Or – “They Talk Of Days For Which They Sit And Wait And All Will Be Revealed…”

out8.jpgreviewbubble.jpg“When there’s trouble, you know who to call… OUTSIDERS! From their floating ship, they see it all… OUTSIDERS!

With Judd Winick writing the script! From the headlines adventures are ripped! And if you’re lucky there’ll be girl-on-giiiirl! OUTSIDERS!

With their superpowers they unite… OUTSIDERS! One Year Later, nothing is quite right… OUTSIDERS!

Doc Sivana made them all think! But our heroes just told him he stinks! And Katana’s costume is the woooorrst! OUTSIDERS!


out1.jpgToday’s musical interlude brought to you from the elegant Pump Room of the magificent Palmer House, high above Chicago, asking that musical question: Do you have any idea just how much of a motor vehicle will melt in a sufficient heat? Answer: More than you ever dreamed, Bucky O’Hare, more than you ever dreamed. Suffice to say that it was an unpleasant morning, nobody got hurt, and now we move on, ’cause they’s comics what needs some r’viewin’, dangol’ahtellyouwhut. As the theme song hinted, last issue left the team with more questions than answers, as Thaddeus Bodog.net Sivana did more than teach them the rules of poker, he made them question the rules by which they all have been living, and offered them a chance to build a finer world, Authority-style. It’s an offer than they’re not sure they should turn down…

After the that exhausting battle, as well as the unpleasant soul-searching questions that come with it, the ‘Siders are finally taking a moment to themselves, Nightwing refocusing his courage, Metamorpho brooding, Thunder and Grace bonding over some Grand Theft Auto… As for Katana and Captain Boomerang, Jr, they’ve found solace in the products of the fine city of Milwaukee…


The irony is, he’s a super-speedster, and her new haircut makes her look like a boy. Oddly, though, the artist this month gives Tatsu much more… um… pectoral definition than last month, where her new fighting suit made her much more asexual. I think if we could maintain some actual feminity to her body (and, no, I’m not just saying large breasts, but a structure and bearing that indicates a female form) I might not hate the new togs near as much. We’ll see how it all pans out. Meanwhile, on the bridge, Nightwing’s quiet reverie flashes back to a year before, as we finally get to fill in some of the gaps about what brought our team to their seeming-dead status and the events that led them here. A year ago, Roy Harper (Arsenal, now a full-fledged member of the Justice League with the awful moniker of “Red Arrow”) was leading the remains of his team (Thunder, Grace, and Shift) into battle, taking out a lost outpost of Dominators. Much like Vito Scotti on that episode of Gilligan’s Island, they’re so entrenched, they don’t know their war (presumably 1989’s “Invasion!”) is long over. Grace can’t believe they’re wasting their time on such small-fry, and Shift has a few words of advice.


Arsenal points out that the team is split, Starfire in space, Captain Marvel, Jr facing down whatever’s up with magic, Nightwing off supposed-to-be-dying, and Jade… Shift can’t even bring himself to say the word “dead.” “If I know I have post-traumatic stress disorder, does it mean that I still have it?” asks Rex. “You okay?” asks Arsenal. “None of us are…” Thunder seems to be worst off of all, as her daddy (Black Lightning) has been sent to prison for killing a woman back during Judd’s run on Green Arrow. Anissa/Thunder can’t handle it alone, and goes to the only person she can think of, her friend and fellow team tank, Grace Choi.


Gracie looks a bit Goku in those panels, which bothers me. Neither of them actually looks very attractive in this issue, instead coming across as manga-influenced and a little grotesque, which saddens me. Gracie tells Thunder to come in, but her apartment is full of drunken goofy musicians and not at all conducive to comforting, or declaring your new-found love for your gorgeous redhead friend, so Anissa flees. Dick then remembers where he, himself, was a year ago, back on the streets of Gotham, remembering what it’s like to swing through a cold night in short pants. Landing on a rooftop, he is greeted by the one man who can actually feel his pain… Jason Todd, the former Robin II, the current Red Hood.


Richard isn’t feeling very friendly, though Jason’s guns and knives give him good reason to pause. On a more psychological note, the use of the Red Hood identity (a former alias of the man who would become The Joker) is a real tell for Jason’s mental state. He’s rejecting the legacy of his symbolic father (Batman) for the legacy of the man who KILLED him, indicating on some level, that Jason is seeing his death more as a rebirth, and wants to hurt Batman and supplant The Joker at the same time. It’s actually similar to the kind of turmoil a child with a new step-parent might go through, trying to reconcile two daddies into one life. Wow… that was deep, in all senses of the word. While I was identifying Freudian undertones, Jason and Dick were all punchy-punchy kicky-kick-kick, chucking each other through windows ‘n stuff. Jay gets the upper hand for a split-second, and proves my point with a little more Freudian needling of his “brother…”


Sincerely bad idea, especially as Dick wasn’t really feelin’ all that happy with the Batman when this all went down. Dick goes a little bit bongo-balzoni, and slaps Jason around before they end up in a Mexican standoff, Dick inches from crushing Jason’s larnyx with an escrima stick, Jason a split-second from putting a bullet in Nightwing’s brain. But Jason doesn’t want to kill him, he came to parley. Nightwing isn’t buying it, and gives him the old domino-to-helmet intense face, as Jason reveals why he’s here…


Ooh… Interesting. I wish I could be sure that this was Judd’s plan all along, as the Black Lightning moment was one of the few missteps in his early Green Arrow run. Having a man like Jefferson Pierce, a man who is driven by the deaths in his past, a man who actually GAVE UP his costumed identity out of guilt and anguish over the accidental death of a bystander, to wantonly kill a man, even out of grief, is out of character in my opinion. It felt more like a Daredevil moment than a Green Arrow moment, and it didn’t work. But, there are those who feel that the very presence of Thunder, Black Lightning’s heretofore-unmentioned daughter is out of character, too, so I try not to assume my thoughts are universal. Actually, this plotline feels an awful lot like someone deciding after the fact to fix his screwup, and having to go to great lengths to do it. I admire the thought, I’m just not sure that I appreciate the mechanics of doing it.

Outsiders has been really hit and miss in recent months, and while this issue was good, laying the groundwork in flashback for things we’ve already seen pan out (the Grace/Anissa romance, whatever cause Shift to leave/die and Metamorpho to join in his stead, the return of Black Lightning to prominence and the League), the art was inconsistent, especially regarding the female team members. The fight scene felt a bit too long, perhaps padded a tiny bit to make the issue stretch, and while there was a lot of goodness here, it didn’t quite slide up into excellent category, giving this issue of Outsiders a pretty average 2-star rating. This was a good book, as well written as previous issues, that didn’t quite live up to the sum of it’s parts.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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