I was over on Newsarama.com trying to keep abreast of some current events while still trying to remain largely spoiler free. A harder task than it sounds. Anyway, I saw that DC has revealed the new direction for Batman and the Outsiders as well as who will be the writer for this new title. Tony Bedard has been tapped to be the scribe for Batman and the Outsiders. The new direction for the Outsiders is that they are going to be Batman’s strike force that will operate outside of the law and take on missions that the JLA are unable to handle due to their delicate (or dirty) nature.
You can check out Newsarama’s interview with Tony Bedard here. I have to say that my interest has been piqued by this news concerning Batman and the Outsiders. I am beyond thrilled that DC replaced Winick on this title. Judd had his run and DC gave him more than enough time to do something with the Outsiders. Winick failed to deliver the edgy and intriguing product that he claimed he would deliver. It is time for a new writer to see what they can do with the Outsiders.
And Bedard is a fine choice. I wasn’t too impressed with Bedard’s fill-in work over on Uncanny X-Men, but he really wasn’t given much to work with during that short stint. I am enjoying Bedard’s current story arc on the Legion of Super Heroes. Probably more than anything that Waid did during his run on the title. So, I am quite interested to see what Bedard can do with Batman and the Outsiders. Bedard certainly has the chops to deliver a quality read on this new title.
I also am rather interested in this new mission statement for the Outsiders. I am glad that Batman will be staying a member of the JLA. It would have been an uninteresting re-hash if we had to sit through watching Batman walk out on the JLA once again. And even though I can appreciate DC’s glorious history, the last thing we need is another re-tread retro title. Bedard makes it clear that his Batman and the Outsiders “won’t exactly be a love letter to the comics of my childhood. It will be a shock to the system in the current, unpredictable DC Universe.” I’m glad that Bedard is putting a new spin on this version of Batman and the Outsiders.
I dig that Batman has learned through the events of Infinite Crisis that the world needs the JLA and that they serve a very useful purpose. That a team of all-stars is important to handle big jobs and to create a feeling of goodwill between metahumans and your average citizen. The JLA is basically one nice public relations machine for the metahuman community. Plus, the JLA serves the role of taking on all of the biggest monster threats in the DCU. I’m glad that Batman realizes he has to be a part of this machine. If only to properly keep tabs on it.
Of course, as much as I’m glad Batman will still be with the JLA, I love the concept of Batman forming the Outsiders to act as his strike force. I dig the idea of the Outsiders being a team of shady characters who are renegades and have no problem pulling off the dirty missions. These characters are already viewed as villains or sketchy people, so they could care less about the negative publicity that their missions would generate. The JLA has to maintain their squeaky clean image. The Outsiders do not.
I also like that Batman will be assuming a role akin to Oracle with this new version of the Outsiders rather than as an active field member like he is with the JLA. This is a brilliant idea that allows Batman to be the mastermind, call all the shots and supply the team with his most potent weapon: his mind. But, it will also allow the various members of the Outsiders to assume the spotlight on all the various missions. Batman as the Godfather of the Outsiders gives him his proper respect that his character commands within the DCU. But, this role as the Godfather of the Outsiders makes sure that he stays on the sidelines and doesn’t overshadow the other characters or unnecessarily hog the spotlight.
I also dig the idea that the Outsiders will try and recruit and redeem criminals that haven’t given up to evil so entirely that they are beyond redemption. It is a neat concept and certainly gives allows the Outsiders to act as DC’s answer to Marvel’s Thunderbolts.
Bedard hints at which characters will comprise this current version of the Outsiders. Captain Boomerang and Cat Woman seem like natural choices given their villainous background and the shady nature of this version of the Outsiders. Metamorpho is a good bet to be on the team. Bedard hints that Katana, Grace, Thunder and Martian Manhunter may or may not all make the final cut on this roster.
Bedard teases that there are other characters who may make the team who are not pictured in the teaser shot for this version of the Outsiders. Apparently, one of them is the faux Aquaman. I find that to be a horrid idea given the lameness of the faux Aquaman and that when he is on land mi abuela could kick his ass in a fight. Bedard even likens faux Aquaman with Kyle Rayner which makes me happy. Maybe that means in ten years, the real Aquaman will return and faux Aquaman will be turned into a squid faced hermit. Let’s get Johns on that ASAP.
Anyway, I think that Bedard may actually make Batman and the Outsiders a pretty interesting read. Of course, we have to remember that Winick promised that he was going to make the Outsiders an “edgy” title. Instead, all we got were a bunch of morose ex-Titans slumping around and whining all the time. Not exactly what I consider “edgy.”
DC could certainly use a title that has some edge to it and is a little dark. Marvel routinely kicks DC’s ass in sales each and every month. And a large part of that is because Marvel is considered edgier, grittier and darker than DC. If DC wants to be competitive with Marvel then having a title or two that has as much grit as some of the Marvel titles is probably a good idea.