Batman and the Outsiders #2, published by DC Comics, written by Bryan Edward Hill, illustrated by Dexter Soy, colored by Veronica Gandini, and lettered by Clayton Cowles, takes place shortly after the first issue. Sofia Ramos, still struggling to come to grips with her metahuman abilities, is taken under the protection of the mysterious Kaliber – who as his name suggests, is a bit of a gun nut. Black Lightning and the other Outsiders race to find Sofia, while the vampiric Ishmael in hot pursuit.
Once again, Hill, Soy, and Gandini prove to be a stellar creative team. Hill continues building on threads from the first issue, as well as his run on Detective Comics. The relationship between Batman and Black Lightning, in particular, is highlighted in the opening pages, with Jefferson Pierce questioning Bruce Wayne’s motives. Wayne, in turn, says that he operates best in the dark while Pierce can serve as a symbol of light-and more importantly, hope for the Outsiders.
This is a refreshing take on Batman and one I’d like to see more. Batman is usually written as a stoic, hyper-prepared hero and I like it when Bruce Wayne isn’t afraid to question his place in the world or admit that he doesn’t have all the answers. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that this issue has quite a few hilarious lines. From Kaliber and Sofia discussing potential superhero names to Bruce ruminating on the proper way to drink tea, I found myself chuckling quite a bit.
Soy continues to knock it out of the park with this artwork. The bulk of the issue features an intense fight between Ishmael, Kaliber, and the Outsiders. Kaliber leaps into action, spraying bullets at Ishmael, who manages to deflect them with his shield. While Lightning and Katana keep Ishmael occupied, Orphan and Signal pull off a combo move intended to throw him off balance.
Soy makes sure each punch, kick, and throw is felt, and that’s important given that the majority of these characters are highly trained fighters. Gandini also does a stellar job with his coloring, particularly in a scene where Ishmael utilizes his powers against the Outsiders. He hovers in the air as a deathly green light surrounds him, giving the page a mythic feel.
My one issue lies with the cover; specifically, the coloring of a certain character. The cover, by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto, depicts Sofia and Kaliber in action against Batman, Black Lightning, and Katana. Sofia looks decidedly lighter than she actually is in the comic.
I’m not sure if it was a miscommunication between Kirkham and Soy but it is concerning that a darker-skinned Latina character is depicted as having fairer skin than she actually does.
Despite a cover snafu, Batman and the Outsiders #2 is an action-packed issue that manages to raise the stakes and plays to the strengths of its creative team. I cannot wait to see what Hill, Soy, and Gandini bring to the third issue as it will feature a prominent Batman villain.
Batman and the Outsiders #2 is available now in comic book stores everywhere.
Batman and the Outsiders #2
Batman and the Outsiders #2 is an action-packed issue that manages to raise the stakes and plays to the strengths of its creative team.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.