Batman and the Outsiders #7 - Pages 19-23

Already heading for the finish line? Well, like I said, I didn't think this issue of Outsiders was all that risible, and I really want to do the next, which is a Christmas story featuring an evil baby! So let's finish this issue already so we can get to the good stuff! Where were we? Ah yes, the Cryonic Man/Phillip's lair. And the Outsiders have just rescued poor, naked Katana. So can we go home now?The way things have been going, I'm kind of surprised Batman doesn't send the "kids" home while he takes care of the Cryonic Man alone. I mean, you KNOW he COULD. And Katana's just been gassed and electrocuted and forced to smell Metamorpho's ammonia hands. But I guess they could use the training. God knows Geo-Force hasn't learned to shut his mouth yet. Well, guess what, Outsiders! The Cryonic Man is going to war too!
Seeing him get dressed only emphasizes how silly that hat it. Not that the Outsiders don't have their share of silliness. Rex's flying head alone...
So they found Katana's costume and restored her dignity, but Halo has to open her big mouth and start talking about the her soul-sucking sword.Outsiders, by the way, is a great book if you want to play games like "fill in the blank". They're always interrupting each other (or themselves). Let's try one from Halo: "Why didn't you tell us? You must be..." My own answer is "...Elric!" What's yours?
Remember: Philip doesn't have a supervillain code-name. Batman's decided on Cryonic Man. Black Lightning throws his hat in the ring with "The Popsicle Man". Wow. That's the last time we let him choose.
Now BL reasonably discusses strategy with Popsicle Man (hm, I guess it stuck... must be the shape of the hat) and we learn that magnetic fields interfere with superconductivity. That much is true, though I'm surprised Black Lightning hasn't really made use of magnetic fields before, or why, if he can, he doesn't do so more often instead of whining about how useless he is. Imagine if this English teacher was teaching science instead. But the lesson is, of course, just a distraction. The Outsiders do a LOT of this. Maybe they wouldn't have to consistently set each other up just so they have something to do if Barr would actually pit them against super-villain TEAMS or even lone villains with POWER.
BL and Rex do all the work and Geo-Force swoops in to finish it and steal everybody's XP. Typical. And this makes sense because there's NO ONE ELSE on the team who can hold a normal recipient of middle-aged grafted limbs in an arm lock. You're once again invited to read Lightning's dialog with gritted teeth. The punchline will make more sense:
That's a very tall basement. I wish various basement appartments in my life had had as much head room. Anyway, GF has some doors to batter down - ONE-HANDED! (Show-off.)
What gave it away BL? All the wires? I do wish Aparo drew the family in more detail here, because it looks like Phil took all their arms in addition to the older man's leg. But time for another Black Lightning trick. I swear, if he starts blubbering about his uselessness one more time after this, I'm breaking the fourth wall and slapping him. That hand that comes out of nowhere will be mine. Reading Grant Morrison comics, you get to learn some tricks.
That's it, Lightning. You're the Little Engine That Could. If that helps you feel useful. Here we go...
As everybody in the room can apparently hear this, BL has just turned a telepathic field into audible sound. Or since Philip is the only one who "answers" the sleepers' answers, and he's communicated with them before, maybe the Outsiders are just standing there listening to one-sided conversations. One is scientific nonsense, the other is nonsense because it's hard to believe Halo wouldn't be pestering everyone with questions. So the old man is now imagining a future where people are baptized "Black Lightning". So it must be the late 60s, right?
No! 1983. The old man asks what the world is like, but of course, we know all that already, so BL shan't discuss it. Will we finally get answers as to what's going on here?
In comics, scientists make these kinds of advancements all the time and then forget to share them with the rest of the world. Well, you don't want to wake up after the nuclear winter and find other people there, do you?
Gee, how soon did Philip take his mentor out of the tube to cut off his leg? Because he's only got one in the first panel there. And when did the atomic bunker become a surgical bay anyway? How did a cryo-engineer's "assistant" program robots to make complex organ and limb transplants? Oh yeah, and I suppose, why did Phil lie about the atomic war?
That answers ONE question... but hold on. Phil's been waking up from time to time to what, steal new surgical technology? That's why his doc-robs look like they're from a 1950s B-movie? Or how they're performing medical miracles unheard of even today? Was "professor" spelled "professer" in the 1940s? Is anyone going to ask these pertinent questions?
Why no, they're all too busy enacting their private episode of The Outer Limits. And the Outsiders do enjoy a good episode of The Outer Limits.
FINALLY, Melissa can see into Phil's mind. Which makes sense because they're linked through a telepathic field. So... why did the sleepers never read his mind before? Time for the ironic twist:
Bizarrely, the sleepers all start talking about being one with the body like it's a damn rerun of Return of the Archons. What, we they communists? And the Popsicle Man really needed a lesson about what "common good" means. Poaching other people's organs so that one person can live is pretty much the opposite of "common good". But he won't get the chance to look it up. He's dead. They all are.
Judgmental Batman comforts Katana by telling her their souls died long ago anyway, so no real victims here. He's a metaphysical expert, you see. He can tell these things. He knows who's been naughty and nice, who goes to Heaven (the Waynes) and who goes to Hell (everyone else). Last words, Bats?
Lesson learned, sir. Lesson learned! And that's another victory for the Outsiders! So far, their score card looks like this:
-Baron Bedlam: Already beaten, he is thrown off castle ramparts by Geo-Force.
-Agent Orange (who??): Defeated.
-Miklos: The Outsiders are unable to prevent him from committing suicide which was his whole plan.
-Meltdown (who???): Wasn't really so bad and turns himself in for medical treatment.
-Fearsome Five: Defeated with the help of the New Teen Titans.
-Cryonic Man: Killed by telepathic sleepers while the Outsiders stand around and watch.

Not awesome. But look! The Phantom Stranger is coming! The Phantom Stranger by Jim Aparo! Things can only get better. (Cough.)


Anonymous said...

Allow me to nerd out: any time you generate electric current, you also generate magnetic fields around the current, like the breading on a corn dog. Generally not very powerful (in that it packs far less wallop than the current itself), but based on what Black Lightning wants to do, he probably doesn't need Magneto-grade magnetic fields anyway.

Then again, you can't just make stuff cold and bam it's a superconductor. Some materials, yes, but not that many.

Austin Gorton said...

My own answer is "...Elric!" What's yours?


He's a metaphysical expert, you see. He can tell these things.

Batman doesn't half ass anything. Including answering fundamental questions about the nature of human existence.


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