Batman and the Outsiders #2 – Bryan Hill, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Not Fully In Gear Yet
Ray: I really wanted to like Batman and the Outsiders, given that it features several of my favorite characters and is written by one of my favorite recent DC writers, Bryan Hill. The first issue was highly promising, spotlighting a unique team dynamic and giving multiple characters intriguing subplots. The problem is – this isn’t that comic. The big weak point last issue was random elements of a mediocre Wildstorm-style comic featuring “extreme” 90s characters chasing a teenage girl with superpowers. I wasn’t expecting that subplot to completely take over the comic this issue, to the point that the main characters feel like extras. It starts promisingly enough, with Black Lightning meeting with Bruce Wayne to discuss the mission and how best to reach the mysterious, powerful Sofia. This dynamic is great, with Jefferson calling out Bruce for feigning ignorance in one scene. But as soon as that scene is done, we’re thrown into a completely different story that isn’t half as intriguing.
Sofia is now in the custody of Kaliber, a mysterious ally of Batman’s best known for his ridiculous amount of guns and his hipster-style beard. They’re on the run from the equally-extreme Ishmael, a massive gun-toting hitman with a penchant for oversized weapons and a deep worship of Ra’s Al Ghul. The dialogue in these segments is, frankly, awful. Given that there wasn’t a single trace of the old Wildstorm style in The Wild Storm: Michael Cray, it’s puzzling to see Hill embrace it like this here. The Outsiders do show up near the end of the issue, for a brief fight scene that involves some great fight scenes, but it’s over as quickly as it begins and Sofia winds up captured, face to face with Ra’s himself as he attempts to rebuild his League of Assassins. It’s frustrating because there’s a lot in this series I like – but I want to read more of Black Lightning, Duke, and Cass, not whatever Kaliber and Ishmael are supposed to be.
Corrina: I’ve loved Bryan HIll’s previous DC work, which also included a short run on Detective Comics that introduced the concept of this current Outsiders team. But, like Ray, I’m puzzled by the story choices in Batman and the Outsiders #2. First, I hoped we’d be able to move past the “Batman gives Jeff assignments” stage of the first issue but that’s not the case.
And, like Ray, the focus on Kaliber puzzles me. He’s far less interesting than any of the characters introduced as part of the team in the last issue. Sofia intrigues, given she’s going to have to make a choice between being a doctor and something else. The dynamic between her and Kaliber works except I’d rather those scenes be between Jefferson and Sofia since he’s the lead character of the series. Most of the other team members have little to do. I’m also not thrilled with Ra’s Al Ghul (or his new sidekick) as the villain of the series. I was hoping for a new villain for this team’s fresh start.
Putting aside what I wanted, it’s a quick-paced comic with some intriguing moments, and Soy’s art, particularly in the panels where Sofia realizes her life will never be the same, are compelling. But I hope the next issue brings in more of the team that I hoped to love.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.