Current Reviews


Outsiders #50

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007
By: Chris Murman

Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist(s): Matthew Clark, Ron Randall

Publisher: DC Comics

Forget about the Outsiders, the solicits had it wrong. We should have been told this issue introduces the new Suicide Squad to the comics community. Sure, we learn that J’onn Jones, Aquaman and Catwoman have joined up with Batman’s new squad. We already knew that from the advance cover of Batman and the Outsiders. What I didn’t know already was that Waller is packing a bit more heat than I thought.

Forgive me; I’m a bit ahead of myself.

I bought this issue purely out of curiosity. I had no desire to pick up the “5 of a Kind” mini-series, mainly because I didn’t feel like paying $15 to read what I could find out in this issue: who was going to be on Tony Bedard’s Outsiders. He and Batman decided that Nightwing, Boomerang, and Thunder didn’t belong in his new “outside the law” mentality. Then again, that’s always how the Outsiders were seen by the capes community. Dick just tried to make them too legit for their own good.

Before I go any further, in theory, this book is right up my alley. I’m all about heroes slumming it a bit to get closer to the criminals they are trying to bag. Being covert, using J’onn’s telepathy to communicate and traveling by submarine accompanies’ what Greg Rucka is going in Checkmate rather nicely. The problem I have is in the execution with this cast of interesting characters.

First of all, I don’t like Bruce incognito sans cape and cowl. I didn’t buy “Matches Malone” for a minute and his enemies really wouldn’t either. Sure Selina has known Bruce differently than most criminals, but if she picked Bats out of a crowd of non-costumed people that fast others will to in time.

Secondly, how he built this team is very clichéd. Breaking up a girl/girl couple (Grace and Thunder) only messes things up. If you’re going to take one, you have to take the girlfriend. I’m not upset about Thunder staying on, but this was just silly. Also, if you’re going to try and establish yourselves as not being heroes anymore, wouldn’t you try something a bit more ambitious than to show up at a crook bar with a bunch of nobodies in it? Do something better, like breaking into Checkmate headquarters, spray paint your name on JLA headquarters, even using Batman as part of the ruse would have been good. He wouldn’t be connected to the vigilantes. Like people wouldn’t automatically think this was Bruce’s handiwork.

Finally, we all know Catwoman will screw her former lover the first chance she gets. We’ve seen it far too many times to count, but she’s sort of a bad girl. She loves Bats, but she’s not loyal by any means. We know it’s coming, and her involvement of the book will derail many of the good things that Bedard is trying to accomplish from this cool team book. Just dump her soon, Tony. I really want to like this book.

I did enjoy some of the finer points of the Suicide Squad/Outsiders fight, however. Seeing Rex pose as water in a fish tank was utterly awesome. I also loved the Martian’s skills being used, even if they are a bit underutilized in this issue. He will get more into the fray soon. I questioned Aquaman’s absence from the crew, but he may just be a part timer like J’onn appears to be. That’s okay, Batman’s always been a part-timer of any squad he was on, and so it makes sense.

There are so many cool aspects of this book that, unfortunately, I’m going to have to pick it up when it re-launches, but I’m not predicting a long stay on my pull list for Batman’s rogue squad. Heroes love playing bad guys: Hell, my favorite superhero is technically a bad guy. He just doesn’t use guns and throws batarangs at everyone.

Just like dating a “bad girl” in college, I’m predicting a sloppy break up before it even begins. I’m giving this book less than six months before driving me away, but at least it will be a fun ride until then.

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