Batman and the Outsiders #6: Pages 10-14

There's one Outsider we haven't checked in on yet, and that's Black Lightning. Last we heard he was teaching at the school Halo was going to. Do we see them together, then? Nope. Does it even look like the same school? Neither (Halo's school was this huge white building). Methinks the colorist decided Lightning belonged closer to the ghetto...Man, are American schools ever in disrepair. Lightning is fighting through his first day anxieties, but if Suicide Slum was anything like Gotham City in its entirety, he has reason to have them.
A medallion? Really? Calling 1983 now to see if those fashions make any sense. In Aparo world, it looks like the white folks are all from the 1940s and the black folk from the 1970s. My guess is that he has very particular tastes in movies. So what does Lightning teach? Remedial English 101. Wow, that is low on the English class totem pole. Perfect for Halo who doesn't know anything about anything (nope, still not there).
Lightning tries to get rid of the "remedial" as a motivator. Might I suggest replacing it with "for Dummies"? Or maybe "for delinquents"? Gotham City schools: It's where all the henchmen come from. We should've known that guy with the ghetto blaster was going to be trouble.
But wait. That's not the same kid. Maybe they've got a whole stash of sodas under their desks. But Lightning spares the rod.
Wouldn't want to kill someone, yeah. Perhaps teaching problem kids in the most crime-infested city in America WASN'T your dream job, BL. Maybe Batman can choose your next profession for you. Certainly, by skulking off to the corridor with his head down, he just invalidated all the intimidation points he'd scored by crushing a generic soda can.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Metamorpho and Geo-Force are taken to the hospital administrator's office...
Subtle: Rex IS Metamorpho. Geo-Force is just something people call Brion. One of many, many things. 6 issues in, and the Outsiders haven't made much of a media splash in GF's mind. He's still introducing himself. The administrator knows them from Brave and the Bold #200 anyway.
That's the one where they almost prevented a patient from carrying out his plan to commit suicide. And yet, that doesn't stop the admin from asking for help. Those diplomas on the wall are suddenly suspect. Please continue, Giant Hand.
Speaking of suspect... We saw the whole of the Cryonic Man's appearance and the administrator was never around. At best, he got a furtive look at him from around the corner, while the guy was in constant motion. More importantly, the Cryonic Man wears an almost full mask, leaving only the eyes uncovered. And from that, the admin can tell he's the same guy he saw ONCE TEN YEARS AGO and that he hasn't aged a day in all that time (not that 10 years is that long - my own face hasn't aged in what, at least 15 years now?). I call bullshit on the exposition, Mike Barr! In the real world, the admin would be a major suspect. CSI would be all over him.

But let's shift the scene again, this time to Bruce Wayne's pink penthouse, currently rented by Katana...
She's being a bit of a mother hen if she's worried at 4h30... 4h30?! I guess she didn't put a full day's work at the bookstore! Looks like she found something interesting to read and brought it home (which is exactly how my own bookstore would find itself bankrupt). I'm also curious about Katana's school days if one of the selling points is "games". Did many people play games in high school? Now if she's followed my advice and sent Halo in daycare where she belongs...
Well, she seems to be integrating rather well. Seems not too long ago, Halo was asking what food was, and now she's having cokes with the girls. (There's a definite soda agenda in this issue.) She's becoming a real teenager, complete with leaving clothes on the floor. But if you want a little bit of creep factor, this mental (undead) child is becoming a little randy:
I was too busy feeling creeped out to really think too hard as to why Katana didn't think of boys. Does she ever think of boys? Is she one of those gay comics icons from the 80s, like Northstar? Who weren't really written that way, but everyone assumed they were until they were retconned into and out of a closet in the hip 90s?

But let me interrupt that thought with another: Batman invented the "Phone on vibrate".
He just didn't think of putting it on a cellphone. And now, superhero quick changes. Two big techniques: 1) The Shazam.
2) The Victoria Secret
So they're off to the elevator!
"Last one there is a stature-challenged Balkan despot who fell off a building into the arms of a mob with pitchforks!" In Mike Barr fashion, this is an unresolved subplot. We never find out who won the race to the elevator. Instead, we have teenage angst:
Time to get a bat-VCR. I think Katana has... had... quite... enough... of... this!

Bottom floor: Briefing room/dark warehouse space.
Did Katana also take a shower? She and Halo live in the building and yet everyone else is there before they are. I guess Black Lightning took off early from work.
Yeah, definitely. "Hey where's..." The art?
Metamorpho makes a joke. Geo-Force doesn't get it and states the obvious. And Katana tells GF to shut the hell up (thank you). Although she's not much smarter. A trap? In your own HQ? If it is, it can only be one set by Batman. Which, come to think of it, wouldn't be out of character. The Outsiders is the Hell's Kitchen of superhero teams. No trap though, just Batman flicking switches.
Gratuitously so. Maybe someone will call him out on it.
Oooh, the Batman isn't happy! Rex is just the coolest. I mean, taking the piss out of this guy? He'll give you a job you don't like if you're not careful! Batman continues with the briefing, basically giving the team second-hand information he got from, oh, two of the people there!
Batman: He doesn't trust "your own words". Is it important to stop the bad guy? Not sure. But it's good practice.
AND YOU GUYS SORELY NEED IT, that pointing finger seems to say. Why do they need it? Because you keep benching them, Bats. Metamorpho did defeat - just not capture - the Cryonic Man all by himself you know. And how do we know he's called the Cryonic Man? Because Batman tells us:
I hope he's ok with that because that is totally Batman's invention. "Stop right there, Cryonic Man!" "Who's the Cryonic Man? Are you talking to me? I'm Dr. Freeze!" Pretty prescient too, seeing as we'll only later find out that he keeps people in suspended animation, cryonically frozen. At this point, the guy's used as much hallucinatory gas as he has any kind of freeze gimmick.

The next time we speak (of this), I think we'll find out more about the Cryonic Man and maybe why Batman didn't trust him to choose his own handle.


Lazarus Lupin said...

I'm bad, so bad. When I see katana I think of adding the voice of the "Asian Reporter" in "The Family Guy." Try it in your head, it is a perfect fit for the dialogue. I suppose it could be worse. I don't hear a Cleveland voice when I read black lightning's lines.

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

Austin Gorton said...

You know what this issue was missing? Fist-clenching angst. Thanks for coming through, Black Lightening.

Pretty prescient too, seeing as we'll only later find out that he keeps people in suspended animation, cryonically frozen. At this point, the guy's used as much hallucinatory gas as he has any kind of freeze gimmick.

I wondered about that too. Maybe Batman is really...Mike Barr?!?

Siskoid said...

That would explain everything.


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