Riddle me this:  When is Batman and the Outsiders not Batman and the Outsiders?


The answer of course Dear Reader, is when the issue features neither Batman nor the Outsiders.  But there in lies the juicy bits of the issue.  With the “death” of Batman, there has been chaos throughout Gotham City.  And while there are those that are scrambling to fill in the void, there are few who are willing to step up with a new plan.  Someone like Batman’s daughter.


outsiders14cover.jpgIn order to best understand what is going on with this issue, readers should probably read the following:

  • Batgirl #6 (of 6)
  • Nightwing #150
  • Batman and the Outsiders #13
  • Robin #181
  • Batman and the Outsiders #14

The tales spun across these issues tell of how Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) became Bruce Wayne’s adopted daughter, how Nightwing moved back to Gotham, why a mysterious shadow might have been Robin in his Red Robin guard, and why Batgirl would kidnap/recruit Edward Nigma into her new “network” a.k.a. The New Outsiders.

Normally, I’m all gung-ho about tie-in issues to a series, especially if that series is a really good one.  Since I’m a sucker for all things Batman, and an even greater champion of Batgirl, I did have the privilege of reading the Batgirl six-issue mini-series that concluded this week with Bruce adopting Cassandra into the family.  That revelation explains why she was so cavalier last issue in scoping out potential candidates for her group of Outsiders, and why Nightwing isn’t too keen on the idea.  Frankly, I’m surprised Bruce didn’t offer to adopt Cassandra years ago.  It certainly would have made the transition from the cancellation of her last title to her reappearance as a “bad girl” in the Robin One Year Later story line much easier.

In any case, her latest recruit is Edward Nigma, the man who claims he will discover what happened to Batman. Even though The Riddler is supposedly reformed, Nightwing doesn’t think it’s her responsibility or right to choose the members of the team. I think Dick is going through some kind of weird sibling rivalry over his new family members.  First he had to put up with Tim being brought in as his brother, and now he has a new sister to fight for affections from daddy dear.  Top that with the fact that he formed the Outsiders before Batman took it out from under him, and now his kid sis is trying to do the same again.

As with any brother sister duo that can’t get along, some kind of fight is going to break out, and this one is a doozy.  The art by Ryan Benjamin presents the fight in panel after panel of close up face kicks, body blows, and elbow jabs to the head.  It’s a great blow for blow sequence that looks like a combination of Enter the Dragon and Raging Bull.

With the father figure out of the pictures, it’s time for someone else to step in and put an end to the fighting.  When the Batmobile pulls up and the silhouette of a figure steps out, I had thought it would be Robin dressed in his Red Robin outfit. Instead, it turns out to be the next ranking officer in charge of Batman’s army; butler Alfred Pennyworth.  A sharp scolding from Unkie Alfred and the two put aside their differences and make peace with one another.  It appears that Nightwing thinks the “network” is a great idea, and doesn’t really mind the selection process, he’s just upset he wasn’t consulted on the whole thing.  Cassandra agrees, and goes so far as to ask Nightwing if he would manage the group.  Issue resolved, brother and sister can go back to loving one another in a Greg and Marcia sort of way, and not a hillbilly sort of way.

The only other interesting bit of this issue is the strange religious figure who keeps asking if he is worthy enough as he flogs himself and receives guidance from his brothers.  If the armor and flaming sword weren’t enough of an indication of the shadowed figures identity, perhaps the recent DC Solicitations will give you a clue. Yup, it’s Azrael, but more than likely not Jean-Paul Valley.

If you dig some well paced fighting sequences, if you like the team Batgirl outlined in the last issue, and if you like Batgirl and Nightwing together, then this issue has everything you’ve been looking for.  What’s not to like?  Some Outsider action would be nice…  Otherwise, Batman and the Outsiders #14 is a stellar issue and deserves 4 out of 5 Stars.



The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. December 21, 2008 at 10:52 pm — Reply

    Answer to the Riddle:


  2. December 21, 2008 at 10:53 pm — Reply

    And I swore I saw Greg and Marcia making out once…

  3. December 21, 2008 at 11:00 pm — Reply

    At least someone saw where I was going with that Brady comment ;)

  4. December 21, 2008 at 11:16 pm — Reply

    Great Review! It’s about time Batgirl has gotten respect from the bat family. I loved this issue.

  5. Brother129
    December 23, 2008 at 6:32 am — Reply

    Okay, call me crazy…but the last two issues have made this my favorite “Batman” read recently. I’m actually really diggin the propsect of this new network of Outsiders that Cassandra is putting togeher. But please…can we get her to take off the weird S&M mask?

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