Batman and the Outsiders #6 – Bryan Hill, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It’s taken until Batman and the Outsiders #6, but Bryan Hill’s spin-off Bat-title seems to have found its groove with this excellent issue focused on Duke Thomas and Cassandra Cain – two of the Bat-kids who have been struggling to find their place in DC’s lineup. That’s meta more than anything – it’s clear they don’t entirely feel like they belong in Batman’s world yet, and his decision to send them off to this auxiliary team has left them vulnerable to manipulation by outside forces.
Both the children of villains, they have been deeply involved in the search for the kidnapped Sofia, but now they’re the targets. While Black Lightning and Batman debate over the next move for Sofia and Alfred receives a mysterious taunting gift from Ra’s, Duke and Cassandra get pulled into a game of cat and mouse by Ishmael – who is proving to be a more serious villain than his opening issues made him seem.
Dexter Soy’s always been a capable artist, but in Batman and the Outsiders #6, this fight scenes are the best they’ve been yet. I also think Hill is writing Cassandra better than most writers have in recent years – the clipped but coherent speech that makes sure to get key points across, the self-sacrificing instinct and refusal to consider her own injuries – these are classic Cass traits that call back to when she was Batgirl.
But the last half of the issue is where things really take off, as Ishmael leads them to an underground base where not one but two massive reveals await. We know from solicits that Duke and Cassandra are both targets for Ra’s recruitment efforts, and while one rejects the attempt in style this issue, the other is vulnerable to a cruel form of emotional manipulation and may be in more danger. Hill writes these two as siblings who would go to the end of the earth for each other – which, as a big fan of the Bat-family concept, I am all in favor of. This next arc has a ton of promise.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.