Outsiders (vol.3) #18 (2005)

Outsiders (vol.3) #18 (January, 2005)
“Most Wanted, Part 2”
Story – Judd Winick
Art – Carlos D’Anda
Colors – Sno-Cone
Letters – Phil Balsman
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Well, yesterday we were promised an appearance by John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted… and that’s just what we got… a single panel featuring the man himself.  Kind of a letdown, don’t you think?

So, let’s keep with the Outsiders and see just what they do with their newfound pal.

We open on some grainy CCTV footage of the store where a young girl named Janet Milo had been abducted three months prior.  The Outsiders (and John Walsh) watch intently as a suspicious-looking individual keeps wandering into the scene.  They eventually deduce that he most likely took the girl out of the area inside a duffel bag.  Dick and John also note that the likely baddie happened to touch the counter… leading them to wonder if there might be a way to pick up any prints.

Walsh isn’t terribly excited, as the counter has likely been wiped clean thousands of times since… to which, Roy informs him that their technology is a bit better than that of the Police.  Waitasec!  Just last issue Jade said that this was a job the Police should be able to attend to without the Outsiders!  What kinda crap is this?!

Some time passes, and the Outsiders are able to nab twelve-hundred prints from that counter.  They call into Walsh, who suggests they cross-reference those prints with the known pedophile database… which, c’mon now, did they really need John Walsh to tell them that?  Either way, they find a match… a Martin Andrews.

When Grace hears the news… well, she’s just annoyed that it isn’t the fella who abducted her… Tanner.  With a name, however, John Walsh is able to do his America’s Most Wanted thang, and at least try and nyoink this Andrews off the street.  The Outsiders watch the program… and are not entirely comfortable working “within the system”.  I mean, they’re talking like they’re X-Force or something… Black-Ops… they’re the freaking Outsiders, they were originally founded by Batman, they’re mostly graduated Teen Titans… gimme a break with that “outside the system” spoo.

We shift over to Grace’s… rather gross bedroom, where she’s also watching America’s Most Wanted… but I can’t say for certain if it’s the same episode.  This time, John Walsh is revealing that Janet Milo has been found and returned to her family… so, it’s almost gotta be “next week’s show” right?  I guess that could’ve been clearer.  Roy asks Grace how she’s doing (and it seems like they’re not in her disheveled bedroom anymore)… but it’s clear she ain’t doin’ all that hot.

Later, Walsh calls in to Outsiders leader, Jade.  He informs her that since the show aired, they’ve received thousands of calls about that Martin Andrews… but one in particular stood out to him.  One said that he was seen talking to a fella named… Tanner!  Now, I’m not sure if the art is supposed to be conveying any particular disinterest in Jade’s eyes… but, she doesn’t look all that “into” it.  Maybe I’m just projecting.

Anyhoo, we move on and the Outsiders (I keep wanting to type “Titans”) are on the prowl.  They head in the direction of Walsh’s tip, and use Indigo to do some scanning.  It isn’t long before the come across a bunker holding 83 child slaves!

It’s not long before the police show up… and the children are taken away to safety.  Roy’s super jazzed that they made a difference… but Grace still feels like they’re in an uphill battle.  To her mind, all they’ve done is close down a single franchise in Tanner’s conglomerate.

One of the goons who was guarding the bunker getting hauled away recognizes Harper from his time using.  The goon uses his one phone call to give Tanner a buzz and let him know what went down… and give a little insight into Roy’s private life.  He also mentions the “wicked tall Asian chick” called Grace who was with him… which, as you might imagine, gives Tanner a bit of a pause.

Tanner hangs up on the goon, and makes a call… to get a “job” done.  Tanner, by the way, has both a mustache and a mullet.  Worth mentioning?  Ehh, it’s too late now.

We shift scenes over to Roy… and that disgusting Dorito crumb he has on his chin, who is talking to Dick on the phone.  They’re discussing Grace’s anger, and the justification of it… it is confirmed here that during Grace’s time with Tanner she was raped.  Roy cuts the call short so he can go relieve the nanny and be with his daughter.

As he approaches his apartment door, it’s clear that it’s been tampered with.  He kicks it open, to find the nanny (I’m guessing) shot dead… Lian’s been taken, and there’s a message scrawled on the wall.  It’s the New Didio-DCU… ain’t no stomaching us now!

Okay, this wasn’t great… but it also wasn’t bad.

Right off the bat… last issue, there was only one drawing of John Walsh… and boy howdy, did it look like they labored over the damn thing to make it look like him.  This time around?  Not so much.  It just looked like any random middle-aged fella.  I think when you’re entire hook is the John Walsh/America’s Most Wanted connection… you might wanna do a bit better with the likeness.

The “meat” of the story might’ve been a little bit on the convenient side… but, I mean… if we were to interject reality into this, it would be a never-ending story.  There are always going to be abducted kids (and people in general) who are in need of discovery and safety.  That’s sort of the problem exploring these kind of themes.  Maybe that’s why Jade was so adamant an a-hole last issue?  She just didn’t want her team to become pigeonholed!  Now it all makes sense!  No, no it still doesn’t.

I gotta say, this was a ringing endorsement for the America’s Most Wanted program… which, I mean… if probably the point.  No harm, no foul… the show is very important, and has done a helluva lot of good.  The whole thing was convenient… but forgivable.

Let’s talk gore!  I feel like a lot of DC fans (myself included) see the launch of this book and Teen Titans (vol.3) as the real “start” of the Dan DiDio DCU.  With his arrival came a darkening… Impulse gets kneecapped right off the bat over in Titans… the whole Sue Dibny thing happens in Identity Crisis… and here we have a nanny getting his brains splattered all over Roy’s apartment.

The Impulse and Sue beats… while I didn’t really dig ’em, they at least served the story.  They led to something.  This?  This just feels gratuitous.  I don’t feel like we needed to see this.  Not that I’m averse to violence, but this just feels… I dunno, almost embarrassing.  This is the kind of thing that people who don’t read comics think comic books are full of… and judge those of us who do read them accordingly.  All I’m saying is, sometimes less is more.  Leave something to our imagination.

Overall… like I said, not a bad issue.  A little convenient… but, can’t get all that mad at it.  We’ll wrap this bugger up tomorrow.

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