Battle for the Cowl: Batman and the Outsiders!

Batman and the Outsiders SpecialYeah, I know. I’m just as surprised as you are.  I count no less than SIX attempts to reboot The Outsiders by DC Comics.  It’s an odd animal.  Essentially, The  Outsiders is made up of superheroes who do not “fit” in with the mainstream superhero community

They were founded by Batman during one of his many spats with the Justice League, as a form of “hardcore Justice League” – the team that can get in, do a job no matter how dirty it is, and get out.

The first Outsiders consisted of a lot of new faces back in 1983 – Geo-Force, Katana, Halo, Looker.  Still, it also had Black Lightning, Batman, and Metamorpho.  The one mainstay through the first couple of Outsiders was Geo-Force.  I know…no one likes Geo-Force.  But as a member of The Outsiders, he works.

Click after the jump for more goodness.

Outsiders by Judd WinickOkay, let’s be honest.  The most recent incarnation of the team, Batman and the Outsiders, stunk.  Started in 2007 and written by Chuck Dixon, the book suffered from a change in the creative staff and direction literally at the last minute.  The team changed about a million times in 14 issues, and the storyline was hard to follow.  Still, the history of The Outsiders comes with an impressive pedigree of talent.  The team was originally created by Mike Barr (Batman: Son of the Demon), and has featured art by the late, great Jim Aparo, as well as Paul Pelletier and Alan Davis.

Before Batman took back control of the team in 2007, for a short period of time, it was led by Nightwing – similar principles, but the team was made primarily of ex-Teen Titans members who…well, weren’t teens anymore.  That run was written by the always reliable Judd Winick, with art by Tom Raney.  It’s at the end of that run that Batman decided to take over – offering Nightwing a position on the team, but having his offer rejected.

Anyway, let’s cut to present: the real reason you should be reading this comic.  Whether you know the history of the characters or not, the original Outsiders are, for all intents and purposes, back.  Batman’s presumably dead following the events of Final Crisis, so who’s leading the team?  Well, this is where things begin to get interesting.

Outsiders #15Waking one night because of an alarm in the Batcave, Alfred goes down to find a final voice recording from Bruce Wayne, instructing him of an important mission…to reunite the original Outsiders, along with some new added talent.  Yes friends…Alfred is in charge of a superhero team.  As stupid as that may sound, keep in mind that Alfred has been working and aiding Batman in the missions for YEARS, and before that he was a member of the British Secret Service.

He travels the world to put together the new team:

  • Black Lightning
  • Geo-Force
  • Katana
  • The Creeper
  • Metamorpho
  • Owlman

The team again has the same principles, but things are going to be run a little differently now.  See, to truly dedicate themselves to the mission, the team is, essentially, on duty at ALL TIMES – they set up shop in the Batcave, and they are not allowed any outside contact.  No family, no friends…they are 100%, all the time, on call and ready to go, like a soldier sent overseas.

I can’t recommend this book enough.  Pick up the fantastic Batman and the Outsiders special first (it came out about two weeks ago), written by Pete Tomasi and drawn by Adam Kubert.  The first 10 pages of the book contain some of the best moments I’ve EVER read of Alfred, and his feelings for someone who was, essentially, his son.  Then pick up Outsiders #15, also written by Pete Tomasi, but with regular artist Lee Garbett.  I know it’s hard to follow up Adam Kubert, but Lee Garbett’s art is fantastic!  And I make no bones about hiding my love for Tomasi’s writing.  Save for Geoff Johns, Tomasi is probably my favorite comic writer right now, and he’s actually more consistently good than Johns (let’s be honest, that Red Lantern storyling going on right now is pretty bad).

Now is the perfect time to drop one of those crappy titles that you only collect because you have been for years (you know, like New Avengers) and jump on board an excellently written, fantasically drawn new series!

2 comments on “Battle for the Cowl: Batman and the Outsiders!Add yours →

  1. You know what Joe? That’s a good question … I think maybe I’ll do a little piece on Alfred talking about his history, since he’s one of my favorite characters.

    Hell, I don’t think there’s a Batman character that isn’t one of my favorite comic characters – Nighting, Robin, Batman himself…oh yeah, Jason Todd I guess! ha.

  2. How does a British Secret Service agent choose to live the rest of his life as a butler?

    Looking at the covers, I’m actually more intrigued by the one with Nightwing. I always though he was an underutilized/underrealized character and the notion of him as leader of the Outsiders appeals to me.

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