Friday, 20 November 2015

Outcast, Volume 2: A Vast and Unending Ruin Review (Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta)


In the first Outcast book we met Kyle Barnes, a divorced mess of a man with a past riddled with seeming demon possession. He mooned over being separated from his wife and kid, he helped out the Reverend Anderson in exorcising some demons, and he wondered what an Outcast was. Satan, or someone like him, possessed an old man and moved into Kyle’s neighbourhood. 

In the second Outcast book, we catch up with Kyle Barnes, still a divorced mess of a man with a past riddled with seeming – but more and more real – demon possession. He continues to moon over being separated from his wife and kid, he helps out the Reverend Anderson in exorcising some demons, and he continues to wonder what an Outcast is. Satan, or someone like him, is still in possession of the old man and is moving around Kyle’s neighbourhood. 

Imagination, thy name is Robert Kirkman! 

Kyle and the Rev decide to carry out some follow-up visits on all of the Rev’s former exorcisms to see how they’re holding up – not well as it turns out! The Rev’s not an Outcast like Kyle so his exorcisms aren't as effective or something. Even though we’re still not sure what an Outcast is, just going by the name and the exorcism theme, I’d say it has something to do with successfully “casting out” demons from humans. Dimwit Kyle – who has been able to cast out demons his whole life – is only just figuring out something most readers got well before the first book was over! 

And that’s basically the whole book – really. It's amazing how little happens in this book and how Kirkman's able to spin that into a volume-length narrative. 

It’s unclear why the Devil, or whatever the villain is supposed to be, didn’t kill the Rev, considering the inconveniences he’s caused, and will continue to cause, him – why just savage the guy? There’s also a mega-corny scene between Kyle and his estranged wife and kid – “Love you, Daddy”, and more sentimental garbage like that. Outcast reads like a shit TV drama or the kind of scenes you see in a Michael Bay movie in between the explosions that are laughably meant to make the audience care about the characters. 

Paul Azaceta’s art is good and I like Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colours – the palettes are surprisingly brighter than your average horror and varied too which I appreciated. The art team are the only ones pulling their weight on this title. 

I’m sure Kirkman will get to whatever it is he’s getting at though, going by his past books and the subtitle of this one, he’s quite happy to take his time getting there so it might be Volume 30 or whatever before Kyle figures out he’s a special exorcist who's destined to fight Satan. But, like Kirkman's other series Thief of Thieves, I’m not going to be following Outcast to see that happen.

Outcast, Volume 2: A Vast and Unending Ruin

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