Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Batman and the Outsiders #6 Review

The Light at the Beginning of the Tunnel

Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini, and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 9, 2019

It took a while, but Black Lightning and the rest of the Outsiders finally (I mean FINALLY) got to Sofia and while her rescue was a bit too fast after issues of setup, at least they got the job done.  Of course, the cliffhanger revealed that Sofia wasn't exactly the main target all along and was there as bait for the main catch or catches.  Going into this issue, I was hoping that Bryan Hill would use that ending to catapult this book into a must-read thrill ride going forward.  Did he do that or did he slam on the breaks and put his story back into the slow lane?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Jefferson calling Bruce to tell him "mission accomplished" and it did feel a little off from the end of the last issue where he was questioning where Ishmael was as if he realized they were set up.  Suddenly, he is all about telling Bruce that Sofia needs rest as Bruce assures him that's what she'll get.  I understand what Hill is going for here, but I never got any inkling that Bruce had Bat plans for Sofia and so it just continues this one trick faux conflict between Jeff and Bruce. That has been one of the biggest problems with me throughout this series.  Every character seems to have their one thing that triggers them and Hill keeps pounding it into the reader every time they hit the page. 

The issue continues with Duke and Cass facing Ishmael and they fight for a bit and after our heroes get their asses handed to them, Ishmael runs off with offers to follow him and that's what they do.  The art in this entire issue is stellar, but I think I like the panels with Duke and Cass the best.

After an Editor's Note explains why Alfred is in the house (actually the Mansion) we do get back to the action, but I would like to pause a second here.  If you have been living under a rock, I hate to spoil things, but Alfred died in issue #77 of Batman.  I know, it sucks.  However, putting any issue that takes place before that issue in Gotham still puts it squarely in the City of Bane and makes no damn sense!!!  I'd rather have no note and just assume this takes place some other time than have one that jumps out of the frying pan and into the fire! 

Back to the issue, Cass and Duke follow Ishmael's trail and end up in an underground bunker and shit gets personal real quick.  It looks like Ra's Al Ghul is going for the gusto here with Lady Shiva waiting for Cass and the body of Karma on full display for Duke.  I liked the Shiva part since facing off against her mother gives Cass something new to do, but I have really had enough of Duke and Karma.  The whole thing ends very ambiguously with Ishmael taking Duke away while Cass blames herself and yells...or just opens her mouth and makes a badass face at the reader.

This book is just boring.  Even the action doesn't have any zing to it and comes off quick and way too predetermined.  It seems like Hill is trying to play up the tension of the team and the situations, but it's just not there.  There is barely a story going on and after six issues that is a really big problem that I just can't get past.  I love Dexter Soy's art, but while I want to like this book because of that and it's cool roster, I am just not invested with anything else.

Bits and Pieces:

This book seems to be going through the motions as our team recycles their inner conflicts each issue waiting for something big and exciting to do.  I love Dexter Soy's art, but there is a serious lack of focus and forward momentum going on that kills my enthusiasm for the overall package.  For me, Batman and the Outsiders is not bad enough to hate, but not good enough to care about either.


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