[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artists: Miguel Mendonca, Diana Egea
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Then, the pulse-pounding “On the Outside” storyline hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion! Batman has tasked Katana, Black Lightning, the Signal and Orphan (a.k.a. Cassandra Cain) with stopping a rogue operator using alien technology that can crack into any mind on Earth! What does this case have to do with the Brainiac Files seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1? And how does Amanda Waller factor in? Guess you’re “outside” of Batman’s circle of trust… for now.
In the first few panels, it plays out like the beginning of a heist movie, where a few regular civilians go about the end of their days, and seemingly get interrupted by a gang of criminals. It shows the range of Hill’s writing to evoke an scene that would typically be in films and bring that over to comic books, evoking that same feeling while not losing anything in the translation.
We also find Katana embroiled in Gotham as she has her own agenda, but some of it is intertwined with the Bat Family and the reason Batman brought Black Lightning there. A weapons dealer from Markovia just so happens to be the root of all their problems at this specific moment. Hill also finds a flash of levity in this issue, where Black Lightning meets Katana for the first time, asking about whether her husband is actually in the sword she carries. And when she gives her answer, his reaction is pretty much the same anyone would have, showing these characters as regular people as well as superpowered beings.
Jefferson is the one who finds the solution to beating Karma, as Bruce usually is the brain trust when it comes to solving issues like these. This shows how Hill is not happy just following suit of previous writers and making Batman both the brains and brawn in the story, but instead provides the very reason why Batman brought other heroes to Gotham.
Lastly, the very reason why Katana showed up in the first place shows up in the last few panels, proving to be a far more dangerous adversary than Karma ever was, as she has more sinister plans in place for the Bat Family, something Bruce Wayne may not have planned contingencies for.
There are no negatives worth mentioning in this issue.
This issue shows fans that Batman may not know how to always ask for help, even when he needs it, and though he seems to be in control most of the time, he doesn’t always have the answers. The story by Hill is funny at times, brutal at times, and definitely action packed. The art throughout is gorgeous. This issue makes for a satisfying conclusion to the story revolving around Karma and only revs up the next arc.