Batman and The Outsiders #4 Comic Review
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letterer: Clayton Cowels
Cover: Tyler Kirkham & Arif Prianto
Variant Cover: Mikel Janín
Lesser Gods Part 4
“And With Violence, You Shall Earn A Name”
What You Need To Know
Ra’s Al Ghul’s influence has fully infected Sofia and The Outsiders may not be rescuing the same woman they briefly met. The Outsiders also may be crumbling from the inside under Black Lightning’s leadership. Can Black Lightning whip his team into shape to be able to rescue Sofia from the clutches of The Demon?
What Just Happened
On Khadym, Ra’s Al Ghul has fully converted Sofia to his side and continues his conditioning of her mind. In Gotham City, Cassandra Cain meets with Duke Thomas at the park to check on him. Cassandra wants to make sure Duke is alright and help him get out of his funk.
At Gotham Harbor, Jefferson Pierce meets with Kaliber to discuss why he is on the team. Kaliber states he is there to help atone for his past and take advantage of the 2nd chance Batman gave him. Elsewhere in Gotham, Katana is meditating and sees her husband’s soul being attacked by malevolent spirits.
Jefferson meets with Bruce Wayne on his yacht and Jefferson is annoyed at being called upon like an errand boy. Bruce states that’s not what the team is and he genuinely needs Jefferson’s help. Bruce informs Jefferson that the team must go to Khadym to rescue Sofia. Jefferson wants Bruce to come but Bruce states in his current state he feels Ra’s Al Ghul would compromise him. Bruce and Jefferson agree that Duke should sit the mission out, and Jefferson confirms that Cassandra is working with him.
Later that night, Jefferson meets with Duke and informs him that he will be sitting the mission out. Duke wants to help but states he will respect Jefferson’s leadership. Jefferson, Katana, and Kaliber meet with Bruce in the Batcave to strategize their infiltration of Khadym. Kaliber has generated cover identities for Katana and Jefferson to infiltrate Khadym.
Ra’s Al Ghul orders Sofia to earn her new identity through combat. Sofia kills the warriors Al Ghul has used to test Sofia. Jefferson makes the point to Bruce that Sofia may not want to leave and Bruce states that the team must be convincing. Jefferson speaks with Katana and she reveals to him that her husband’s spirit is trapped in her sword and is in distress. Jefferson informs her that he is willing to do what it takes to help. Katana wants to focus on the mission and is willing to fight to the end with Jefferson. The team is unaware that Ra’s Al Ghul is preparing Sofia for the upcoming confrontation with The Outsiders and he has ordered her to kill them when they arrive.
Bryan Hill continues to take a slow build approach to his take on Batman and The Outsiders. This book should really be called The Outsiders because there is not much Batman, but that is also a strength of the book. Batman empowering Black Lightning and mostly serving as an advisor of the team empowers the team and places them in the spotlight. There are also some great character moments in this issue. Cassandra Cain reaching out to Duke Thomas to help him work through his trauma was a sweet moment. Hill characterizes Cassandra as someone who has undergone her fair share of trauma and wants to help others overcome their worst moments. I also appreciated Jefferson Pierce comparing his upbringing in a tough, violent neighborhood with Bruce Wayne’s experience battling sociopathic criminals.
My favorite part of this issue was the bonding between Jefferson and Duke. These two started their relationship at each other’s throats, but Duke now realizes that Jefferson was just trying to help. Duke probably reminds Jefferson of one of his students and Jefferson will never ignore a young person in need, especially if that person is young and Black. Hill scripted Duke and Jefferson’s conversation as authentic as he could write it, and it reminded me of a young man talking to his uncle or neighborhood OG to gain wisdom or “absorb some game”. Jefferson has also bonded with Katana as the adults on the team and while Katana is struggling personally she is ready to die for Jefferson and her teammates.
I’m sort of put off by the fact that Ra’s Al Ghul was able to corrupt Sofia so easily. I know that Sofia recently lost her father and she can’t control her powers, but she is willingly surrendering to a man who sent the man who killed her father and nearly killed her. I also could have done without the forced interaction between Black Lightning and Kaliber. Kaliber seems to be a new character that Hill is forcing onto this book because he created him. Jefferson comes off as holier than thou and insecure when he confronts Kaliber about his spot on the team.
The art for this issue is solid yet unspectacular. Dexter Soy continues his soild run as the artist for this book. Veronica Gandini’s colors compliment Soy’s artwork well and brings some life to the pages of this issue