Comicbook: Batman and the Outsiders

Why don't superheroes ever use the door?

The Outsiders (not to be confused with the novel of the same name) are a DC Comics superhero team that has starred in its own comic book series several times. The group is best known as "Batman's own superhero team" since he formed it, though he's no longer a regular member.

The first series, Batman and the Outsiders, was launched after the cancellation of The Brave and the Bold, Batman's own Team-Up Series, in the early 1980s. Writer Mike W. Barr and artist Jim Aparo, both of whom had extensive experience with Batman, created the team and launched the series on the last issue of TB&TB, #200 (July, 1983).

In that story, Batman is angry at the Justice League for refusing to help him rescue his friend, Lucius Fox, from being caught in the middle of a military coup in the European nation of Markovia (because they didn't want to start an international incident). He quits the team and goes alone, ending up running into various other heroes while there, including:
  • Black Lightning, a black superhero with electrical powers.
  • Metamorpho, an adventurer transformed into a chemical shapeshifting creature by an ancient artifact.
  • Geo-Force, the rightful prince of Markovia (and brother of Terra from Teen Titans) who gained the ability to manipulate the energies of the Earth (unlike his sister, who manipulates the earth itself) from an experiment.
  • Katana, a female samurai wielding a cursed sword (it steals souls) on a mission of revenge against the man who killed her family. Batman saved her life so she feels indebted to him.
  • Halo, an amnesiac, childlike girl with one superpower for each color of the rainbow (Batman basically brings her along out of pity.)

(Black Lightning and Metamorpho were already established characters; Katana and the others were introduced in that story.)

After rescuing his friend (and incidentally ending the coup) Batman invited the heroes to stay together as a team, which they did, as The Outsiders, based off Bruce Wayne's penthouse.

Later in the series, Looker, a beautiful telepath/telekinetic, and Atomic Knight, a man in Powered Armor, joined the team. (Atomic Knight was also a pre-existing character).

Eventually, the group left Batman (ironically, after he refused to help with a crisis in Markovia, busy with his own priorities) and the series changed its name to simply The Outsiders. (Batman later rejoined the League.)

The team disbanded when the series was canceled, not before Halo recovered her memories and Katana got her revenge, though. Under the original name they lasted for 32 issues (August, 1983-April, 1986). As simply Outsiders, they had another 28 issues (November, 1985-February, 1988).

A short lived relaunch had Geo-Force looking for heroes to defend Markovia against a vampire lord. These included Superman's Anti-Hero Substitute the Eradicator, and the magic-user Faust, son of Felix Faust. Over the course of their first story Looker became a vampire, which is now seen as her status quo. They were also joined by Technocrat, another Powered Armor guy. This version lasted for 24 issues (November, 1993-November, 1995).

In 2003, a new version of The Outsiders was launched, now led first by Nightwing (Batman's former protege Robin) and then by Arsenal (Speedy, Green Arrow's ex-partner.) This version hasn't been as popular as the first, and has something of a reputation for being composed of "heroes currently not being used by the League or the Titans" sort of like Marvel's The Defenders. Despite this, it went on to be the longest-running Outsiders title to date, making it to 50 issues before being relaunched. Lasting from August, 2003 to November, 2007.

This version got two new directions in rapid succession, when Batman first recreated them as an "undercover" team that would be seen as borderline villains (a reflection on how successful the previous version had been), and then promptly disappeared, leaving Alfred Pennyworth to reassemble the original lineup, plus The Creeper and Owlman (not the Mirror Universe version, but a minor Gotham City detective wearing the same costume).

This version of the team then broke in half in the wake of Blackest Night, when Geo-Force started treating them as Markovian special forces. Black Lightning, Metamorpho, Owlman and the Creeper split off, leaving Geo-Force, Katana, and Halo. When Markovia signed a non-aggression pact with New Krypton, they were joined by a new version of the Eradicator, while Black Lightning's team were joined by the bruiser Freight Train. The Markovian team is later bolstered by Looker and the Olympian.

A teenage version of The Outsiders (initially featuring only Black Lightning, Metamorpho and Katana) appeared in a few episodes of the cartoon version of The Brave and the Bold. A later episode added Geo-Force and Halo to the roster and showed Black Lightning and Katana in their traditional costumes. The Outsiders are also formed in the final episode of Beware the Batman, consisting of Batman, Katana, Alfred, Oracle, Metamorpho, and Man-Bat.


  • Amazonian Beauty: Grace Choi.
  • Attack Hello: How Batgirl joined the "undercover" team.
  • Awesome Backpack: Worn by a villain called Cryonic Man.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The plan of the man who organized the patriotic superteam, The Force Of July.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Katana, to Halo.
  • The Blank: Halo had a nightmare where she was like this; it reflected her anxiety over not knowing who she really was.
  • Butch Lesbian/Lipstick Lesbian: This very accurately describes Thunder and Grace's relationship, with Grace being the butch and Thunder, the lipstick.
  • Dirty Business: In theory anyway. They were made to handle situations too dirty for the League to handle. However, it doesn't quite work when their founder is one of the greatest moral paragons in comics. The worst act out of all the Outsiders teams was one brutal interrogation.
  • The Ditz: Halo. Justified in that she had a childlike innocence about life.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Katana's attitude.
  • Energy Beings: part of Halo's origin. She was actually such a being trapped in human form.
  • Everybody Knew Already: In one story, Batman is knocked out and in danger of death; the rest of the team decides to contact Bruce Wayne (who they know as their rich patron). To prevent them from wasting time, Alfred lets them in on the truth. Later, when Batman reveals his identity to the team, they pretend to be surprised.
  • Freeze Ray: Used by Cryonic Man.
  • Lady of War: Katana.
  • Master Swordsman: Katana.
  • Mind-Control Device: Princess Tamira used an obedience potion on Emily Briggs before the Princess's brother, Mardo, turned her into Looker.
  • The Mole Brainiac 8 in the Nightwing incarnation.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Batman villain Maxie Zeus organized his own team with counterparts to the original Outsiders.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Both teams, to some degree.
  • Rainbow Motif: Halo's super powers each had their own color: heat blasts (red), force blasts (orange), bright light (yellow), a stasis beam (green), mirages (blue), a tractor beam (indigo), and violet (all of the other colors at the same time).
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Geo-Force.
  • Scenery Censor: A scene involving a nude Batgirl.
  • Soul-Cutting Blade: Katana's sword.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Grace. She stands at an imposing height of approximately seven feet tall.
  • Superpower Lottery: Halo. She could project heat blasts (red aura), force blasts (orange), bright light (yellow), a stasis beam (green), mirages (blue), a tractor beam (indigo), fly (any color) or all at the same time (violet).
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: Devils are boiling out of a gate, Thunder swears, and her father, Black Lightning, rebukes her. She wonders that he worries about her language then, and he says that fighting demons is exactly when you don't want to offend Heaven.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Subverted with Katana, although most of the time it was in self-defense. Ironically Batman was OK with this, as editorial were not militant in Batman being a nazi about never allowing villains to be killed off.
    • Similarly evoked during Crisis On Infinite Earths; when Geo-Force, Blue Beetle, and Doctor Polaris are sent back in time by the Monitor, to when Nazis occupied Markovia, Geo-Force tells Doctor Polaris that he can kill the Nazis attacking the three heroes and even joins in.
  • Very Special Episode: The Outsiders once team up with John Walsh (yes, that John Walsh) to go after a child trafficker who has kidnapped Lian Harper.
  • Wardens Are Evil: In #4, Warden Brewster of Gotham State Prison deliberately denies a prisoner (codenamed "Meltdown") needed medical treatments and then lies that the Prison Board was responsible. He does this to trick the dangerously radioactive felon into escaping so he can be killed to save the public. Turns out the warden has decided rehabilitation doesn't work, so he's been finding ways to "legally" off prisoners.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Nightwing was pissed to discover that his team, which was supposed to be free of Batman's influence, was being sponsored by a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises.
    • In recent issues, Geo-Force became increasingly warlike and distant, seemingly viewing the team as an adjunct to the Markovian military, until Black Lightning finally snapped.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The restoration of the original Halo after the original Outsiders series ended.
  • With This Ring: When Sapphire Stagg is kidnapped from her wedding to Metamorpho, the rings are lost during the battle to rescue her. Metamorpho formed two gold rings from his own body to replace them.

Alternative Title(s):

Batman And The Outsiders