Outcast, Vol.1: A Darkness Surrounds Him
Author: Robert Kirkman Illustrator: Paul Azaceta Colourist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel, Sequential Art, Horror
Release Date: January 15th 2015
Page Count: 152
Isn’t it fantastic when you discover something new on your own, only to realize that there is already all kinds of hype surrounding it, only somehow you seemed to have missed it? That was the case for myself and the graphic novel Outcast. I was enjoying a day in the city with my Mom and as we were browsing through different book and entertainment stores, I came across the graphic novel section in an HMV. They had a bit of a sale going on so I decided to check out what they had and that’s when I came across Outcast. I had never heard of it, but the front cover, artwork, publisher (Image comics a.k.a. my favourite graphic novel publisher) and description were intriguing enough for me to pick it up blindly. I honestly didn’t even realize the author was Robert Kirkman, the author of the extremely popular graphic novel series/television series, The Walking Dead until the cashier pointed it out. She also mentioned that Outcast is in the process of becoming a television show. I honestly had no idea about any of this when I picked it up, but I’m glad my instincts were pretty much on point.
Goodreads Synopsis: Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it.
I have never read a The Walking Dead graphic novel, so I had nothing to compare Outcast to, which I think in the long run was for the better. I’ve noticed that a lot of the reviews I have seen about Outcast were almost always comparing it to Kirkman’s other work revolving around The Walking Dead. I however, have gone into this fresh as my first Robert Kirkman experience in the graphic novel world and I have to say, I really enjoyed this story.
Image Comics is by far my favourite graphic novel publisher as it deals primarily with darker subject lines which is something that I personally enjoy. Anything dark, mysterious and creepy is something that I will probably love 99% of the time. That being said, Outcast does not hold anything back. It is gory and dark and disturbing which is perfect if you’re looking for that kind of thing.
The story deals with demons, possessions and exorcisms which sounds like a lot of content, but overall, the story felt as if it were missing something. This first volume dealt with a lot of character introductions and back stories which didn’t leave much room for a peak in the story. Outcast, Volume 1 felt like more of a stepping stone toward something bigger that has yet to come. Although there was no peak, I did like how much care went into providing a back story for the various characters that were introduced in this first volume.
Our main character, Kyle Barnes, definitely has the most depth of any of the characters so far. We learn a lot about his history and the series of unfortunate circumstances he has had to overcome in his life so far. I feel as though there is still a bit more to learn about The Reverend and his past and I am excited to see what we’ll learn about him in future volumes. There are a few minor characters such as Kyle’s sister and her police officer husband, a detective who is trying to uncover the truth behind his partner’s strange behavior, a mother and her young, possessed son and a mysterious new man in town. As stated, so far we know the most about Kyle and his past, but there is definitely much more to learn about the rest of the cast of characters.
Although I have never read The Walking Dead, I am a big fan of the television show which makes me pretty excited for the upcoming Outcast television series. A trailer for the show was recently shown at San Diego ComiCon, and although it is a little vague, it has definitely further peaked my interest.
Although there are quite a lot of mixed reviews revolving around Outcast, I personally enjoyed it very much which proves that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of reading something that peaks your interest solely based on another person’s opinion. I’m glad I came across this novel and found its synopsis and aesthetic appealing before I discovered the hype surrounding it. I highly recommend this graphic novel to those who love everything dark and disturbing.