Monday, July 6, 2020

Batman and the Outsiders #14 Review

Do It Again

Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy, Veronika Gandini, and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 8, 2020

Batman and the Outsiders is a book that I keep pulling for in hopes that something big happens.  Bryan Hill has done some excellent character work with his characters, but the book lacks forward progression as far as the story goes.  It did seem like things were changing for the better once Hill was able to leave the (editorially mandated?) Year of the Villian stuff behind and finally get to the story he set up years ago in his Detective Comics run.  However, that story is starting to drag a bit as well.  Hopefully, things pick up in this issue with the promise of Black Lightning upping his powerset to take on Ra's al-Ghul and his alien tech.  Let's jump into this week's issue, shall we?

We start with Black Lightning right away, and while it's cool to see him powered up, it's more lip service than action, and we still go back to the well of Batman not telling Jefferson everything he needs to know.  Batman does say they need to show Ra's "he has things to lose too," which may sound badass, but a day ago, he told Jefferson the plan was to make Ra's think he was winning.  It's just the beginning of an issue filled with head-scratching moments that go against what we've recently seen.

We then head off to hang with Shiva, Duke, Cass, and ... Katana??? I thought it was pretty clear that Shiva, Duke, and Cass went off on their own last issue with Shiva saying the Outsiders was a failed experiment.  Why are we still dealing with Shiva and Katana fighting on what is best for Duke and Cassandra?

Besides these odd scenes, the issue is full of confusing progression and bad transitions.  Batman, Katana, Sofia, and Jefferson head to Khadym to rattle Ra's cage a bit, but I'm not clear on everything that's going on.  In the meantime, Shiva, Duke, and Cass are roughing up people in London to find out where Ra's is hiding.  We do get a tiny glimpse of Duke's new dark powers, but not enough to explain them.

The issue ends with Black Lightning using his new powers to track Ra's and the reveal that Batman and Shiva are in contact with each other, and Shiva is all-in on this whole Outsiders thing.  What?!?!  This goes against everything we saw the last issue, and everything Shiva has been about this entire series!

This issue made little sense with what lead up to it, but even without that, nothing happened!  The Outsiders just went around punching people and talking a good game, but we end exactly where we were at the start.  Add that on top of the fact that the issue made no sense in regards to what we got prior, and we got ourselves a problem.  Dexter Soy's art saves it to a point, but he isn't a miracle worker.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue takes a huge step backward with scenes that make no sense based on previous issues, and little to no plot progression by the end.  Dexter Soy's art is good, but that's it.  I hope the next issue rebounds because this one was plain bad.


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