Every time I turn around these days, it feels like “The Outsiders” is getting revamped. This latest incarnation gets a bit of additional notoriety because it’s spun off of Batman’s death over in “Batman R.I.P.,” as “Batman and the Outsiders” becomes “The Outsiders” once more. So now that the team is assembled and in their in-orbit headquarters, it’s time for their first mission.
Honestly, Peter J. Tomasi’s actual story of the Outsiders heading to Germany to investigate mysterious earthquakes? It’s just kind of there, even with the appearance of century old people in robotic suits that are working for what appears to be an immortal group of people that are up to some sort of nefarious scheme. Sure, there are some nice bits here and there (for instance, the fact that they actually have to worry about getting the bends as they keep heading underground at a rapid rate), but it’s not what makes this issue jump out.
Where it does work, though, is Metamorpho’s reasoning for how each of the seven members of the new Outsiders was selected because together they sum up the different aspects of the now-absent Batman. It’s a clever choice of characters, and while the storytelling is a little heavy-handed in explaining it, I have to say that I appreciated it. It makes the mix of old and new members for the Outsiders very understandable, and Tomasi has clearly thought through this latest line-up pretty well. Honestly, it’s the best bit of the issue.
Lee Garbett’s pencils give a clean, crisp look to “The Outsiders.” His art is smooth and easy to follow, and he makes the scene with Metamorpho’s “this is why we’re here” look visually interesting. For what could have come across as dull and an exposition dump to instead feel lively says a lot about Tomasi and Garbett working well together. Add in Trevor Scott’s inks and Brian Reber’s colors and this is a handsome looking comic.
Honestly, the story about a secret council of bad guys? That isn’t enough to make me want to read the next issue, it’s just too middle-ground. Tomasi’s work on “Green Lantern Corps” and “The Mighty” have both shown his skill as a writer much better than this. But Tomasi’s “this is why I chose these characters” bit was interesting enough that I’m willing to give another issue a try and see if things pick up. That’s where he’s showing his skill, and hopefully now that it’s out of the way he can fully focus on everything else in this story.