COMIC REVIEW: Outcast Vol.1

Kyle Barnes is on a (reluctant at first) journey to getting some answers for what has been happening to him his entire life.  Is he just cursed to be afflicted by visiting demons or is there something more to it than that?  And what about his ‘gift’?  Where did that come from and what does it mean for his haunted journey into the unknown?  And who is the mysterious stranger that has just moved in next door?

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA introduces Kyle Barnes, his tragic past, and his unusual gift. Kirkman and Azaceta zero-in on dark forces in this all-new suspenseful series. Since he was a child, Kyle has witnessed his loved ones become possessed by demons, and it has caused his life to fall apart. He wants to be believed. And he wants answers. But when he goes searching for them, what he uncovers just might bring about the end of the world.

I’ll confess now that I haven’t read all of the Walking Dead (hardly any at all actually – for shame), but I have read some so I am familiar with Kirkman’s work.  

Outcast is a cracking read if you’re into the supernatural side of things.  I’ve had a fascination of all things demonic and otherworldly for most of my life so I was excited to read Outcast.  To be honest, I’ll read and watch anything I can get my hands on when it comes to things like that.  My somewhat…… choice taste in horror films reflects that.

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As I was reading Volume 1, I was struck by the similarities it has to the TV show Supernatural.  I’ve been a fan of the show since the start (not so much anymore as I didn’t like the direction that they took the show in after series 5), and Outcast has some close similarities.  The main character, Kyle, comes from a broken childhood after his mother is possessed by a demon, as well as other people that he knows along the way.  But when he discovers that it’s happening to other people in the town where he lives, he starts to wonder what it means for him and those people that he loves.  All of that is very close to the character of Sam in Supernatural.  So of course, I was instantly hooked within the first few pages.

In Volume 1, we get Kyle’s tragic back-story running alongside the main plot in the form of flashbacks and it’s one of love and massive loss.  As a result, he keeps to himself, unwilling to endanger anyone he knows.  It’s a lonely existence but the local Reverend comes knocking and needs Kyle’s help with the exorcism of a local boy.  Whatever is possessing the boy knows Kyle, but how is that possible?  And what does it want?  Together, Kyle and the Reverend set out to get some answers for what has happened to Kyle over the years and answers for what it is about Kyle that the demons seem to fear so much.

Paul Azaceta’s art is gorgeous and the colour palette is just perfect for the subject matter.  It’s dark and drab with vibrant colour being splashed across the pages when necessary.  The glare of scarlet is perfectly jarring when there is blood involved and it sets off the entire tone of the comic with expert precision.  Kirkman invites you to really think about your belief system and what you truly think is real and what is just fiction.  Any time the Reverend speaks to his poker buddies, it really made me sit and think for a few moments as he is a nice balance to the chaos that is Kyle’s life.

All in all, Outcast is a really good, thought provoking read.  My only niggle would be that because it is quite similar to Supernatural, it makes it very similar to Hellblazer (any Supernatural fan will know that the show borrows very heavily from the Hellblazer comics).  As a result, Outcast is a story that I am very familiar with.  But, saying that, I’m very interested to see what direction the comic will go in because although it’s a familiar storyline, there always new and exciting ways to tell it and Kirkman never disappoints.

Title: Outcast

Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound

Rating: 3.5/5

ReviewerVix

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