Monday, May 30, 2005

OUTSIDERS #24

I pity the folks who thought that the Insiders was actually a four-part crossover.

The crossing over has been somewhere between cursory and cameo and we're halfway done. And while the end of this issue looked like it might be the start of something, anyone who bought Outsiders #24 on the pretense of it tying in to Teen Titans should feel mildly cheated. Because it really wasn't worth the $2.50 for three pages of the Outsiders embarrassing themselves in front of their younger colleagues at Titans Tower.

This installment was pretty much a mirror image of what happened in Teen Titans #24, except that by following its predecessor, it ends up showing off precisely why Outsiders has been a failure as a title.

Last week, Superboy's beatdown of the Teen Titans was emotionally charged because he was assaulting the people who meant the most to him. His attacks on his mentors, his girlfriend, and his best friend were brutal not only for the pure damage he was inflicting, but also because they were a betrayal on both the personal and professional level. Cassie, Bart, and Tim knew Superboy from Young Justice, Vic had been an understanding ear in the 'whose body is this anyway' identity crisis, and they were so badly hurt in part because they trusted Kon-El.

The issue-long beatdown of the Outsiders, on the other hand, was not personal. It was the antithesis of personal. It was a group of strangers trapped in a room getting the stuffing knocked out of them by an entity they did not trust or understand. This was not a team -- they did not work together and, in fact, the first thing that they did was turn on each other.

The Outsiders were supposed to be a contrast to the old Titans -- a business relationship instead of a personal one. But they haven't got a glimmer of professionalism about them and they don't have the personal to sustain them in that absence. They were supposed to be the proactive team, the edgy team. They're not edgy (except in that nails-on-a-chalkboard way) and they've been a reactive force for their entire existence.

The Outsiders were founded as a part of a ruse by Deathstroke, have failed in most of their missions, don't get along, don't work well together, and have at least one traitor (sure, I was giddily wrong about Shift, but if you take Indigo's transformation as sudden and unplanned, that's still someone else sabotaging the team unless she had two sleeper programs running simultaneously)... why are they still a team? If their driving impetus was the death of Donna, well Donna's coming back. We can stop now.

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