Comic Book Review: Outsiders #42

The Revolution has been enjoying this current story arc. Hopefully, Winick can keep the ball rolling and deliver a satisfying conclusion. I am really hot and cold with Winick’s writing and have found that one of his biggest weaknesses is not being able to finish a story arc with a strong ending. At any rate, I think that Outsiders #42 should be pretty good. Let’s hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Judd Winick
Pencilers: Ron Randle & Pop Mahn
Inkers: Art Thibert & Steve Bird

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issues opens with Dr. Sivana launching a large metal spear shaped device into the middle of Sydney, Australia. The device creates an electromagnetic sphere that covers all of Sydney and shuts off all forms of technology.

We cut to Nightwing briefing the Outsiders. Nightwing informs them that Dr. Sivana has created a weapon called the Luddite that is capable of frying all technology in a certain radius. But that isn’t all. The device also wipes clean the minds of every person in its radius.

We then shift to Dr. Sivana explaining to Saber that the Luddite totally wipes all memories and knowledge from people’s minds. They won’t know how to read or even how to use a toilet. They are blank slates just waiting for a teacher.

We cut to the Outsiders in the Pequod flying to Dr. Sivana’s tropical lair. They arrive at Dr. Sivana’s Island and start searching the island. We notice that Katana is sporting a new costume and a buzz cut haircut. (Which is totally butt-ugly. Seriously, Katana looks like a dude. Like a 16 year old boy. That is just hideous. I have no idea what the hell Winick was thinking with this move.) Thunder thinks the haircut is “cute.” (Wait, does this mean Winick is going to make Katana a lesbian as well?)

Suddenly, the Outsiders are attacked by a giant old school looking Sivana robot. The Outsiders employ some impressive teamwork and destroy the robot. Dr. Sivana and Saber appear and Saber shoots Nightwing in the neck with a poison dart. Nightwing collapses to the ground. Dr. Sivana tells the Outsiders that he is the only person in the world who has the antidote to the poison that has been injected into Nightwing. Dr. Sivana says he will happily administer the antidote, but first he wants to talk to them. Dr. Sivana tells the Outsiders that he doesn’t want to fight them. That in actuality they have been on the same side all along. End of issue.

The Good: Outsiders #42 was another solid read. Winick is has really surprised me by putting together a very consistent and well constructed story arc. This issue was well paced. The transitions between the scenes were smooth and gave this issue a nice flow. The dialogue was well done. Winick is starting to generate some pretty nice chemistry between the various Outsiders and much of that is due to the relaxed banter between the teammates.

Dr. Sivana is a great villain. I have never really been much a fan of this diminutive mad scientist. However, Winick is making me a fan of Dr. Sivana. Winick’s Sivana is an entertaining blend of psychotic and funny. Sivana certainly benefits from some of the best lines. I have been very impressed with how Winick has handled the villains over this story arc. Winick’s Mallah and the Brain were exceptionally written. Those are two characters that I have always thought were lame. Winick managed to make them very intriguing. Now, Winick is working the same magic with Sivana.

Dr. Sivana’s plan to wipe out all technology and all of man’s knowledge just so he can be the great teacher and re-shape man in his image is pretty cool. Usually, mad scientists just want to destroy everything. Dr. Sivana takes it that one step further and wants to actually build a new world under his tutelage.

The ending was well done and gets the reader interested in the next issue. Is there any way in the world that the Outsiders would ever actually work with Sivana? No, I don’t think so. However, it should be interesting to see how Sivana thinks they are all on the same side.

I have blasted Winick before with some of the stories that he has written. And at times, Winick can really serve up some really poor stories. However, he deserves some praise from me with his work on the Outsiders with this current story arc. I have a few quibbles here and there, but overall, Winick has really delivered an entertaining and well paced story arc. The Outsiders is a dramatically better read now than it was prior to the One Year Later storyline.

The Bad: It is unusual to see, but Winick is actually been much better at fleshing out the characters of the villains than he is of the heroes. Winick’s villains have been much more developed and engaging than the heroes. Winick still hasn’t been able to really develop the different personalities of the Outsiders. The villains seem so well developed and textured while the Outsiders all seem a bit under-developed and more one-dimensional. I would like to see Winick spend more time trying to develop the individual personalities of the Outsiders.

Seriously, this new look Katana made me throw up a little in my mouth. This is one of the all-time most hideous looks for a super heroine. Winick must have some strange taste in women if he digs this look.

I absolutely abhor issues that employ art by committee. Outsiders #42 at four total artists. Two pencilers and two inkers. That is two too many. The art by committee method only serves to give the issue an inconsistent look.

Overall: Outsiders #42 was another good read. This title has really been a consistently enjoyable read since the One Year Later storyline began. I hope that Winick can come through with a satisfying conclusion to this story arc.