Batman and the Outsiders #16 – Bryan Hill, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: This series is ending with #18, but the main plot ends in this showdown with Ra’s Al Ghul. One of the most interesting subplots of the last arc has been the discovery that Black Lightning’s powers are much more extensive than anyone—himself included—understood. That allows him to tap into his full potential and hunt down Ra’s’ superweapon while the rest of the team plays backup and faces off against Ra’s’ minions. The real standout in the rest of the team this issue is Cassandra Cain, who gets another excellent showpiece fight as she faces off against ten soldiers and shows exactly what she can do with the combined training of Batman and Lady Shiva. Even if she’s not the lead character, I’m very impressed with how Hill has handled her character—especially in her complex relationship with her mother, giving Lady Shiva more nuance than she often has when portrayed as a villain.
As for Black Lightning vs. Ra’s Al Ghul, it looks great thanks to the art of Dexter Soy, improving with every issue. Is Ra’s maybe a little too megalomaniacal at points? Yes, especially when he’s monologuing. But that actually adds to the fun, with Black Lightning having absolutely no time for his nonsense and shutting him down with some powerful lightning. I’m not sure what the long-term plan for Jefferson Pierce is, but Hill makes the case that he should be a mainstay on the Justice League—both due to his power levels, and due to the unique perspective he brings as a slice-of-life superhero who discovered and used his abilities without backup from the main superhero community. The last two issues seem to be about what the future of the Outsiders will be—if there even is one. While Hill is leaving monthly superhero comics after this title due to his schedule, he’s given a great foundation to one of DC’s most underrated heroes for future stories.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.