Outcast #7

The letters column of "Outcast" #7 mentions that a television series based on the comic was recently greenlit by Cinemax. With that in mind, readers might be a little surprised by this comic, which nominally kicks off a second story arc or, at least, what will be the second volume in the collected editions. While Paul Azaceta and Elizabeth Breitweiser's art continues to look outstanding, Robert Kirkman's story feels like it's slowing down more with each new issue.

Azaceta and Breitweiser continue to prove themselves to be (slightly unsung) stars of the comics industry. Azaceta continues to draw people in a beautiful and realistic manner while doing so with a minimal number of lines. Just look at those opening pages, with the Reverend's grey hair being perfectly defined in such a minimal way. The wisps and tangles of his slightly receding hairline come across perfectly from Azaceta, who puts trust in Breitweiser to provide just the right shades of grey to fill in the gaps. The little inset panels within the splash also work well, providing a tight focus on moments within the greater image and also providing a through-line to the next page.

One could just look at the art for "Outcast" #7 and get your money's worth. Every location is stunning, from a coffee shop and the rainy street to the dank inside of houses. Both Azaceta and Breitweiser pay careful attention to what's going on in every location and make each have a unique look. Little details like the streetlight hanging over an intersection in the background or various buildings -- with different colors, façade styles and overhangs that make this feel like a real streetscape -- are all cast here. Even the warmth of the different colors comes into play with icy cool blues for exteriors and pouring rain that contrast with the warm reds and oranges inside the coffee shop that's providing shelter from the weather.

I wish the story in "Outcast" #7 was as exciting, but this is a series that feels like it's slowing down a great deal. Characters barely shift from where they were before and, while it's nice to see the supporting cast (who have been out of the picture for a few issues) start to re-emerge, there's nothing particularly gripping or interesting about their interactions with one another so far. The first six issues did a good job of establishing the status quo of the series, but the new issue -- after a several month break -- does little to shake things up or provide a hook to have readers more interested in finding out what happens next.

With a television series on the way and this being promoted as the start of the second story arc, "Outcast" #7 feels like a comic where the script isn't trying at all to hook new readers. It's a shame, because this feels like a lot of lost potential. On the bright side, Azaceta and Breitweiser continue to dazzle through their art; if anyone will bring the proverbial new reader back for another installment next month, it's them.

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