Ultimate Sibling Rivalry in “Outcast #13” (Review)
Creator and Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Paul Azeceta
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Cover: Paul Azeceta, Elizabeth Breitweiser
After a month off, Outcast returns with a new story arc and draws readers in with the same themes we’ve seen before. Struggle. Concern. Mystery. Horror. With this issue, readers new to Outcast will immediately understand what this comic is all about, but, like all of us, will also be left with tons of questions.
This issue kicks off with Kyle Barnes demanding answers from the demon possessing his sister, Megan, who tried to inhale his breath to drain his power in issue 12. The demon says Kyle is nothing more than a tool. A tool for what exactly? The demon never says. As we’ve learned in past issues, the Great Merge is coming, with Kyle being the key for it. Hopefully in this volume’s story arc we’ll learn more about the Great Merge, Kyle’s part in it, and other Outcasts, but readers don’t get many answers here.
Kyle continues to learn more about his abilities as he and Reverend Anderson struggle to save Megan from possession. Kyle wants to save his sister for her sake but also his own. Unlike others, Megan hasn’t given up on him. She’s the only person who unconditionally loves him and still expects great things from him. Without her, he might finally give up on himself.
In past issues, we saw Reverend Anderson questioning his faith. Interestingly, here, the demon mocks Reverend Anderson while he tries to exorcise it, saying, “Sounds more like you’re trying to convince yourself.” Perhaps this is another hint of the demons’ omnipotence.
We get another visit from Sidney, or the devil. In issue 11, he gave Reverend Anderson a final warning to stay away from Kyle. What will be the repercussions from the Reverend’s defiance? We don’t get much in this issue. He approaches Mark, Megan’s husband, outside in the beginning of the comic, and at the end, he is inside telling Holly, who is worried about her mother, that she is safe with him, which seems like a teaser to next month’s issue. Will he kidnap her, or possess her? The sneak peek to next month’s cover features Sidney. This is the first cover Kyle has not been on, which seems significant. Sidney is one of the more mysterious and intriguing characters in the comic; an issue devoted to him is well overdo.
As usual, artist Paul Azeceta captures emotion perfectly through his depiction of body language and facial expression. And Elizabeth Breitweiser’s coloring brings Azeceta’s panels to life. You feel what the characters feel—Mark’s concern for his wife, Kyle and the Reverend’s frustration and tension, and Megan’s, or the demon’s, hostility. Azeceta’s depiction of Megan’s sneering and smirking, in particular, is chilling. The portrayal of the characters as they fight to release the bloody kicking, screaming Megan from the demon is spot on.
The cover, with Kyle forming a ball of light in his hands, is a reference to the issue’s title “The Little Light,” but also a symbolic representation of his ability. As we’ve learned, Kyle possesses a light that the demons require and want. Kyle realizes that his touch, and, importantly, his presence, weakens the demons.
As the first issue in a new story arc, it would’ve been great to have a bit more excitement rather than more of the same. Instead, this issue reads like a conclusion to issue 12. The story of Kyle’s continued exorcism of his sister, while drawn beautifully, leaves the reader wanting more, as it takes up the entire issue. However, we do get a bit of excitement with the return of Sidney, and his role in next month’s issue. Hopefully Kirkman will answer some questions for us in the issues to come.