Sunday, April 12, 2020

Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #1 (2015) Review

Things are Rough all Over

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Art by: Carlos D'Anda and Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 22, 2015

I do not have a lot of history with The Outsiders.  That's actually a lie...I have none.  In fact, I really only have prior knowledge of two of the team members, Black Lightning and Katana.  I know Batman, of course, so going into this book, I was a little worried about knowing what the hell was going on.  Thankfully, I do have a history with Marc Andreyko and had full faith that he would guide me into the world of the Outsiders with graceful ease.  I also did a little bit of homework, just in case. I read the two page "catch-up" in the back of the book first and then scoured the interwebs and read a couple of write ups about the team and their prior adventures.  I know that nobody likes homework, but the little bit I did pay off.  Andreyko doesn't hold the reader's hand, but even with a little knowledge (it is power, you know!), you'll hit the ground running.  Does this issue make it worth the effort?  Hells Yeah!

The issue starts with a really good looking introduction to the team.  It's not one of those, "This is (blank) and he does (blank)" type of things.  Instead, it's an awesome peek at an old adventure that will get a smile from fans...or reviewers who did their homework.  We then meet the leader of the team and the narrator of the issue, Batman.  Would it shock anyone that Batman is Dome obsessed after living under it for the past year?  Seriously, Andreyko does the best job in Convergence so far of showing how the man with a plan for everything is left as helpless as every Tom, Dick or Harry.  I always like seeing Batman struggle and he is doing it here...big time.

We then get to meet the members of the Outsiders if you can still call them a team.  Black Lightning is first up and he's helping Gotham by putting some proton collectors in place.  I'm no rocket surgeon, so I'm glad that Andreyko skips a full out explanation of the tech being installed and instead makes the scene laugh out loud funny.  How does he do that?  Well, Black Lightning is working in his full costume.  I love the costume, but come on, it's been a year.  When a coworker calls him on it I laughed and then laughed harder when I thought of all the other books that should have had similar coworkers pointing it out.  These superheroes are a vain lot.

We then get a peek at Katana who is visiting a comatose Halo in the hospital, Geo-Force who is using his (normal) strength to move asphalt and go "Over the Top" and Rex Mason and Sapphire Stagg having some nice personal time.  I really like the whole team, but it's obvious that Andreyko is pushing the reader toward Rex.  I'm happy he did.

Up until now, almost all of the Convergence books have had heroes that were upset with living a year under the dome, those who have resigned themselves to it and try to make the best of it and those who are downright happy about their new lives.  This issue has all three.  If anyone knows this team, they will immediately know why Rex is happy to leave his Metamorpho self behind and live the life he always dreamed of.  Sadly, we know that this happiness has a shelf life.

As everyone goes about their day unaware, Telos says his familiar speech and brings the Dome down.  We get a series of panels showing everybody's reaction and they are all appropriate and even heartbreaking.  However, there is no time to fully react as the Outsider's opponent roars into town. He may be a One-Man Army Corps, but he has brought an army with him.

This is a really good Convergence issue that I hope gets the attention it deserves.  I know that putting Batman in a book is like getting a golden ticket, but the lack of hype and knowledge about the Outsiders team maybe it's downfall.  However, Marc Andreyko does a really good job showing the team dealing with their new lives and anyone with a little background (like reading the two-page history lesson at the back of the book...just read it) can enjoy it.

Carlos D'Anda nails the art in this book.  In fact, he and Gabe Eltaeb (colors) give fans one of the best looking issues in this whole Convergence Event.  They do this without the team having any powers so I can't wait to see what they do next issue.  Plus, I love the Kirby shoutout that finishes the issue.  Great job guys!

Bits and Pieces:

Marc Andreyko is dealing with a team that may be called the Outsiders, but nowadays are more unknown.  That's why it was so great to see such great character work throughout this issue.  I am now invested in this team and am looking forward to next month's finale.  Carlos D'Anda and Gabe Eltaeb's art is superb making this my sleeper pick of the Convergence Event so far.  Highly Recommended...but do your homework.


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