"Devil’s Work, Part One: Sacrifice”
Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Tom Raney (p), Sean Parsons (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Timothy Karnes is one of the most dangerous villains on the planet; his only problem is that he can’t speak the magic word that turns him from an 89 pound weakling into the demonic Sabbac - that won’t matter anymore.
Outsiders #8 begins by introducing us to grade-school teacher Angela Cooper, one of 36 bus passengers about to die in one of three satanic rituals to revive the power of Sabbac. Rarely do the victims of comic-book villains receive such an introduction, and by doing so Winick gives a voice to a character that serves only as cannon fodder, but casts a more evil light upon the villains that commit this heinous act.
As for the rest of Outsiders, Judd Winick takes largely second-tier and no-tier characters (because they have appeared largely nowhere other than this title) and gives them voices that are fun, believable and interesting. I guess it was that year Winick spent in San Francisco learning about group dynamics, but I digress. The interaction between Indigo and Metamorpho (or whatever name he will eventually decide upon, given that Rex Mason is the original Metamorpho) has a romantic quality reminiscent of teenagers living in a more innocent era. On the other hand the barbs thrown between Nightwing and Huntress (chosen by Arsenal to fill in while he recovers from gunshot wounds) are far removed from innocence. Another aspect I have enjoyed about Winick’s writing is his choice of an overwhelmingly female cast of heroes who could hand most male heroes or villains their stones on a platter, Huntress included, as the Tattooed Man learned to his dentist’s dismay. I often wondered where superheroes and villains go for dental work after so many tooth-loosening battles.
Tom Raney makes each character’s face reflect their personalities without them having to speak, from the stone-faced Nightwing to the devil-may-care expression of Grace. I especially enjoyed his depiction of Huntress who looks like an innocent Catholic school girl one second then the queen of PMS the next. I don’t know who he used as his reference model for Huntress, but other artists need to do the same. This must be the first time I have seen the character actually have the facial features of a young Italian woman. In addition to the detail Raney pays to the headline characters’ faces and actions, he pays stellar attention to the background and background characters. I spent at least a few seconds looking at the first panel. Who knew there was an Angel and the Ape feature film? When Indigo and Metamorpho walk down the street after a movie, the expressions of shock on the faces of pedestrians seeing a pink-haired blue-skinned girl and a man with the completion a toxic waste dump is very amusing.
Sean Parsons slaps down a fine line of ink, but I especially enjoyed the exceptional colors of Gina Going. She (I assume Gina is a she) sneaks in a few treats on the Lockhaven Prison waiting room wall holding the Tattooed Man as well as making Nightwing’s disguise of a blonde wig and goatee look appropriately hokey. I wonder just what “The Bat can?”
DC continues to prove that it publishes some of the best superhero team books, and Outsiders may be the best DC publishes. Great characters, both old and new, written in a way that is both fun and accessible coupled with stellar art and some of the most underrated bad-ass villains in the DC Universe. This issue is a great jumping on point, because next issue the fight is ON.
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