Outsiders (vol.2) #1Ω (November, 1993)
“Ashes & Blood”
Writer – Mike W. Barr
Pencils – Paul Pelletier
Inks – Robert Campanella
Letters – Ken Bruzenak
Colors – Stuart Chaifetz
Editor – Bill Kaplan
Cover Price: $1.75
Well, yesterday we closed out a year with an “alpha” issue… so, today we’ll ring in the new one with an “omega”… why not, right? Who we hurtin’?
While we’re talkin’ bout it… Happy New Year friends! Welcome to perhaps the only place on the internet where the only mention of anything Gregorian will be Geo-Force’s nephew, the Crown Prince of Markovia! Don’t worry though, I won’t try and impress upon you that he doesn’t matter (while coming across all smug and self-satisfied)… although, as far as this story is concerned, he really doesn’t.
We open with Katana in a Markovian hotel room she’s sharing with Halo… who happens to be in an iron lung. I’m not exactly sure the whens, whys and hows of Halo’s current condition… but, it’ll be a moot point by the end of the issue (or, if you’ve already read Outsiders (vol.2) #1α, it already is!). Anyhoo, they’re in town… er, country, for the Christening of the Crown Prince of Markovia, Gregor Markov II! They’re not the only ones either! The Briggs’s’s’s (that’s Looker and her husband, natch) are also present and accounted for! We see them enjoying themselves while chatting up Brion’s ladyfriend, Denise.
The Christening goes off without a hitch, Queen Ilona presents the child, and he is Christened. With what we know from the α issue, you’d figure she’d wanna be kept as far away from Holy Water as possible, am I right? Anyhoo… everything goes swimmingly, and the Royal Family retires back to the Palace.
Brion and Ilona chat for a bit, before Geo-Force heads back to the festivities. Once he’s gone from sight, our man Roderick shows his ugly mug. We get a little insight as to the collusion between he and the Queen… and learn that she will eventually be made immortal (don’t bank on that!).
Brion rejoins his ladyfriend, Denise… and sorta-kinda asks her to marry him in the most casual way possible. Before she can answer, however, he receives a phone call from Gardner Grayle, the Atomic Knight! He’s working on a way to help restore Gaby to normal(ish).
We shift scenes back to the Queen, as she addresses her council. She intends to share the news of Prince Brion’s betrayal on television… and they’re not entirely on board with this decision, probably because it’s bunk. No matter though, she does the thing anyway.
Katana is watching this unfold on television while eating her dinner. Once the bombshell is dropped, she realizes that she’s “on the clock”. It’s a good thing she decides to “arm up” too… as she’s immediately attacked by a group of (what else?) vampires! Meanwhile back at the Palace, we see that Roddy has taken care of the Councilmen.
While Katana beats back the horde (gotta say, Pelletier delivers an awesome-looking Tatsu!), the Briggs’s’s are also attacked by the vampies! After getting slammed into a wall, Lia Briggs transforms into… Looker, and she goes absolutely ape! Another wonderfully-drawn scene… this Pelletier guy, I tell ya.
Looker, who is with Greg Briggs and Brion’s maybe-sorta-fiance Denise, uses her powers to get them to leave… making them think they’re all leaving together. This sequence wasn’t the clearest to follow, but not nearly as confusing as it could’ve been.
Looker rendezvous with Katana and helps her finish off the last of the vampires… one of which is carrying an automatic gun of sorts! Gotta remember, this was the 90’s. Anyhoo, some of the errant gunfire happens to hit Gaby’s iron lung. Okay, that there was a sentence I never thought I’d write… and one that has stopped this piece in its tracks while I giggle uncontrollably. Apologies to anyone currently in an iron lung.
Tatsu freaks out that Gaby will suffocate without the artificial oxygen… but Looker ain’t all that worried. She lifts Gaby out of the device, makes her look into her eyes and… bingo-bango, she’s all good again… she just looks like a member of Power Pack now.
The ladies suit up and head off into action… which brings us right up to that scene we saw yesterday, where Geo-Force and the three newbies break in under the castle walls… only to be interrupted by Roderick.
You know what’s coming next, a big ol’ Outsider on Vampire skirmish… this time out, however, we follow Looker inside the castle… where she runs into Roderick who had just done the televised neck-snapping thing.
We wrap up with Roddy… plunging his fangs into Lia’s neck, which brings us right to the same exact ending as in the α issue!
Okay, I know I was pretty down on this one yesterday… and I still kinda am. I mean, the story isn’t any great shakes… but there’s something about these characters that just draws me in. Though, I’m sure the fantastic art is doing at least some of the heavy-lifting.
Let’s touch on the “gimmick” for a second. While yesterday’s α issue was definitely an “incomplete package”, I feel like it gave a more “complete” look at what was going on. Like, if you had to choose only one of these to read, the α issue would/should likely be the one.
This one provides a good amount of flavor… but, outside of the Halo recovery and Lia getting bit… it’s not terribly necessary. They could have (and perhaps should have… for narrative sake) just made Outsiders (vol.2) #1 an over-sized issue and tacked an extra 50-cents onto the cover price. Of course, that’s not going to juice sales like the α/Ω gimmick… but, it would sure read a lot better!
I’m not even sure how well this performed on the market. I’m missing the issue of Wizard that would have had the Top 100 the month this came out… but in subsequent months Outsiders (vol.2) doesn’t even chart! That is to say, there were at least 100 better-selling comics on the market. Not a great way to kick off a new series… though, the market was a strange and interesting thing back in the long ago.
Narratively speaking, I can only really compare this to the storytelling method in the final season of Lost… that “flash-sideways” or whatever the called it. We’re getting bits and pieces… but, it’s not so much exposition or background information… we’re getting the same amount of info, just in a really odd (and unsatisfying) way.
Really, the best thing about this issue… and I hate to go all gushy-fanboy here, but… it’s Paul Pelletier’s art! It’s crazy to consider, dude was so good back in 1993… and has only gotten better! I’d say if you came across this in the bins, it’d be worth a look for the art alone. The fact that it’s a gimmicky 90’s relic… well, it might be worth grabbing for novelty’s sake as well. Like I said yesterday, this is available digitally from DC… and it’s an all-in-one (α/Ω)! Also like I said yesterday, I’m actually tempted to grab it, if only to see if they played around with the pagination… though, I couldn’t imagine that they would.
The α and Ω of Covers: