“Even Batman Needs Help” (Batman and The Outsiders #1 Comic Review)

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Comic Review

Writer: Bryan Hill

Artist: Dexter Soy

Colors: Veronica Gandini

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Cover: Tyler Kirkham & Arif Prianto

Variant Cover: Stjepan Sejic

Lesser Gods Part 1

“Even Batman Needs Help”

What You Need To Know

After a delay, the new edition of Batman and The Outsiders has finally been released. Batman has gathered a group of his allies and given them the authority to fight for justice in the way they see fit. The problem is this group, consisting of Black Lightning, Katana, The Signal, and Orphan may not have the confidence or state of mind to carry out their mission. On top of that, a family of metahumans is being hunted and one of them may be the key to humanity’s future.

What Just Happened

The issue begins in Los Angeles with the Ramos family, Gabriel and Sofia, traveling and thinking about the death of a family member. Out of nowhere, another metahuman who kills Gabriel and throws Sofia off the freeway attacks them. The metahuman mocks Sofia and tells her that she doesn’t even know what she is capable of. Miraculously, Sofia survives the fall, even after landing on a tanker that explodes.

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, The Outsiders are battling a mass shooter named Saint John who has shot up three churches in the area. Batman has sent The Outsiders after him as “training”. Saint John pins down the Signal and Orphan, yet Signal wants to take him head on. Black Lightning and Katana are able to take Saint John down themselves. Black Lightning and The Signal argue over their approaches to taking down Saint John. Orphan notes that The Signal has been struggling since a recent battle with a supervillain.

Jefferson Pierce then meets with Bruce Wayne to discuss the state of the team. Jefferson does not think they are ready and will only get them killed. Bruce responds by saying it is up to Jefferson to mold the team in a way he sees fit. Jefferson then visits with Katana to ask for advice. Jefferson wants Katana to help him lead the team. Katana gives her opinion of her teammates but demands that Jefferson show his commitment to the team. Duke Thomas goes on a motorcycle ride with Cassandra Cain but still has images of a traumatizing battle in his head.

Batman calls the team together and tells them about the Ark Program and how billionaires were experimenting on poor people to create metahumans. Batman was able to take down the program, but was only able to save one family, the Ramos family. Batman and Lucius Fox helped the family relocate, but Ana Ramos died due to the experiments. Batman also notes that Sofia Ramos has the power to increase her strength to the level of pain she has endured. Batman orders The Outsiders to find Sofia and bring her to Gotham.

Sofia is trying to sneak out of LA on a train to St. Louis but is ambushed before she can get on the train. The person who grabbed her explains that Ra’s Al Ghul has sent a being named Ishmael to kill her and her father. The being introduces himself as Kaliber and states he was sent to keep her alive. Kaliber states he is from the future and Sofia is meant to save humanity.

My Thoughts

I’m glad Batman and The Outsiders has finally been released. I was worried that DC may cancel this book outright and I am happy that I was wrong. Batman’s ragtag group of heroes may have growing pains as they develop as a team, but their missteps and mistakes will be our entertainment. Batman is reduced to mostly a cameo role in this issue, and it is a testament to Bryan Hill’s writing that the book does not suffer as a result. The book remains captivating by focusing on Black Lightning struggling with his role as leader of the team, Katana’s calming influence, The Signal’s emotional recklessness, and Orphan status as straightforward tactician. This team clearly has issues that they know they must address if they are going keep each other alive and they know it. Luckily, Batman believes in them, and I think we should too.

The books gets a little strange when we focus on the Ramos family. We do not get to know Gabriel Ramos that well, as Ishmael murders him fairly quickly, but Sofia seems to be an intriguing character going forward. Sofia’s power set is very unique and very extreme and I am looking forward to seeing it used in different situations. Plus Sofia seems to have a guardian angel that gives off strong Terminator vibes. Matter of fact, Ishmael and Kaliber remind me of a certain set of popular mutants from Marvel Comics that exploded onto the scene in the 90s. It seems like Bryan Hill may be influenced by these characters and storylines for this initial arc. We’ll see if he can add his own unique twist to keep it original.

Dexter Soy’s art is strong overall. Some of the female characters have the stereotypical exaggerated chests that plague plenty of comic books. Hopefully that is something that is toned down in future issues. Soy’s depiction of Sofia’s powers is a highlight of this issue and I hope he has fun with depicting Sofia being thrown through the ringer throughout this arc. Another gripe is that the 2 of the characters introduced in this book look eerily similar to what seems to be their inspirations from another comic book publisher. Hopefully Soy can differentiate them down the line.

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Marcus Freeman

Marcus Freeman

Bay Area bred, LA livin Blerd. Avid fan of comics, video games, music, wrestling, the Lakers, and the 49ers. Constantly catching up on DVR’d TV shows. Spends a little too much money at movie theaters. Also passionate about serving my community and providing the youth with tools for success.
Summary
Batman and The Outsiders has finally arrived and the delay has not damaged the quality of this book. A book starring Black Lightning, Katana, The Signal, and Orphan has potential to be a hit that elevates all these characters. Bryan Hill has crafted a familiar storyline for these characters that involves strained team dynamics and time travel. I’m optimistic that Hill and artist Dexter Soy have plenty of twists and terms to make this a unique book on the market.
Good
  • Interesting team dynamic
  • Lack of Batman actually a strength
Bad
  • New characters and use of time travel seem to be influenced by familiar storylines
8.2
Great
Story - 8
Art - 8
Character Development - 8.5
Written by
Bay Area bred, LA livin Blerd. Avid fan of comics, video games, music, wrestling, the Lakers, and the 49ers. Constantly catching up on DVR’d TV shows. Spends a little too much money at movie theaters. Also passionate about serving my community and providing the youth with tools for success.

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