SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Detective Comics #992, by James Robinson, Carmine di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
DC Comics is launching a new Batman and the Outsiders series from writer Bryan Edward Hill (Detective Comics) and artist Dexter Soy (Red Hood and the Outlaws) next month, and now we've got a taste of what's to come courtesy of the current Detective Comics run from James Robinson, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Co.
As Gotham is plunged under siege from the terrorist group called Kobra, Batman rallies the troops for a night of all-out war. With the Outsiders' full roster at his beck and call, we finally get to see the team in its entirety, albeit working independent of the Dark Knight.
Batman formed the squad in Hill's recent Detective Comics arc, "On The Outside," which focused on Bruce Wayne hiring high-school principal Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) to lead a younger generation of vigilantes, something Bruce felt he's lost touch with for a while. Katana also signed up, helping Bruce recover the Brainiac Files from Amanda Waller, and we saw Duke Thomas (Signal), Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), and last but not least, Cassandra Cain (Orphan) joining this covert ops unit to assess deadly threats from said files.
When Robinson took over the book, though, he shifted its gaze to Kobra and its intentions to demolish Gotham, leaving fans to assume Black Lightning was training his crew in the meantime. And come Issue #992, we find out this is indeed the case, although the Outsiders' lineup appears to be a fluid one.
As Kobra attacks the Gotham National Museum of History, Batman and his unlikely ally, Two-Face, defend it, trying to figure out why they're hitting the city. When the Caped Crusader radios Alfred to find out how the other targeted locations fared, that's when we see all the Outsiders in action. And make no mistake, even though its an early stage for the team, the squad's already pretty effective.
We see Black Lightning, the brains of the crew, and Katana, his main muscle, taking out Kobra's agents at Gotham Grand Train Station, and Batgirl and Orphan stopping an airship meant to disperse anthrax. Apart from these usual suspects, however, there are a couple new faces on board. First, the Fireflies are helping out at Robinson Park, flipping the script on what we usually know them to be. Ted Carson and Bridgit Pikeinitially helped Two-Face erase his links to the death of Karl Twist -- the genius who helped Kobra invade -- and with Two-Face actually wanting to save Gotham's soul, he insisted Batman hire them. It seems that Bruce's faith has been repaid in full, although it remains to be seen if their heroic turn is temporary, We're still vague on the Outsiders' recruiting policy at present, and we don't know if the Fireflies would like to reap the benefits of crime again once Kobra's attack is over.
Finally, the Signal is at the zoo with someone Bruce has butted heads with a lot lately -- Batwoman. Bruce didn't approve of his cousin's crimefighting methods, so it could be that she's trying to make amends here. Or maybe she just wanted to help bolster the ranks as Batman was in desperate need of numbers to take on the evil society on short notice. Nonetheless, this is her debut stint with the Outsiders, and while we're certain Bruce would like her to continue, we know she's got a different take on vigilantism and prefers to roll solo for the time being.
Be that as it may, we can't discount any of these new faces enlisting permanently, because, ultimately, they wouldn't have united in the first place if they didn't care about the city. While these new signups seem to have been Batman's choices, we also can't discount the fact Black Lightning may have done some scouting of his own, in the hopes of making the Outsiders truly elite via expansion in the future. If anything, Jefferson already has Bruce's trust and surely, he'll have his blessing, too.