Detective Comics #987
The pulse-pounding "On the Outside" storyline hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion! Batman has tasked Katana, Black Lightning, the Signal and Orphan (a.k.a. Cassandra Cain) with stopping a rogue operator using alien technology that can crack into any mind on Earth! What does this case have to do with the Brainiac Files seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1? And how does Amanda Waller factor in? Guess you're "outside" of Batman's circle of trust... for now.
The finale of “On the Outside” from writer Bryan Hill holds nothing back in delivering a powerful conclusion to the arc while also introducing readers to the new Outsiders team. The Brainiac Files and Markovia’s importance in the story are exposed as we get our first look at the Outsiders in action, and based on what we know from recent events in Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock, the Outsiders connection with Markovia will only become more important as their story continues. This grim knowledge emphasizes Batman’s growing secrecy and the mysterious nature of the team’s formation, but it also instills a unique sense of distress in all of his actions as the threat of something far worse bears down.
The issue could have easily been a simple backdoor pilot for the new Outsiders series, but it turned out to be so much more. It’s an expansive story that brings together many different ongoing elements within the DC Universe, but it’s also a narrative that delves into the core of what it means to be Batman and the weight of responsibility that mantle brings. Black Lightning understands this weight of responsibility all too well, so it was interesting to see the two connect despite the turmoil around them. This has been a theme often explored by Hill when dealing with more experienced heroes like Batman and Black Lightning, and the moment of understanding between the two served as an emotional turning point in the story.
Although Batman and Karma face off once again in this issue, it seems to be a confrontation that both were expecting. Batman’s unwillingness to bring his new team surprises Karma, but he had brought all the help he could ever need within the horrors of his own memories. This method of defeating Karma had been hinted at in their last fight, but Hill manages to find an incredibly interesting way of utilizing this flaw in Karma’s powers to reveal the true fear behind the Bat. Unfortunately, the victory is short-lived, and now Batman must turn his focus towards the growing threat in Markovia where Karma’s mind reading abilities originated. The story skillfully balances these narrative threads to deliver both a satisfying conclusion to Karma’s ongoing feud and an interesting tease for what is in store for these characters without ever feeling forced or rushed.
The artistic direction drives the spectacular nature of the arc’s finale and helps to visualize the emotional layers found in the story. The Outsiders in action, Batman versus Karma, and the cameo from the Man of Steel are beautiful depictions that add a sense of both grandeur and importance to the issue. The quality of each issue has been remarkable in this arc, and the finale is no exception.
Detective Comics #987 is a compelling conclusion to the “On the Outside” arc, but it is an even more interesting start to the newest rendition of Batman and the Outsiders. It really is one of those issues that just has it all. Intense action scenes and complex characterizations along with some of the best artwork in recent months make this an issue that absolutely shouldn’t be missed.
The final entry in the “On the Outside” arc proves to be the strongest one yet. It is a powerful story with gorgeous artwork that explores both the weight of responsibility and the impact of the fear behind the Bat.
Detective Comics #987: A Single Light to Extinguish
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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