Is this the end of my first stint collecting The Outsiders? Is this the last issue? Hmmm ...
To be honest, the only impetus to bring me here was the Eradicator, a character not seen for 3 issues. And one thing that was working here was Katana, struggling between the loyalty of a samurai and knowing that the one she follows, Geo-Force, is clearly insane. And we haven't seen enough of her recently.
So purchasing Outsiders #32, I wondered if I heard the bells tolling. I mean, how many times can I say on this blog 'I am giving The Outsiders one more issue'? Dan Didio's writing just has been all over the map with some attempts that humor that fall flat, overly dramatic prose, and 'bad ass' lines. For me, it sometimes feel like he is trying to hard because the quieter moments of this book have been the best.
At least this issue was going to focus on The Creeper, one of my favorite underused characters.
Having rescued Metamorpho from being consumed by Chemo, Owl-Man, Freight Train, Metamorpho, and The Ray make their way back to the Stagg Industries secret lab where Chemo had been housed. As if Stagg is trying to cover up this debacle, the station is abandoned with no people and almost no equipment around.
The Ray tells the Outsiders that Sapphire Stagg was very sick and that despite some novel attempts by Simon Stagg to save her (including Black Lantern power - should Lex be worried), Sapphire has died. Interesting. But to be honest, I don't believe it. The only debate in my mind is whether Sapphire has been mutated into Element Girl or some sort of monstrous villain.
While Owl-Man realizes that Stagg is on the wrong side of the law and can't be trusted, Freight Train is a bit more naive. He activates a sensor in the abandoned lab, letting Stagg know that the group is there.
If Stagg wanted to erase the existence of the lab, he also would want to eliminate the witnesses. The lab is consumed in a massive explosion. Stagg as an overt villain rather than a conniving business man is intriguing.
As for the Creeper storyline, this part of the issue is pretty titillating. Maybe overly so. This is one of those places where it is so over the top that it almost reads like a parody.
First, Serene tells The Creeper that she needs his seed to repopulate the Creeper demon corps in Hell. So she has captured him in order to copulate. Of course, Serene hopes that this will solidify her place in Blaze's Hell.
Now our Creeper doesn't want to be forced into doing anything he doesn't want to. Nor does he want to be the father to a host of demon soldiers.
But his 'amusing banter' throughout this sequence, including 'death by sex' and penis jokes were more cringe worthy than humorous.
Realizing he needs a way out, the Creeper goads Segura, Serene's werewolf lover and guardian, into a jealous rage by discussing how 'slutty' she is and how prolific their amorous session will be. Angered by this speech, Segura attacks the Creeper, freeing him from his bonds.
Seems sort of like an easy out. A werewolf demon so in love and devoted to his succubus lover that he attacks a man who is threatening their monogamy (even if Serene is the one to initiate it).
The Creeper loses all control, angry not only at the situation but also his own damnation, and nearly kills Segura.
I didn't realize that the Creeper was this powerful ... maybe his abilities are increased in Hell?
As surprising as Segura defending Serene was ... it is more surprising that Serene stops the whole 'mating ritual' to tend to Segura's wound. She lets the Creeper walk out of Hell!
Hmmm ... I don't think Blaze will be too happy with that decision. Wouldn't it be wiser to have the hordes of Hell detain the Creeper so Serene can complete the deal at a later date? Don't you think Blaze is going to kill Serene based on this?
It seems a bit too easy.
In the one part of the Creeper story that worked, Jack Ryder slumps in his chair at home only to hear that he is being sent to Markovia as a reporter. Irony! Finally something that was understated and effective. Look at how exhausted he is ... and he has to head back to where he just came from.
On a whole, this issue just failed on many levels. The whole tenor of the Creeper story was wrong. The turn of events felt wrong ... too simplistic to bring the story to an end.
And Philip Tan's art, which usually is one of the draws for the book, wasn't his usual top notch material. In many places, it smacked more of 1990's Image than his usual hyperstylized way.
So is this the death knell for the title for me? Alas ... no. The next issue promises a plot involving the Eradicator, Katana, and Halo. Those are the reasons I bought this book. So I am still giving this book one more issue.