Comic Book Review: Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta #36
If you were waiting for war, this is the war you were anticipating. This is that point where you expect that nothing is going to be the same moving forward. Particularly when now is the time for everyone to put up with the choice they have made that war is the only way this will end. Knowing the world of Outcast so far, this won’t be a war unless someone gets a bit more than they bargained for.
The big twist last month was seeing that in the face of this army that Rowland brought to their doorstep, Kyle decides to willingly give himself up. That was not a development I was prepared for. When Rowland came knocking, the expectation was almost that immediately everyone would be thrown into battle. Now with that said, there was also only so much you could expect from an army of regular without any weapons to put up a fight. Tools versus guns? You kind of already knew how that would turn out. So with Kyle surrendering himself over to hold the fire, the question was what would come next for him. I was impressed to see how much he had grown from the guy who was so withdrawn and unsure about himself. He walks out and demands the attentions with the room given to speak his mind for once. To say the things he never got to, in front of the people who have been giving him and his own hell.
War evolved so quickly, and with the most brilliant turn of events. I would say that the highlight of this story arc wrapping up is the delivery on all the teasing about the Outcasts continued growth in power since they came together. It goes without saying that they haven’t scratched the surface of what they are capable of, and any day now would be the time to show a hint of what actually makes them so dangerous. That was fortunately exactly what they did and for the first time I felt excitement rather than horror or fear.
The only thing that could have hurt this climax for the story arc was a lack of what you could actually call a war. War means that both sides are fighting on an equal playing field. That was not the case at the start of this ‘Invasion’ on the farm.
As the new big bad, Rowland truly fulfilled his role in creating a threatening atmosphere. Not only for his enemies, but his own people. He never let go of that attitude which put everyone on their toes. What he does here to escalate the situation was jaw-dropping. Taking things to the next level felt like an understatement when that scene actually came. No punches pulled when he was ready to see this through to the end. That contrast from Sidney and the rest of the big guys was at this point never-ending. At least till we learn that there can be much worse. The fact that there can be is great news for the fact that you wouldn’t expect for this to all end with Rowland.
This issue right here was the most spectacular work that this art team has pulled off in the span of these 36 issues. I don’t think I have ever seen them so intense with the quality that they put into both pencils and colors. Everything up to now I would say was fairly standard for what they normally produce, but when it came time for action, they took things to the next level. Starting with the pencil work for the characters. There was so much more detail in the facial expressions, excellent uniformity with the officers, and don’t get me started on the beautiful color work that came from seeing a new power revealed for the Outcasts. I was half expecting flashy lights in contrast to the darkness, but what Kyle actually unleashed was so much better. Breitweiser has had a good handle on blues and cold colors consistently, but this was her time to let loose, and that is exactly what she did. This was the first time where the story felt more extraordinary than just a drama/horror with some fantasy tossed in.
There was no better way to bring this story arc to an end, and I can’t help but wish that there was more. You finish this issue and you just can’t help but want more when they have now given us a taste of what it really means to be an Outcast. Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta #36 took both story and art to new heights, and it is good to know that they can still crank that dial when the moment demands it.