When the quest for justice drives Batman into some morally ambiguous areas, he calls in the most moral man he knows: Jefferson Pierce, a.k.a. Black Lightning, and his team of operatives known as the Outsiders!
Several years ago Batman personally put the Barrera family into hiding after they suffered through terrible experiments at the hands of an organization called the Ark. Now all but one of them have turned up dead…and Batman needs to locate Sofia Barrera before the wrong people get their hands on her-and her surprising power! But it wouldn’t be Batman without a hidden agenda, would it? And when Black Lightning, Katana, the Signal and Orphan find out what Batman is really up to, their every loyalty will be called into question.
There’s been one comic I’ve been looking forward to since its announcement, and really the hints it was coming, and it’s Batman and the Outsiders by writer Bryan Edward Hill. Headed up by Black Lightning, this “new” addition to the Bat-family of comics focuses on the team dynamic we saw previously in Detective Comics with a more focused cast. Featuring Katana, the Signal, and Orphan, this dynamic is an interesting one filled with doubt. And, that doubt and team dynamic is what makes it stand out not just from the rest of the Bat books, but from DC’s offerings in general.
Hill is delivering something interesting, not in the plot itself so far, but the team dynamic. Black Lightning doubts himself, and distrusts Batman to an extent, in how to properly lead the team. The Signal is still shaken from his dealing with Karma, the villain in the story that brought this team together. Orphan is, well Orphan. And Katana is facing her own issues though that’s not as clear. They’re a team but at the same time are treated as a tool to be used by Batman for whatever missions he deems. In this case, it’s rescuing a girl being hunted. It’s that distrust and rough nature of the unit though that makes this all interesting. They don’t totally get along and mistakes are made delivering a series where you really are not sure what might happen. You expect someone might get hurt or the team actually fails. By the end of the first issue, I’m not sure if this will be a team that “wins” all the time and saves the day.
The art by Dexter Soy is fantastic as well popping from the page due to the coloring of Veronica Gandini. The two together, along with letterer Clayton Cowles, create a comic that’s as visually interesting and fun to look at as it is to read. There’s a certain energy about each page that draws you in and makes it all fun to stare at. It sets itself apart from other Batman comics but at the same time feels right at home with the visual choices.
The story of the comic itself is ok, basically a Terminator riff, but that’s not the draw. It’s the team that’ll suck you in. While we’ve been delayed getting here, the fact we are here, and what’s presented has me excited to see what’s next.
Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Dexter Soy
Color: Veronica Gandini Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review