Outcast #1 was a comic that really took me by surprise when I read it. I was walking into a comic that I honestly was not expecting much from, but it ended up a pleasant surprise and made me rather excited to read its next issue. Now the new issue is out, what will we see this time? Is it good?
Outcast #2 (Image Comics)
After an intense exorcism, life has moved on. Kyle Barnes is finally figuring out what has been going wrong in his life and why people around him have become violent. Reverend Anderson continues to deliver his sermon and takes note that the boy who was possessed is doing fine now. Everything appears to be going alright for the moment, but… it really is only for a moment. Some new and old faces start surfacing around town.
That’s right folks; that includes even me.
This issue decides to take a step back from the intense events of the first and lets the audience relax a bit. This issue is far more thoughtful and slow in its approach, deciding to focus more on the characters rather than the horror or progressing the story much. This approach is rather nice in its own way, letting the characters develop and become more fleshed out. This is especially true with Kyle, who definitely undergoes some changes in his behavior and his outlook on his life. Nothing radically different, but subtle and human.
We also see more development in the other characters, as well as more additions to the cast. We learn more about Mark’s character and see that things are completely black and white to him. The friendships and relationships between each person is intriguing and interesting, offering some depth and complexity. The new characters who enter are also intriguing in their own ways, given the history they have with the others. The character work takes center stage this issue, and it really came through.
Besides that, the writing was very good here. While the slower approach may not work for everyone (certainly doesn’t always for me), the pacing is good and the story never really feels decompressed. The storytelling is well done and there is some interesting plot development in the issue that really gets in you interested (our first glimpse of one of the villains for instance) in wanting to check out the next issue. The dialogue is very strong, with a lot of emotion and humanity. Horror-wise, this wasn’t really all that scary or even very suspenseful, so for those looking for a scare you may be disappointed. Otherwise, the writing was strong and well done.
The artwork continues to be great as well. The book does a great job at capturing the mood and tone in the scenes with the shadows and light tones used, even with a lack of horror this time around. It really gives the book the right atmosphere during the more personal scenes, like when Kyle visited his mom. The characters look fine, the layouts make things easy to follow, and the coloring job is very nice. The only downside is that on occasion, mostly during the bits of action, there’s a lack of background going on.
Is It Good?
Outcast #2 takes a far more methodical and character-based approach to its issue, providing the story a chance to slow down and develop its characters and some new subplots. The story does not feel like it moves a whole lot this time, nor does it really dive into any horror either. It does end up being done very right and leaves you wanting more from the story. I look forward to the next issue with great anticipation.