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The Outsiders are fictional characters, a DC Comics superhero team. As its name suggests, the team consists of superheroes who allegedly do not fit the norms of the mainstream superhero community, namely the Justice League.

The Outsiders have had three different incarnations over the years. They were founded by Batman, whose ties to the League had become strained. In its most recent formation, the group's leadership was relinquished by Nightwing to Batman, who recruited former members as well as new additions. He has stated his intent to use the team as a black ops version of the Justice League, able to take the proverbial "fall" in public opinion where the League cannot. After Batman's apparent death in Final Crisis, he posthumously charged Alfred Pennyworth with recruiting a new team of Outsiders for a forthcoming mission of "great importance."

Batman and the Outsiders/Adventures of the Outsiders (1983-1986)

They first appeared in the final issue (#200) of The Brave and the Bold in 1983. The team was given its first comic, Batman and the Outsiders, which debuted in August 1983, created and originally written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Jim Aparo, and then later illustrated by Alan Davis.

After Batman left the group in issue #32, the title was changed to Adventures of the Outsiders and lasted until #38. After that issue, the book started reprinting stories from The Outsiders (1986) until it was cancelled on issue #46.

The cast of the Outsiders was notable for having mostly new characters (Geo-Force, Katana, Halo, and Looker), two characters who refused membership in the Justice League (Black Lightning and Metamorpho) and a former Leaguer, Batman.

Biography

Markovia and Baron Bedlam

The Outsiders form in the fictional Eastern European country of Markovia, which was at that time ravaged by war. Batman and Black Lightning have traveled there in order to free the captive Lucius Fox from Baron Bedlam, who has killed the country's king, King Viktor. Geo-Force himself is the prince of the country who gains powers from Markovia's top scientist, Dr. Helga Jace, in order to stop Bedlam. Metamorpho is searching for Dr. Jace in order for the doctor to help him with his powers. Katana arrives in Markovia in order to kill General Karnz, Bedlam's military commander, as vengeance for her family. During the adventure, Batman finds a young amnesiac girl exhibiting light-based powers in the woods, who he dubs Halo. The team bands together, defeats Baron Bedlam and decides to stay together afterwards. They fight such villains as Agent Orange, the Fearsome Five and the Cryonic Man.

Masters of Disaster and the Force of July

Recurring foes are the Masters of Disaster (New Wave, Shakedown, Windfall, Heatstroke and Coldsnap), who at one point are almost able to kill Black Lightning. Windfall becomes disenchanted with her team and joins the Outsiders. Similar recurring opponents are the Force of July, a group of patriotic metahumans who also regularly came into contact with the Suicide Squad. During this time, Geo-Force's sister Terra dies as a traitor to the Teen Titans. Batman reveals his real identity as Bruce Wayne to the team, although they have already learned it. Eventually, the origin of Halo is revealed, and Emily Briggs (who during a later adventure becomes the superheroine Looker and joins the team) is introduced. Denise Howard, the love interest of Geo-Force also appears for the second time.

Without Batman

Baron Bedlam later returns to life. With the assistance of the Bad Samaritan, Masters of Disaster and Soviet forces, he again tries to retake control of Markovia. Batman withholds this information, angering the rest of the team. This eventually leads to Batman disbanding the team and returning to the Justice League. The team nonetheless travels to Markovia, discovering many Markovian military casualties. They are defeated by the Masters and learn that Bedlam has cloned Adolf Hitler. The younger clone commits suicide in horror of the actions his original self perpetrated. The Outsiders become unofficial agents of Markovia, so that they receive Markovian funding. The team moves to Los Angelesmarker, as Geo-Force leaves behind his girlfriend Denise and Looker separates from her husband.

Outsiders (vol. 1, 1985-1988)

This series featured again the original group and lasted 28 issues, plus an Annual and a Special. This title originally ran alongside the Adventures of the Outsiders title, chronicling events a year after that series. In the end, the first couple of issues of the title were reprinted in Adventures of the Outsiders before that title was canceled.

Biography

The team have moved into a new headquarters in Los Angeles, and once again become involved in an adventure with the Force of July, ending in Moscowmarker. Villains such as the Duke of Oil, and the Sovietmarker superteam the People's Heroes are introduced during this time. The team's adventures take them all over the globe, most notably when the Outsiders' plane is shot down and the team is marooned on a deserted island for three weeks. Tensions rise as Geo-Force tries to resign his leadership and he and Looker give in to temptation. Eventually, they are found and are able to leave.

Even more troubles arise when a detective is hired to look into Looker's private life (now working as a model under the alias of Lia Briggs), who learns of her actual identity of Emily. The detective tries to blackmail her, but she hypnotizes him, and he leaves. However, he is shortly killed afterwards and Looker is arrested. The Outsiders however are able to clear her name.

Reuniting with Batman

The Outsiders are reunited with Batman when they band together to fight Eclipso. After the adventure Batman gives them access to a Batcave situated in Los Angeles, and the team is also infiltrated by the clone of Windfall. Meanwhile, Looker and Geo-Force feel guilt over their affair and eventually call it off, and Metamorpho faces his own personal problems with his lover Sapphire Stagg. The clone of Windfall is ultimately killed and the Masters of Disaster are defeated as the real Windfall joins the team. The team also come in contact with the other Los Angeles based team, Infinity, Inc.

Millennium

The team is next involved with the company wide crossover event Millennium, wherein it is revealed that Dr. Jace is an operative of the villainous Manhunters and kidnaps the team. The team, now also joined by the Atomic Knight, are able to free themselves, but Dr. Jace blows up both herself and Metamorpho. Looker is called to return to Abyssia, the origin of her powers, where she must also face the Manhunters. During the course of the adventure, she is drained of much of her power and returns to her normal form. Halo is hit in crossfire, saving Katana's life, and slips into a coma, as Katana vows to look after her. The team is disbanded by Geo-Force as Looker returns to her husband, and Batman has since rejoined the Justice League.

Outsiders (vol. 2, 1993-95)

This revival of the title in 1993 lasted 24 issues and was written by Mike W. Barr, with most of the issues penciled by Paul Pelletier.

Biography

Declared a traitor in his native Markovia, Geo-Force is forced to seek the help of old and new Outsiders to battle the vampire lord who controls his country. This is later coupled with the framing of the Outsiders for the slaughter of a Markovian village, and thus the Outsiders are forced into hiding. This fugitive status motivates the Atomic Knight to go after the Outsiders, hoping to bring in his former allies without too much trouble. He's eventually convinced of their innocence and joins them at a later juncture.

The new members who join the team in Markovia are the magician Faust, the warsuit-wearing engineer and industrialist Technocrat, and Wylde, a friend of Technocrat's who has been turned into a mountain bear by Faust's uncontrollable magic.

During the initial confrontation with the vampires, Looker is apparently killed. Hiding out in Gotham City, the Outsiders take another loss, as both Halo and Technocrat's wife Marissa are killed. This happens during a fight with 'Batman', or rather the man standing in for Bruce Wayne: Jean-Paul Valley. However, Halo's spirit survives in the reanimated body of Marissa. For some time afterwards, Technocrat has trouble accepting that his wife is dead; after all, her body is still walking around but the spirit is that of Halo. Eventually, it turns out that Looker is not dead, but undead. The Outsiders find her and free her from the vampire king's control.

Split in two

After the defeat of the vampires, two teams, (one composed of Geo-Force, Katana and Techonocrat and another composed of the Eradicator, Looker, Wylde, Halo and Faust), claim the name the Outsiders, even though both teams are still considered fugitives for some time, thanks to some questionable tactics by their new members. During this time, the teams learn that Halo's original body has been brought back to life by the Kobra terrorist organization. In control of the body is Violet Harper, the evil woman whose body Halo originally inhabited. She now has abilities similar to Halo's and ends up calling herself Spectra, and joining Strike Force Kobra alongside Dervish and Windfall. Both Kobra and Violet Harper are defeated.

The two teams unite to confront Felix Faust, father to the Outsider Faust. During the confrontation, the bear-like Wylde betrays the team when Felix promises to restore his humanity. The team is able to defeat Felix Faust and Wylde eventually becomes an actual bear, without the ability to speak, and locked up in a zoo.

The title ends with the clearing of the Outsiders' names and the wedding of Geo-Force and Denise Howard.

Outsiders (vol. 3, 2003 - 2007)

Outsiders volume 3, almost completely unrelated to the previous series, was launched in 2003, featuring new members, some of whom had previously been part of the Titans. The series was cancelled with issue 50 and relaunched as Batman and the Outsiders (vol. 2), featuring a mix of current and new members.

Formation

This new team is put together in the wake of the Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day crossover that dissolves both groups. Arsenal accepts the sponsorship offer of the Optitron corporation and uses the money to buy an enormous bomb shelter that used to belong to a multimillionaire and renovated it to create the group headquarters. He recruits a group of young heroes, the last of them being his friend Nightwing, who joins reluctantly. Instead of functioning in a reactive capacity like most other super-hero teams, Nightwing decides that this group should act as hunters, tracking down super-villains before they can cause problems.

Infinite Crisis

Former Outsiders Technocrat and Looker are in close proximity of Breach when he explodes in the Battle of Metropolis. The fate of Technocrat remains unclear, while Looker soon appeared in an issue of the World War III limited series.

Roy Harper is saved by Superman from Doomsday.Captain Marvel, Junior was sent to Earth-S when it was reformed. When New Earth came, he went with other heroes who could fly to fight Superboy-Prime. In the Infinite Crisis hardcover, Freddy joined alongside the other Titans to take down members of the Society who tried to kill Robin.

One Year Later

After Infinite Crisis the Outsiders are "officially" no more. Because of the Freedom of Power Treaty, the Outsiders have been operating covertly outside of the United Statesmarker. Most of the members were presumed dead until a botched mission forces them to reveal their presence. Following the revelation of their continued existence, they are recruited by Checkmate to pursue missions which Checkmate cannot support publicly. Checkmate's assignment as part of the "CheckOut" crossover arc involves dispatching the Outsiders to Oolong Island in China, the scene of World War III the previous year. The mission goes disastrously when Chang Tzu manages to capture Owen Mercer and Checkmate's Black Queen, until both sides are eventually bailed out by Batman. In the aftermath, Nightwing decides to give Batman control of the team once more.

Trade paperbacks

The third volume of the Outsiders has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:

Title Material collected
Looking for Trouble Outsiders #1-7
Sum of all Evil Outsiders #8-15
Wanted Outsiders #16-23
The Insiders Teen Titans #24-26

Outsiders #24-25 & 28
Crisis Intervention Outsiders #29-33
The Good Fight Outsiders #34-41
Pay As You Go Outsiders #42-46

Outsiders Annual #1
Outsiders/Checkmate: CheckOut Checkmate #13-15

Outsiders #47-49
Five of a Kind Outsiders #50

Outsiders: Five of a Kind #1-5


Batman and the Outsiders (vol. 2)/Outsiders (vol. 4 2007 - present)

In November 2007, writer Chuck Dixon and artist Julian Lopez relaunched The Outsiders as a new volume of Batman and the Outsiders with the Dark Knight taking control of the team in the aftermath of the "CheckOut" crossover with Checkmate.

As a result of Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis, where Batman apparently died, the title was renamed Outsiders and features Geo-Force, Metamorpho, Katana, Black Lightning, The Creeper and Owlman as the new team roster. The change occurred when a new creative team took over, Peter Tomasi writing and Lee Garbett on art duties. Tomasi began with Batman and the Ousiders Special #1 and then the retitled series began with issue #15.

Outsiders: Five of a Kind and Outsiders #50

In the weeks leading up to the new series debut, Batman holds tryouts to determine who will be on the team in a series of one-shots called Five of a Kind. Each issue featured a different creative team (including Outsiders creator Mike W. Barr), as well as an epilogue written by Tony Bedard. Batman angers several members who feel he has no right to remove people already on the team.

Captain Boomerang leaves the team for Waller's Suicide Squad and Nightwing decides to take no part in the Outsiders' questionable activities. Katana is chosen as the team's first official member, with the Martian Manhunter, Metamorpho, and Grace as later recruits. Thunder is kicked off the team and Aquaman is rejected as a member because Batman feels he doesn't match up to his predecessor, Orin. Batman then tells the other members that "Whether you like it or not, you're here to save the world. And you're going to be hated for it." After the team's first official mission in Outsiders #50, Catwoman overheard the other recruits' talking about the team being "down by law", and said, "Batman can't possibly start up his own crew of super-crooks without me in it!"

Between the release of Outsiders #50 and Batman And The Outsiders vol. 2 #1, announced series writer Tony Bedard was replaced by Chuck Dixon.

The team from Outsiders #50 was featured in the first two issues of Batman And The Outsiders vol. 2, after which both Catwoman and Martian Manhunter left the team, and Batgirl, Geo-Force, and Green Arrow joined; Thunder has consistently appeared in the series as well. In issue #5, Ralph "Elongated Man" Dibny and Sue Dibny make a guest appearance. They seem to be able to possess people in a method similar to that of Deadman. Dr. Francine Langstrom (wife of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, AKA Man-Bat) serves as the team's technical advisor, and her assistant Salah Miandad operates the "blank" OMAC drone known as ReMAC. In issue #9, Batman calls on former team member Looker to assist in an interrogation.

Vol. 2

The first main storyline of the title involves Batman sending the team to investigate the mysterious Mr. Jardine, who is organizing a convoluted plot to populate a subterranean lake on the Moon with strange alien lifeforms. While trying to stop Jardine's unauthorized space-shot in South America, Metamorpho is blasted into space, and is forced to escape from the International Space Station, where seemingly-brainwashed astronauts from around the world are building a giant weapon. Seeking a shuttle to hijack, the rest of the team infiltrates a Chinese space facility, only to be captured by members of the Great Ten. Only the timely intervention of Batgirl and ReMAC saves the team from execution. Metamorpho manages to steal a shuttle back to Earth, then escape from the ESAmarker and hook back up with the team.

Aside from major covert missions, Batman has in fact used the Outsiders in Gotham. In the final issue of the mini-series Gotham Underground, the Outsiders participate in a raid of a crime boss' HQ.

During the Batman R.I.P. events, an assembly of the Outsiders, including Thunder, receives a message from the missing Batman, asking them to feed a secret code in the cybernetic mind of the ReMAC, allowing him to track the Caped Crusader and the Black Glove and help him into his fight. As they comply, against Batgirl's advice, the code reveals itself as a cybernetic boobytrap coming from Simon Hurt, the mastermind behind Batman's downfall, and ReMAC explodes. Several Outsiders are wounded, and Thunder suffers from brain injuries severe enough to knock her in a seemingly irreversible coma. However her in-costume appearance in the "Final Crisis: Submit" story suggest she recovered afterwards, as the Final Crisis storyline occurs after the events in R.I.P.

After Batman

In the wake of Batman's apparent death in Final Crisis, a new team of Outsiders is created. One night, after going to the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Alfred awakes in Wayne Manor to a giant door opening in his room. He walks through it where he sees a pod with a chair inside. He takes a seat, as a hologram of Batman activates. Batman explains that because he has not entered a special code into the Bat Computer or any of its subsidiaries for a certain amount of time, this recording is playing, meaning he is most likely dead. At this, he tells Alfred of a very important mission that Alfred must undertake on his behalf since he is unable to do so, but gives Alfred a choice to accept or decline. Alfred promptly accepts while Batman explains what Alfred has meant to him throughout his life, saying to him what he didn't have a chance to say at his death: he told Alfred, "Goodbye, Dad."

With this, Batman charges Alfred to assemble a new team of Outsiders. Alfred travels around the planet, recruiting Roy Raymond Jr., Black Lightning, Geo-Force (leader), Halo, Katana, the Creeper and Metamorpho. As a member of the team, each member must become a true "outsider," living away from their families and the public eye for months at a time. Each member fills a role that Batman once filled, making this team a composite of Batman himself.

Future

Dan Didio and Phillip Tan will begin a new run on Outsiders in January 2010.

Other media

Television

The Outsiders, consisting of teenage versions of Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho, appear in several episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Initially, they appear as vigilantes gone rogue under the brainwashing control of the Slug, who resembles the evil New God Sleez. With the aid of Batman and Wildcat, they break their conditioning, turn on the Slug, and begin training under Wildcat's tutelage.

The Outsiders appear again fighting against Despero, in a simulation created by Batman in the Batcave.

They are later kidnapped by Psycho-Pirate, who feeds on their rage by trapping them in nightmares. Batman enters their minds to help them confront their anger and fear, and defeat Psycho-Pirate.

See also



References

  1. Chuck Dixon names as new Batman and Outsiders writer, Newsarama, November 16, 2007
  2. Dixon Shakes Up "Outsiders" Right Off the Bat, Comic Book Resources, November 13, 2007
  3. Life Without Batman: Peter Tomasi Talks The Outsiders, Newsarama, December 16, 2008
  4. Final Crisis: Submit (2008)


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