"Outcast #37" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics / Skybound Entertainment
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Paul Azaceta
Colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Lettered by Rus Wooton
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 19th, 2018
Kyle's father, Simon, has been a bit of a mystery since he showed up in Outcast. At long last we dig into his backstory to find out why he left his family behind and how he became the badass warrior we know him to be now.
When it comes to someone's parents, you have an idea of the basics. Two people meet, they fall for each other, and out comes a baby. That certainly happens in Outcast #37, but it's not that cut and dried. Writer Robert Kirkman gives us a real look at the lives of Simon and Sarah as they meet and begin their relationship. Although we're not fully invested in either of them, it's hard not to instantly get wrapped up in their lives.
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This makes what follows all the more heartbreaking and downright tragic. Simon was on the run from the battle between good and evil. We don't know why, but it doesn't matter. He'd managed to find a peaceful life and start a family only to have that violence track him down. With everything on the line, Simon has to fight harder than ever.
We see this in a bloody mess in an alleyway. Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser makes the red splatter across the page, driving home just how horrifying this act is. Simon is not just killing another person; he's destroying everything he's built in this small town. Artist Paul Azaceta captures the anguish on his face as Simon funnels all of his rage into each and every sickening blow.
I'll never get tired of Azaceta's use of smaller, inset panels to focus on additional details. They sometimes look innocuous, but they all have a deeper meaning. Each works to amplify the scene, whether it's a quiet moment at a diner or a violent encounter in an alleyway.
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It's easy to see how Kyle would hate his father while growing up. He basically disappeared one day and he never knew why. Now we understand why he did what he did and how it was in an effort to keep his family safe. That hits like a punch to the gut. There's a great scene towards the end of this issue as Simon returns to check in on his wife and child one more time and he's just pouring out all these thoughts. Letterer Rus Wooton emphasizes all the right words in this that show Simon had the best of intentions, but he just went about it the wrong way.
A flashback issue like this is difficult to pull off without losing momentum in the overall narrative. The creative team did it with style, adding depth to an important character and tying everything back to the present. This will undoubtedly provide some valuable context to Simon's actions in the next few issues as Outcast marches towards its finale. This was a powerful and important issue that is only going to make the rest of the series more harrowing.