Review: BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #3
[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 #3: In their first encounter with the powerful maniac who’s pursuing runaway meta-human Sofia Barrera, Black Lightning and the Outsiders were absolutely humbled. Does everyone on this team have what it takes? Or did Batman make a catastrophic mistake when he entrusted them with Sofia’s life?
Plus, ousted from power and stripped of wealth, Ra’s al Ghul is a broken man. But Lex Luthor has a plan for how the Outsiders could be Ra’s’ new League of Assassins!
The Outsiders is a curious book. Usually Batman is characterized as a pragmatic leader. You would expect him to neglect the needs of the team members if it got in the way of accomplishing the mission. And if a member was having issues that affect their performance, you might expect that Batman would oust them, not offer help.
But the Batman that Hill is presenting in the title is showing a more human side of Batman that we don’t usually see – at least when he’s interacting with other heroes.
The Batman aims to bring the Outsiders together as a family as much as a team. And he picks an interesting way to do so, by making them work together against himself, in an exercise to sort out the weaknesses in the team.
And the weakness is revealed to be the Signal. Duke is having a psychological crisis and Batman doesn’t just tell him to ‘suck it up or get out’, but tells Duke that he is proud of him and the he and the Outsiders are there for him.
I love seeing this side of Batman. Batman’s experiences of late in his own title seem to have mellowed him out a bit. Batman appears to have finally learned that leadership is not a matter of planning tactics and strategy, but also taking care of your teams needs.
I noticed that Kaliber is also present for the battle against Batman and its aftermath. Is Kaliber a part of the team or just an ally? I hope Kaliber sticks around, as he would make a great addition to the team. Most of the team members are dark brooding types and Kaliber’s brash humour would lighten the tone a bit.
The mysterious metahuman woman Sofia is now in the clutches of Ra’s Al Ghul, who is attempting to corrupt her, molding her into a member of his League of Assassins. It seems certain that Sofia will figure largely in the Outsiders’ future, but will she join the team or become an enemy?
As we have seen in other Year of the Villain tie-ins, we see that Lex Luthor has made another offer. This time, the deal has been proffered to Ra’s Al Ghul. Ra’s demands of Luthor, “What could you possibly have to offer me?” I am intrigued to find out what that could be, and if Ra’s will take the offer.
Like with the other installments of “The Offer” phase of The Year of the Villain, we just see Lex making his offer, but the recipient’s response is left hanging. It seems like a cheap trick to have the event plastered on the cover, when the actual connection is only a tiny chunk of the story at the very end. Hopefully, next issue will pick up where this one leaves off and doesn’t leave us hanging even longer.
It’s hard to get a feel for where the story is leading, but Hill has given it a running start. And Dexter Soy’s outstanding art is a perfect fit for the book. If they can keep up this level of quality, then this book has the potential to be one of the frontrunners in DC’s lineup.