COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 – Bad Poker Face | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 – Bad Poker Face

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 - Bad Poker Face

Writer: Robert Kirkman

Artists: Paul Azaceta, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Rus Wooton

$3.99

Image Comics

The last couple of issues of Outcast have felt a bit flat. Not much has happened, and certainly almost nothing has been done to further the plot. Now at issue 17, we’re beginning to see some hope for plot development, but in frustratingly small doses.

COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 - Bad Poker Face

Outcast #17 – Page 5

Outcast reads like a season of The X-Files. You’re given some one-off episodes that don’t lend themselves to furthering the story, but add a fair amount of character beats. Then, when you’re certain that they’ve forgotten their overarching plot, they give you a whiff of what they’re cooking up. The problem with that, is that it doesn’t translate well into a monthly comic. 

Azaceta’s art still works well on the series, but that’s becoming mildly problematic as well. With the story being so one-note, there’s not a whole lot for Azaceta to do, which means that each issue looks like the same as the last. While consistency is king, there’s nothing interesting about it in this series. There are no big panels that stand out. There’s nothing worth remembering, and for a series that is so character driven, almost none of their scenes feel like they’re having any impact.

COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 - Bad Poker Face

Outcast #17 – Page 6

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In this issue, we learn that the demons have acutely sensitive senses during a new possession. This is what causes them to hide in dark areas – other than the overall need to be a bit spooky. That’s a bit of a revelation for the series, because it could now be much easier for Kyle and the good reverend to expel these demons from their hosts. Where it hurts, is that that process is beginning to feel entirely derivative of Supernatural. The attack on their senses is a new thing, but the ease of which they can exorcise, combined with the flying black smoke, is now coming off a little more Winchester than in had previously.  

We are, indeed, taken back to the overarching plot, which is nice to see. Sidney, the Devil character, returns back home to be greeted by a council. Though much of what’s going on is still kept a secret, they allude, again, to “the merge.” In this scene, one of the council members seems to be inhaling some of the black smoke through a machine, which could be some pretty cool foreshadowing for further issues.

One thing this series, and this issue, does well is character development. Kyle has seen a lot of development since the first issue, but more so than Kyle is the reverend. At this point, the reverend does not even resemble the character that he was when we met him. He’s questioning god, he curses like a trucker, and he’s lost a great deal of his faith. He’s becoming more likable in every issue, and it also feels like he’s being set up for one of Kirkman’s famous character breaking scenes – in which a key character has a breaking point and rises from the ashes like a phoenix to become a stronger version of their original selves.

COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 - Bad Poker Face

Outcast #17 – Page 9

At the end, we’re introduced to a freshly demonized version of Brian. This is a bit confusing, seeing that when we left him, he was in a room of people that included the reverend, playing a game of cards. It could be that he was taken by an airborne demon on his drive home, but there was no consideration given to how he ended up in his current state.

All-in-all, Outcast doesn’t feel engaging any longer. There’s nothing to hold you here, and there’s nothing exciting about the pages. It’s become a take-it-or-leave-it series, and that’s a bummer considering the promising start that it had. Again, issue seventeen doesn’t feel like it does much to really further the series. We’re given some information about where things could be headed, but it’s so minuscule that it doesn’t even really feel worth caring about.

COMIC REVIEW: Outcast #17 - Bad Poker Face

Outcast #17 – Page 19

The “Best There Is:” We’re given some key information about what makes the demons tick, and we get to see the decline of the reverend’s faith.

The “Not Very Nice:” Despite what character development there is, there’s just about nothing exciting about this book. There’s nothing entertaining, and story from the ground up is starting to feel like stagnant water.

FBI Score: 7 out of 10. It’s not that Outcast is a bad series. Right now, it’s a series in which something good could happen. That being said, it’s hard to love, as you must read each month in patience waiting for the good to come out of it.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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