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

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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

Hadrian’s Wall 5

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Hadrian’s Wall 5, originally released March 29, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Patrick: Simplicity is an illusion. Every relationship that falls apart, every job that is lost, every hope that is abandoned comes at the end of a long, complicated road with no singular culprit. But it’s human nature to try to compartmentalize these things: she left because I cheated; I was fired because I was always late; I don’t have time to pursue my dreams. That’s clean, almost absolving us of our sins of disappointment. Hadrian’s Wall 5 delivers the answer to the series’ central mystery to this point, only to pivot from solution to inevitably more-complicated problem, insisting on the non-simplicity of this narrative. That dovetails nicely with Simon’s own memories of his failed relationship with Annabelle, which failed not through a singular action, but because these people were incompatible. Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis’ story of murder-in-space refuses to be anywhere near as simple as the first four issues would have you believe. Continue reading

Hadrian’s Wall 1

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Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Hadrian’s Wall 1, originally released September 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Patrick: When you look at the landscape of genre fiction, you could be forgiven for thinking that there’s an unforgivably small number of genres that modern storytellers deal in. Fantasy, mystery, science fiction, horror, superhero, spy, crime, romance, adventure – it sounds like an exhausting list, but it’s frustrating to consider just how many stories end up regurgitating the tropes and story beats of a dozen proto-stories. Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis’ Hardian’s Wall 1 struggles with its own genres — a murder mystery set on a space ship in the future — before revealing that their protagonist has a much more nuanced, much less plug-and-play story to tell. There is no genre called “living in the world with your ex fiction” (as far as I can tell), so the fallout of Simon and Annabelle’s relationship plays out among the stars. Continue reading