“Lawyers, Guns, and Monkeys”
Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Tom Raney (p), Scott Hanna (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Grodd continues his seemingly meaningless assault on New York City, and the non-team steps in to stop him. Meanwhile, the member of the team that was on the cover of issue #1 but not in its pages shows up to help President Luthor, who’s coincidentally enough in NYC, to escape.
This issue takes the term “sophomore slump” to a whole new level as it appears Winick couldn’t stop himself from filling each page with inelegant exposition. There are a lot of things wrong here, but it’s the character work that just screams to be criticized. Winick has no feel for these characters, and this is painfully apparent in his use of Nightwing. In this book he’s a whiny know-it-all and overly abrupt with his teammates and that flies in the face of the leader he was during the JLA “Obsidian Age” story arc.
I don’t know much about Arsenal, but I was reasonably sure he carried a bow. What made me think that? Well, besides that fact that he’s Green Arrows former sidekick, he’s got a freaking bow on the cover to issue 2. That begs the question, why doesn’t he have one inside the book? Perhaps we’ll never know. There’s not much that needs to be said about the character of Indigo other than it (it’s a robot after all) is just plain worthless, and Winick’s other new characters aren’t much better.
I usually like Winick’s dialogue, but in this book it borders on atrocious. Everyone talks a lot, even when they’re engaged in a fight with the giant gorillas. Personally I’ve never fought a gorilla, but I don’t think it’d leave a lot of room for chat. All of the Outsiders where “personal communicators” so small you can’t see them (a pretty blatant rip-off of The Authority’s radiotelepathy) and that just gives Winick the opportunity to spew more bad dialogue at his readers.
There are some neat ideas in the book, and those almost save the day. I liked seeing two inexperienced heroes team up to catch the jet because it’s something you see every issue in JLA or JSA. It was a nice way of reminding readers that these aren’t Superman-level heroes we’re dealing with, and that was refreshing. Lex Luthor’s attitude read true, especially his reactions to an imminent helicopter crash. Unfortunately, the book’s tension relies on his fate, and we all know there’s no way anything will happen to DC’s most famous villain.
I’ve been a Tom Raney fan since his Stormwatch days, but his work on this title isn’t doing much for me. I’m not saying it’s bad; on the contrary it’s actually pretty good in most places. What it is is inconsistent as character’s faces tend to change shape between panels. Everything else is clear and easy to follow, making the art the strongest part of Outsiders #2.
This turned out to be a disappointing follow up to a decent opening chapter, and I’m up in the air as to whether or not I’ll buy the next installment. Being a big Nightwing fan I looked forward to this book with great anticipation. Unfortunately, that led to one of the biggest let downs of 2003. Buyer beware.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!