Saturday, September 10, 2016

Batman and the Outsiders #14 (1984)

Batman and the Outsiders #14 (October, 1984)
"Two by Two..."
Writer/Editor - Mike W. Barr
Guest Penciller - Bill Willingham
Guest Inker - Bill Anderson
Letters - Ben Oda
Colors - Adrienne Roy
Created by Mike W. Barr & Jim Aparo
Cover Price: $0.75

Okay, I might be late for the 'lympics... but better late than never to check out an early issue of Batman and the Outsiders!


We open with Halo wrapping up a date with a fella called Phil.  His daddy's a restaurateur and our Gaby is mighty impressed.  As he escorts her home we see that they're being watched... but, by who?  Well, somebody who likes to kick over garbage cans to interrupt some hot and heavy mouth on mouth action... that's who!  Phil plays hero by shoving Gaby into her building... with his hand strategically placed, might I add... and goes off in search of the menace.  Gaby "Halos up" and sees a pile of clothes surrounded by burn marks on the asphalt and has a sneaking suspicion who the culprit might be.

Hey, watch the hands Phil!
She flies home and meets with her teammate Geo-Force... and knows it was him doin' the creeping.  She snags him and heads home where they run into Katana.  It all comes out that Brion was being the biggest creep this side of Terry Long, and Halo and Katana both tell him to knock it off.  He claims he was only trying to protect Gaby, but nobody's buying it.

We shift scenes to Arkham Asylum where we see Maxie Zeus writing a letter.  His correspondence is interrupted by the delivery of the daily newspaper... wow, whodathunk inmates in an asylum kept up with current events?  He's taken aback by what's on the page... so after kayoing a janitor and stealing his duds, he busts out.

We shift scenes again, this time to Gotham University College, where we join Brion Markov and a pair of gal pals getting their papers back from the prof.  One of the girls is a bit geeky and scores well... the other has pink-dyed hair and doesn't do so hot.  Brion's work "doesn't reflect his potential".  They try to set up a study date, but the smart girl declines, knowing that there likely won't be a whole lotta studying going on.

Guess what?  We shift scenes again... to Tatsu's shop Dragon Books.  Halo enters and tries setting her friend up with her creepy geometry teacher.  Yeesh, good thing Katana can take care of herself.  Later on Katana jokingly tells Halo never to do that again... 

Back at Arkham, Batman is on the scene.  While checking out Zeus' room and berating Mr. Blaine for the not-so-secure digs, he comes across the newspaper that caused him to snap.  He deduces that he escaped to abduct an Olympic athlete named Lacinia Nitocris... because, ya see Lacinia is another name for Juno... who is the wife of the Greek God Jupiter... who's the equivalent of Zeus!  Good eye, Bats!

Speaking of Zeus... we get a very brief interlude of him checking in with a fella floating in space in an orb-shaped ship.  This is one of those wacky pre-Crisis appearances of... the Monitor!  Man, I love these!

Later that night, we see Brion and Alisa the pink haired chick... studying... each other's mouths.  Gaby decides it's the perfect opportunity to get back at her teammate, so she pops her head in pretends she and Brion are an item and asks who the "cleaning woman" is.  Well, pink-haired Alisa don't dig that... so she drives off in a huff.

Now it's on... Gaby Halo's up, and Brion Geo-Force's up... and we have ourselves a good old fashioned chase scene... ending pretty much exactly the way we all expect it to... with the two of them making out.

Now with that romance out of the way... let's check in on another.  Metamorpho is trying to get a hold of his would-be girlfriend Sapphire Stagg... and he can't get past her daddy.  What's great about this scene is Rex is laying in bed like he should be on the cover of a teen novel or a "Mystery Date" board game.

Yeah, but do you like him like him?
We now shift to the opening ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics, featuring then-President of the United States, Ronald Reagan!  We go to the MBC booth (really, we can use Olympics... but not NBC?) where Jefferson Pierce and Brion Markov are being interviewed by TV douche Chet Wilcox.  In a private office we see a very messy-haired Batman radioing his team members to see if there's any sign of Zeus.  Metamorpho's selling Eskimo Pies, and the girls are in the stands.

We follow the opening ceremonies and watch the (attempted) lighting of the Olympic torch... ya see an MBC news chopper has been hijacked... and our torch-bearer gets shot at with an arrow.

Turns out Maxie Zeus... and a bunch of geeks (somehow) all jammed into that helicopter... and now they're here to procure Zeus a wife... in the form of Lacinia whatsherface, who just so happens to be right by President Reagan.

Before Maxie can make off, he is interrupted by Batman... and the Outsiders.  Batman challenges him to a winner takes all fight... and says if his team wins, Maxie leaves everyone there "unmolested".  Hmm... needless to say, we are [to be continued...]


Ya know, I always forget how much I dig these issues of Batman and the Outsiders.  They just never pop into my mind when I'm looking for something to read... which really is a shame.  I always find myself digging these issues.

I really like almost family-like atmosphere this book has... and here was another great example of that.  We've got the Halo and Geo-Force relationship starting to heat up... well, going from bitter cold to hot in just a handful of pages, really.  Halo and Katana's relationship is also a lot of fun here.

Metamorpho's still dealing with his own relationship woes... though I gotta admit, the image of him laying in his bed on the phone like a stereotypical teenage girl made me chuckle a bit more than I should have.

I like how Batman is more of a means to an end in this issue.  He's there to put the pieces in place, however, doesn't come off as "taking over" the story.  This is truly the Outsiders' story, with Batman just there to call plays.

Maxie Zeus is... well, he's a villain.  Not really one I have a strong feeling for either way.  Seeing him with a crew of goons does very little to excite me.  I suppose if you're going to do an Olympic tie-in issue, he's as good a baddie as any... and while on the subject... how weird is this that it's actually got the Olympic Rings on the cover?  Gotta wonder if this was a sanctioned usage of the image... as, if I'm not mistaken the Summer-games-gang is pretty aggressive in enforcing their copyright... or is it trademark?  Either way, I thought using the rings is generally a no-no.

It was neat getting a (very) brief cameo of the Monitor here.  It always tickles my continuity bone when I see a pre-Crisis appearance from this guy.  It just makes whatever happening seem so much more important.

Overall, definitely worth checking out.  Whether in singles, or the SHOWCASE Presents "phone book" edition.  There's a lot of fun in these early issues of Batman and the Outsiders.  Hell, this one's also available digitally... so, I guess disregard everything I said about not using dem 'lympic rings... mustn't be that big a deal after all!  Either way, check out this series if you get the chance.


Letters Page:



Interesting Olympian Ads:

1 comment:

  1. That was messed up how Captain O of the Olympic Sales Club stole Black Lightning's cowl


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