Batman And The Outsiders #22 – Reviews of Old Comics

blogheaderIt’s amazing whenever you see Batman go into cosmic or science fiction stories. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily bad, because sometimes it’s really good. It shows the strengths of the character. In the Justice League, we often see Batman in situations that he should not be suited for. Somehow, he manages to show himself to be very adaptable.

With Batman and the Outsiders, Batman gave up the more fantastic adventures for those that were more grounded. There were still threats that should have been outside of his skill set. Writer Mike W. Barr proved how adaptable Batman is. Even in the more grounded 1980s, Batman could be taken into space and fight other-dimensional beings. With issue #22, we also saw an artist join that would excel at telling these stories, Alan Davis. It was in that issue we got to see more than the team facing a cosmic threat illustrated by a new artist. We saw the beginnings of the rift between Batman and the Outsiders.

Batman And The Outsiders #22

June 1985
DC Comics

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Artist: Alan Davis
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Letterer: John Workman

Synopsis:

Batman and the Outsiders teleport onto the abandoned and wrecked Justice League satellite. Batman is disgusted and reminiscent by the fall of the Justice League of America. He calls the Outsiders his weapon to bring justice to the world, which unnerves Metamorpho and Black Lightning. They are not there to reminisce about Batman’s history with the Justice League, but to use the equipment still on the satellite to get answers to Halo’s origins.

She was Violet Harper, a killer and a criminal that was murdered in Markovia by the assassin Syonide. She still has no memory of that former life. Black Lightning charges the generators on the satellite. Dr. Jace uses the equipment in the JLA laboratory to irradiate Halo’s brain, stimulating repressed memories.

Halo begins to tell the Outsiders that she was one of the Aurakles, energy beings almost as old as the universe. She came to be interested in life, and while witnessing the killing of Violet Harper, she found herself possessing her body, but losing all memory of what she was. The Outsiders find it hard to believe, but the Aurakles use the restored memories to locate Halo and emerge in the satellite. 

The Aurakles want to Halo back to their realm and restore their unity. Batman refuses and a battle commences. Dr. Jace activates the vertigo rays in the satellite. Seeing that the Aurakles don’t handle the energy attack well, Black Lightning electrifies Katana’s sword. When she throws it through one of the Aurakles, it destroys it. This angers the Aurakles who retaliate by destroying the vertigo ray device and then attacking the Outsiders directly, with mixed results. They then decide to deal with the Outsiders by blowing a hole in the satellite.

Everyone but Batman and Metamorpho are blown out into space. Batman orders Metamorpho to seal the breach, so Geo-Force can bring the others to safety. Making use of the few seconds a person can survive in the vacuum of space, Geo-Force gets them to the hole that Metamorpho is plugging. Metamorpho acts as an airlock, allowing them to return to a breathable atmosphere. The Aurakles disappear with Halo, and the Outsiders swear to find Halo, but wonder how they will do so.

Review:

As I have said, I really like Batman stories when he’s out of his element. A prime example of this is the role Batman plays in JLA: New World Order, where he recognizes the White Martians. Placed against foes beyond his power level, Batman is forced to rely upon his intelligence and cunning. In this story, Batman is shown to be very adaptable. He also seems to know the abilities of his team very well. This doesn’t only make Batman a good team leader. It also makes Batman a more compelling character because of what bizarre situations a writer can put him in to get himself out of. 

Alan Davis is a great artist. This is relatively early in his career, so the figures aren’t a fluid as in his more recent work. At times they seem a little bloated, but overall, it’s all solid. The storytelling is solid, too. There’s even a very fun, cartoony element added when Metamorpho becomes the airlock for the JLA Satellite. The action scene with the Aurakles is a little sparse as far as scenery goes, but when your characters are fighting glowing circles, I understand scarcity of scenery. The drawback is an interesting location like the wrecked an abandoned JLA Satellite gets a little underrepresented.

The colors don’t make full use of possibility, with broad spaces of flat color, only given variation by Alan Davis’s line work. It works well with the Aurakles, and the abstract swirls and patches of color make Halo’s Aurakle self stand out as unique, helping the story.

Notes:

This comic was collected in Batman and the Outsiders, Vol. 2 (ISBN: 978-1401277536). This comic is available digitally on Comixology.

As I said, if you’re looking for a copy, you shouldn’t have to pay too much. Finding it might be a problem. However, it might even be available in bargain bins.

Final Rating: 8.0 (out of 10)