. My only concern is something with the inking, or lack thereof, which is affecting facial expressions. Colorist Veronica Gandini sticks to muted tones, which, in an environment like Gotham, works. Even with a subdued palette, she makes all of the environments feel lush and backgrounds pop off the page.

I trust this creative team, so I am willing to give this a few issues before passing final judgment. For now, I’m still in wait and see mode. 3/5 Bibles.

-Gene Selassie

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