Written By Desi LaSalle
In the day and age of the reboot there is a comic book title that is a personal favorite of mine, one that I collected with great fervor and enjoyed immensely. I would like to recommend to anyone that loves collecting comic books and really enjoys “team books” to search for this title: “Batman and the Outsiders” Vol. I issues #1 – #32. It is an excellent series created in 1983 by Mike W.Barr (Writer) and Jim Aparo (Penciler). The first appearance of this hero group can be found in issue #200 of “The Brave and the Bold”, taking an established character like Batman and joining him with with more obscure and forgotten characters like “Metamorpho” and “Black Lightning” and totally new ones at the time such as “Halo”, “Geo- Force” and “Katana”. Batman quits the Justice League (what!?) and forms his own team which would operate outside the law and red tape of government sanctioned missions, something which Batman was at odds over with the League.
The magic of this team book is the character development of its new characters as well as its old. We finally get more backstory of the origin of Metamorpho, we actually see the extent of his powers and just how cool they are. Also we look into the past of Black Lightning and realize how far a character can go, if given the right amount of interest. You will fall in love with the new characters of the team and see just how great the stories of their origins can be, such as the mysterious “Katana”, the powerful “Geo-Force” and, last but not least, the wonderful “Halo”. It seems that Mike W. Barr really believed in this title and worked very hard on it. The first 32 issues are almost flawless, add to that the crisp art of Jim Aparo, which later on would be taken up by the great Alan Davis, and all you get is pure enjoyment. To have an established “solo” character, such as Batman, to mesh in a totally new dynamic with both classic “old” characters and “new” ones, in a team concept, is like getting a dose of a “Lethal Weapon” movie with all its action, drama and a little dose of comedy, all in one book.
Kudos to everyone involved in the book that had the hindsight to use classic old villains such as “Kobra”,”Tobias Whale” and entirely new ones like “The Masters of Disaster”, while making them relevant to the story. I loved this comic! It was the total package. It was your money’s worth and more while at the time one of DC’s most popular titles. Sadly after issue #32 the title became just “The Outsiders”. Later on in early 2006 they would reunite with Batman with a somewhat different lineup. The book has had three incarnations and is still pretty good but not even close to the magic of Vol. I. So now in 2016, with a brand new ERA in the DC comic book universe, The ERA of ‘REBIRTH”, it sure seems to me like a great idea to give this title and original concept one more shot. It has been done before…so while we wait and see, I humbly recommend that you give this book a look and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.