The second arc of Outcast closes with more questions than answers. This seems to be the way the comic likes to operate. Throughout the first twelve issues Kyle and Revered Anderson have encountered countless demons and those possessed but know relatively little about how to fight them. Also, whenever Kyle saves someone they are sometimes worse for ware. Robert Kirkman is hinting in Outcast #12 that the answers are to come. Until there are adequate answers to the burning questions in Outcast this comic could easily become rote and follow the same pattern of demon encounter, faith questioned by Kyle, faith trusted in by Reverend Anderson, then possible exorcism. These issues need some form of answer or Outcast will get old fast.
Kyle Barnes hasn’t been very forthcoming about why he and Allison got a divorce. In past issues Kyle says he hit Allison. In Outcast #11 Kyle says that Allison may have done something to spook their daughter Amber, but this is another mystery that Robert Kirkman is keeping wrapped. It’s these looks into the life of Kyle that are what’s most interesting and rewarding about Outcast. Sure, the ghostly aspects of the series are exciting, but the more human oriented horror about Kyle’s past is what keeps the series fresh. It would be easy for Outcast to tell the same exorcism story over and over again and get boring, but that’s not how this series works.
Ten issues in and Robert Kirkman throws a curveball: there are no physical demons in this issue of Outcast, rather it’s the emotional demons that cut the deepest. Kyle is still furious with Reverend Anderson after their meeting with Sherry. The main line of demarcation between the two is deftly explained, as Reverend Anderson believes she’s better off and Kyle believes the girl isn’t. Kyle is seen as a man without faith but who would blame him? Kyle knows that Sherry will forever live laying in a bed just like his mother.
Finally, we’re getting somewhere: Kyle and Reverend Anderson continue their aimless journey throughout town to discover what has happened to some of the Reverend’s past exorcism patients. The duo encounter Sherry, the girl who evaded them in the last issue and someone the Reverend thinks he hasn’t helped. During the encounter Kyle forces out whatever demon that was inside Sherry. At the end of the issue he finally understands that it is him, and only him that cause the demons to leave. Ironically they also derive their power from his proximity. How Kyle helps is still uncertain as is Sherry’s life.
It’s not easy to come back from failure. Revered Anderson is being haunted by his past mistakes and is trying to right his wrongs. Kyle is upset that Reverend Anderson thinks he may know what’s going on in this issue of Outcast. It’s easy to step into Kyle’s place and assume the Reverend is more of a hindrance than help. But once Reverend Anderson shows Kyle just how deeply he’s been cut the tone changes.
There is a departure from the normal story flow in this issue. Kyle and Reverend Anderson are more secondary characters while we follow Megan’s adventure into the city to meet Allison and have a standoff with Donnie. It’s a welcome change to see the world of Outcast isn’t just demons and exorcisms. Although we find out that Kyle seems to be as committed to the cause as Reverend Anderson.
Cullen Bunn is unique. If nothing else can be said about him, he is certainly unique. The Empty Man shows the full extent of Bunn’s ability. The series focuses on two detectives as they struggle to sort out the mystery surrounding a series of suspicious deaths and murders. The deaths are connected by the strange hallucinations experienced by the perpetrators, as well as their last words “The Empty Man made me do it”. The Empty Man is unpredictable because it follows so very few tropes. Nothing like this series has been seen before, and readers will be asking themselves the same question over and over: Who is the Empty Man? (Or “What the F*ck?”).
Velvet #2 Writer: Ed Brubaker Artist: Steve Epting Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser Publisher: Image Comics Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting turned the book starring the Star Spangled Avenger and (later) his sidekick Bucky Barnes into a full-time spy comic when they collaborated on Captain America, but they take things a step further in Velvet #2. They explore the dark underbelly of …