The sluggish pace Outcast has been at finally picks up this month. Robert Kirkman provides some exciting details about the story, and the characters—especially their scenes together—are engaging. As always, Paul Azeceta’s artwork is great and really is the perfect style for this comic. Elizabeth Breitweiser’s coloring complements Azeceta’s artwork and the overall feel of the comic flawlessly. For the first time in many issues, I’m looking forward to the next one.
Instead of sticking to a scene or two and stretching it out over twenty-plus pages, Kirkman switches it up in this issue by focusing on several story-lines. This allows for some much-needed variety so the story can develop quicker. We first visit the Reverend in jail, but only for two pages, which is smart on Kirkman’s part. The Reverend is probably the least interesting character, and focusing on him for several pages—especially without Kyle—would’ve been a mistake. With the Reverend in jail, Kyle is fighting by himself, which possibly makes him vulnerable. Although, putting the Reverend in jail seemed like an odd plot-line at the time, it’ll be interesting how Kyle fares without the Reverend’s assistance.
Then, we see Megan in the hospital visiting Mark, while police question her. Again, Kirkman doesn’t focus on this scene for too many pages. Of course, Megan keeps her answers short in regard to how she got hurt and how Mark fell out the window—saying they both slipped. It’s clearly smart on her part to keep the demon-possessing business to herself.
The next scene, between Kyle and Sidney, is the best of the issue, and maybe one of the best in the comic thus far. Azeceta has drawn Kyle raking leaves in front of his house, which is a smart way to establish the element of time. As they shake hands, it’s clear that Kyle somehow has an effect Sidney. In previous issues, we’ve seen that his touch has an impact on possessed people, so what sort of effect will it have on the devil himself? Kyle purposely shakes Sidney’s hand to test this theory, and Sidney starts coughing aggressively. The small, close-up panels—with the handshake, Sidney’s smile, the vein in Sidney’s neck throbbing, the cold air coming out of Sidney’s mouth and nose, and Kyle’s clenched fist—are some of the best in the issue. Azeceta is an expert at relaying emotion and expression to the reader through his artwork.
Another great scene is between Kyle and his ex-wife, Allison. He finally tells Allison that she was possessed, and she was hurting Amber, which is why he hit her. He realizes that whatever ability he has—that draws the demons to him—is genetic, and his daughter also has it. This detail allows the story to move along and adds an interesting element to the larger plot.
The cover features Kyle again this month. He stands in the middle of a black background as what looks like grey smoke swirls around him in almost a figure eight. This might symbolize the demons that are drawn to Kyle and his ability to repel them.
Issue 15 is definitely a step up for the story arc and for Outcast. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as Kyle’s daughter grows into her ability and what role Sidney will have in her life. Kirkman has finally picked up the pace, and it’s definitely beneficial to the overall story. The potential that was evident in the first story arc has revealed itself again.