Creator and Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Paul Azeceta
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Cover: Paul Azeceta, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Oh, Outcast. I really want to like you. You have all the right elements—interesting plot, main characters, and art, but your story just drags on every month. There’s no real substance to Kirkman’s writing; almost everything we’ve learned in twenty-two issues could’ve been expressed in just a few issues. The new show on Cinemax could’ve basically caught up to the book’s content in just a few episodes. It’s a bit ironic that the title of the issue is “The Ticking Clock,” because that’s what this comic has become for me. The saving grace of this issue, and most issues lately, is the art. Paul Azeceta’s line work and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s coloring redeem the snail-like pace of the comic.
Kyle and the Reverend are in the woods, after Kyle escaped the creepiest sleepover ever, searching for Chief Giles. The only interesting part in the issue is when they catch up to him and he makes reference to a cause: “You grow far too confident, Outcast. There are so many more of us than there are of your kind. Your cause is hopeless.” Again, Kirkman makes reference to other Outcasts, but when will we ever meet them? Maybe I’m too impatient, but Kirkman needs to get on with it already! The story has already gotten far too monotonous. I really hope they’re not stuck in the woods for another two issues, but that wouldn’t surprise me. Not every issue needs to be mind-blowing, but the writing seems so forced, like Kirkman is purposely stretching out the story to fill up more issues, and some of it doesn’t really make sense. For example, Kyle says “Getting the feeling back in my hands just in time to feel how damn cold it is how here. That’s nice.” On the next spread, Giles, who is still possessed, is trying to understand his senses as he reaches out stating “Cold. So Cold. Cold.” Accompany these lines with Azeceta and Breitweiser’s very well-done art depicting the heavy-falling snow and character’s hot breath against the winter air, and the reader understands that it’s obviously really cold outside. However, fast-forward several pages later, and the Reverend takes off his shirt to gag Giles and Kyle takes off his jacket. They pull him outside—in the supposed bitter cold—to exorcise him. No more hot breath. No more cold.
Again, Azeceta and Breitweiser’s artwork is great. I enjoyed how they depicted the snowy woods, and the close-ups of characters’ expressions. They’ve drawn Giles snarling and growling much like the wolves we see in the issue. The comparison between Giles and the wolf is interesting, as both are animalistic, and are fighting for survival. Their cover features Giles trekking through the deep snow. It’s a plain cover, but it matches the content and feel of the interior perfectly, and you know exactly what to expect inside upon seeing it.
Issue 22 continues to slowly lay the groundwork for what’s to come. When will we meet more Outcasts? What’s their cause? Is it the merge? Please pick it up, Kirkman. I know you have it in you.