COMIC BOOK REVIEW: OUTCAST VOL. 1: A DARKNESS SURROUNDS HIM / AUTHOR: ROBERT KIRKMAN / ARTIST: PAUL AZACETA, ELIZABETH BREITWEISER / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 28TH
The creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman's much delayed series Outcast finally arrives from Image Comics (under the Skybound umbrella) this year and here collected in graphic novel form are the first six issues of the new supernatural series. Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic has lasted for over 130 issues and has spawned a hit TV show, but can Outcast live up to such expectations? Quite simply, yes it does.
Outcast follows Kyle Barnes, a man who was the victim of a demonic possession as a boy somewhere in rural America that has followed him and destroyed all his relationships, so when we find him he has isolated himself from most of society, mostly he feels for the benefit of other people. It's not until he meets the Reverend Anderson (a man from his past) that things begin to really move, as Kyle questions everything that has happened to him and they team up and begin a series of supernatural investigations. All the while Kyle is haunted by his past.
Kirkman's magic as a writer is in finding human moments in extraordinary circumstances. The best moments of The Walking Dead weren't the zombies, it was the human drama. Outcast has a very eerie tone and the human emotion is really what makes it tick. There are some very sombre moments, like in the first issue where Kyle attempts to reconnect with his past. Kirkman creates some captivating dialogue, and interactions between all the characters feel very real, making the supernatural moments all the more shocking.
The art from Paul Azaceta helps hammer home the dark tension, with stunning visuals and beautiful layouts, while Elizabeth Breitweiser's brooding colours help complete an amazing package. Every character is drawn uniquely and each of their emotions and expressions is conveyed so well, while the supernatural imagery is bold and striking when you turn a page and discover it.
Time will only tell if Outcast will have the longevity of The Walking Dead, but Kirkman and Azaceta have created something with just as much drama, passion and gloom.
With some genuinely terrifying and unsettling imagery, as well as some beautifully tender and emotional moments Outcast is a must read book, blending supernatural horror with emotional drama from creator Kirkman, and it deserves to be every bit as successful as The Walking Dead.
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