Batman and the Outsiders #5 (December, 1983)
Writer – Mike W. Barr
Co-Plotter – Marv Wolfman
Art – Jim Aparo
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.75
Going to wrap up the crossover we started yesterday.
I’ll be adding these issues to both the Life and Times of Tara Markov and Collected Editions pages for easy consumption.
Picking up right where we left off last issue, the Titans and Outsiders are flailing in the waters where the tiny island off Gotham sunk. Batman and Robin both blame themselves… as one might assume. Terra attempts to tap into her Earthy powers to re-rise the island, but proves to have been too weakened in the blast. Lucky for her, she ain’t the only Earth-Mover present… her brother, Brion, reaches down deep and actually manages to raise the island out of the Gotham Bay drink.
Everyone looks to have made it… except Beast Boy! A worried Halo rushes to his side… and a little voice suggests she try some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the green fella. That little voice, of course, belongs to Beast Boy himself. Nice try, Gar!
At the same time, Batman begins directing traffic, telling both teams where to go and how to be… which kinda sticks in a certain Boy Wonder’s craw… which, is understandable.
Meanwhile, on the mainland… Dr. Light makes another power grab, attempting to take leadership over the Mud Pack (not that Mud Pack). This doesn’t quite work… after all, they only do what Psimon Says. The rest of the Fearsome Five make it quite clear that they now follow Psimon, which makes a ton of sense… any time they’d follow Dr. Light, they wound up in jail! Ol’ Artie gets chased outta dodge.
We shift scenes over to the Outsiders’ headquarters atop the Wayne Foundation Building, where both teams get better acquainted… sorta. Terra acts like a bit of a jerk, but that’s kinda her gimmick… so the Outsiders shouldn’t take it all that personally. We do get a few “parallels” here, which is pretty neat. Both Wonder Girl and Halo don’t know about their pasts… Kid Flash and Black Lightning both do-si-do with retirement… it’s pretty cool stuff.
After awhile, Batman calls for the heroes to assemble in the meeting room. He and Dr. Jace have deduced that the Fearsome Five’s target will be Manhattan. Robin chips in with a bit of information from the NYPD police band…
… which Batman heeds, yet doesn’t go out of his way to thank Dick for presenting. It sure feels like Marv and Mike keep trying to paint the other-guy’s guy as the whiner, don’t it?
It isn’t long before the heroes arrive in Manhattan’s Central Park where Psimon and Dr. Light are duking it out (so to speak). The good guys seem to choose Dr. Light as the lesser of two evils, and lash out at Psimon. Good thing Zatanna mind-wiped Batman back in the long ago, ain’t it? Well, it’s a good thing for Arthur Light, anyway.
Before the skirmish ends, a mind-controlled Halo strikes at the heroes… this gives Light the opportunity to slip away, or it would, if Black Lightning weren’t there to zap him good. Raven slips in to sooth Halo’s soul.
We shift scenes over to the Empire State Building, where the Fearsome Five are making their way toward the antenna, hopeful that it will give Psimon better range for use with his newly souped-up powers. They flip a switch (for some reason… ceremony, perhaps?) and before we know it, the people of New York City are under his control.
Well, not everybody. Ya see, the heroes have headed over to Titans Tower, where Dr. Jace has created a ray to shield whoever is hit by it from Psimon’s mental powers. Pretty convenient, innit? Anyhoo… the heroes all bathe in the light. Meanwhile, Dr. Light spills the beans on the Five’s plans.
The heroes head toward the Empire State Building, which does give Gar the opportunity to pretend to be King Kong and invite Halo to be his Fay Wray. Smooth.
Batman’s on the ground directing traffic, he insists that none of the controlled civilians are injured… which, really ought to go without saying, right? He then breaks the crew into teams… and it’s here that Robin has finally had enough. He pulls rank and rejiggers Batman’s teams… while telling him off!
The heroes make their way into the Empire State Building… and make extremely short work of the Fearsome
Five Four. Like, extremely short work. I’m not the biggest fan of these geeks… and even I think they were jobbed out here.
Once Psimon is stuck in stasis, all of the New Yorkers come to. We then wrap up back at Titans Tower. We learn that Dr. Light escaped… but didn’t take his costume with him! Looks like he quits (for now)!
Terra and Geo-Force celebrate their unexpected reunion with a hug… during which, Tara laments the fact that she has to betray the Titans… who now consider themselves friends with the Outsiders.
Finally, Batman and Robin make nice… and officially end their hero/sidekick relationship. For now, they are both bonafide heroes and team-leaders in their own right.
Okay, a quick… but satisfying enough ending to our two-part crossover. We have a few things to unpack…
Same as yesterday, let’s start with a look at some Bat-Family Drama. It’s with this chapter that we see Robin start with the passive (and not-so passive) aggression… and in light of how things went down in New Teen Titans #37, it’s kinda funny that Mike W. Barr writes him this way.
I remember during my early days in the fandom, we’d hear about creators being protective of their characters. Like, the ones in their creative “fiefdom”. They wanted to have a certain amount of “say” over the characters they write when they appear in other peoples’ books… which, I mean, I don’t hold that against ’em! It only makes sense, from a characterization standpoint that you wouldn’t want guest-appearances to contradict character-beats in the home book. I wish more writers were as protective these days!
They don’t always get it right (I’m thinking of that Punisher/Wolverine “crossover” from the early days of Jemas/Quesada Marvel… woof), but I like it when characters are kept “in-character” regardless of which book they appear in.
But what I’m getting at here, is… yesterday, Marv paints Batman as a whiny, passive-aggressive sort… and today Mike kinda flips the script, and adds some whinge to Robin. I mean, all’s well that ended well, but I still found this kinda interesting. I wonder if either writer took issue with the way “their guy” was treated?
Let’s look at the Markov’s for a moment. Terra looks to be having second thoughts about the ramifications of her betrayal. I wanna make it clear, she never wavers from the plan… but, does seem concerned with how it might ultimately affect her brother, Brion. This is a point in the “Terra’s not evil/insane” column… from here, the “Judas Contract” betrayal looks to be… just a job. Since this was scripted by Barr… I’m not sure how “official” this depiction is.
The Fearsome Five… I said it yesterday (and earlier today), they’re not my favorites… but, c’mon… the poor goofs got jobbed out here, didn’t they? Very seldom am I an advocate for stretching out a story, but this probably could’ve done with a Part Three.
Overall… there’s a lot to like here! Batman and Robin bury the hatchet… with the latter seemingly being “graduated” from his sidekick role and being seen more as an equal by his mentor. I’d say it’s definitely worth a look. This arc has been collected a whole bunch, and this issue is available digitally.