Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Will Conrad
late Modern Age, there have been two well used devices in
superhero team books. First, writers like to use thinly disguised
heroes and villains from other comic companies for a quick
fix that'll both take a jab at the competition and tickle
the fanboys pink
or maybe some other color, depending
on the fanboy
Chris Garcia might go "buffalo firemist"
(check your crayola box). Second, there's the "Hey, remember
this guy?" strategy, wherein inactive/forgotten heroes
or villains are reintroduced to kick off a new conflict and
cause further color shifts in the readership.
Exiles was a great exercise based almost entirely on
these approaches (though dominantly in the latter), and Outsiders
holds promise for delivering even more of the same. Oh, yeah;
in case anybody still doesn't know, the Outsiders kinda accidentally
set free the thousands of supervillains from The Slab, the
uber-prison in Antarctica, so you can pretty much put every
second-string baddie in the DCU back on the "active"
outing with the team that never says "die" (but
says "oops" a hell of a lot) devotes the entire
issue to Arsenal's recovery after taking five hollow point
bullets to the chest. We open with Roy beating the crap out
of a punching bag as he recalls the shooting and the intensive
surgery from three months ago. A shower and beard trim later,
his sugar rushin' daughter Lian bounds in just long enough
to tell him the new beard makes him look like Oliver Queen.
Another beard trim later, Roy rendezvous with Grace Choi for
some hardcore, pulse-pounding, world-shattering- uh
yeah. But Gracie can't help noticing that Roy
would have been just as happy beating the crap out of someone
as being with her, and the way Roy tries to sneak out in shame
says it all. The way he acts when trying to prevent the late
night mugging that follows says even more, though.
to say whether this is a good issue to jump on to or not.
On the one hand, it's got decent standalone quality to it
and you don't really need to know anything going in. However,
the story's doing more to tie up a loose thread than start
new ones, so there isn't much to get a new reader involved,
here. Winick's warm, real world (sorry, I couldn't resist)
humor and knack with dialogue aside, anyone who isn't already
reading Outsiders may want to wait a month before jumping
in. Unless you're a die hard Arsenal fan, that is.
the story, though, it feels like Will Conrad's pencils just
aren't representative of Outsiders. I'd like to say
his faces are too subtle, but there's a difference between
subtle and inexpressive, and when a book's as much about it's
characters as this one, you need to strike closer to ChrisCross's
extreme expressions or even Tom Raney's balancing act (which
worked so damn well when they revealed Rex wasn't really Metamorpho).
Conrad fails to put much nuance into any of the faces, fudges
the anatomy on a couple profiles, and even manages to make
Grace look less asian than ever before. And I'll forgive the
way Roy seemed to get an extra haircut in the middle of the
book, his disappearing/reappearing soul patch, and how Nightwing
managed to hide a semiautomatic under his skintight outfit,
but replacing the submachine gun Roy was shot by in issue
#6 with a finger-sized pistol in the flashback really killed
the credibility of how Roy's body armor failed and left all
those nipple-sized scars on his chest. Realism in a comic?
Dangerous, I know, but when a story lacks elemental men, flying
aliens, and robots from the future, these are the questions
that start to come up.
have some minor qualms with the coloring team's work, but
it's mostly about eye color swapping and "swoosh trail"
effects. Nothing major. Just slightly annoying after the job
they've done throughout the series.
Verdict? This was an okay ish that didn't feel like filler,
but it'll be nice to get back to the clean-up of Slab escapees.
Next month's trip down memory lane features Psimon. See? You're
changing colors already.