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Outsiders #19

Posted: Friday, June 19, 2009
By: Erik Norris

Peter Tomasi
Pasarin & Haun, Rollins, Faucher & Haun (i), Hi-Fi (c)
DC Comics
Outsiders is a hard title for me to keep track of month by month. The main reason for this is that we're technically six issues into "The Deep" and a master plan has yet to be revealed. Not only does our team of Outsiders not yet know what they're trying to stop, but they don't exactly know who either. So in a way, I feel like every time Tomasi and company shift the focus over to our "villains," I'm getting the same story bits every month which is frustrating.

I'm also having a hard time connecting with the Outsiders team. Sure, Alfred had his shining moments in the Batman & The Outsiders Special, giving readers a great look at his current state of mind and motivation. Even Geoforce has had moment in the sun during Brad Meltzer's Last Will & Testament which feeds directly into this month's Outsiders issue. But the rest of the team, I'm clueless as to their motivation. Yes, this group of Outsiders make up the majority of the original team Batman rounded up to do the shady business the typical superhero community avoided, but for readers like myself, those that never read the original adventures, I'm just not being pulled into the characters of this book like I feel I should be. Only two characters have interesting stories, and those stories are interesting because they were set up nicely in other books. The sad this is, Peter Tomasi is an amazing character writer. I've read his work on Nightwing religiously, and I'm still reading his monthly adventures in Green Lantern Corps so I know the man has an amazing grasp of character, whether for a small or large cast. He can usually handle it with ease. So to see his falter so harshly here in Outsiders is a bit disappointing.

Another reason Outsiders falls below expectations is because the artwork hasn't really been up to my standards. I was a fan of Lee Garbett, the artist who drew issues 15 through 18, but issue #19 has Fernando Pasarin stepping in to draw the current chapter of "The Deep." I've previously discussed my dislike for Pasarin's work in reviews for various Justice Society of America issues and my main complaints there still hold up here. His characters are much too blocky looking for starters. And I just don't much care for his handling of facial expressions and emotion, they all seem rather stiff. But, there is a bit of silver lining to the artwork of issue #19--the cliffhanger page. This is the second time in a month this individual has shown up on the final page of a Batman book and it's just as shocking this second time around. Completely unexpected. Also, it's probably the single greatest image I've ever seen of said character. It's both badass and extremely hilarious at teh same time. I need me one of those jackets!

Of all the titles that have released thus far under the "Batman Reborn" banner, Outsiders #19 is easily the weakest. Sure, Peter Tomasi has the ingredients brewing that could potentially lead to a epic plot inter-mixing various Batman and DCU A-listers, but he's unfortunately still too busy setting the groundwork instead of moving the plot forward. And for this being the sixth part in a storyline, it's too long a time to count on comic reading folk to stay interested. People who are by far the most anxious fans on the planet.



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