Outcast 32 Gets Procedural

by Drew Baumgartner

Outcast 32

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The storytelling of Outcast has always been incremental. Problems are slowly introduced, relationships slowly change, and the series slowly develops over dozens of issues. It’s a storytelling mode that will be familiar to anyone who’s read any of Robert Kirman’s other 100-issue-plus series, but in Outcast, that deliberate pacing is combined with perspectives on both sides of the war between light and dark, lending the series a procedural element that I would argue is unique in Kirman’s oeuvre. Those procedural elements come to the fore in issue 32, as both sides adjust to their new normals.

For Rowland Tusk, that means assisting Reverend Howe in a kind of anti-exorcism — extracting a possessed person to aide in their merging under the guise of exorcism. It also means using the locations of those possessions to zero in on the location of Kyle Barnes, putting a kind of ticking clock on his time at the farmhouse, as Chief Ross lays out exactly how long it would take to search the 20-square-mile area Tusk has identified. For Kyle, the new normal is discovering and coming to terms with Reverend Anderson’s growing tent city. Kyle is uncomfortable with so many people living in such close proximity to where they’re hiding, but as Simon points out, they may just need those people’s help. What none of them know, though, is that Reverend Howe has noticed all of the people missing from his church. He doesn’t yet know where they’re going (and won’t tell Tusk until he does), but Anderson’s work may be drawing undue attention, which may ultimately lead to Kyle being discovered.

Matt Anderson

Of course, before Howe can even start to think about that, Reverend Anderson’s son, Matt, comes looking for him. Maybe Matt will somehow help lead Howe to Anderson, maybe Matt will be the bait that draws Anderson (and Kyle et al.) out of hiding, but this is an unsettling development for our heroes, completely upending the state of affairs they’re still grappling with. I can’t wait to see how Kirkman and Azaceta proceed from here.

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