Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Outsiders #31

With New Krypton plowing forward, I was lured into buying The Outsiders when the Eradicator was added to the team. As a 'fan' of the Eradicator, I was interested to see exactly what he would add to the mix. Where would his loyalties lie? How did he come back? Who does he serve?

As I have said before, I have had little interest in the Outsiders as a group before. In some ways, I welcomed the lure. I hadn't read the comic ever. Maybe I was missing something.

With War of the Supermen over, and the impact of the Eradicator maybe lessened by the end of the War, would the book still interest me. Each month I have said that this book seems destined to be dropped by me. The question is when.

Outsiders #31, written by Dan Didio and drawn by Philip Tan, sort of nudged me one step closer to the drop date. I just don't know if enough is happening here to have me craving more. And with Superboy and Speed Force coming out soon, something might have to give.

As seen last month, Metamorpho was tricked into be absorbed by Chemo by Java, most likely at the behest of Simon Stagg. This absorption seems to be ripping Rex apart, killing him. However, in those death throes, Metamorpho's love of Sapphire Stagg surges in him, allowing him to take control of Chemo. However, the pain must be too much for Rex to keep his thoughts together; he goes on a mindless rampage, maybe with the thought of killing Simon.

I suppose that it is a nice moment for Metamorpho, showing how deep his love is for Sapphire.

After a verbal shoving match, Freight Train and Owlman nearly get squashed by Chemo and agree to stop the monster.

Freight Train is one reason the book is nearing the axe. He is such a caricature. I don't have much interest in reading the adventures of someone who keeps saying how he is going to 'kick ass'.

Meanwhile, Katana, the most interesting of the Outsiders, does not appear to be walking in lock step behind Geo-Force as she has before. While she stuck by him when he sided with the Kryptonians, she now seems to be questioning Brion's decisions more. Her story ... the conflict between personal ethics and loyalty as a samurai ... is the most compelling.

Just when it seems that Katana is going to break away from Geo-Force, he gives her something to keep her in his sway. He brings back an old ally, using a machine to 'find' Halo and bring her back to Earth.

This was a nice scene; I wish Katana was in the book more. That said, I am new to the characters. Where was Halo? Does she need rescuing? What is her story? I don't need the whole run-down of the character but a smidge of exposition might have helped make the moment more powerful (although it might seem cumbersome to old Outsiders fans).

With Chemo wrecking the countryside, Owl-Man and Freight Train find a bag of weapons that Stagg has appropriated and plan to use them. That's right, the 'crap' they find are clearly modeled on Thor's hammer, Daredevil's cane, Captain America's shield, etc.

If any moment fell flat, it was this one. This is the classic joke that bombs (at least for me). If you are Dan Didio, an embattled editor-in-chief, the target of many fans' ire, would you joke using the trademarks of the rival comic company that routinely has trounced you in sales during your administrative tenure? This just felt all wrong ... all wrong.

When the Marvel weapons don't work, Freight Train takes matters into his own hands, running full speed into Chemo's feet and bowling the monster over and into power lines. Defeated (I guess), Chemo regurgitates Metamorpho and goes inactive.

I don't know if I clearly understand any of what happened ... Train's ability to stop Chemo, Chemo's shutting down, or Chemo's vomiting up Rex.

Needing some help with the clean-up, Owl-Man is surprised to see the Ray show up. The Ray even knows that Rex was trapped. It is pretty clear that Stagg is somehow involved.

I don't know if the Ray has a history with the Outsiders or not.

The issue ends with a new subplot. The 'fan' of Jack Ryder, seen a couple of issues ago, turns out to be a demon of some sort. She says that the Creeper is the last of his race and she plans to procreate.

This seems like a new wrinkle to the origin of the Creeper (although I admit I did not read the Niles mini-series). As a Steve Ditko fan, and therefore someone always interested in the Creeper, this worked as a cliffhanger.

There seems to be more downs than ups in this book. And the Eradicator, the entire reason I buy the book, wasn't even in this issue. And that marvel joke just made me shiver.

One thing that is solid is Philip Tan's art. I don't know if he will be everyone's cup of tea but I have come to like his highly stylized stuff more and more.

Overall grade: C-


collectededitions said...

I've been intrigued by this same as you, for the inclusion of the Eradicator; add back Faust and it's a 1990s Outsiders reunion. What gave me pause was how well Dan DiDio could write this series, which has basically floundered since Judd Winick left; unfortunately, your review doesn't give me much hope. Probably won't pick up the trade of this the first time around.

valerie21601 said...

I know what you mean too well in your review.

I used to follow the Outsiders when it used to be Batman & the Outsiders I dropped it several years ago.

I tried to stay on to follow Katana and Halo but it wasn't enough for me to keep buying issues where the stories sucked.

Halo used to be a sentient ball of energy of a race of beings, who did nothing but watch people, interfering with nothing. Even as a ball of energy, she longed to join the world of the humans and wanting to feel and experience life and emotions. One day at a traffic accident, a young woman lays dying on the roadside. Something happens as the woman dies and Halo and her energies are absorbed into her body.

Batman paired the innocent Halo with the hardened Katana saying Katana needed Halo to help her find her way back to her humanity and her gentler emotions since she lost her husband and her own two very young children by the hands of a rejected would-be suitor.

Katana and Halo formed a very tight, positive mother-daughter relationship.

I don't know what their relationship was like when Halo died.

I do know that Halo died during the Infinite Crisis series. When Superboy-Prime slaughter her and several other heroes died trying to stop him from going to Oa.

Martin Gray said...

Don't give up Outsiders! You buy it so we don't have to.

Anj said...

Don't give up Outsiders! You buy it so we don't have to.

I have one more review in me. But I think that might be it.