Outsiders (vol.3) #21 (April, 2005)
Story – Judd Winick
Art – Carlos D’Anda
Colors – Guy Major
Letters – Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50
After finishing up the America’s Most Wanted tie-in story arc yesterday, I was interested in seeing if there would be any follow-up in the pages of the next issue of Outsiders. What I found was a romance story featuring Indigo and Shift.
I can’t say that I was terribly interested in any of that… however, toward the end of the issue, there was a bit of a reveal. Optitron, the company that has been funding the Outsiders… is owned by… Bruce Wayne.
Well, this really ticked Dick off… and that’s where we begin today. You know I’m always a sucker for Bat-Family drama… here’s hoping this one delivers!
Also, how ya like that DYMO label on top of our Outsiders logo? Something awfully familiar about that…
… eh, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.
We open with a quick and dirty introduction on Optitron… which, for those just joining us, ends with the reveal that Optitron is a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises… and also the wild spoiler that the owner of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne is actually… Batman! In the present, Nightwing is positively fuming… he’s upset that Batman didn’t believe in him enough to consider that he could maintain this team without his interference.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Roy drops the other shoe. Ya see, he’s known that Batman was in charge the whole time, and has even gotten intel reports from him. Dick charges out of the room… and it’s becoming pretty clear from the dialogue (over the past few days) that Winick’s idea of “maturing up” language is adding a bunch of G-D’s.
We shoot over to Wayne Manor where Nightwing demands an audience with the master of the house. He heads down to the Batcave and starts reading Batman the riot act. Batman just stands there and lets him run wild.
When Dick runs out of steam, Batman finally speaks. Yes, he’s funding the team… but he’s only doing so because he believes in Dick. Teams need money… he’s got money, so what’s the big deal, right?
When asked why he’s been lying to him all this time, all Batman can do is… apologize. He suggests Dick not place that much faith in him… or anybody, for that matter.
Dick realizes that something’s definitely up… and presses Batman for some answers. Batman doesn’t really have any, however… he actually sort of spaces out. There’s a single-panel flashback to… something. I know Winick was also writing Batman at this point, but I’ll level with ya… Winick writing Batman led to my no longer reading Batman… so, I haven’t the foggiest idea what he might be referring to.
Dick begins to come around… and since the intel he’s been feeding Roy has been so helpful, he sees no reason why that shouldn’t continue. At this point, Batman reveals that he hasn’t seen nor spoken to Arsenal in over a year! Uh-oh.
It just so happens, at that very moment Arsenal is speaking to… Batman?! He reveals to his informant that the news is out… he told Nightwing and Starfire about their clandestine meetings. Then, Roy’s communicator begins to buzz.
It’s Dick… duh… who is pretty surprised to learn that they’re both standing next to Batman!
Well, that’s because… clearly, one of them isn’t. The Batman with Roy proceeds to beat the hell out of our favorite Dorito-chinned archer. Unfortunately none of his strikes are strong enough to knock that damned crumb off his chin.
We close out with that Batman unmasking… revealing himself to be, Slade Wilson… Deathstroke!
I think my expectations always shoot up a bit too high when we brush up against good ol’ Bat-Family Drama… and this one more or less fell flat for me.
It really just feels like an advertisement for Winick’s Batman work. We’re left here with “Why is Batman acting so weird? Maybe I should check out his book.”, when really… Batman should be doing what it can to prop this book up! This could’ve (and perhaps should’ve) very easily been an issue of Batman… and I’d bet it would’ve drawn its fair-share of new eyes to the Outsiders book!
Though, checking the Comichron numbers for this month… Batman didn’t really outsell this book by all that much. Just over 10,000 copies. I guess I wasn’t the only one to “check out” when Winick took over Batman!
Keeping with Winick for a bit… his dialogue is pretty weak, and I tire of the overuse of G-D. I mean, I’m not known (offline anyway) for watching my language, but this just feels like a silly attempt to make the book feel more “mature”. I’ll never understand how a concept like “mature” has morphed into cursing and gore. I certainly don’t feel more mature for having read this!
I thought the Deathstroke reveal at the end was pretty neat… though, does this mean that he knows some things he shouldn’t about Batman? I mean, he’d have to know that Wayne Enterprises owned Optitron, right? And he would only dress as Batman to trick Roy if he already knew Bruce Wayne was Batman, right? Maybe I’m thinking too hard… or maybe I just missed something. Wouldn’t be the first time!
Overall… not a bad issue, but also not likely to be one that’ll rock your socks.