Review: BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colours: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman and the Outsiders #2: Sofia Barrera is on the run from an enforcer for the Ark, the program that gave her powers—but in the process, she’s fallen into the hands of the mystery man called Kaliber! He claims he wants to protect her…but who’s paying his bill? And is Katana already questioning Black Lightning’s leadership on their very first mission? Or is she just pushing him in a direction he’s not willing to go?
Batman and the Outsiders #2 starts off with a discussion between Bruce Wayne and Jefferson Pierce that waxes a bit philosophical. Black Lightning sees Batman as the epitome of certainty. “You make the impossible seem likely. You walk into a room and doubt runs out the door.” This seems to tie into the “Bat-God” interpretation of Batman so prevalent since Morrison’s JLA run: that when it comes down to it, Batman is the most formidable character in the DCU.
However, Bruce argues that he is the symbol of fear, while Black Lightning is a symbol of hope. Hope has been a very important symbol in numerous DC titles since the Rebirth relaunch. In Doomsday Clock, Justice League, The Flash, and other titles, we have seen that the DCU is undergoing a struggle for the dominance of hope versus despair. Various heroes have been cited as symbols of hope: Superman, The Flash (both Wally and Barry), and now Black Lightning.
This is an interesting idea, but I don’t know that we’ve seen much to confirm Bruce’s assessment of Jefferson. Not that I think that he’s necessarily wrong, but I think this is something that this title will need to establish. Hopefully, Jefferson will prove Batman’s faith in him to be well founded as the story develops.
Kaliber seems an interesting character. In Bruce’s words, “Kaliber is a good man. But he’s not a stable one.” I don’t know he’s a new character or a relatively obscure one repurposed for this story, but I would like to see him pop up again, either here or in another title. Perhaps DC should consider a miniseries delving into his backstory.
He does mention that he’s from Markovia, which seems to be a recurring theme. Given the team’s pre-Flashpoint history with that country, this just adds to the certainty that we will see the team headed to Markovia soon.
We still don’t know a lot about Sofia yet, except that Ra’s al Ghul is after her and that she has super powers. Kaliber jokes – or maybe he’s serious – about her adopting a superhero identity. Could this be a hint that she might be fated to become a member of the Outsiders? Or an enemy?
There’s not much to criticize yet, as we still don’t really know a lot that’s going on in the story yet. That in itself could be seen as a criticism, but I don’t feel that a slow build is necessarily a bad thing. But hopefully, we will be getting to the meat of the series next issue.
Batman and the Outsiders is an intriguing concept – a Batman book where Batman doesn’t actually take part in the action (not yet, anyway). While, I am somewhat reserving judgment on the title for now, I think Bryan Hill has made a good start on this reinterpretation of a classic DC super team.