Indictment Of The Youth: ‘Outlawed #1’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

We open at a Senate hearing where the likes of Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Riri Williams, the Wasp (Nadia Van Dyne), Captain Marvel, and Captain America are questioned about the safety and efficacy of young superheroes like the Champions. We then jump back to a climate summit spotlighting teenage activists and future scientists. It’s led by a young woman named Ailana Kabua, who has been threatened by the Roxxon Oil Company. The Champions are attending undercover to make sure nothing bad happens to Ailana or the summit. Unfortunately, there is an attack–in the form of a dragon unleashed by Roxxon leftover from the War of the Realms. The Champions mobilize to protect the summit and protect Ailana…but it all goes terribly wrong.

Outlawed #1 cover by Pepe Larraz and David Curiel
Outlawed #1 cover by Pepe Larraz and David Curiel

Outlawed #1 is the one-shot that leads into the Outlawed stories in the likes of Champions, Ms. Marvel, New Warriors, and Miles Morales: Spider-Man. It explains how teenage vigilantes become illegal and targeted by the U.S. government.

The story of the one-shot is fairly straightforward for the most part, but it seems to become purposefully in other areas. For example, we’re not shown exactly how they bring down the Roxxon dragon. We know that Viv Vision snaps and tries to phase through the dragon in a blind rage, but she somehow absorbs some chi from Power Man. This leads to a bizarre energy reaction that ends up destroying some of the surrounding city. 

It’s also not exactly clear what happens to Ms. Marvel that puts her in the hospital. She tries to keep the building from crushing her and Ailana, but that doesn’t work for unclear reasons.

Beyond that, it does feel a bit like a retread of the original Marvel’s Civil War right down to the New Warriors showing up and trying to register and train young heroes for the government. That doesn’t mean that Outlawed won’t take it in an interesting and fresh new direction in the months to come, but this opening salvo does feel very familiar.

Outlawed #1 art by Kim Jacinto, Espen Grundetjern, and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Outlawed #1 art by Kim Jacinto, Espen Grundetjern, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

Kim Jacinto’s artwork does suit the comic fairly well. It feels a little more cartoonish here than in Jacinto’s previous comics, but it does a good job of heightening the drama, emotion, and action of many scenes. That said, it goes a little over-the-top at times. Espen Grundetjern is the color artist on this venture and the resulting palette is vibrant and well-suited to the comic.

Outlawed #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The premise is solid, even if it’s reminiscent of Civil War. The characters are engaging, even if some of what happens feels random and confusing. The art is solid, but there are some panels that are just a bit too cartoonish and melodramatic. For all its flaws, I can still recommend it though. Feel free to pick this one up.

Outlawed #1 comes to us from writer Eve L. Ewing, artist Kim Jacinto, color artist Espen Grundetjern, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Pepe Larraz with David Curiel, and variant cover artists Tony Daniel with Rain Beredo; Anna Rud; Cory Smith with Matt Milla; and Ron Lim with Israel Silva.

Final Score: 6.5/10

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