Bad Matches: Disastrous Romances and Bat-Aliases

Batman and the Outsiders #10 - Pages 7-9
In the Outsiders, we have a full team of characters, only one of which has his own books to develop in, and it includes two characters whose origins are as yet unknown. So what are Mike Barr's instincts? To spend some time getting to know the gimmick-driven villains instead! How about a little more than a page on a romantic subplot that has nothing to do with the Outsiders?Don't worry, Windfall isn't going to have a romance with the air, but seeing as there are two people on her team already in a relationship, and another is her sister, that only leaves...
Yeah, Shakedown! A dude who looks old enough to be her father, or at the very least too old to date a teenager. It's not clear, but Windfall was described as being roughly Halo's age, and Halo is in high school (thanks to special ed). Sweet? Or kinda icky? Well, New-Wave won't have it!
Cold showers for everyone!
Yeah, Shakedown, would you like the same treatment? Getting splashed with water? Huh? Would you? In fact, isn't water rather good for plants anyway? Hey, sometimes a plant is just a plant, but the way New-Wave reacts, it does mean she smells romance on the breeze. What should we think here? Either Shakedown is an older man with an older man's impulses that would be illegal in most states, or he's a simple-minded boy in a brute's body, which only gets me back to the old saw about the Masters of Disaster being the assassination squad the least equipped to carry out its assignments. And from inferring one inappropriate romantic relationship right to another...
Becky is the creepy incestuous sister that's in every family (right? uhm...). To be fair to Windfall, she WOULD one day join the Outsiders, so building her up here is a worthy notion. And maybe Barr had the idea even here, since Windfall is clearly the least villainous Master, but it would take another 3 years before she traded up, so who knows. Then again, there seems to be no hurry to cater to the present members, so he could be playing a very long and tedious game with these characters.

Leaving the meta-human drama behind now for a much appreciated change of venue. Oh, it's then Gotham Athletic Club again...
The Gotham Athletic Club, where gangsters like to hang out in very small, bare rooms. The HQ of one Morgan Jones, the Outsiders' answer to the recurring villain in a purple suit trope. He's a possible link to the Masters because, well, I'm really hazy on that point. The Masters attacked the club, beat up his goons, asked him to cooperate, and that they would take Black Lightning out of his hair BUT that they would make it worth his while. That's one of the worst uses of "but" ever, and in any case, Morgan's guys didn't do a damn thing to help the Masters capture BL. The best he can do now is not give up the Masters, which he wouldn't have been able to do at all if they hadn't shown up and told him stuff.
Matches Malone! Batman's secret underworld identity, cool! And those guys next to him? Metamorpho and Geo-Force in THEIR secret underworld identities, Ill-Fitting-Suit and Guy with Foreign Accent. Good thing Markovia is such a backwater country no one's going to notice the country's royalty is working for a washed-up mob boss.
So what's Matches been up to? Working with the Metropolis bosses?
So Tobias Whale is a couch potato, so what? I could have told you that without checking his cable bill.
Interesting ploy from Batman there, paying to be led to Black Lightning so HIS mob can make sure he's dead, but you gotta hope they don't just send him a body bag. And we get a little more insight into why Morgan is involved at all. Nothing happens in that part of Gotham without his ok. So the Masters of Disaster attacked his HQ and beat him down just so they could get his blessing to take out a superhero patrolling his territory. Right. All makes sense now. Totally worth that hole in the wall to have the Masters pay their respects to the Purple Godfather.
One of the things about the dilated time line in comics is that the vernacular changes so much over the course of decades (for us) that are only months (for the characters). Matches Malone actually uses the 60s Bob Haney-ism "Check" in the same speech bubble as his trendy reference to Mr. T. That's gotta count as some kind of mixed metaphor, right?

What's down the hall, you wonder? We'll pick up that mystery on Tuesday, if you don't mind. I've got to flush the Outsiders out of my system for an extended weekend. It's the only healthy option. Using comics time dilation for my own purposes.


Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

i used to have this Outsiders Annual featuring the Masters of Disacter. it was really and i loved the art thanks to Aland Davis's pencils. of course as you know things did not end well ultimately for Windfall years later in the pages of the Suicide Squad.

Siskoid said...

I guess she was one of Mike Barr's more sympathetic creations.


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