Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: ChrisCross (p), Sean Parsons (i)
With Arsenal in hospital recovering from multiple gunshot wounds we see the Outsiders are joined by Green Arrow and Connor Hawke as the team heads to Antarctica, as they have tracked Brother Blood to the Slab prison, where we see the villain is attempting the recruit an army of super-villains. While the Outsiders are able to crash this party they are unable to prevent the Slab from being blown to kingdom come, nor the escape of every villain it held within its walls.
Okay we have a villain who is about to unleash an army of sleeper agents that once activated are going to travel to their nearest hospitals and each kidnap an infant. However, not content with having just one master-plan, our villain also decides to pay a visit to the Slab where he attempts to build another army using the super-villains that are locked away inside this prison. This doesn't include the plot thread that is currently playing out over in the pages of the Teen Titans, but even without this third plot involving Brother Blood, Judd Winick has made this story feel a bit unfocused as he has Brother Blood carrying out two evil plans at the same time. Now perhaps the prison break out is simply a distraction that he's unleashed to draw the focus away from his true plan involving the sleeper agents, but Judd Winick further complicates matters by having Brother Blood forced to deal with an uprising within his own ranks. Now I'm not saying this book can't have a plot with multiple threads, but it's starting to reach the point where Judd Winick looks to have too many balls in the air. We have a villain working on two master-plans at the same time, and than then story essentially switches villains in midstream as one of Brother Blood's followers stages an uprising. It also doesn't help matters that the Outsiders are coming across as completely ineffectual, as once again they are unable to keep Brother Blood's plan from coming to fruition.
As for the art, ChrisCross turns in another guest-issue, and I have to say that while there are moments where his work has an unfinished look to it, there are many more moments where I'm truly impressed by the sense of energy he's able to put on the page. From the page where Metamorpho makes his entrance in the Slab, to the follow-up pages where the Outsiders make their way through an army of super-villains the art has a wonderful sense of excitement to it. However, the scene where Jade and Indigo are blasting their way to the power core of the complex has an unfinished, decidedly rough look to it though, and the scene where the Slab explodes isn't nearly as impressive as one would have hoped to see, considering this is a fairly key fixture of the DCU. The last panel of the issue offers up a fun surprise though, and I was rather impressed that the art was able to display a very real difference visually between the two characters.
This issue has Judd Winick trying to win a potato sack race while riding a unicycle, as he seems to be of the mind that offering up one villainous plot isn't enough, so this issue has him offering up a second evil plot, as well as a surprise twist in the final pages where our main villain is replaced by an ambitious lackey. Now is the story difficult to follow? Not especially as the action is pretty clearly laid out, and for the most part this issue sticks with the second evil plot involving Brother Blood's attempt to recruit an army in the Slab. In fact if one doesn't think too much about the plot material that played out before this issue than this is actually a fairly engaging read, as the Outsiders become involved in a fairly exciting battle to regain control over the chaos that Brother Blood has unleashed. However, the exploding building scene is getting a bit old as this is the second time he's played this card in three issues, and the simple truth of the matter is that it's difficult to really focus of any one aspect of the plot when Judd Winick seems unwilling to do so himself.
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