Monday, November 13, 2023

Outsiders #1 Review

Written by: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing
Art by: Robert Carey
Colors by: Valentina Taddeo
Letters by: Tom Napolitano
Cover art by: Roger Cruz, Adriano Lucas
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: November 14, 2023

Outsiders #1 begins a new era for the title with a new team and a new mission. Luke and Lucius Fox have sworn to investigate the weirder corners of our world, starting with a strange discovery under Antarctica and their first recruit - Batwoman.
Is Outsiders #1 Good?

The solicit for Outsiders #1 promises to build a new team with a mission to investigate, catalog, and mitigate the weirder occurrences on Earth. While this first issue certainly gets weird, the rough spots make it too early to tell if this series will be a hit.

Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing's X-Files-inspired script centers on Luke Fox recruiting Batwoman to join the new Outsiders with a new mission - seek out anomalies and threats that fall outside the typical superhero mission Batwoman would normally address. Their first mission? Meet up with the Drummer, a mystic who can see the "history" and thoughts of objects by tapping on them with drumsticks, to investigate a massive anomaly under the South Pole. When the trio follows where previous research teams have disappeared, they find a 50-mile-long multiversal, sentient ship that plans to blow itself up out of despair for its long-dead crew. Batwoman karate kicks massive defense cannons, and Luke Fox uses sweetly persuasive words to calm the ship down and propose a less suicidal course of action.

Well, credit where credit is due. DC promised weird, so you get weird. Longtime Outsiders fans will find nothing in this issue that feels remotely familiar, but the story has merit if you're into sci-fi with a mild superhero twist. That said, Lanzing and Kelly make odd creative choices that don't quite add up, so how much or little you find yourself getting invested remains to be seen.

What's great about Outsiders #1? The mysterious sci-fi corners of the DC Universe don't get nearly enough exposure, so getting a comic that's outside of the standard "punch the villain" is a welcome change of pace. Further, Robert Carey's artwork, matched with Valentina Taddeo's coloring, works well for the themes presented.

What's not so great about Outsiders #1? First, there's a particular problem Lanzing and Kelly have, that we've noted in their Marvel titles, rearing its ugly head here. When Lanzing and Kelly try to get high-concept fancy in their narration and dialog, it comes across as nonsensically bloated. Lanzing and Kelly don't know how to do fancy. Fancy done right should be deep and thought-provoking. Here, it sounds like a middle-schooler stringing together a litany of multisyllabic words they found in a Thesaurus in an effort to sound smart.

Second, the scale and complexity of a sentient ship that wants to blow itself up gets resolved much too easily and quickly. In an effort to craft a one-and-done mission, Lanzing and Kelly went too big with the concept, forcing them to conveniently shortcut the resolution to get to the end.

These are boneheaded, amateurish, comic writing 101-type mistakes that an experienced writing team shouldn't be making, so I suspect this first issue will turn a lot of readers off, despite the concept's potential.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Outsiders #1 has a strong central concept - forming a group to investigate the weirder happenings of the DC Universe - with interesting characters and solid art. That said, Lanzing and Kelly try to get too fancy and too big in this first issue, leaving readers with a less satisfying adventure and a pompous aftertaste.


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