Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Batman and the Outsiders #16 Review

War is Over?

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

Most people already know that this book has been canceled and will be ending next month with issue #17.  I have enjoyed it enough (not as much as some) and wonder if Bryan Hill received all the tools to tell the story he wanted.  The book was delayed and retooled before it even came out and then was shoved into the Year of the Villain nonsense that never made much sense for this story.  Still, he gave fans some good character moments and tried (seemingly with some DC fight back) to make this a Black Lightning led book.  So, how is this penultimate issue?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Jefferson thinking back to what got him here before facing the big bad of this entire series, Ra's al-Ghul!  To push things more towards Black Lightning, Ra's takes care of Batman and the rest of the Outsiders with ease and heads off to face Jefferson alone.  While that's going down, we focus on Cass as she goes ham on Ra's men, and I am not sure if they are still alive.

I like the focus on Black Lightning and Orphan, though I was surprised we didn't get anything with Duke.  I am still a little sketchy with his shadow powers, so I hope we deal with those in the series finale next month.

However, we are dealing with ending the "Demon's Fire" arc here, and it's Ra's vs. Black Lightning for all the marbles.  Ra's uses his alien weapon to fly (it can do so much!) and go face-to-face with Jefferson so he can talk shit on Batman, give him advice on what he should do after Ra's brings the world to its knees and then promise to hound him for the rest of his days.  There are a whole lot of mixed messages going on there!

While most of the action is going on with Cass, Black Lightning hits Ra's with the juice (for the second time in the issue), and then it's over.  From the dialogue afterward, it seems as if Jefferson used Ra's device to powerup, but it's not very clear while it's happening.  Besides that, this all ends with Ra's running "back to his darkness" and not much else.  After all that setup, we get a non-ending to Ra's story!

We still get one more issue, but the way this wiped clean most of what we already got, I am not expecting much more than a clean slate issue that might give us a hopeful but ambiguous ending.  We will have to wait for that, but what we got here was a shame.  I was surprised by Ra's exit because of the panel progression and because it just threw away almost a year and a half of the story in such a quick and forced way.  I liked the art, and Hill still manages to elevate Black Lighting, which I love, but this was a huge disappointment that I'll file in the "what could have been" cabinet.

Bits and Pieces:

Bryan Hill finishes his Ra's al-Ghul story, and while it elevates Black Lightning, the transient and forced nature of it was very disappointing.  We still have the series finale next month, but this one hurt.


No comments:

Post a Comment