Comic Book Review: Outsiders #43

Overall, The Revolution has really enjoyed the Outsiders ever since the One Year Later storyline began. However, last issue was a little weak compared to what Winick had been turning out on this title. This worries me since I have always thought that Winick struggles to conclude story arc with satisfying conclusions. I still think that Outsiders #43 is going to be a pretty good read. Let’s hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Judd Winick
Pencilers Ron Randle & Pop Mhan
Inker: Art Thibert & Steve Bird

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Dr. Sivana yelling at Saber to kill Katana. Thunder asks Nightwing what Katana is doing. Nightwing says that Katana is pulling off a magic trick she has been keeping tucked away.

We cut to 45 minutes earlier. Dr. Sivana tells the Outsiders that he just wants to talk with them. Katana immediately attacks Saber. The rest of the Outsiders join in on the brawl. Saber holds her own against all of the Outsiders. Sivana then shoots Katana with the same toxin that he shot into Nightwing last issue. Dr. Sivana reiterates that all he wants is to have a conversation. Nightwing tells the Outsiders that they should at least listen to what Sivana has to say.

We shift to Sivana’s palatial estate. Sivana reveals to the Outsiders that he has been behind what has been going on with the Outsiders for a long time. That Sivana infected Gorilla Grodd’s race with a plague in order to blackmail them into invading New York in order for the Joker to kidnap President Luthor and find out where Lexcorp was hiding some of Sivana’s old toys.

Sivana began watching the Outsiders because he liked their style. That they used torture to get information. That they went after the bad guys before they did bad things. That Sivana gave Deathstroke’s Society plenty of tech and money. In return Deathstroke posed as Batman and fed Arsenal Sivana’s intel. This enabled the Outsiders to take down all of Sivana’s competition. With them out of Sivana’s way and the Fearsome Five under his wing, he eventually got maybe most of his long-lost good s from Lexcorp. Including the Luddite.

Sivana reveals how the Luddite destroys all technology and also causes all humans to lose all their knowledge of technology and more. However, the Luddite doesn’t work on metahumans, amazons or aliens. And that is why Sivana began experimenting with the DNA of metahumans. He wanted to make them susceptible to the Luddite. Sivana used Brain and Mallah to further his research in this area.

Sivana explains that after he unleashes his Luddites across the globe that he can then step in and save humanity. That humanity’s intellect has not been in step with our morality. That we are still a race of apes mostly driven by fear and like nothing better than to cause pain to other apes. Sivana says he wants to alleviate those fears and take all the burdens away. Sivana knows that after working with all the other so called mad scientists during the events of 52, he realizes that no other mind on Earth could compete with him. That the world’s technology will be solely Sivana’s. Leadership will be solely Sivana’s. The world will be his.

Nightwing asks how the Outsiders fit into Sivana’s evil plan. Sivana says that he likes their attitude and that understand that to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. Sivana says that if the world is to start over, if man wants to hurt man, they will do it with sticks and stones. But, they won’t want to hurt anyone. That they will make them feel sage. The Outsiders can accomplish that. Sivana then does his best Emperor Palpatine and asks the Outsiders to join him.

Sivana then shoots Katana and Nightwing with the antidote and cures them from the toxin. Sivana tells them to think about it. That they have two days to give him an answer. Sivana tells Nightwing not to get cute and that he knows all of their tricks that they could possibly hope to pull.

Katana says that Sivana doesn’t know every trick. Katana’s sword steals the souls of evil people she battles. However, her sword can also release souls that it has taken. With that, Katana releases the demon Sabbac from her sword. Sabbac owes Katana since she freed him from the sword. Sabbac asks Katana what is her wish. Katana tells Sabbac to destroy Sivana’s lab. Sabbac unleashes all hellfire and fury.

Sivana yells that he didn’t plan on combating hellfire. Saber quickly grabs Sivana and blasts off into the air and makes their escape as Sivana’s lab is completely destroyed by Sabbac. Saber tells Sivana that his plan didn’t go as planned. Sivana agrees but says that he still has one Luddite and can make more. Saber asks what about the Outsiders? Sivana says that they beat him today and he is proud of them, but most important is that he has given them something to think about and that they know his offer is still open. End of issue.

The Good: Well, Winick certainly surprised me. Outsiders #43 was a great read. Winick proved me wrong and provided what I thought was a rather well done conclusion to this entertaining story arc. I was impressed with how Winick had taken the time to carefully plot out Sivana’s involvement in the past several story arcs on this title. Winick has never shown me that he was a master of plotting complex storylines. He certainly has done so on the Outsiders.

I love that Winick is taking this opportunity to build up Sivana into a major villain in the DCU. Sivana is an old Captain Marvel villain who seemed a bit too goofy and out of pace with the DCU for a long while. It seems that with the events of 52 and now in the Outsiders, that DC is trying to re-invent Sivana’s character and make him a major player in the DCU. And I dig it. Sivana is a great villain. He is your stereotypical evil genius, but it works because Sivana acknowledges how stereotypical he is.

Winick did a good job revealing how involved Sivana has been behind the scenes manipulating the Outsiders over the past several story arcs. None of it seemed forced and it all fit together seamlessly. This just makes Sivana seem like even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Also, Winick flat out writes one hell of a Sivana. Winick’s Sivana is definitely my favorite version. Sivana’s dialogue is a mixture of pure evil and wonderful humor. There is no doubt that Winick gives Sivana all of the best lines and Sivana definitely steals the show. Winick’s Sivana is delightfully complex. He is definitely pure evil; however Winick explains Sivana’s motivations in a manner that gets you to understand where the evil genius is coming from and makes the reader grudgingly agree that Sivana does have a point.

Sivana’s big evil plan is basic and straight forward enough. The plan itself isn’t all that fascinating. What is fascinating is Sivana’s motivation behind creating this plan. I found myself totally agreeing with Sivana concerning his views of humanity and how we are nothing more than apes who posses technology far behind out capacity to properly control. I always knew I was a misanthropic bastard, but I was surprised to see me so easily agreeing with the evil genius Sivana.

And evidently, I am not the only person swayed by Sivana’s motivation. I thought it was a great move by Winick to have the Outsiders also thinking twice about helping Sivana. Finally, we see why Winick has had the Outsiders pushing the envelope ever since the One Year Later storyline began. We have seen the Outsiders much more violent and aggressive in proactively hunting down bad guys. We have seen the Outsiders lie, steal and torture people for information.

Now, we see why Winick has given us this new more hardcore version of the Outsiders. Because, they are the type of heroes that Sivana’s plan would appeal to. That Sivana’s logic is very similar to how the Outsiders view bad guys and their methods in combating evil. I could see Sivana’s plan appealing to the Outsiders on some level. In the long run, the Outsiders are still heroes and aren’t going to support Sivana. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to second guess themselves and be a bit conflicted over their decision.

I also liked the ending. Yeah, it lacked real closure, but that it why I liked it. Sivana served his purpose in causing strife and confusion among the Outsiders concerning their collective moral compass. And with Sivana still out there running free Winick leaves himself the option of brining Sivana back into the mix at a later date.

I will say that even though this new look Katana makes gag a little each time I look at her, I thought she was pretty kick ass in the end of this issue. I certainly didn’t expect to see her turning Sabbac loose on Sivana. Winick got a little creative and it provided for an exciting finish.

The Bad: The artwork continues to be inconsistent. Some panels look nice and others rather poor. I’m sure a large part of it is due to the fact that we have four artists sharing the art duties.

Overall: Outsiders #43 was a good read. Winick turned in an exciting conclusion to this story arc. I definitely hope that we see more of Dr. Sivana at some point in the future. I am cautiously going to recommend this title. The reason why I am slightly reserved about recommending this title is that Winick is capable of flashes of brilliance and then can turn out several pedestrian issues.