Review: BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #11
[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 #11: Black Lightning is an Outsider no more! It’s up to Katana to take up the reigns of leader-ship as things look their darkest for the team-and the new addition of Babylon has thrown the team into flux. Plus, Batman is far from thrilled with the secrets that the Signal and Orphan are keeping from him. And this is exactly what Ra’s al Ghul wants: a broken team that doesn’t stand a chance against his new League and their deadliest assassin yet.
Batman and the Outsiders #11 begins with Sofia Ramos announcing to Batman that she want to become “something that helps people, like you help people… I would make myself a symbol”. She asks for the Batman to help her do so. Batman agrees and takes her to an armoury he captured from the Court of Owls. There, he tells her, “Look through it all. Find what speaks to you… From these things, you can choose your image. And the name you will give the world”.
It remains to be seen whether she will keep the name that Ra’s Al Ghul gave her, Babylon, or not. However, it the issue’s cover appears to give us an early peek at the costume she will choose. The cover also implies that she will be joining the Outsiders.
But the cover also implies that Black Lightning may be departing the team. This is odd, as Jefferson is shown fighting alongside the team in the actual story. Does this cover foreshadow future events? Covers don’t always accurately portray the contents of an issue, but it does seem to be an ominous indicator.
We also see Lady Shiva fighting with the Outsiders against Ra’s minions. But whose side is she really on? Orphan aptly answers this question of whether Shiva can be trusted by stating, “Yes. To be… what she is”. Ultimately, Shiva is on her own side. Her goals may line up with Ra’s or with the Outsiders, but ultimately she has her own agenda.
There is also an odd moment, where Shiva appears to have some maternal affection for Orphan. She tells her daughter, “I do not approve of you being one of Batman’s little birds. But I am proud of you. And because I love you– I would like to join your cause”. Is Shiva letting her guard down and revealing a hidden side of her personality? Or is she attempting to manipulate Cassandra? Shiva is an enigma, so it’s not inconceivable for either to be the case.
Finally, we see Ra’s Al Ghul in Markovia at the wreckage of an alien spacecraft. It seems likely that Ra’s will be using some alien technology or weapon in his game with Batman. I am curious as to how this wreck ended up in Markovia and what alien race it belongs to.
It’s also interesting that it’s in Markovia of all places. Markovia keeps coming up. Presumably, we will at some point encounter that country’s ruler, Brion, who was a member of the Outsiders as Geo-Force in the pre-Flashpoint continuity. However, in Leviathan Dawn #1, Leviathan has seized control of Markovia. Could the Outsiders be headed for a confrontation with Leviathan?
Bryan Hill’s take on the Outsiders has been an engaging story that is clearly headed to a major battle between the team and the forces of Ra’s Al Ghul. But I’m starting to wonder how long it’s going to take to get to that final confrontation. The pacing is starting to feel a little too slow. Hopefully, the pace will pick up soon.
Bryan Hill has given us an intriguing new take on the Outsiders , but he has kept enough elements of the classic version that it doesn’t feel like an entirely new concept. I have been enjoying his take on Batman and the Outsiders, and I look forward to seeing what Hill has planned for the team.