Exposure Helps the Cause in Outcast 36

by Drew Baumgartner

Outcast 36

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

For nine years, Koresh had relentlessly drilled his followers to prepare for Armageddon, had preached its inevitability, had forecast its imminence. This was the ending that Koresh had prayed for and staked his reputation on — the final battle, the trial by fire. It didn’t matter if the fire came from automatic rifles or a match and a can of kerosene; this was what Koresh had promised. Anything less would have been a monumental betrayal of his claim to be David Koresh, Angel Warrior of the Armageddon. Did anyone really expect the prophet of Ranch Apocalypse to meekly surrender his sheep to the enemy and come out with his hands up?

Gary Cartwright, “The Enemy Within”

What do you know about the Waco siege? I admittedly don’t know a ton — it happened when I was five years old — but as with any event with conflicting stories, “what you know” may matter less than “who you believe.” In light of the beliefs of the Branch Davidians, the events of the eventual raid, and especially the presence of the stockpiled weapons the ATF was originally there to seize, it’s hard for me to imagine the Davidians as anything other than dangerous zealots. That is, the plausible deniability of their threat dissolved under scrutiny — the more light shed on the situation, the crazier they looked. Rowland Tusk has orchestrated a surprisingly similar situation for Kyle, preparing for a siege of his own religious “cult,” but with the truth on Kyle’s side, it sure seems like things are actually stacked in his favor. Continue reading

Relishing the Details in Outcast 33

by Drew Baumgartner

Outcast 30

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

One of the most distinctive stylistic choices of Outcast has always been its use of small insert shots, inset into larger panels. Early in the series, those inserts were largely used to capture small scene details and gestures, but as the cast has grown, they’ve increasingly focused on faces, offering us the emotional state of several characters at a glance — especially those who might not be actively participating in the action/conversation of the scene. We might understand that as reflective of Kyle’s own shift in priorities, focusing less on the textural trappings of his life and more on the people he loves, but the effect is a series that now has an audience surrogate on virtually every page, reflecting our own shock and horror back at us. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

(Almost) Normalizing the Enemy in Outcast 31

by Drew Baumgartner

Outcast 31

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

Get back to work.

Gus Fring, “Box Cutter”

Is there any scene in modern television more gripping than Gus Fring slowly changing out of his street clothes, unexpectedly slashing the throat of one of his loyalest employees, then changing back, as calmly as before? It’s a shocking show of force from a character that had mostly distinguished himself for his almost quaint professional decorum. He was a drug lord, sure, but he treated it as a kind of regular day job, fully compartmentalized from his familiarly domestic home life. In many ways, Rowland Tusk feels cast in that same mold, separating his home life from his more sinister occupation, and largely keeping his hands clean until — suddenly — he needs to get his hands dirty. Continue reading

A Study in War Preparations in Outcast 30

by Drew Baumgartner

Outcast 30

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

It’s easy to feel optimistic at the start of Outcast 30 — Simon and Kyle have just discovered a new Outcast, Daphne, and they all seem stronger than ever. Or, they will be, but right now they’re exhausted after clearing out a huge safehouse for the merge (or the possessed — we need something to call these antagonists). There’s a bit of tension as Kyle has to convince his family to take in a complete stranger, but even the resolution of that is played for maximum hopefulness, as both Simon and Amber comment on how much stronger they feel in Daphne’s presence. It’s almost enough to feel like they might be in a position of strength — especially after the way last month’s issue ended. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 6/7/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Cannibal 6, Extremity 4, Injection 13, and Outcast 28. Also, we discussed Faith 12 on Thursday and will be discussing Star Wars: Darth Vader 1 and Paper Girls 15 on Tuesday, so check back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 5/3/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Extremity 3, Faith 11, Outcast 27, Shipwreck 4, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron 14. Also, we discussed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 69 on Friday, and will be discussing Pestilence 1 on Wednesday, so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Outcast 26

Alternating Currents: Outcast 26, Ryan and Drew

Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Outcast 26, originally released March 29th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Ryan D: If you are writing a serialized work of fiction — especially one which you plan to keep going for an extended period of time — then you must ask yourself: how do I release information to my audience? Questions proposed by the initial thesis of a work (i.e. “why would a man dress up like a bat to fight crime?”) need to be answered eventually for the readers’ intellectual illumination; however, if you answer these questions too quickly without supplying new ones (i.e. “what happens when this bat vigilante tries to take on an apprentice?”), then there’s no way your story can go for more than a few chapters. In Outcast 26, Robert Kirkman, who has written at this point 165 issues of his most commercially successful series The Walking Dead, again proves his ability to sustain an interesting initial concept by supplying the audience with nourishing answers before shifting the questions in a way which makes me keen for more. Continue reading

Outcast 2

outcast 2
Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Outcast 2, originally released July 30th, 2014.

Patrick: I like to think of myself as a pretty mild-mannered, in-control kind of guy. One of the things I pride myself on is my skill for conflict resolution — and as a cornerstone of that, my communication skills. I sincerely believe that just about any conflict can be ameliorated with enough patience, understanding and communication. That being said: I once punched my friend Jeff in the stomach. Straight up stocked him in the gut. I was mad about something — who even cares what — and rather than make him understand that I was upset, I just hit him. I was twelve years old at the time, and I’ve passed so many peaceful years since then, that tend to think of that person that hit Jeff as “not really me.” That was someone else’s behavior. It’s the same thing I think about the version of me that used to drink to the point of blacking out, and vomiting in the bed (only happened once, thank goodness). That wasn’t Patrick, that was drunk-Patrick, which is just a different version of “not really me.” While the first issue of Outcast settled very neatly on a question of faith, the second issue is interested in these ideas of fault and identity. Continue reading

Outcast 1

outcast 1Today, Scott and Drew are discussing Outcast 1, originally released June 25th, 2014.

We want to trust. We want to have faith…in everything. That’s who we are.

Reverend Anderson, Outcast 1

Scott: Faith is a complicated word. On it’s own, it’s almost inseparable from religious connotation. But I use the word frequently without giving any thought to God or the doctrines of any church. I ask people to have faith in me. I proclaim my faith in baseball teams and film directors. I advocate being faithful in relationships, and I refer to my morning coffee — and the trip to the bathroom it induces (indeuces?) — as “Old Faithful” (I think because of this). Sometimes there’s weight behind the word, but often there isn’t. It’s a word that probably suffers from overuse. Like Reverend Anderson suggests in this first issue of Outcast, I want to have faith in everything, but maybe that’s foolish. Writer Robert Kirkman is determined to make everyone think about faith, to examine the forces behind what they believe and why they believe it. With the help of artist Paul Azaceta, he’s crafted a compelling start to this story, as thought-provoking as it is creepy. Continue reading