Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Cover Artists: Paul Azaceta/Elizabeth Breitweiser
Review by: Josh Gillam
Outcast is a horror comic done right. Robert Kirkman writes the psychological horror angle while Paul Azaceta draws the gore. These two come together to deliver a well balanced horror story that leaves the reader wanting more.
Outcast starts off with a mom and her daughter arguing while a boy is enjoying some chips in the background. And man is he really enjoying those chip, so much, that he chewed through his finger. We’re only on page 2 and a kid is chewing off his finger. Okay Kirkman and Azaceta, you have my full attention now. This kid’s name is Joshua and as you’ve probably guessed, something’s not quite right with him.
Robert Kirkman totally has me hooked with this book. If the quality never falters from this level as the series goes on, then I will be a diehard fan as long as it’s around. This is good horror, and I mean really good horror, not B horror but seriously good horror. Kirkman isn’t just throwing buckets of gore at you and calling it horror, as so many “horror” comics tend to do. He does make sure to use an appropriate amount of gore, but he also played up the psychological aspect of horror very well.
There is also some fantastic and memorable dialogue in this issue. There’s really long and somewhat philosophical dialogue from the reverend, such as the first speech he gives when his character is introduced and when he talks about when he was almost possessed.
While the comic focuses primarily on Kyle, who appears will be the central character in this book, as I’ve already pointed out, Kirkman does a wonderful job fleshing out the supporting cast. Not only does this keep the story moving, but it also adds multiple levels of realism to the setting.
As I’m reading through I can’t help but notice things that the plot brings up but doesn’t dwell on for too long. I can only suspect that some of these things will continue to come up as the story goes on and we learn more about the characters. Kirkman is a man with a plan and he’s laying a foundation for what promises to be awesome and chilling series!
I have to be completely honest, I wasn’t familiar with Paul Azaceta’s work before I read Outcast. I got as far as page 2 before I put the comic down and went on Google and started trying to figure out, “who the hell is this guy?” I had to know where else I could see his stuff, because I absolutely loved what I saw.
I’ve already mentioned page 2 of Outcast showing Joshua with blood all over his mouth and shirt, holding up his gnawed on finger, with the speech bubble that says “So…hungry…” I had to mention it again because it’s quite possibly my favorite panel of the entire comic. I want to get a print of it, frame it, and put it on my wall. That picture set the tone for the rest of the comic.
The final showdown at the end of the book has some intense artwork that helps the reader feel that tension and fear from the room. You find yourself having the same reaction the characters do to everything that’s going on in that scene. There are examples of that all throughout the book as well. One example is a page where Kyle goes from sad to angry and starts smashing a phone against a tree. You can almost feel his anger just by looking at him.
Outcast is a step in the right direction for the horror genre. Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta have created a wonderfully dark horror story that is sure to stay with you forever in your nightmares .
Josh Gillam is the creator and writer for the webcomic/comedy project, Cynical Stew. You can follow him on Twitter at @Cynical_Stew.