With the number of revamps on “The Outsiders” comic in the past five years, comic book fans have every right to be a little jaded at this point. Latest version of the book not grabbing you? Wait a few months, a new creative team will show up with another brand-new direction and group of characters. It’s with that in mind that I think that Peter J. Tomasi made a slight mistake with his new, Batman-free version of “The Outsiders.” Six months was far too long for an initial story.
The sad thing is, this story (“The Insiders”) started off strong. Tomasi assembled his team of characters and had a fun “this is why we picked these characters” setup for the comic. It had a point, it seemed interesting, it felt like it was going somewhere. And then, within just a few short months, things seemed to grind to a halt. The book keeps jumping locations, bringing in new villains, and generally meandering its way through six issues. (Six and a half if you include the oversized special that kicked things off.) I consider myself someone that can follow a story over time, and I couldn’t even begin to try and remember everything that’s happened here. It’s all a big dull blur.
Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott’s art is nice enough, mind you. I love how they draw the Creeper and Metamorpho, both looking both human and alien at the same time. (I’m also not sure if it was Garbett, Scott, or Travis Lanham who was responsible for the wall of “Ha Ha Ha”s behind the Creeper as he attacks the Haven’s invaders, but it’s pretty fantastic, doubly so with the random red “Ha”s courtesy Brian Reber.) It’s all of the little squiggles at the end of the Creeper’s hair, or the coloring on Metamorpho, that really defines Garbett’s pencils for me. There’s a nice twisting, fluid look to them that does its best to spice up a story that’s gone on a bit too long.
I wish that Tomasi had written a few shorter stories to introduce his new “The Outsiders” line-up and help people become familiar with his take on the book. This story, I fear, may have become a war of attrition to see who can still hang on to buy another issue. It’s strange because Tomasi’s work on books like “The Mighty” and “Green Lantern Corps” are a lot of fun, both titles that I look forward to each month. Something just isn’t clicking here, though. Maybe it’s the never-ending cycle of characters and directions? It could just be that it’s time to let “The Outsiders” gracefully retire again.