REVIEW: ‘Batman and the Outsiders’, Issue 16

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman and The Outsiders #16

Batman and the Outsiders #16 is written by Bryan Edward Hill, illustrated by Dexter Soy, colored by Veronica Gandini, and lettered by Clayton Cowles; it is published by DC Comics. This issue acts as the finale to “The Demon’s Fire” storyline, and picks up where the last issue left off. While Batman and the other Outsiders battle his disciples, Black Lightning and Ra’s al Ghul battle for the fate of the world.

The thing that makes this issue stand out is its focus on Black Lightning. From the first page, we see his journey from child to teacher to hero and how it’s shaped him. It’s also extremely satisfying to see him battling Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s has grown immensely powerful due to the alien weapon he’s unearthed-however Lightning is stronger, and proceeds to show it by unleashing massive thunderbolts “I know you and Batman have this game you’ve been playing,” he says in one of the issue’s best lines. “I’m not Batman.”

Another element I dug was seeing Batman and Black Lightning talk to each other about the future of the Outsiders. The two have had a tumultuous relationship; Lightning is willing to question Batman on his tactics. However, the Dark Knight reveals that he believes in Jefferson and wants him to lead the Outsiders as he sees fit. I love this because most interpretations of Batman tend to show him as an unflexible asshole who wants everyone to follow his orders; Hill writes him as the human being he should be.

Batman and The Outsiders #16

The other standout of the issue is Orphan. She gets to engage in the issue’s other fight scene, and it’s full of the bone-crunching beauty you’d expect from a martial artist of her caliber. It’s an example of the extra care that Soy takes with the action scenes. He makes sure he plays to each character’s strengths. He also makes them feel larger than life, especially with Lightning. Lightning’s energy blasts are massive in scale, feeling more like attacks from Dragon Ball Z than actual lightning. Gandini also adds to the anime effect, nearly blinding the reader with bright blue light.

If there was one thing I wanted to see more of, it was the other Outsiders. I’d have loved to see Signal utilizing his shadow powers, or Kitana and Lady Shiva putting aside their differences to save the world. I get that there’s only so much you can do in 22 pages, but I hoped to see more of the team working as a unit. This is the payoff of issues’ worth of buildup, after all.

Batman and the Outsiders #16 concludes “The Demon’s Fire” in grand fashion, and showcases the immense growth the team has gone through. As a fan of Black Lightning, I’m happy to see the work this creative team has done with him. The next issue is the series finale, and I hope Hill, Soy, and Gandini deliver a superheroic sendoff for the Outsiders.

Batman and the Outsiders #16 is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology using our affiliate link.

Batman and the Outsiders #16
4.5

TL;DR

Batman and the Outsiders #16 concludes “The Demon’s Fire” in grand fashion, and showcases the immense growth the team has gone through. As a fan of Black Lightning, I’m happy to see the work this creative team has done with him. The next issue is the series finale, and I hope Hill, Soy, and Gandini deliver a superheroic sendoff for the Outsiders.