“Into The Soultaker”
Review by Steve J. Ray
Batman And The Outsiders Annual #1 is an absolute blast! Samurai swords, magic and demons abound in an issue that is pure, 100% comic-book yumminess. But there’s so much more to it than that.
Bryan Hill is one of those writers that is just at home on gritty crime ridden streets, as he is with vigilante crime and sword and sorcery. He writes characters with heart and soul and delivers action like a comics based John Woo. Katana’s background, her history, Japanese mythology and superheroics all come together in these pages in a way that resembles alchemy. When I heard that we were getting a new Outsiders title, I prayed that classic team members like Black Lightning and Katana would get their time in the sun. This book answers those prayers… and then some.
Max Raynor and Luis Guerrero weave magic of their very own. Raynor’s line art is fluid, and he captures the supernatural as brilliantly as he does the domestic. His quiet scenes between Jefferson and Tatsu are gorgeous, and his action scenes leap off the page. If Dexter Soy ever needs to take a breather I’d love to see Max’s work on the pages of the ongoing title.
Luis Guerrero has been doing great work over on Detective Comics recently, but his work on this issue could well be his best yet. The neon colors of Japanese city streets contrast with the golds, yellows and reds of the realm within the soul sword… and just check out the mystical conflagration on show on pages two and three of the book! Gorgeous stuff, right? The way he uses completely contrasting colors on the pages where Jefferson battles the shadow ninja, to where we see Katana and her ancestor Miyako combat the demon and his horde in the realm of the dead, is simply stunning.
Troy Peteri, as usual, has produced some fine work. The opening monologue and his credits page are gorgeous, but his lettering for Tsutomo the demon is also beyond cool.
Batman And The Outsiders Annual #1 is a tale of magic, but it’s also a tale of family, trust and honor. The messages within this issue are deep and meaningful, but when told using fantastical elements they don’t come across as preachy, or convoluted. There are times in all of our lives when we may want to give up, and walk away from it all. Sometimes we have to find incredible strength just to make it through the day. When we see our favorite comics heroes going through the same trials and tribulations, we should take heart. Just like them we can all make it through, if we realise that we’re not alone, that someone out there is willing to listen.
There is someone there for you, believe that. Never give up… never give in.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment