Or – “How Come Diana Gets Top Billing?”


After all, every OTHER time we’ve had a new guy involved, the actual current Outsider’s name came first. Even alphabetically, I’d expect Grace to come first. Still, putting the title under Wonder Woman, when it’s an Amazons Attack crossover (even if the cover says ‘Countdown’) probably makes more sense, and for all my affection for Grace, I’ve never though that her superhero codename was the best. This issue confuses me even more regarding timelines, crossing over with the tail-end of A.A., yet taking place after the formation of the new Justice League, a story that didn’t come out until AFTER Amazons Attack began, yadda yadda yadda. All this, and the mystery of Grace’s origins that arose waaaay back in Outsiders #41 is finally made clear…

Out1.jpgPreviously, on Outsiders: after the loss of Donna Troy in battle, her former Teen Titans teammates Arsenal and Nightwing founded the Outsiders as a ‘proactive’ strike force, vowing to treat the team as a job rather than a family. Along the way, there were several romances minted, the deaths of Jade and Indigo, (don’t join the Outsiders with a name that’s also a color, apparently) the revelation that Metamorpho wasn’t Metamorpho, and a time-jump that revealed not only a busy year, but the constant machinations of Thaddeus Bodog Sivana. Arsenal left the squad, graduating to the JLA as Red Arrow (ugh) and Nightwing found it more and more difficult to treat his teammates as teammates rather than close friends. Knowing he’d reached the end of his usefulness, Nightwing turned over the reins to his adoptive papa, and Batman immediately decided to shake up the team, forcing the members to ‘Prove Their Worth’ to him in order to keep their membership. Somewhere in there, the amazons of Themiscyra and the renegades of Bana Mighdall (the rogue sect of Amazons that spawned Artemis) joined forces and attacked man’s world. And, funny you should mention Bana Mighdall…


That’s much better than all of my other theories about Grace’s origins (including Martian origin and hermaphoditism) but I can’t figure out why we had to wait a year for that reveal… Either way, we cut from Grace’s memories of the A.A. crossover to Grace holding a bomb over her head in the middle of Cleveland city hall with people screaming that she wants to kill them. How’d that happen? Well, thanks to the magic of the flashback, we can find out. Eight hours ago, the Justice League successfully rebuffed an Amazon sortie on Washington, D.C., after which Batman found evidence of additional plots…


“…two of the very few remaining, or remembering Amazons left.” Lady Blackhawk gives them a lift, but it’s a mighty quiet ride, with Grace refusing to talk about much of anything. Wonder Woman inquires as to how she’s handling all of the revelations, and Grace bitterly replies, “If you mean finally being reunited with actual blood relatives, only to have them virtually erased by some god’s whim? Hey, I was in foster care for years. I’m use to disappearing families.” Ouch. Lady B announces that they’ve arrived, and Grace jumps out of the helicopter to avoid talking about her feelings. She lands on the shores of Lake Erie, but is trapped in the mud, refusing Wonder Woman’s help. Diana jokes that high tide isn’t for a few hours yet, and Grace is surprised to find herself laughing. Grace admits that she has history in Cleveland, and Wonder Woman remarks that they DO have just a few hours to kill before Batman has all the information that they need. They decide to check things out incognito which, for Grace, only means putting on a trenchcoat, but she offers Wonder Woman “some smokin’ acid-washed Jordache jeans.”


Heh. I detect a bit of a dig at the recent Picoult issues of Wonder Woman (where Diana doesn’t understand money, fossil fuels, or Starbucks) there. Grace and Diana take the bus, where they meet a young girl named Jamie, who still loves Wonder Woman regardless of recent bad press. Grace remarks that it’s a start, and Wonder Woman responds with “Yes, it is, ‘G.'” Grace asks her not to do that, and explains, “Wonder Woman doesn’t use slang. She uses proper grammar and stuff. Like Julie Andrews… she’s an actr–” Wonder Woman once again smiles and reminds Grace that she knows. I like their interaction a lot, here. They step off the bus, and find a small piece of Grace’s past…


Oh, poor Grace! That has got to suck. Diana offers to help her out by searching the hall of records for any trace of her lost family, and Grace is confused by how to respond to someone being nice to her. Suddenly, Batman calls in with news: a woman was found unconscious and radioactive near the warehouse where the documents were discovered. While the Amazon twosome checks on that lead, we see a group of workers at the Federal Courthouse, who find and foolishly open a crate that has magically appeared on site, and die horribly in radioactive fire. Um… kay? Tracking the woman to a local hospital, Diana and Grace find out what this whole plot is about…


Gracie leaps into action, racing to the courthouse at full speed. She arrives just in time to see innocent bystanders fleeing. She collars a federal agent (who should probably be a little less panicked if he’s been doing this for long in the DCU) who tells her that some sort of “robo-bomb” has begun killing people in the courthouse. Grace, as is her wont, leaps in without thinking…


The weapon is revealed to by a Bana-Mighdallian bomb, and somehow her DNA has triggered the thing to go off. Diana arrives with Imani in tow, but warns her to stay back, as she’s the last resort. Confronting the bomb, Diana finds that while it wouldn’t hurt Grace, HER Amazon DNA can still be injured by the blasts. Imani suddenly enters, and realizes that the strange technology feels familiar, but she doesn’t remember how to disarm it. Grace’s grip slips, and the weapon falls from her hands, only to be caught by Diana’s lasso. The robotic voice announces that the final countdown has started, and Grace leaps up onto the bomb to slow it down…


Heh. That right there should be her catchphrase, shouldn’t it? Grace recognized the fissionable materials, but isn’t sure how to disarm it. Batman tells her to describe them, but she doesn’t have time, thrusting her hands into the arming mechanism and ripping away the wires. We immediately cut to Grace being treated for radiation exposure, and Wonder Woman complimenting her on her quick actions. Later, as they head for home, Wonder Woman has one more question for our half-Amazon hotness…


Aww… she’s found some family again. That’s kinda sweet. Grace returns to Batman, and they board his Bat-sub to return to the team’s apparently underwater headquarters. Batman, in a complete reversal of his attitude towards Boomer and Thunder, is very nurturing of Ms. Choi, telling her that she acted decisively, as he knew she would. So, Grace endangering millions by ripping the guts out of a nuclear bomb is okay, but Thunder teleporting Grayven away when there was no way to overpower one of the New Gods of Apokalips isn’t? That rather sucks, doesn’t it? Once back at headquarters, she finds out the sad truth about Bruce Wayne’s recruiting techniques.


Hmm. I thought Catwoman was somehow involved in all this? No sign of her yet, though. And I’m now more certain than ever that Anissa Pierce (Thunder) will be back sooner rather than later. Still, this was my favorite issue of the ‘5 Of A Kind’ crossover, (or at least a tie with Metamorpho/Aquaman) managing to put together two characters who both compliment and contrast each other and also giving us just enough story to fill the pages. The Katana and Metamorpho issues felt like more plot than the pages could hold, whereas the Nightwing and Thunder issues had a bit of padding to them.

Still, this issue has the advantage of Batman not acting like a total tool, the awesomeness that is Grace, a nice turn by a culturally savvy Wonder Woman, and some good art. On the down side, I felt that we may have had one coincidence too many, and the tangled timelines are causing a quiet, troubling voice in the back of my head to ask “WHEN was all this, again?” The reveal of Grace’s origins was probably held back to tie into Amazons Attack, which I believe came out later than expected due to the delay on Wonder Woman, and it does make sense, but I think it’s time that poor Ms. Choi had something GOOD happen to her. Other than meeting her sweetheart, I mean… When I boil it down, the bits of the issue that were nicely done outnumber the ones that I had to question, giving this issue a nicely done 3 out of 5 stars. This is obviously not your father’s Outsiders (unless you’re Nightwing) but the final effect of this mini was interesting and leaves us with four characters I enjoy… We’ll see where it goes from here.


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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  1. Randallw
    September 2, 2007 at 9:36 pm — Reply

    So, what, it’s a rule now that strong willed “alien” type women on DC teams have to be Lesbians?. Knockout and Grace as well.

  2. Baal
    September 3, 2007 at 1:49 am — Reply

    Gace is pansexual. Her and Thunder makes more sense than Thunder and her but I kinda like it (so long as I don’t PICTURE it) so I only complain in private and alone.

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