The Outsiders has been a pretty good read over the past several issues. I’m digging this current storyline and I expect Outsiders #41 to be a solid issue. Winick seems to be hitting his stride on this title. Let’s see if he can keep it rolling.
Writer: Judd Winick
Pencilers Matthew Clark & Ron Randle
Inker: Art Thibert
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue begins with the Outsiders interrogating the Brain and Mallah about their partner in crime: Dr. Sivana. We see Dr. Sivana watching it all over a large screen monitor. His loyal assistant, Saber, walks into the room and tells Dr. Sivana that she warned him about joining forces with Brain and Mallah. Dr. Sivana has a plan to take care of this little problem. Sivana pushes a button and suddenly, the nuclear facility in Russia where the Outsiders, Brain and Mallah are located starts to tremble and shake. Mallah yells that Sivana is blowing up the nuclear reactor. Brain and Mallah escape from the Outsiders. The Outsiders focus on saving themselves instead of trying to capture Brain and Mallah. The Outsiders get to the Pequod and manage to just escape the massive explosion.
We cut back to Dr. Sivana. He places a call to Lois Lane and informs her that the explosion at the Russian nuclear reactor was the fault of the Outsiders. Lois retorts that the Outsiders are dead. Sivana then says he has video of the Outsiders as proof that they are actually alive.
We shift to the Outsiders aboard the Pequod. They are watching their monitors. All the news stations are reporting that the Outsiders are actually alive and have been linked to the civil war in Mali and the explosion of the Russian nuclear facility. The Outsiders are stunned that Sivana has been secretly monitoring them for the entire year that the world thought that they were dead. The Outsiders all agree that they are screwed.
We fast forward to later that day. Thunder and Grace Choi are in their living quarters. They have plenty of romantic candles lit. (Umm, this is odd.) They talk about how they probably will be charged with murder as well as a list of other felonies during the year they have been “dead.” Grace isn’t worried. She has three reasons she isn’t worried. First, the authorities still have to catch them. Second, they have been quietly saving the world for the past year. Grace then leans in and gives Thunder a passionate kiss. (Ooookay. I have no idea where that came from. Have they always been lesbians and I just didn’t know about it? Man, DC just can’t get enough of lesbian characters as of late.) Third, Grace says she is comforted by the thought of the delightful sex they will continue to have in prison. Grace says they can cop a plea in exchange for sharing a cell. Grace says that she “likes to take care of my girl.”
We cut to Metamorpho and Captain Boomerang smoking cigars and drinking beers. They figure they might as well enjoy life before the shit hits the fan. We shift to Katana and Nightwing. Nightwing says that the Pequod’s computer managed to tap into Sivana’s computers. The Outsiders now have Sivana’s plans and his location. Nightwing says that if the Outsiders don’t stop Sivana in the next 24 hours then Sivana is going to succeed in taking over the world.
We shift back to Sivana and Saber. Sivana is getting dressed in a suit. Saber congratulates Sivana for a good day. Sivana comments for her to wait until tomorrow. That is when the shit really hits the fan. End of issue.
The Good: Outsiders #41 was another good read. Winick has really stepped it up on this title with the past several issues. The pacing on this issue was just right. The beginning was action packed including a nuclear explosion. The Outsider’s big secret gets blown wide open and now the entire world knows that they have been alive for the past year engaged in covert missions in foreign countries. Then the rest of the issue backs off the pace and slows it down as we see how each character is going to prepare him or herself to deal with the impending storm that is brewing and the hell that is going to break loose in the next couple of issues.
I liked how each of the characters reacted differently to the impending storm. Captain Boomerang embraces it in a delightfully cavalier fashion drinking and enjoying himself since everything could come to an end tomorrow. Metamorpho is consumed with feelings of guilt for playing a role in the cause of the explosion. Choi and Thunder responds to the rising stress and impending crisis by having some S-E-X. And Nightwing and Katana, being the two most focused characters and natural leaders, attack the problem trying to figure a way to take the fight to Sivana and foil his plans for world domination.
Winick is doing an excellent job fleshing out the various characters and demonstrating to the reader how each character responds to the same situation in such different fashions. The Outsiders are starting to really gel as a team and are becoming an interesting group of character to watch interact with each other.
I dig Sivana. I like how Winick is writing him: a neat blend of humor and menace. This is probably the most entertaining that Sivana’s character has been for me. I’m looking forward to seeing the clash between Sivana and the Outsiders.
I like that Winick has exposed the Outsiders to the general public. I liked that they had gone underground during the events of 52, but I think it was time for them to be exposed. It should be very interesting to see how the team deals with all the negative publicity stemming from their faking their own deaths in order to carry out various covert missions in foreign countries.
The Bad: This isn’t really a negative, but it isn’t a positive either. So, since I don’t have a neutral section to my review, it will have to go here in the negative. The lesbian angle between Thunder and Choi pretty much caught me by surprise. Now, I didn’t start reading the Outsiders until a couple of issues before the One Year Later storyline began. Before that, the last time I read the Outsiders, they were still Batman and the Outsiders. So, it had been a little while. Therefore, I’m not really that familiar with Choi’s character so I didn’t know she was a lesbian. I’m definitely not familiar with Thunder’s character so I didn’t know she was also a lesbian. Needless to say, their smoochy-smoochy scene was unexpected.
It certainly seems that DC has decided that they simply need more high profile lesbians. You have Renee Montoya and Batwoman and now Choi and Thunder. How many more are to follow? Maybe we’ll get a Birds of Prey orgy scene. One can only hope. My point is that this is kind of a lame move by DC to claim they are trying to make the DCU more “diverse.” DC wants to pump up the number of gay characters to try and make their universe more “diverse.”
But, here is the problem. The overwhelming majority of comic book readers are males between the ages of 16-34. Now, the overwhelming majority of that population is straight. The overall gay population of America is very hard to estimate and there have been estimates that vary widely from as little as 2% to as high as 8%. Either way you slice it, you are talking about a very small percentage of the American population and a very small percentage of comic book readers. And, I think it is a safe statement to make that the population that dominates the comic book readership and sales market probably aren’t going to go crazy for smoochy-smooch scenes between two dudes.
So, how does DC satisfy such a small group without turning off the overwhelming majority of their readership? That is easy. Enter the lipstick lesbian. What guy doesn’t enjoy watching two hot women get it on? And so, DC, in a “bold” move to make their universe “diverse” begins to unleash their lipstick lesbians on the DCU. It allows DC to look PC and say they have numerous high profile gay characters and at the same time it gives plenty of cheesecake scenes to titillate their male readership that controls the comic book sales market. This is a shrewd business move, but lame when you look at it in that DC isn’t doing it for the reasons that they are going to claim.
Is it realistic that the DCU’s gay population is going to consist of a bunch of hot lipstick lesbians? No. And this leads me to my next point. Do we really need stories that center around a character’s sexuality? I’m not gay, so I guess I’m the wrong person to answer that question. I’m sure that gay readers want to read about gay superheroes. However, the bigger question is do the vast majority of comic book readers who control the market want to read about gay super heroes? If the answer is no, then DC should just stop trying to seem PC when in all reality all they are doing is simply serving up T&A scenes between hot chicks. I’m all for cheesecake, but at least have the cojones to admit that you are doing it for those reasons and not for some PC cause.
The artwork is average. The look is a bit inconsistent due to the fact that there are multiple pencillers on this issue. I dislike it when a comic has more than one penciller. It creates a schizophrenic look for the title.
Overall: Outsiders #41 was another good issue. This title has really become an entertaining read. If you haven’t read this title in a long time, then you should give it a try.