"Outcast #35" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics / Skybound
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Paul Azaceta
Colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 9th, 2018
Kyle and the rest of his crew have managed to carve out a life out in the woods on an old farm, away from the monsters that have infested the town and its people. When his sister Megan is hurt in a car accident, he's forced to go back into civilization to save her. Will he survive this trip into the lion's den? Well, this arc is called “Invasion,” so you can probably guess where this is going.
When we first see Megan, she's being interrogated by Rowland, the new leader of...you know, I'm not really sure what to call the bad guys in Outcast. Demons? Monsters? In any case, this guy is a villain in the truest sense of the word. He tells Megan in no uncertain terms what will happen to her if she doesn't reveal Kyle's location. This is personal, as she's already had a guest in her head before, forcing her to do evil things, including pushing her own husband out a window and crippling him. You have to give her credit though because as scary as this is, she does not back down. She literally spits right in Rowland's face.
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Writer Robert Kirkman's dialogue in this scene is absolutely chilling. Rowland sounds like a vicious madman, which contrasts nicely with his buttoned up appearance. In reality, this guy would probably rip your throat out if you looked at him the wrong way.
Kyle's rescue is a little too convenient. Things are never this easy for him or the rest of the characters. We soon learn why by the end of the issue. Again, I'm going to point to the title of this arc for a clue. It puts Kyle in a very tough spot and forces a head-on confrontation with a superior force. It's not like they're entirely unarmed in this compound, but it's one thing to exorcise a demon and another to be shot in the face by a bunch of possessed police officers.
Artist Paul Azaceta captures this inner turmoil well, particularly at the beginning of the issue as Kyle has to make a hard decision. Does he go save his sister, putting himself and others in danger? Or does he play it safe? You can see this weigh on him as he realizes what he has to do.
Azaceta peppers most of the pages with smaller square panels focused on key details like a specific element or a person's reaction. This is a fantastic effect that is used sparingly and very effectively. It always enhances the scene, although there is one panel that is placed awkwardly over a character's face. This feels weird because there's a wide open section to the side of the image that wouldn't have blocked anything.
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Elizabeth Breitweiser's colors work with the flow of Outcast #35. We start out in darkness and shadow as Kyle's immediate future is shrouded in mystery. He and a few others set out with no real hope for success. When they manage to get Megan and return to the compound, the sun is shining again, like this might actually work after all. That slim possibility is quickly dashed away in an even brighter, although far more menacing light.
Outcast has built to an amazing confrontation between good and evil. As with most issues, this one ends on such an incredible cliffhanger that you'll be begging for more. It's an excellently paced comic that happens to be filled with dread. How are they possibly going to get out of this?