Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Story-Arc: On the Outside.
Writer(s): Bryan Hill & Michael Moreci (Issue #982).
Penciller(s): Miguel Mendonca, Philippe Briones & Sebastian Fiumara (Issue #982).
Inker(s): Diana Egea.
Colourist(s): Adriano Lucas & Dave Stewart (Issue #982).
Letterer(s): Sal Cipriano & Clem Robins (Issue #982).
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: December 5th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously on DC Universe Rebirth’s Batman: Detective Comics series:
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 1): Rise of the Batmen by James Tynion IV
Batman (Vol. 1.5): Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): The Victim Syndicate by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 3): League of Shadows by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 4): Deus Ex Machina by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 5): A Lonely Place of Living by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 6): Fall of the Batmen by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 7): Batmen Eternal by James Tynion IV
There are many ways to achieve your goals. You can either do it alone or with others, and this has often been one of the biggest question marks with Batman. To rid crime from Gotham city, he could singlehandedly take on the burden and take down every criminal that pops up on his radar on a daily basis, while sacrificing his own happiness, body, and mind. Or, he could accept the help of other like-minded individuals who want to make a difference, while utilizing their own resources and set of skills. Throughout the Rebirth Detective Comics series, fans have seen what it’s like for these members of the Bat Family to work together and help a city stand on two feet. Following the events in Batmen Eternal, the squad of vigilantes who stood by Batman left to pursue new goals. Batman will now have to find new Gotham Knights to help in his endeavour or reconcile with the idea that he might be better off alone.
What is Batman: Detective Comics: On the Outside about? Collecting Detective Comics #982-987, this story arc serves as a launchpad for the series, following James Tynion IV’s run which came to an end in Batmen Eternal. The volume kicks off with a stand-alone story written by Michael Moreci and featuring Deacon Blackfire, a villain who feeds off the belief of individuals in the absence of hope, to hence exponentially increase his spiritual powers, who wishes to expose Batman as a False God of Gotham. Writer Bryan Hill then takes over for a five-part story arc where he introduces a brand-new villain by the name of Karma who believes that Batman has lost his purpose and become weaker with the number of allies he has recruited to his Bat Family. Intending to both convince Batman of this lack of performance and to kill all of these younglings off, Karma conjures a plan that forces Batman to either give up or team-up.
Following up what James Tynion IV had thought up for this series is no easy feat. The most logical and safe route to take is to start with a new slate and that’s what Bryan Hill offers fans in On the Outside. The configuration of this story is a simple and linear structure where a new threat enters the picture and a new team is needed to take it down. Although nothing more than an enjoyable plot, this story arc didn’t dive too quickly into an overarching scenario that gives us an idea of what to expect from this run but allowed to tease the new heroes and villains who will henceforth be recurring characters. Among the new additions are Duke Thomas, known as The Signal, and Black Lightning, who plays the new mentor for this squad, while Cassandra Cain (Orphan) and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) make a return. The characters and their banter weren’t particularly impressive since the writing almost felt exploratory as if trying to figure out how to build chemistry between them and make each of them somehow memorable.
While it isn’t necessarily a problem, this story arc felt like another episode in Batman’s life where he works in tandem with the members of his Bat Family to take down an unknown threat. The mystery behind the identity of this villain didn’t necessitate much detective work except a cheesy little memory jog that quickly reminds you that the story wasn’t searching for any form of complexity. It’s even worth mentioning that the story once again brought back the issues revolving around Batman’s odd interest to have under-aged heroes under his wings but doesn’t bring anything new to the table regarding this subject.
The stand-alone story drawn by Sebastian Fiumara and coloured by Dave Stewart was quite the change of style from the usual artwork featured in this series. It certainly fits with the story’s illusion-filled narrative but still had a couple of niggling sequences that made for awkward moments. The artwork for the On the Outside story arc also went in a completely different direction, giving us a much more modern and essentially digital style where colours are extremely vibrant, and high-contrasting panels are omnipresent, especially with the help of inkers and the heavy black contouring of figures.
Batman: Detective Comics: On the Outside is an introductory and casually entertaining chapter to the next line-up of heroes to defend Gotham from the menaces that its guardians create.