Batman and the Outsiders has been a solid title. But, it needs to do something more than just be average if it expects to earn a spot on The Revolution’s permanent pull list. I’m still not entirely sold on the roster that Dixon has assembled. Maybe, Dixon can win me over with Batman and the Outsiders #4. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Pencils: Julian Lopez
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Batgirl, Green Arrow, Metamorpho and Katana in a jungle in French Guiana. Green Arrow suddenly attacks Batgirl. Ollie thinks that she is a killer and shouldn’t be on the team. Ollie doesn’t trust her. Katana tells Ollie to back off and calm down. Green Arrow refuses to do so and is about to shoot another arrow when Batman appears and grabs Ollie’s wrist and tells him “Enough.”
We then flashback to earlier with Batman in Francine Langstrom’s lab in Gotham City. They are studying the information that Martian Manhunter recovered from Jardine’s lab. On the computer screen are numerous creatures of massive size that Jardine was creating for no practical purpose. The creatures are all too large for Earth’s gravity. And they are designed to withstand lethal exposure to gamma radiation.
Batman responds that these creatures weren’t designed to live on Earth. That Jardine had a contract with a European space agency. We then shift back to the present with the Outsiders in French Guiana. Batman tells the team that Jardine is about to launch a payload from a nearby spaceport. That Batman thinks it is a key to Jardine and Brother I’s greater plan. Batman says that they must stop the launch of this space craft. Green Arrow says no problem but just keep that killer, Batgirl, far away from him.
We cut to Francine’s lab where she is meeting with Thunder and Grace. Francine introduces them to Remac, the Omac that the Outsiders captured and that Francine has reprogrammed. Remac can morph into the shape of any person. Francine says that she thinks that Remac will be joining the Outsiders.
We slide back to Metamorpho and Katana being the first members of the Outsiders to arrive at the spaceport. We see Batman making his way to the spaceport and running across a man and a woman who are dressed like tourists. They comment that Batman is not an easy guy to track down. They tell Batman that they are in a position to help him. The woman laughs that Batman doesn’t recognize them. Batman responds that he does recognize them and that he would know them anywhere. Batman says “Welcome home.”
We see Green Arrow making his way to the spaceport. He crosses paths with Batgirl on his way there. Batgirl tells Green Arrow to go ahead and try and kill her. That it might make him feel better. Green Arrow attacks Batgirl and the two begin to brawl. During the fight, Green Arrow tears off part of Batgirl’s mask and comments how that there is a face under the mask. Green Arrow then saves Batgirl from being eaten by a large crocodile. Green Arrow then comments that he does feel better now.
We cut to the spaceport where Mr. Jardine has retained the services of four costumed metahumans to protect the launch. The European director of the spaceport says that the metahumans are not authorized and that he is going to contact Paris for approval. The director doesn’t like the secretive way that Mr. Jardine operates.
We then see the director’s secretary transform into an OMAC and kill him. The OMAC then takes the form of the director and walks back out of the office and declares that the mission shall go forward without delay.
We cut back to Francine’s lab where she is finishing off the final programming on Remac. Grace still can’t believe that Batman, the biggest paranoid in the world, would ever trust Remac. Thunder mopes that Batman doesn’t like her. Grace comments that Batman doesn’t see Thunder’s inner qualities like Grace does.
We shift back to Batgirl and Green Arrow meeting up with Katana and Metamorpho outside the spaceport. Batman then contacts them and tells them that he will create a blind spot in the surveillance and for the team to meet him in the main building of the spaceport.
We then see a gun sight targeting Batman. Two of Mr. Jardine’s metahumans have Batman in their sights. Their names are Hawk and Bunny and they are ready to kill Batman. End of issue.
The Good: Batman and the Outsiders #4 was a solid issue. Dixon gives us a properly paced issue. The story moves along with a purpose without ever seeming rushed. This issue was well plotted as it is obvious that Dixon has a clear outline and direction in mind with this story.
Dixon mixes in enough action to keep the issue from being too dull. What keeps this issue a lively read is the amount of tension that Dixon creates in the reader as the Outsiders prepare to storm the spaceport. Dixon is a good mystery writer and is able to tease the reader with multiple mysteries that he has planted in this story arc.
The first of these mysterious plotlines is the purpose of the bizarre creatures that Jardine has been creating. Could these be the creatures that appear on the prison planet in Salvation Run? Or is there some other nefarious plan that is occurring?
We have the mystery surrounding the couple who approach Batman in the jungle. Even though they are in disguise, Batman recognizes them and welcomes them back home. I have no idea who this couple could be, but I’m certainly curious to find out.
Then we have the mystery surrounding Remac. Grace raises an excellent point about why in the world the ultimate paranoid in Batman would ever want Remac on his team. Obviously, Remac is an asset to a team based on stealth and subterfuge. Still, allowing Remac on the team is a bit of a gamble. I also dig how Dixon juxtaposes Batman strange allowance of Remac on the Outsiders while still not letting Thunder join the Outsiders since he doesn’t think she knows how to follow orders and be a good teammate.
Dixon ends Batman and the Outsiders #4 with a nice hook ending. We see Batman in the sights of two of Jardine’s metahuman thugs. We all know that the Batman is going to escape somehow, but the fun is wondering just how he will wiggle out of this impossible situation.
Dixon does a yeoman’s job with the dialogue in this issue. It isn’t anything incredible. It is a solid effort that gets the job done. The character work also is not anything amazing, but Dixon does enough to give the characters their own distinct personalities. Of course, Batman is the character that Dixon does the best job with. Dixon has an excellent feel for Batman’s cold, calculating and controlling personality.
The Bad: I can’t say that I was thrilled with how Dixon handled Ollie’s character. I know that Green Arrow is a hothead, but his attacking Batgirl not just once but twice seemed a bit too much to me. Green Arrow just came across as a bit of a spaz. And I also found it unusual for Green Arrow to simply roll over to Batman’s authority like he did.
Batman and the Outsiders #4 is a classic adventure/mystery story which is right up Dixon’s alley. If you like more character driven stories with complex plotlines and thick dialogue then this issue probably isn’t going to appeal that much to you.
Overall: Batman and the Outsiders #4 was a solid read. If you are a fan of straight up adventure/mystery tales or enjoy covert operations teams then you will probably enjoy this title. This title probably falls somewhere in the middle of all the titles that are currently on the market.