We’re clamoring for new comic book reads right now, which has to led me to Batman and the Outsiders. It’s a series I started but dropped off early on. In the latest issue out this week from DC Comics, Bryan Hill and Dexter Soy are closing a door while opening a brand new dramatic one. This is a good table setting issue, but how is it when read on its own terms? Check out the preview to get a taste of the issue.
All in all, this is a good issue to be released after no new comics for a month. It’s good at dancing around the various characters on this team and reminding us of the stakes each player has in the battle against Ra’s al Ghul. Speaking of Ra’s, this character has a big part to play in raising the stakes and explaining how hard the heroes have it in winning against his schemes. There are many defining moments throughout the issue between a few of the team member relationships. This does well to set up their dynamics before going to war when the stakes are raised in the final pages.
The biggest draw for many will be a unique approach to Batman. Hill is writing a version of the character who is less certain, possibly not prepared for every contingency, and is more emotional than we usually see him. This unusual depiction of the character may rub some the wrong way, but it’s interesting to take this version of Batman for who he is and run with it.
There is a key moment where Batman tells Black Lightning about choices, and even when you see others making the wrong one you have no right to make it for them. It’s a moment of self-reflection for him and it stands as a strong reminder that this Batman is still pretty young and figuring things out. That makes him even more interesting.
Art by Soy, with colors by Veronica Gandini, captures the brooding and darker nature of the story. The sharp physical prowess of the superheroes in the book are depicted well. It’s always a treat to see these heroes in the sunny desert, which juxtaposes well with their dark outfits and dark demeanor. A new power Ra’s wields is also well rendered, making you believe he is a much bigger threat.
Sadly, the general structure of the issue has a table setting feel that makes you wonder when things will kick into another gear. For the most part, it’s a series of scenes between characters standing around and waiting for something to happen. That something does happen by the end, but by then you’ll be wishing a bit more action was infused into the narrative. Character writing-wise it’s interesting, but you may want more out of your action comics.
This is an interesting issue to drop after a month of no comics. It sets the stage for who these characters are and the next big conflict well. It’s also a unique take on Batman. Given how few options are these days I’d wager this is a great issue, but upon reflection, you may be wishing there were more action and plot development by issue’s end.
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