Batman and the Outsiders #28 (1985)

Batman and the Outsiders #28 (December, 1985)
“The Truth About Looker, Part 1: Abduction From Below”
Writer/Editor – Mike W. Barr
Artist – Alan Davis
Letterer – John Workman
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Cover Price: $0.75

It wasn’t too long ago that we checked in with the Outsiders to get “The Truth About Halo”… so, I figure why not see if we can’t get to the bottom of Looker… Let’s do it!

We open with Halo nervously flipping through a hairstyle magazine while April… also nervously brandishes a pair of scissors.  Halo is about to make a drastic change in her appearance as a way to claim at least a piece of her Earthly existence as her own.  April is hesitant, but Gaby is steadfast… and so it goes.

We join Katana, Geo-Force and Black Lightning relaxing at an outdoor cafe at the Wayne Foundation.  Tatsu shares a story of seeing Halo looking to the stars the evening before, commenting that she can “never go back”.  With the knowledge of Gaby’s true nature, she seems to view her quite differently than she had before.

The trio breaks up and heads back into the building… with Tatsu walking right into her newly-shorn pal.  And this haircut… lemme tell ya, it’s really quite a sight.  Gaby said she asked all the boys at school how she should get her hair cut… I have serious doubts that the overwhelming consensus was “pompadour”.  Yikes.

Before Gaby and Tatsu can continue their chat they are approached by the bookish-looking Emily Briggs.  She has come to apologize to Katana for her behavior at the bank a few days back.  She panics, and tries to leave… feeling as though she was wrong to visit.  She really is quite squirrely.  Outside we see a shadowy trenchcoated man.  He is holding two marbles that appear to control a pair of thugs… their target: Mrs. Briggs.

We travel across the Atlantic to Switzerland… where Rex and Sapphire Mason are on their Honeymoon.  Before they can get down to it, there is a loud shrieking from outside.  Rex knows it’s time to make the donuts, and so he Metamorpho’s up.

On the slopes, he witnesses Prince William about to be abducted by some goons in green cloaks.  Metamorpho quickly takes out all but one… the last one standing is holding a marble similar to the goon squad outside the Wayne Foundation.  He uses it to draw Rex’s consciousness out of his body.

Back in Gotham, Tatsu and Emily are walking outside.  It’s weird, right next to the majestic Wayne building… is a seedy alley.  The ladies are attacked by the thugs from earlier.  Briggs is abducted and Katana is awoken by the police some time later.  She claims that she “fell”… she wants these thugs for herself.

After paying a visit to Mr. Briggs, the Outsiders head to the most likely place his wife is being held… Morgan Jones’ yacht.  On board, Black Lightning and Katana happen across the pair of thugs… and Katana jumps them straightaway.  It’s a fairly brutal… and one-sided fight.  Pierce is content just kayoing his opponent… Katana bloodies hers real good by bashing his face into the deck.

Finally, Batman is face to face with Jones himself.  A gangster holds him at gunpoint… which is easily reversed into putting Batman into a most opportune position.  A working knowledge of how nerves work serves our man quite well.

The baddies start jumping overboard leaving the Outsiders ample opportunity to question Jones.  When presented with a composite sketch, he claims to recognize Emily Briggs.  He refers to her as a “mousey bank clerk” and assures Batman that he is out of the kidnapping game.

Batman takes a look at the fallen thugs and suddenly his radiation detector starts going off.  This draws his attention to a shattered glass bauble.  He uses his bat-science to deduce that the radiation in question could dominate a brain.  Man, got it on the first try!

We conclude with Batman and the Outsiders resolving to rescue Mrs. Briggs… and speaking of our Emily, we find that she is still being held by ol’ trenchcoat… who removes his hat, revealing himself to be… um… some bald guy!

Not a bad issue.  Not as intriguing as the opening chapter to the Halo-centric story from several months before, but still perfectly solid comic bookery.  

It is still taking some getting used seeing Alan Davis on art.  The art is great though… well, except there seems to be something a little off about the way he draws Katana.  Her head has a definite “Ernie from Sesame Street” shape to it.  It’s weird.

I think if we were to look for themes in this issue, the one that immediately comes to mind is that of identity.  I suppose we can start with Looker herself, Emily Briggs.  We see her in her “plain Jane” persona here… most definitely not the costumed bombshell we may come to expect.  She appears to be uncomfortable in her skin… and perhaps even a bit intimidated by being in the presence of beautiful women, like during the scene where she meets Gaby.

Speaking of Gaby… here we observe her making a drastic change to her appearance in attempt to take ownership over her new identity.  In cutting her long hair she is both appeasing DC editorial who wanted some shorter-haired female superheroes, and proving to herself that there are certain aspects of her identity that she could control and affect.  It’s a fairly worn trope, however, quite effective in light of Halo’s recent wringer-ride.  Though I’m not sure I’d have gone with the pompadour… 

Overall… another fun issue of Batman and the Outsiders.  I’m still surprised at how much I am enjoying this run… and at how long I’d avoided getting around to reading it!

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