Batman and the Outsiders #1 Review

by Hussein Wasiti on May 08, 2019

Written by Bryan Hill
Art by Dexter Soy
Colouring by Veronica Gandini
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
This book has been a long time coming. After its initial December release was cancelled with a promise for a future solicitation, I genuinely didn't think we'd be seeing this book ever grace the shelves. Thankfully the stars have aligned and the Outsiders can live again. There are a lot of team books at DC right now, so what justifies this book? What sets it apart from other teams? Why can't the Justice League or the Teen Titans handle this?
Batman's shadow looms large over the book, and he also plays a decently large role in the story as well. Bryan Hill's run on DETECTIVE COMICS last year was well-received, and this series simply continues the story as Hill ended it. Batman has assembled the relatively small team of Katana, Orphan, and Signal, with Black Lightning leading them. They're each burdened by their own demons and are dealing with their emotional baggage. Some of it is of a direct result from the DETECTIVE COMICS arc, as is the case with Signal, but some of it is deep-rooted in their psychology. Despite how integrated Orphan is into the Bat-family, she still feels like an outsider, a killer-in-the-making who doesn't deserve her good fortune. Batman recognises all of this and this is essentially the impetus for the creation of the team; they need to work well together and to do this they're going to have to move on, be better versions of themselves.
The execution is largely effective. The art team of Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini is pretty good, though I find a lot of Soy's character renditions to be a bit on the unimpressive side. The Bruce Wayne that Hill and Soy are trying to depict has an inherent conflict; Soy depicts him as a traditionally younger man, with an anime-style look that certainly makes him look younger, while Hill's dialogue paints the picture of an older character. Hill's portrayal of these characters is consistent with his previous work, but seeing Katana's breasts nearly spill out of a bathrobe falls under the unnecessary sexualised umbrella rather than any genuinely honest depiction of her.
The threat the Outsiders will be facing in this arc isn't terribly interesting and reminds me of Hill's DETECTIVE COMICS run, but I'm interested in the characters and their dynamic. There isn't much here beyond a typical time bomb team situation where they're obviously going to come to blows, but there's potential and I trust the team to move forward and deliver some thoughtful stories.
BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #1 is pretty and fun to read, though there isn't much new to be seen here. The potential for future stories is great but we get a pretty bare-bones introductory issue here, especially for those who haven't read Hill's preceding work. I had some issues with Soy's depiction of Katana but otherwise the art is good.

Our Score:


A Look Inside