Outsiders #16 Review

Reviewed by: Mathan “Less Than Satisfied” Erhardt
Story Title: A Change of Plans”¦

Written by: Judd Winick
Penciled by: Dan Jurgens
Inked by: Nelson
Colored by: Sno-Cone
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Eddie Berganza

The issue opens with Jade on the phone speaking openly to an unidentified person who knows Nightwing’s secret identity. They talk about how the team is going, and Jade’s dissatisfaction. Then Jade invites the person on the other end to join the team.

Next we find Jefferson “Black Lightning” Pierce talking to his daughter Anissa/Thunder, who is recuperating from the team’s latest battle. They talk about familial events (which I’ll get into later.) As Jeff leaves his daughter’s room he and Nightwing have words and a bit of an altercation.

Then we find Grace, Shift and Indigo fighting some miscellaneous bad guys. We then find out that the team has merchandise.

Back at team headquarters Arsenal and Nightwing argue over Nightwing’s role in the team. Then low blows are exchanged. Then physical blows are exchanged. Blood is drawn, and when things get really serious Jade enters and separates the two old friends. She then declares herself the leader and announces that she’s expanding the ranks by recruiting Starfire?! To be continued.

Storywise Judd has done a great job of building on themes that he’s established since issue one; the reluctant leader, who shirks responsibility, the father who doesn’t approve of his daughters lifestyle, the effects of corporate sponsorship. The dialogue and plot developments are superb. And if this were a stand-alone book everything would be all fine and dandy. But”¦.

What I Don’t Like About The Series

I’ve met Judd (but he probably doesn’t remember it), and he’s a very nice guy. He’s friendly and outgoing. That’s what makes me voicing my opinion so hard to do.

I’ll pretend that Nightwing’s actions are the result of what’s going on in this title.

First of all Jeff and Anissa’s talk strikes me as odd. They are talking about family while she lays in a bed. I think it’s odd because Anissa lost a cousin recently over in Green Arrow. Sure he played off his “chipper” attitude, but I would have thought family would be sore subject. He just lost a niece, I think he would be more concerned about his daughter, especially since he’s talking to her in a hospital bed. Hopefully Judd will clean up the mess that he’s created.

While I appreciated the notion of corporate sponsorship with Grace having to wear the shirt, but why would Optitron want the Outsiders name out there or to be associated with it. This is the same team that broke bad guys out of jail, lots of bad guys. The Outsiders is a P.R. nightmare! Grace wearing the shirt at some events isn’t going to make anyone forget that dozens of super villains are at large because of what they did.

I also didn’t like the fight between Nightwing and Arsenal. I think Nightwing would have ended it quick. Sure Dick’s got a lot going on in his own book (which I’ll pretend is why he’s so out of character) but I don’t think he’s sloppy.

And that’s the problem I have. If these were characters that we didn’t know I’ve believe what was going on. But we know Nightwing, I know Black Lightning, I have an idea how a loving father acts, and I have an idea how corporations are afraid of bad P.R. (See all the issue DC has shredded or not published.) I believe that Jade can shoot green energy from her hands, but some of this is being stretched too far.

The art by Jurgens and Nelson is likeable. The confrontation between Nightwing and Jefferson is very dramatic and very well done. Shift’s constantly changing look is also a nice touch. The battle between Nightwing and Arsenal is also pretty impressive, and bloody. The art is clearly some of the best part of this issue.