Outsiders (vol.3) #2 (2003)

Outsiders (vol.3) #2 (September, 2003)
“Role Call, Part Two: Lawyers, Guns, and Monkeys”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Tom Raney
Inker – Scott Hanna
Letterer – John Workman
Colorist – Gina Going
Associate Editor – Lysa Hawkins
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Didn’t dislike the first issue of Outsiders… and I could’ve sworn that, at one point, I did!  Maybe I’m softening… or maybe it was a bit later on in the series that I started disliking it!  Let’s find out…

We open at J.F.K. Airport where we get a lesson on the specs of Air Force One… ya see, the President of the United States is in town.  Looks like even with all the amenities it boasts, the First-Flyer is no match for an angry gorilla!

We shift scenes to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where President Lex Luthor is about to deliver a speech he’s not terribly happy about.  Not so much because he’s evil or anything… he just feels his Hollywood speech writers might perhaps be a tad overblown in their writing style.  Turns out it’s a moot point, however, as the Secret Service calls in a “Red Evac”… probably has something to do with Air Force One going boom.

From here we get a bit of a quick and dirty on Gorilla Grodd, you know the deal… accelerated evolution… super-genius… murderous gorilla.  It’s confirmed that he and his army are currently invading New York.  No duh.  Anyhoo… answering the call, the definitely-not-the-Titans leap into action.  Boy howdy, is Grace annoying…

A Blackhawk helicopter lands allowing a confused and annoyed President Luthor to board.  He is informed that Air Force One went boom… but he’s so happy to be leaving New York that he doesn’t seem terribly bothered.  Meanwhile, Indigo and Metamorpho cause some gorillas to projectile vomit.

Elsewhere, Grace and Thunder have paired off… and elsewhere even still, Dick and Roy take the fight to the baddies.  Roy gets some pretty bad “tough guy” banter with a gorilla who has him by the throat… then reveals that his team has been outfitted with psychic dampeners to block Grodd’s hypnotic suggestions.  Handy, that.  Grodd decides if he can’t use his telepathy, he’ll just fall back on scientific know-how.  With the push of a button he raises a dome over New York City… it’s gettin’ Convergence-y up in here!

Okay, not really… this dome is actually an energy field, so everything electronic/mechanical will cease functioning… including President Luthor’s chopper!  Lucky for him, Jade just happened to be flying by… and she begrudgingly saves the Commander in Chief.  Not much of a surprise here… seeing as though she was on the cover of the previous issue.

As Jade sasses Luthor (imagine somebody talking to the President like that?  Never happen!) his airborne security detail enters the energy field… and, ya know… starts to plummet out of the sky… at dazzling speed.  On the ground, Grace comes up with a plan… she has Thunder grab hold of her, and increase her density to the point where they embed into the ground.  This will allow them to catch the jet before it does any real damage to New York City.

And whattayaknow… it works!

We conclude the chapter at one of the President’s safe-houses.  Upon arrival, Lex hears several gunshots go off… and notices that his entire Secret Service detail has been murdered.  Who could’a done such a thing?  Well, lookit that… it’s the Joker.  I remember a time when a Joker reveal was something of a novelty… now, I can’t recall the last week where he didn’t appear on at least one cover of DC’s new releases!

Another “not bad” issue here.  Just like with Outsiders (vol.3) #1, this is fundamentally sound, hits all the right beats, and is expertly drawn… buuuut, the dialogue still kinda irks me.

Seems like Winick really wants to establish “his” characters.  Here we have Grace acting (and speaking) like a complete bad-ass.  It’s… fine, but… I mean, asking Metamorpho if he “wants to bitch”… c’mon already.  This is Grace’s first time out… hell, the Outsiders aren’t even an official team yet, and she’s talking down to established and experienced heroes as though she’s been doing this her whole life.  Don’t like that… not that I want her to be wide-eyed and cautious… but, perhaps a little calibration could have been used in her introduction to superheroics.  This bit of dialogue is also a bit “try-hard” to me.  Winick’s a young man, but some of this chatter comes across as post-2000 Chris Claremont shoe-horning “You go girl”‘s and “strike a pose”‘s into his writing.  Kinda corny.

I’m hesitant to roll out the “Mary Sue” term, because I doubt Grace (or anybody here) is an “author insert”.  There are just certain characters here that have “all the answers, all the time”.  Winick’s Josie Mack back-ups running in Detective Comics around this time rubbed me the same way.  And like I said yesterday… it’s not bad… just, personally something I don’t enjoy.

Roy doesn’t get all that much play here… which, again… is fine.  Hell, the less I have to look at that Doritos crumb on his chin, the better!  The one scene he does get is… ehhh… tough-guy talk, outsmarting the bad guy… pretty standard stuff.  Not sure who’s running the show here, either… last issue, it seemed as though Roy was taking the charge… here, however, he appears to have deferred leadership to Dick.  Guess we can write that off as “growing pains” in the team formation.

Jade shows up here, fashionably late… but we’re still in the opening arc, and we are writing for the trade… so, whattaya gonna do, right?  Her exchange with Luthor was a bit precious… but again, whattaya gonna do?  These days it requires far less effort to complain @ the President of the United States… so I suppose this was a bit novel for the time.

Overall… still not hating this.  Not sure why I remember myself really not digging this back in the (relatively) long ago.  Maybe I’m projecting how I felt about Winick’s Green Arrow onto this book… hell, maybe I’ll reread his run on Green Arrow and discover that I actually like it… who knows?  Is this worth reading?  As a single-issue, nah… in collected edition, probably.

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