I’m not going to pretend to know much about Brother Eye, OMAC, Buddy Blank, or Godmother, but after reading this issue I’m definitely going to spend some time digging up as much as I can about the technological warrior who squares off against Batman and the Outsiders. Last month Marc Andreyko took us through the domed lives of the titular heroes who make up one of more beloved teams in Batman’s long history. Separated from their powers, most of the Outsiders have found ways to contribute to society, until the disappearance of the dome and the approach of a mutated army forces them back onto the front lines.
There are two major struggles that “The New Normal” focuses its story around. The first is the more obvious clash between the Outsiders, and Buddy Blank. In the form of the One Man Army Corps, Blank has brought an army of monsters from the near future to win the battle against Batman’s team of heroes. Taken from the “Great Disaster” timeline, most of the mutants are little more than faceless cannon fodder who serve as dummies to get beat down in creative ways by the Outsiders. Each team member gets their small moment to shine, and Batman shows up on a Bat-Helicopter (A Bat-Helicopter!). It’s all exciting, in that Hollywood-blockbuster vein.
The more interesting, and criminally underdeveloped, subplot lies in the internal conflict between Buddy Blank and Godmother. Somehow, after being abandoned by Brother Eye, Blank has fallen under the control of Godmother, turning him into a violent killing machine. While OMAC destroys much of Gotham City, Blank struggles from within to break free and stop the technology that’s more or less brainwashed him. It’s one of those scenes where the avatar of the physical being is represented internally, floating in some bland, open space. While it’s an overused trope, it still works here, demonstrating the separation between Blank and OMAC.
With the rest of the issue dedicated to a city-wide battle between the two sides, the fun is not in seeing whether or not the Outsiders win or lose, but how they play off of one another and use each other’s abilities. They feel like a more cohesive team than, say, the Teen Titans or Justice League International. It’s a good thing.
Looking back on it, I probably short-changed the previous issue. My bad. This time around, I could find hardly anything to fault. Having Katana trapped under a collapsed hospital and then have her fighting mutants a few pages later was a little melodramatic, and most of the dialogue was more or less cut-and-paste. While the conclusion arrived quickly, the two-issue restriction is to blame, not the writers or artists themselves.
Another high point of the story lies in the high-quality of the artwork, done almost entirely by Carlos D’Anda. The choice of bright, brilliant colors gives each member of the Outsiders and their demon foes a distinct vibe which lends to the overall quality of the issue. Every page is wonderfully done, with the action sequences leading to a fast-paced battle in a city center that reminded me of the first Avengers movie. A group of heroes facing an indistinct mass of aliens or monsters? I’m always down for that, especially when it’s done well. These two issues have proven themselves to be some of the best in terms of art during the entire Convergence event.
- The Outsiders win, and in a rather decisive fashion. After combining their powers to defeat Buddy, he and the rest of his world are destroyed. Pretty dark, but at least there is a winner unlike so many other Convergence
Favorite Quote: “Brother Eye is gone, child. He abandoned you.” – Godmother
- You want an actual good story by Marc Andreyko.
- You want the best artwork Convergence has to offer.
- You’re a fan of the Outsiders or OMAC.
Overall: Fun, fast-paced, and full of moments that bring back memories of comics-gone-by, Batman and the Outsiders provides readers with everything that was promised with the release of Convergence. If you are following this event at all, or are fans of the original Outsiders runs, this is a definite pick-up.