Outsiders #4 is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly. Artwork is by Robert Carey, colours by Valentina Taddeo and letters by Tom Napolitano. The book is published by DC. Main cover art (left) is by Roger Cruz and Adriano Lucas.
Outsiders #4 is available now, in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
“[TITLE REDACTED]” Luke Fox assembled the Outsiders to brave the unknown. To discover the forgotten, to bring the hidden to light, and to use the truth underneath them all to find a better way forward. Little does he know the Drummer has a plan of her own-and she’s one step closer to bringing it to fruition! Something happened at the turn of the millennium that shook the universe, and in this pivotal chapter, the Outsiders head into the strange shadows of London’s underground to discover just what-or who-is at the center of this new crisis!
Time for something different in the latest issue of DC’s Outsiders. The epically-called exploration of the weird side of the DCU is telling a personal tale with a distinctly sci-fi twist this month as it shakes up its formula. Taking cues from the DC-acquired Wildstorm Universe, Outsiders is tackling the concept of the Century Baby. More on that in a minute.
Outsiders #4 manages to feel simultaneously large in scale and yet small in focus. I mean that in a good way. The story of Jenny, aka our new Century Baby, perfectly encapsulates her experiences. Both with her powers but also her disconnect from society. But when her powers come in to play the book is able to rapidly expand its scope to encompass the global ramifications of her outbursts. You see Jenny has been struggling with anxiety throughout her life. Unfortunately when she succumbs to those negative emotions it also causes a ripple effect which ends in stock market crashes and global disaster. The ability to naturally expand and contract the story as-needed seems to come naturally and helps this issue flow neatly from beginning to end.
So Century Babies… the concept is that with each new century a child is born who is intrinsically tied to it. Those people, seemingly always named Jenny, have powers which are tied to the generation in which they are born. There was Jenny Sparks, Jenny Steam, Jenny Discovery and Jenny Crusade to name but a few. Now this new 21st century Jenny needs to discover her identity and it falls to Drummer to help her through that part of her journey.
It’s cool to see Drummer taking the lead on this one. Particularly given the scale of the potential outcome. Lanzing and Kelly pull a bit of a bait-and-switch on this one as the Bats – aka Wing and Woman – go out in to the field to deal with Jenny. But with their superhero reputation precedes them, Jenny’s case needs someone or something a little more low-key to help deescalate the situation. In flipping the coin to Drummer, spending much of the latter half simply watching her talking to Jenny one-on-one, Outsiders breaks new ground in its short run so far.
The whole thing is extremely relatable. It’s the old Buffy principal of ones demons being both literal and figurative. Figuratively the world feels like it’s ending when Jenny is upset, only in this case it really could be. It’s an approach which never fails to work and Lanzing and Kelly pull it off without a hitch here.
Creatively Outsiders is on fire. Carey and Taddeo do some of their best work on the series this month. The London setting offers up the chance to do something a little different visually. It’s edgier, more punk and easily more unique. London makes Outsiders #4 a very blue book. The perfect colour to be offset by the fiery crackling red of Jenny’s outbursts. That sense of scale the story requires is just brilliantly rendered. But when the story calls for tighter, more emotional beats Carey is still able to draw us in with the pain and anguish in Jenny’s eyes.
Outsiders is truly becoming a standout series for DC. An excellent example of creative team synergy with the final result being a unique, compelling experience for the reader.