Back Alley Outsiders

Batman and the Outsiders 11 - Pages 1-5
"A Sword of Ancient Death" AKA "The Truth About Katana Part 1" by Barr and Aparo starts off in a darkened Gotham City alley, in a part of town neither Geo-Force nor Katana really knew (they're not natives), and are just now finding out is crime-ridden. I don't know how that distinguishes it from other neighborhoods in Gotham, though.
Geo-Force is either antagonizing the hoods by calling them peasants, or else mugging really is a proud tradition in Markovia. Either seems reasonable from what we know about this country's collective IQ. So what do you do in Markovia when the peasants come a-pan handling?
You just throw some coinage on the ground, does the trick. I don't disagree with surrendering your money to a mugger, but then I can't really defend myself. I'm not, say, a SUPERHERO. But say I was and wanted to keep my secret identity a secret, I might indeed pull a Clark Kent. But that's not what Girl-Friend is doing there. He's insulting a gang of 5 or 6 thugs by throwing pocket change on the ground. Wait, pocket change?
Ah, not quite. These are GOLD MARKOVIAN COINS! Prince Brion is actually walking around a country he's been living in for months with currency from his native country, a country that is so poor, it still has "peasants" (indeed, it looks like it's still the Middle Ages there). Who in Markovia even has access to these coins? Or do the royal princes just trade them for each other's toys. Can Markovians give change for a Gold Brion? And if they ARE real gold (and not whatever a Canadian Loony is made of), isn't he devaluating his country's economy by taking bullion out of it? Most if not all countries have laws about this kind of thing. In any case, are there any places in Gotham that TAKE Markovian money? I'd be pissed and prone to jive-talking too, in their place. But Brion's a bit deluded and he's all, like, "don't disrespec' my sweet coinage, bros!"
In other characters' mouths, that could all have been jokey banter. With dead serious Katana and dull serious Geo-Force, however, it's in real earnest. Can't help but here an exasperated tone in Tatsu's voice. PLEASE. PLEASE SHUT UP. And finally she does the superhero thing and that's getting all Michelle Yeoh on these goons' asses. Yes! What about you, Brion with an O?
Ah yes, a superstrong punch that probably kills that bald guy, and a little intimidation with the bending of a crowbar. (Sidebar: I like to imagine GF's dialog with the thickest Balkan accent possible so that criminals don't really understand a word of his "banter"...HUH!? We need to do a radio play.) Take it away, Jim Aparo.
You know, there's no one quite like Aparo to make hits COUNT. That's three in a row, including the glasses guy who already got hit in the plexus by Katana. Now, you've seen the earlier panel of Katana action, you tell me if this guy's dialog makes any sense.
Weren't those pipes "cold steel" too? I guess he's making a distinction between steel and lead. Fine. Explosive kick this irrelevant sucker, thanks. Oh damn, look who's absurdly recovered:
Baldy DIDN'T get his block knocked off by GF? And Glasses - sorry, "Ricochet" - DIDN'T get hit by both heroes? What's the use of having powers/mad fighting skills if you're going to pull all your punches?! It's the same thing as last issue's fight with the mysteriously recovering Masters of Disaster, except taken to a whole new level. Just cuz you've got a sweet supervillain name like Ricochet doesn't make you one, Glasses. Oh kick their asses already!
Geo-Force teaching us the various idiomatic possibilities of the word "blast". Those college courses are paying off. /Sarcasm
A lava blast, a horrendous scream, Katana's shocked expression, a crippled hand... Who else thinks some of those thugs wound up at the morgue? Least Brion could have done is leave them the coins for their funerals/hospital bills. But no. Jerk picks 'em up again. Leave no evidence, I guess.  Wait, whose thoughts are those? Not Crippled Hand's, that's for sure...
They belong to a ninja with a sword like Katana's, so obviously the dude who was on a plane in the last issue. This being Barr's Outsiders, the ninja of course finishes his thought aloud. Because stealth is overrated. And further, his plan was to have these "rabble" attack Katana to make his job (as we'll find out, stealing her sword) easier, even though she DOESN'T have the sword with her, and without, it seems, telling the rabble they were facing a martial artist. Even if I give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't know that's Geo-Force with her (really, who keeps track of THAT guy?), it's still an incredibly stupid plan. You're a NINJA, man! Act like it! Follow them home and steal the sword already! Annnnnd back at the Wayne Foundation building...
Wait, what?! Katana's inviting him UP? Was this... was this a DATE? Oh Lord, no! I couldn't stand it if Geo-Force was to have a romance and taint another character (what I call the Gambit Effect), or God forbid, he were to reproduce. But we're safe, he's starting classes in the morning. So those WASN'T his new education talking on the previous page. Ok nerd, cute girl invites you up and you say no. You've already failed at the college experience.

(I've never felt so close to Geo-Force.)

Next time: Find out what Katana bought Halo in that bad part of town. Also, the ninja actually does some ninja stuff.


Matthew Turnage said...


Unless I'm mistaken, Glasses later found employment as Buzzer the Drednok over in Marvel's G.I.Joe comic.

Siskoid said...

What happens in inter-company crossovers, stays in inter-company crossovers.

Anonymous said...

It was a real pitty the Outsiders and the Suicide Squad never met.I mean, imagine a royal pomposity duel between Geo Force and Count Vertigo!


Siskoid said...

Haha, imagine. Better yet, Outsiders AS members of Task Force X. A better chance at getting killed.

SallyP said...

I simply adore Jim Aparo...and I simply loathe Geo-Force. What a connundrum!

Jeff R. said...

Katana was actually a decent character in Suicide Squad. But generally it was Outsiders Villains (and quasi-villains) who tended to die in that book, almost but not quite as often as Firestorm villains.

Siskoid said...

I can't for the life of me name an Outsiders-exclusive villain that was in the Squad, at least not in the original series. Help me out?

Firestorm villains were cannon fodder, of course, because Ostrander wrote both books.

Anonymous said...

Siskoid, the Force of July all were part of a Checkmate/Suicide Squad crossover called "Janus Directive". The amount of casualties were quite high; however, I believe Major Victory ended up joining the squad.


Siskoid said...

Ah yes, they were annihilated in the Janus Directive, but they were never members of Task Force X. Except for Major Victory who served as a hero, not a villain. It's why I wasn't clicking on it. They died in the book, I was trying to think of members specifically. Misread ya, and I apologize.

Austin Gorton said...

I don't know how that distinguishes it from other neighborhoods in Gotham, though.

Right? If you're in Gotham, wouldn't it just be safe to assume everywhere you go is crime ridden?

I couldn't stand it if Geo-Force was to have a romance and taint another character (what I call the Gambit Effect)



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