Batman and The Outsiders #8 Comic Review
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Tyler Kirkham & Nei Ruffino
Variant Cover: Chris Burnham & Nathan Fairbairn
A League of Their Own Part 1
“Reshuffling The Deck”
What You Need To Know
Bryan Hill’s story takes an issue to breathe, with The Outsiders and Ra’s Al Ghul’s forces both regrouping. The Outsiders have won the battle by rescuing Sofia from Ra’s Al Ghul and Kaliber. The Demon’s Head plans to win the war by attacking the team and everything they love and fear.
What Just Happened
The issue begins with the GCPD watching the plane carrying the Outsiders, Sofia, and Kaliber in route to crash landing in Gotham City. Batman observes the carnage and prays for strength. Kaliber tries to get Sofia to fight the Outsiders but Sofia refuses and tackles Kaliber through the plane. Black Lightning stops the plane from crashing and saves Katana by using his powers to break the plane apart and protecting Katana in a force field. There continues to be romantic tension between Katana and Black Lightning.
Batman pulls Sofia out of the Gotham River. Sofia states Ra’s Al Ghul wants to take everything away from Batman. Batman states he won’t let it happen. Later, at Wayne Manor, Black Lightning gives his condolences for Alfred’s death. Black Lighting tells Batman that The Signal and Orphan have checked in with him and he will check on them to make sure they are okay.
Katana takes Sofia to the Batcave. Sofia admits she still has Ra’s Al Ghul in her head and Katana tells her she will stay with her so she can rest. Elsewhere, The Signal shows off his new powers to Orphan, as he now can control darkness. The Signal refuses to let Ra’s Al Ghul turn him against Batman but doesn’t want to tell Batman about his powers because he thinks Batman will take him out of the field. Orphan is determined to stop her mother and The Signal agrees to help.
A teacher contacts Jefferson to update him on how his school is doing. Jefferson informs her that he will be splitting time between Gotham City and Metropolis as Bruce Wayne is putting together an “Education Initiative”. After the phone call, an unseen assailant attacks the teacher. On Khadym, Ra’s Al Ghul admits to Lady Shiva that he is being petty towards Batman because of how Batman “corrupted” Damian Wayne. Ra’s Al Ghul has set his sights on Black Lighting and blows up his school.
This issue has Bryan Hill weaving the tightest narrative of his run on this book. This particular issue is a breeze to read and the story kept me engaged throughout. It helps that Dexter Soy contributes his strongest art of this book’s short run. The cliffhanger from last issue is resolved quickly and in an awesome manner. I’m hoping this is the last we see of Kaliber, he seemed like a relic of the 90s and didn’t add much to the story besides the telegraphed heel turn. Sofia got to flex her muscles and pull a “Passenger 57” on him. Black Lightning also got to show how his power level is consistently underrated in the DC Universe by saving him and Katana and preventing a horrible plane crash.
It seems like Batman will be more active in future issues of this book as he mourns the death of a loved one the only way he knows how, by beating up criminals. Batman being more prominent in this book for a few issues can potentially raise the profile of this book without blocking the shine of The Outsiders. The Signal revealing his powers to Orphan also poses another potential stressor for Batman that Signal knows can complicate their relationship.
Orphan isn’t given much to do in this issue, but the stage is being set for another showdown with her mother, Lady Shiva. Orphan will not be fighting the next battle along however. Sofia seems like she is being groomed to be a new member of the Outsiders. Katana seems to be being set up to be Sofia’s mentor as they connect through their mutual trauma. Katana and Black Lightning also continue to deal escalating romantic tension. I appreciate that it is subtle enough for me to not to think “will they or won’t they?” every issue.
As Batman looks to take a more active approach in future issues, Ra’s Al Ghul’s shadow is looming larger over this book. I thought it was funny that Ra’s Al Ghul admitted to being petty, because let’s face it, everyone is a little petty about something. Ra’s Al Ghul’s plan is getting increasingly violent and personal, and Black Lightning is now his next target. I don’t Black Lightning will be made to feel as hopeless as the younger member of the team, and I think all this attack will do is piss him off.
As I mentioned before, Dexter Soy’s art has really improved in this issue. The art is sharper and more focused. Faces are better defined and differentiated. Veronica Gandini’s colors are vivid and bring Soy’s pencils to live. Hopefully this type of quality continues in future issues.