“Lesser Gods” – Part One
Review by Steve J. Ray
This is it! After months of anticipation, Batman And The Outsiders #1 is finally here! I’ve been (im)patiently waiting, as this series was originally due to hit the shelves back in December. So… was the wait worth it?
You bet your bat-butts it was!
Writer Bryan Hill initially brought Batman, Black Lightning, Katana, The Signal and Orphan together in the pages of Detective Comics (issues #983-#987 “On The Outside“, to be exact). This story was incredibly cool and, while it’s not essential that new readers pick it up, it is highly recommended. Many of what effected some of the characters in this series will be explained and expanded upon in later issues, I’m sure, but having the story that led to this series in your collections will enhance your reading experience.
From the very first page the writing and the art in this book just grab you. Bryan Hill knows exactly how to get, and keep, a reader’s attention. Right from the offset we are introduced to new characters, before we get see the eponymous heroes of the title. Following on from the events of the aforementioned Detective Comics story, when we do catch up with The Outsiders, things are far from perfect. These characters were thrown together, Batman has an agenda (there’s a surprise) and the truth will slowly be uncovered. Personally, I love a mystery, and Mr. Hill has sown seeds that I’m excited to see grow.
We’ve already seen that Batman’s actions can have unexpected repercussions, this issue brings even more. Our hero has ties with characters and events that impact on this new story from the get-go, all of which has me intrigued and excited.
That’s No Moon…
No, it’s a Dexter. The art in this book is gorgeous. The two covers, by Tyler Kirkham with Arif Prianto and Stjepan Šejić respectively, are incredibly impressive, and what follows in the actual comic is every bit as great. Dexter Soy pencils and inks this issue with incredible flair. From the domestic scene of a man in car with his daughter, to the carnage that follows; we see the work of an artist who is every bit at home with quiet moments and emotion, as he is with explosive action. Scenes later in the issue between Tatsu (Katana) and her soul sword, and interactions between Duke Thomas and Cassandra Cain, add beautiful layers to the book.
Veronica Gandini is incredible. I don’t recall seeing her art before, but first impressions count. What an impression! Look carefully at the images DC have kindly given us: The purple night sky, Sofia’s reflection, the lights from the passing traffic. Then, the incredible scene on the title page… wow! Dexter Soy’s art is terrific, but Gandini’s color elevates it to even more incredible levels. Don’t just look at the crushed car, check out the motion blur from the headlights, and the movement of traffic around the vehicle, combined with the hues of the setting sun. This is wonderful art.
Once you add in the perfect sound effects and text, from the always impressive Clayton Cowles, what you get is a number #1 issue that was not only well worth waiting for, but which leaves you excited for what’s to follow.
Batman And The Outsiders #1 is a strong first issue, this could cause concern because when you’re at the top often the only way is down. With Bryan Hill, Dexter Soy, Victoria Gandini and Clayton Cowles behind the wheel, I feel that the ride will be a great one all the way. When I interviewed Mr. Hill last year his ideas excited me. Yes, this is a new team of Outsiders, and he will be focusing on new characters and situations too (check out that ending!), but this issue is all-out classic, vintage comic-book entertainment.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment