Doing their very best to decompress this tale of the Outsiders, Tomasi and Garbett pick up the action in this issue. The story of the Insiders started three issues ago. To this point, Tomasi displayed a stellar knowledge and strong handle on these characters, but the internal bickering and skirmishes between the oldest of Outsiders allies makes me question that knowledge, as the story doesn’t seem to demand the bickering.
Similarly, Garbett’s storytelling is a little shy on description during the dramatic fight sequences. The action is murky in places and that conflicts with Garbett’s polished renderings of the figures themselves. Reber’s colors don’t help that scenario much at all. There are clumps of scenes in this issue where the coloring is slanted towards a solid hue, muting details in the drawings.
This issue ends with a dramatic splash-page certain to hammer home repercussions in the future. I think I have an idea of where Tomasi is going with the divergent threads, and he certainly seems to be trying to weave some areas of the DC Universe together, as the final splash page offers a second threat on the level with the primary threat identified earlier in the issue following an analysis of Katana. Most interesting of all will be witnessing the interactivity of the two primary foes, given their history.
In summary, this issue seems to be losing its creative focus just as the story focus is beginning to crystallize. Garbett has the raw talent and the creative ability; he just needs to brush up the storytelling a bit to complement Tomasi’s scripting.
This issue moved things forward more significantly than the previous issues, but it appears as though next issue is going to be where the rubber hits the road for these Outsiders — the threat of the Insiders, their mysterious master, and their sub-contracted gun are on a crash course with these Outsiders who now seem marked by their lack of true leadership and a lack of understanding regarding their waiting foes.