Batman: Detective Comics: On the Outside by Bryan Hill

Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Story-Arc: On the Outside.
Volume: 8.
Writer(s): Bryan Hill & Michael Moreci (Issue #982).
Penciller(s): Miguel MendoncaPhilippe Briones & Sebastian Fiumara (Issue #982).
Inker(s): Diana Egea.
Colourist(s): Adriano Lucas & Dave Stewart (Issue #982).
Letterer(s): Sal Cipriano & Clem Robins (Issue #982).
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: December 5th 2018.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401285289.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

Previously on DC Universe Rebirth’s Batman: Detective Comics series:
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 1): Rise of the Batmen by James Tynion IV
Batman (Vol. 1.5): Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): The Victim Syndicate by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 3): League of Shadows by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 4): Deus Ex Machina by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 5): A Lonely Place of Living by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 6): Fall of the Batmen by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 7): Batmen Eternal by James Tynion IV


There are many ways to achieve your goals. You can either do it alone or with others, and this has often been one of the biggest question marks with Batman. To rid crime from Gotham city, he could singlehandedly take on the burden and take down every criminal that pops up on his radar on a daily basis, while sacrificing his own happiness, body, and mind. Or, he could accept the help of other like-minded individuals who want to make a difference, while utilizing their own resources and set of skills. Throughout the Rebirth Detective Comics series, fans have seen what it’s like for these members of the Bat Family to work together and help a city stand on two feet. Following the events in Batmen Eternal, the squad of vigilantes who stood by Batman left to pursue new goals. Batman will now have to find new Gotham Knights to help in his endeavour or reconcile with the idea that he might be better off alone.

What is Batman: Detective Comics: On the Outside about? Collecting Detective Comics #982-987, this story arc serves as a launchpad for the series, following James Tynion IV’s run which came to an end in Batmen Eternal. The volume kicks off with a stand-alone story written by Michael Moreci and featuring Deacon Blackfire, a villain who feeds off the belief of individuals in the absence of hope, to hence exponentially increase his spiritual powers, who wishes to expose Batman as a False God of Gotham. Writer Bryan Hill then takes over for a five-part story arc where he introduces a brand-new villain by the name of Karma who believes that Batman has lost his purpose and become weaker with the number of allies he has recruited to his Bat Family. Intending to both convince Batman of this lack of performance and to kill all of these younglings off, Karma conjures a plan that forces Batman to either give up or team-up.


Following up what James Tynion IV had thought up for this series is no easy feat. The most logical and safe route to take is to start with a new slate and that’s what Bryan Hill offers fans in On the Outside. The configuration of this story is a simple and linear structure where a new threat enters the picture and a new team is needed to take it down. Although nothing more than an enjoyable plot, this story arc didn’t dive too quickly into an overarching scenario that gives us an idea of what to expect from this run but allowed to tease the new heroes and villains who will henceforth be recurring characters. Among the new additions are Duke Thomas, known as The Signal, and Black Lightning, who plays the new mentor for this squad, while Cassandra Cain (Orphan) and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) make a return. The characters and their banter weren’t particularly impressive since the writing almost felt exploratory as if trying to figure out how to build chemistry between them and make each of them somehow memorable.

While it isn’t necessarily a problem, this story arc felt like another episode in Batman’s life where he works in tandem with the members of his Bat Family to take down an unknown threat. The mystery behind the identity of this villain didn’t necessitate much detective work except a cheesy little memory jog that quickly reminds you that the story wasn’t searching for any form of complexity. It’s even worth mentioning that the story once again brought back the issues revolving around Batman’s odd interest to have under-aged heroes under his wings but doesn’t bring anything new to the table regarding this subject.

The stand-alone story drawn by Sebastian Fiumara and coloured by Dave Stewart was quite the change of style from the usual artwork featured in this series. It certainly fits with the story’s illusion-filled narrative but still had a couple of niggling sequences that made for awkward moments. The artwork for the On the Outside story arc also went in a completely different direction, giving us a much more modern and essentially digital style where colours are extremely vibrant, and high-contrasting panels are omnipresent, especially with the help of inkers and the heavy black contouring of figures.

Batman: Detective Comics: On the Outside is an introductory and casually entertaining chapter to the next line-up of heroes to defend Gotham from the menaces that its guardians create.


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18 thoughts on “Batman: Detective Comics: On the Outside by Bryan Hill

  1. Ok, that was weird. I accidentally read this “in feed” instead of going directly to your webpage the first time around. Everything was justified-left and I was thinking “hmmm, which do I like better. centered or justified-left for your info block”. Then I realized I was still in the feed view and closed it out. Came back to the actual page and voila, centered again.

    Not exactly a content oriented comment, I know. But hey, if I wanted to just comment on content, I’d go back to devilreads and harangue idiots 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve actually always wondered why a lot of people don’t justify their paragraphs actually. I just have a habit to do it because of academic essays and I find it most appealing when it’s centered or justified hahah

      Hahah I don’t mind content-or-not-oriented comments. It’s already a lot that you took the time to read this! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would that mean everyone’s chest/waist/hip dimensions would be equal?? 😉 “In the world of blocky figures”… Or maybe it would be a dark, gritty storyline in the vein of Watchmen about a secret plot of superheroes creating threats in order to justify their own existence 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s certainly an intriguing premise to explore whether Batman is better alone in with younglings following him around like a flock… but it sounds like those given the task of giving it life wasn’t really feeling it. I also feel like deadlines come into play with this kind of ho-hum work. Stories need to be explored to find the right path to write them! 😉

    Hahaha stooge’s comment is so funny! I wondered how you got that justify to work with the quote graphic expanding past the text. It must be the theme. I do like the justify and your large text!! I wish my text could be changed. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeh, shoes might have been a bit too big to fill for these guys. And yes, deadlines play a lot with these series, with biweekly releases. All the more impressive when they actually get a story arc right though! 😁

      Hahahah I too enjoy the font size and justifying my texts! As for my quote, it was a change in the coding that allows things in “blockquote” to expand past the text! 😁


  3. I actually forgot about this short arc! I think casually entertaining is about right, I thought bringing in Black Lightning was pretty cool and added some interesting dynamics and the TV show got me interested in the character. On a tangent, have you seen season 2 of Black Lightning? I still have it on my watchlist, I really enjoyed season 1 but a bit hesitant with the rumours it may get cancelled next season. BL is going to be part of Crisis on Infinite Earths as well, not sure how I feel about that as I’m done with the Arrow-verse (man, I wish Batwoman could have been a DC Universe show…so much potential there) and liked the fact that it stood on its own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was pretty forgettable if you ask me. It’s nice that they shun some light on BL but this really felt like an opportunity to use a part of the Detective Comics series to introduce a new series (which is the case…) making Detective Comics a lifeboat for creative teams. I still haven’t checked out season 2 though. I too was hesitant. And I was quit the CW shows after their last major crossover event. I didn’t know they also planned to bring in BL in there but I do know about all the Supermen talk for it. I still don’t know if I should toughen my way through them to see Arrow’s grand finale…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m curious about Crisis on Infinite Earths and wonder if they can pull off all of the crazy stuff that’s been announced (Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, Brandon Routh as the Kingdom Come Superman)…but I found Elseworlds to be painfully cringe-worthy and far too self aware.

        Liked by 1 person

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