It’s never been a better time for the return of the Outsiders. Comprised of Batwoman, Luke Fox and a new mystery character, the Outsiders will be taking on a brand-new role within DC’s multiverse, headlining their own series written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Batman Beyond: Neo-Year) with art by Robert Carey. But who are the Outsiders anyhow? And what differentiates this new team from the Outsiders of old? Let’s find out!
The Outsiders Sound Familiar, Weren’t They a Team Before?
Yes, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, the Outsiders are a team dating back to the 1980s. The Outsiders originally got started in 1983 after Batman made the explosive decision to leave the Justice League in Batman and the Outsiders #1 by Mike Barr, Jim Aparo and Adrienne Roy. The Dark Knight put together a team comprised of Black Lightning, Katana, Metamorpho, Geo-Force and Halo, with DC billing them as “a new group of heroes for our troubled age.”
This description proved apt for what the Outsiders encountered, as they traversed a world rife with Cold War political tensions, the consequences of the Vietnam War and much more. While the Justice League handled enemies threatening the universe, the Outsiders were much more focused on the geopolitics of their day.
Batman is the most high-profile Outsider, but he hasn’t always been a regular member. Rather, it could be argued that Black Lightning and Katana form the core of the Outsiders. This is reflected in how Black Lightning’s daughter, Thunder, joined a later iteration of the team in Judd Winick, Tom Raney and Scott Hanna’s Outsiders series from 2003.
So, What’s Different About the Team Now?
Looking past the fact that they are once again led by a Bat-Family member, this new team of Outsiders is completely different than any Outsiders team that has come before. While the name has traditionally referred to their status as “outside” the Justice League, this new team is going to be investigating the outer fringes of the DC Multiverse.
As the multiverse has shrunk and expanded over the years, multitudes of stories have been lost to time. It’s now up to the Outsiders to dig through and rediscover these lost narratives.
Fret not, the characters are just as in the dark as you are about what that could actually mean. It all comes back to Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, which brought an end to the convoluted and contradictory timeline created across nearly fifty years of DC storytelling. Crisis on Infinite Earths destroyed the other Earths that had previously existed in DC canon, leaving a blank slate for creators to establish new stories on a single, unified Earth. That came at the cost of erasing decades of comic book history.
However, over the years, different Crisis events have occurred (such as Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Dark Nights: Metal…you get the idea), which have shaken up DC continuity. In 2022, the sequel to the original Crisis event, Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, brought back the Infinite Earths once more. With those back in play, there are once again infinite possibilities that exist out there in the DC Multiverse.
What Does Any of This Have to Do with the Outsiders?
The purpose of the Outsiders this time around is to learn what secrets are lurking in the corners of the DC Multiverse. No Crisis event can fully chronicle what happens to every history that is lost when an Earth is destroyed. It is now the Outsiders’ job to investigate the truth behind the DCU’s forgotten history, looking for what’s slipped through the cracks of each Crisis event.
So, They’re Like Indiana Jones?
Yes and no. The Outsiders are essentially archaeologists digging into the soil of the DC Multiverse. However, unlike Indiana Jones, they’re not in the business of finding powerful artifacts.
Luke Fox and Batwoman are both members of the Bat-Family. And if there’s anything that defines Batman besides a tragic origin story, it’s a methodical, almost paranoid effort to understand the world and all of its secrets. What they will do with this information remains to be seen.
This Sounds Expensive! Who’s Financing All This?
Luke Fox, also known as Batwing, is financing all of it. But unlike someone like Maxwell Lord, who once funded the Justice League, Luke doesn’t see the Outsiders as a “superhero team” in the traditional sense. He recruits Batwoman not under the guise that there will be enemies to punch, but rather knowledge to be attained, catalogued and understood. It’s more of an operation, rather than a “team.”
Who’s the Third Member of the Outsiders?
She calls herself the Drummer. To tell you anything else would spoil the fun!
Seems Like Batwoman, Batwing and Their Mysterious Teammate Have Their Work Cut Out for Them!
That they do. The Infinite Earths live up to their name and are truly infinite in number, and who knows what the Outsiders may find out in the void. Though if you pick up the just released issue #1, you’ll start to get a sense!
Outsiders #1 by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Robert Carey and Valentina Taddeo is now available in print and as a digital comic book.