After a short break to cross over with Joker War, the story returns to the Chamber of the All to finally wrap up Jason’s latest adventure against the Untitled, now featuring two sets of Outlaws!
The story picks up where issue #47 left off, with the old team of Roy, Starfire, and Jason rescuing the new ones. Somehow this issue manages to do very little while also having every page feel incredibly busy. The characters are still in the same place they were in the last time we met them, and they really do not leave the vicinity of the magic door they’re trying to close, or the area Bizzaro fought Trigon in. The plot itself also feels stagnate, we learn almost nothing new in this issue we didn’t know in the last. The Outlaws are still trying to close the door to the Chamber, it’s still falling apart, and they’re still just there. Talking, and sometimes fighting untitled, and talking. You’ve just got more characters doing it.
The art also falls very much into the same things it’s been doing over the arc. Pantalena still handles the fight scenes well, and balances the increased number of characters in most of the scenes nicely. It’s honestly quite a bit of fun to see two Jason’s running around, and I like being able to compare them to one another when they’re side by side.
Things get murky with Bizzaro, and I really think the lack of distinct locations or backgrounds in the Chamber is a detriment to the title. With no way of knowing which was is up or down, let alone where doors or portals are located, it causes some confusion later on with Bizzaro coming and going, and with some demons trying to escape. And as someone who likes to know what’s going on where, this became very frustrating for me.
At the same time, Lobdell does keep things very busy. After killing Trigon, Bizzaro has to deal with all the demons once under Trigon’s control, first figuring out what they want, then in stopping them from attempting to flood out the way Trigon was going to. On the Outlaws side, Jason finally learns about Isabel being controlled by Essence, the other Outlaws have a blast fighting, and Jason angsts about Roy.
I had been hoping for some drama at the start of this arc regarding Jason finding out that Essense had possessed Isabel, but we get none of that here. Instead after an attack causes Essence to drop her sword both Jasons see Isabel there. We get more quips, and present day Jason telling Isabel she doesn’t have to help, and that he loves her. I’ve never really got the whole Jason and Isabel thing, and honestly this scene doesn’t do a lot for me emotionally. Mostly it is confusing, since Isabel seems fully aware of what’s been going on. Last time we saw her she had no idea what was happening, and there’s little to explain why she’s in the loop now. Jason also seemingly has no problem with his girlfriend who he loves being possessed by Essence. The whole scene feels like a rushed attempt at getting through this plot point that has up until this moment been forgotten.
Jason’s reaction to Roy is what I liked most this issue. Through the book he’s constantly distracted by his friend being there. He’s surprised, concerned, and wants desperately to warn Roy about what’s coming, but decides against it. You can feel his worry, and care for the man, and his want to save him from a terrible future. There’s not really a clear reason given why Jason doesn’t try to warn him, and honestly I think it might be interesting if he’d wrestled with this idea a little more, but generally I thought how Lobdell handles Jason seeing his old friend was done well.
There are some glaring inconsistencies between this issue and the last one in this arc I want to touch on really quickly. The biggest one is the fact that S’aru is just back, chatting with Jason and feeling bad about being the cause of all this. Except, last time we saw him he was being pulled into a magical portal and Jason was saying good riddance like he was dead and gone. No one questions his return, he doesn’t even really return he’s literally just back, as if he’d never been pulled away in the first place. Then Kori can’t seem to see through the door into where Bizzaro was fighting Trigon, even though Jason and Artemis had a pretty clear view previously. Both of these moments seem to expect readers to forget what the story did just a few issues before.
One of the most confusing sections to me were Bizzaro’s scenes. This I think is because we’re not given clear rules in how the Chamber works, where Bizzaro really is, or how doors work. At one point I thought Trigon’s body was the portal out of there, except we’ve been told that the way out was the magic door that Jason and Artemis have been trying to close. This lack of spatial awareness or rules mean I don’t understand how Bizzaro comes or goes from this realm, why Trigon is shooting out light, why Bizzaro is shoving a rock over the hole in his chest, or really what the stakes are anymore. I think some time really should have been given to explaining the Chamber, the group’s plan, and the general rules instead of spending so much time standing around chatting. That would have helped clarify ultimate decisions that are made, and firmly explain the stakes. Without them, things only grow more and more confusing.
At last the plot starts to wrap up when Bizzaro, Artemis, and Jason talk. Again, it’s unclear how he reaches Artemis and Jason, but at some point he decides he needs to leave the demons he’s been fighting and talk to his teammates.
He tells them he’s going to stay and take Trigon’s place. His reasoning is that the demons need someone to lead them, and he killed the guy who was doing it. He doesn’t give many more details, and with my crumbling understanding of this whole situation I’m not convinced he needs to stay. Bizzaro is staying, and sacrificing himself for what? There’s no real grounding in his reasons for leaving and from what I understand, if they close the door to the dimension it’s sealed and nothing can get out, so why stay? It makes no sense. I am sad to see him go. I genuinely enjoyed the trio that was Artemis, Bizzaro, and Jason. And some of my favorite moments from this run are early encounters between Jason and Bizzaro. I think it’s a shame that his exit feels so rushed and confused, because this could have been a great opportunity to lean on some of the early moments in this run that made this particular trio of Outlaws work so well. Instead, the whole emotional moment the story is trying to build falls flat because there are no real stakes anymore, and his sacrifice makes little sense.
He tells them he’s going to stay and take Trigon’s place. His reasoning is that the demons need someone to lead them, and he killed the guy who was doing it. He doesn’t give many more details, and with my crumbling understanding of this whole situation I’m not convinced he needs to stay. Bizzaro is staying, and sacrificing himself for what? There’s no real grounding in his reasons for leaving and from what I understand, if they close the door to the dimension it’s sealed and nothing can get out, so why stay? It makes no sense.
I am sad to see him go. I genuinely enjoyed the trio that was Artemis, Bizzaro, and Jason. And some of my favorite moments from this run are early encounters between Jason and Bizzaro. I think it’s a shame that his exit feels so rushed and confused, because this could have been a great opportunity to lean on some of the early moments in this run that made this particular trio of Outlaws work so well. Instead, the whole emotional moment the story is trying to build falls flat because there are no real stakes anymore, and his sacrifice makes little sense.
Eventually it is Artemis who closes the door. With one final shove she gets the magic door settled and they all leave in what’s an incredibly underwhelming finale. The original Outlaws head back to their own time with no memory of this adventure, while everyone else heads back to the world at large. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say about this ending or even my thoughts for the next issue, I don’t really know how Lobdell is going to wrap this series up in any way I’ll enjoy.
- Double the Outlaws, double the quips
- Jason and Roy together are always fun to read
- You wanted to see how things wrap up for this arc
I wasn’t too thrilled with this issue or this arc as a whole. It often felt like it was filling up space just to spread the story across multiple books, and this issue followed that pattern. It answered some lingering questions, and eventually wrapped things up for the team, but in general it’s hard to get excited for a story that feels as drawn out as this one has been.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.