Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist(s): Julian Lopez and Bit
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Batman and the Outsiders are confronted by two delegates from the Justice League over the little issue of an OMAC.
Commentary: I still like this book. I really do. However, I subtracted points from a four or a five for several reasons, one being; the cover. Itís completely misleading. Knowing the history of this re-launch I can see what happened here. DC switched the creative team mid-stride but had this cover in the can and ready to go so decided to use it anyway. Only one of the three Leaguers shown on the cover shows up in the book and the pitched battle the cover promises never really comes to pass; at least not between the Leaguers and Outsiders. Also, John Jones left last issue and so isnít around to be trounced by anyone in the League. Plus, Batman trying to look threatening with two giant batarangs looks kind of goofy.
The second reason is, though the art from Misters Lopez and Bit is hot stuff, they go a bit too far in the suggestiveness department as far as the scenes with Grace, Thunder and Cassandra. They border on overtly explicit and sorry, this isnít an adult comic or from Marvelís MAX line. Iíve seen this trend in several of DCís books; pushing the envelope of innuendo and sexual content. What is it? They donít think the story or characters are interesting enough at the particular moments they choose to do this? Or, is it that they are really trying to gain an alternative lifestyle audience?
Listen, weíve know for years the primary audience for comics is young to middle aged heterosexual males, not even kids any more. Thatís not to say no other demographic reads them itís just; thatís the audience! No amount of pandering to other groups is going to get them to buy comics en masse. Look at the failed Batwoman experiment. And if us heterosexual males want a peep show we know where to go and itís not in the pages of DC Comics. Now that Iím off my soapbox as I said; Lopezís line work and Bitís inks are fantastic superhero stuff and again I canít say enough about their rendering and use of backgrounds and locales. Fantastic! This book is really a beauty to look at. The art and action just flow so well. Dixonís script is full realized in the art. Iím wondering if heís this detailed of a scripter. Heís been in comics forever so maybe he does give the artists that much to work with. Here you could take away the words and still have a very good sense of whatís occurring. Faces are distinct one from another and facial expressions tell the feeling and emotion of whatís going on at any particular moment. How I wish these guys were working on DCís supposedly flagship superhero book, ĎThe Justice League of Americaí. That book is floundering in so many ways its good to see there is a hot looking team of superheroes in the DC stable still.
Dixon brings in a cool guest star in the person of Francine Langstrom to help Batman study the captured OMAC. Her presence makes sense since sheís all too familiar with drastic physical changes being the wife of none other than Kirk Langstrom the sometimes Man-Bat. Iím glad to see there was very little in the way of fisticuffs between the two teams as they for the most part try to verbally resolve the conflict over the OMAC. Dixon avoids the clichť of all out battle and then talking sense weíve seen so many times in comics. Here both teams wind up going against the OMAC as it revives. Ultimately itís Batmanís team and our guest star that take down the OMAC once again proving they had the situation under control all along but, they do relinquish custody of the remains to the League. The League leaves Geo-Force to join the Outsiders. Howís that for a nice compromise? You see, Batmanís the one step ahead manipulator and heís already gotten what he needs from the OMAC and there is a surprise reveal at the end of what exactly that is. Finally, back at the Wayne Mansion Alfred gets a surprise visit from two people who apparently know Bruceís secret identity. Alfredís expression is priceless and this is a tantalizing development indeed.
Final Word: Batman and The Outsiders is turning out to be the sleeper hit of the winter under the capable hands of Dixon, Lopez and Bit.
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