Following the events of the “Batman and the Outsiders Special,” the newly drafted members of the Outsiders make the trek over to the monthly ongoing series. This issue, in tandem with the Special, seems to establish the team to the point of redundancy. The Special set the team in motion; this issue gives them a port to pause in. That said, there isn’t any action relevant to the crew to speak of in this issue.
Tomasi does a good job defining the personalities of the members of this iteration of Outsiders, but his Creeper seems more loony in a Freakazoid kind of way than crazy in a multiple personality disorder kind of way. I am willing to overlook this, as Creeper is a character that simply cannot be clearly defined in a limited appearance. It will take a few issues of Tomasi’s handling of him until we see what Tomasi has in mind for the character. That said, there is plenty of other tension, as Owlman (whose identity is spoiled before the staples) is forced into the unlucky position of having to prove his mettle to the entire band of miscreants.
Alfred steps up and declares to the team that they are now his and their cause will be to his choosing. I’m not quite sure why all of the characters buy in, as Alfred comes across as quite demanding, but it speaks of the respect the characters have for him that they do commit to the cause.
Garbett and Scott deliver a beautiful book, with solid line work, elegant paneling, and strongly defined visuals for the characters. As Alan Davis did when he rendered the Outsiders, this is a team comprised of different body types — from the barrel-chested Owlman to the slender Metamorpho and the downright skinny Creeper. Some areas could still be improved, but that would be picking nits. To say that Garbett needs to work on rendering public drains or Creeper’s boa describes how solid the overall art of the book is.
The colors cannot be overlooked either. This is not a bright and sassy title, and the palette is not bright by any means. Even the usually garish Creeper is a toned down yellow that somehow works well. Most noticeable is the visualization of Halo’s powers. No longer is a garish glow drawn around her; her colors are a Photoshop swirl in the belt of her otherwise black costume. Subtle, to be certain, but nice.
The “Origins & Omens” segment offers a rundown of the players and personas, but we’ve been seeing the same information in pieces over the past two issues. The omens page offers a glimpse into more strife within the teamm: just what any team book needs. Commentary from Scar gives indication that Halo might have a bigger role in the Blackest Night/War of Light event to come than any Outsider (save Batman) has had in recent DC events.
While this book is enjoyable, it does feel like a decompressed title on downers, slowing almost to a crawl under the weight of its own exposition. We still have no clue who the mysterious foe is, nor have we seen the team lurch into battle. I look forward to seeing what this team is like when the “batcrap” (using a term from Creeper) hits the fan. Hopefully other readers will stick around long enough to find out as well.