“Seems like they’ve been trying to hurt me my whole life… I need to find out why.”
— Robert Kirkman, Outcast (Volume 1)
This is actually the first series I’ve started that’s written by Robert Kirkman. Don’t hurt me! I’m up to date with the Walking Dead TV show (who’s ready for season 7’s big reveal?) and I do plan on checking out the very comics that brought the show to life (in some twisted way). While Robert Kirkman is a tour de force in the comic sphere, it’s not far-fetched to wonder if he can continue strive in the business by delivering new and exciting stories. Outcast, instead of visiting zombies, is actually something unusual from his part. Here, he preferred checking out the upside-down world of exorcism. In a rather small village, quite a few (a lot more than one would wish in his own town) are possessed and end up doing some really nasty things. Nasty enough for Kyle Barnes to help understand. Why him? Because he was one of the first to actually fight off a demon who inhabited his close ones. After a huge period of seclusion, he finally decided that it was time to find answers to all this. Among others, one particular question drives this man. “Why him?”
As much as I’d like to say that these volumes are heavy on dialogue, this one is an exception. A lot of series nowadays do like to be short on words and grab people’s attention with the artwork. It’s not such a bad thing when the panels, even without words, are able to convey a 1000 words. But sometimes, when writers and artists want to drag out a moment (or the whole volume), little is said and that can be unsatisfying. Outcast manages only to tease us on what’s to come with the arrival of a potential antagonist, the declaration that Kyle Barnes is an Outcast (no one knows what the hell that means) and the discovery of Kyle Barnes’ secret weapon. While the tone of this volume succeeded in keeping a secluded and possessed vibe to this story, I felt like we could’ve gotten more in volume 1. It seemed like the focus was on setting up the story to come, rather than giving us real reasons to stick around. While the approach is interesting, this easily punishes Outcast since volume 1 didn’t dive deep into the ocean.
If we look at it through the lenses of a satisfied fan, Outcast does however find a unique essence to draw from. Saying less can also instigate a desire to learn more. A little like Kyle Barnes and his desire to find out more. With every event that occurs, we’re drawn into a world that no one in the story yet understands. I have to admit that I am curious of every little fish hooks that Kirkman throws at us. From shallow personas to world-building elements, Outcast is a smooth character-driven story. In fact, the protagonists evolution is curious and certainly shows someone disturbed, confused and isolated. His motives become clear and this very desire to escape the lifestyle he’s been condemned to is fascinating. The artwork isn’t the most mind-blowing, but it was good enough to maintain an eerie feel to the whole story and contribute to the plot’s direction. It mainly focuses on character expressions and keeps the color scheme limited to certain dusk-like colors; and that seemed like a recipe for success.
There is potential in this series, that’s a no-brainer. While the first volume doesn’t go deep into the plot and preferred to set up the characters and world for the volumes to come, Outcast is probably one of the rare stories revolving around exorcism that won’t just stick to creepy possessed character moments and unexpected jump-in-your-face scares. Outcast feels like a series that can dig deep into the psyche of troubled characters while keeping a much needed suspense around the whole exorcism world it’s trying to incorporate in every day life. With artist Paul Azaceta teamed up with Robert Kirkman, this volume can definitely continue to succeed in delivering a dangerous world where thing’s are more than what the eye sees. It’s not everyday that you get a series where each characters felt different. Outcast is definitely something for people to check out if you want to acquaint yourself with a man surrounded by darkness and world filled with possessed individuals. Don’t you want to find out what an Outcast is too?
Check out the trailer for its TV show adaptation here:
Did you read Outcast (Volume 1) yet? What did you think about it?
You haven’t read it, you say?
How about you read this trade paperback for yourself!
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below, as well as like and follow us so we can get you guys more reviews to enjoy!
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆/