Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Kirkman & Azaceta
The art of telling a self-contained and individual story in a single issue sometimes gives way to using single issues as a necessary evil to getting to the collected edition. When this happens the single issue read is simply awkward. The third issue of Outcast is exactly that. Kirkman jumps from scene to scene and doesn't stop to introduce characters or set up basic things like if the scene is a flashback or not. The read is a tough one to make sense of despite that the pace is quick and the artwork is nice to look at. I hope this comic gets back to what it presented in issue one and I hope it happens quickly.
The opening is a fairly gruesome sight and despite not knowing the characters, time period or scene, it seems like the comic was heading in a great direction. The scene makes more sense once the ending is revealed but it still struggles to reconcile in terms of time or place.
In between these two dovetailing scenes are a mix of Kyle hanging out with his neighbor and the reverend going about his usual day-to-day chores. There isn't anything too interesting in these scenes and while they read fast, they seem to have nothing worth remembering. Obviously they are setting up things for future issues but you need some payoff in the short term and these provide none.
Mixed in between the scenes with Kyle and the reverend are a couple of other oddly placed scenes. There is an awkward flashback where Kyle and his wife are in the bedroom and talking about having a baby while in the midst of doing it. The dialogue is so twisted its hard to believe any couple would be in the mood after having a conversation like this. Some little kid also gets rescued in another strange scene.
I read the issue several times and it made more sense with each reading but I never found myself feeling fulfilled. The comic feels like reading some middle pages within a trade paperback and doesn't read like a complete comic book. There is little context for any reader that missed the first two issues to make any sense of what's going on in this issue. This comic reminds me of Morning Glories where you need to look over previous issues whenever a new issue ships because it won't make sense unless you have all the background ready at your finger tips.
The art is great. The flashbacks appear to be shaded differently which is extremely helpful and the book seems to juggle happy moments and scary ones extremely well. I think the book is at its best when the story drifts into horror elements but the art is proving it can deliver in the quiet moments as well.
Make no mistake, the first issue of this series was fantastic. Kirkman has since drifted both in focus and in technique of delivering his story and it is not working. This comic may turn itself around before the first arc is done but as an individual issue goes this left me with an empty feeling. If you pick this up you are taking a leap of faith that this will all make sense down the road.
2 out of 5 Geek Goggles