Batman and the Outsiders #7 - Pages 1-8

Wow, that's a lot of pages! True, but for most of them, Barr allows Aparo to tell the story in pictures and the issue is the better for it. The story only really gets in trouble when there's text involved. Case in point: One of the things Aparo does well is draw the frozen Outsiders consistently. There's not moving in there.The captions remind us that Batman told the Outsiders that the Cryonic Man's advanced weapons were nothing they couldn't handle and that they could stop him easily. "He told the Outsiders... but he never told the Cryonic Man!" One of the major themes in B&TO - against all reason - is that the Outsiders aren't very good. They consistently fail against D-list villains, and Barr loves to remind us of that. It was gonna be easy! Batman's so seldom-given trust was misplaced!
That really awesome shot of the Cryonic Man flash-freezing the team should detract from an anomaly in the first panel: There was a huge car pile-up at the mouth of that tunnel, but now all the cars are in a straight line again, albeit stopped (they've turned off their lights to prevent their batteries from dying). But it's a minor thing. All Aparo needs us to know is that there's a traffic jam, what with a huge block of ice in the middle of the tunnel, and all the drivers standing around commenting on it. In the bottom right corner, a character that will repeatedly be referred to simply as "Fella" grabs a tire iron and aims to free Batman and "these other heroes" from their icy prison.
Well, that could have gone tremendously wrong. Or tremendously right, if Geo-Force had been lower down. Meanwhile, at the house behind the "No trespassing" sign, someone is "coming around". It's Katana, who's been captured by the Cryonic Man for a little organ harvesting.
The Cryonic Man: Not many people recover from his gas that quickly. There's a joke in there, but my school yard days seem to be far behind me. As you can see, Philip (he doesn't actually know Batman has dubbed him the Cryonic Man) has big googly robots to assist him in surgery. In the previous issue, we found out Philip was lying to his frozen girlfriend and in-laws about what date it was. They think it's 1955. That certainly explains the robots, and as we of 2011 know, robotic surgery technology only went up from there. Wait, let me get some Advil for my oncoming headache. "Activate Emergency Medical Hologram." Ahh, that's better. Philip's plan, of course, is to replace his lady love's organs with those of Katana.
That comment about running tests on her makes me wonder which organs he actually wants. Best not to think about it. Which brings us to the best sequence in the book, and indeed, the series to date. Katana is SUCH a badass, that I can only surmise that the rest of the team is holding her back. In fact, these guys are so bad at teamwork, that Batman's decision to turn them into a team may well have been a mistake.
Love her smile. Katana isn't one to take doctor's orders.
How awesome is that? She's all kicks and wiseass remarks. But then Philip comes back into the room (well, who wouldn't after that racket?)
She should have stuck him right there, but no, Batman said not to do things like WIN. Her truer aim the second time around is blocked by Philip's gas tanks, which he apparently had right outside the door. And so he gases her.
If you're wondering at this point why Batman called him the Cryonic Man despite the fact that he most often gasses people, well, you're not alone. What's wrong with the Gasser or Gasmask or Gassy McBeano? Despite the gas' sedative properties, Katana just gets lost in the fog and grabbed by a robot. But she won't let herself be manhandled.
It is a credit to Aparo that this particular panty shot doesn't feel contrived or exploitative, but I feel I should point out that this is the second time in as many issues we've seen Katana in her underwear. Is Barr making him do this? Are there calls in the middle of the night that go like this:
"MMmm-hullo?"
"Jim? It's Mike."
"Mmm? What time is it?"
"It's 3h30 in the morning. Listen, I've been thinking."
"Yeah?"
"Yeah. About Katana."
"Whut about Katana."
"Well, I've been wondering really. Wondering about things."
"Whut things--Mike, couldn't this wait til morn--"
"About what she looks like in her underwear."
"Whaa--?"
"Yeah, I think we could use a couple scenes like that. Just so I know. Just to rest my mind at ease."
"..."
Aparo has the last laugh though. White granny panties? At least he understands the character as written. She's just about the least "sexually aware" character in the cast. And that includes poor, brain-dead Halo who discovered boys last issue. And the panty shot was worth it just to see Number 2's face explode in trademark "explosive fists of fury" Aparo fashion. Meanwhile, back at Gotham Tunnel...
Emergency services have made it despite the traffic jam, but Commissioner Gordon hasn't. He's recovering from his stroke, which I guess is true of the Batman comics of the time, but I smell a rat. Gordon heard it was an Outsider-related incident and sent Lieutenant Freeman (low man on the totem pole) instead. Freeman's quite the orator too. I don't know whether to laugh at his use of the word "medicos" or blast him for using "since" twice in the same run-on sentence.

But the further adventures of Lt. Freeman and his attempt to Free (geddit?!) the Outsiders will have to wait for next time. We're about to head into rougher waters, I promise you. But we'll always have Paris that Katana sequence.

1 comments:

Austin Gorton said...

One of the major themes in B&TO - against all reason - is that the Outsiders aren't very good.

That's kinda hilarious and sad at the same time. It's definitely a unique take on things, but you have to wonder if its worth the effort.

That comment about running tests on her makes me wonder which organs he actually wants. Best not to think about it.

"Darn. This one's breasts aren't big enough either..."

she should have stuck him right there, but no, Batman said not to do things like WIN.

It's kinda sad when Katanna is kicking more butt than Batman. Is Batman doing his best to make sure no one on his team outshines him? Methinks yes.

 

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