Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, joins forces with artist Paul Azaceta to bring readers a new entry into the horror genre. Rather than zombies, Outcast is a religious horror title motivated by first hand tales of demonic possession, and of course the 1973 film, The Exorcist. Kicking off the series with a normal priced double issue, Kirkman and Azaceta provide a captivating first issue that will leave you with an eerie feeling yet still intrigued of what is yet to come.
It is the story of Kyle Barnes, a hapless man from West Virginia who has lost everything. He lost his mother at a very young age, and his wife and young daughter after being wrongfully faulted for a violent domestic event. His miserable life takes another turn for the worse when he runs into Reverend Anderson, the reverend who had also exorcised a demon from Kyle’s mother, with some strange help from Kyle back when he was only fifteen. Because of those particular events years ago the reverend asks Kyle to help him attend the exorcism of young Joshua Austin. During this event Kyle and Reverend Anderson come to realize that this might be connected to his mother’s exorcism from many years ago.
This 48 page debut issue at the low price of $2.99 serves as one of the best value buys at your local comic shop this week. The issue is packed with impeccable story telling from start to finish with adequate pacing. There is a lot of character development, and the extra space in this issue helps you build a relationship with Kyle’s despair. Kirkman is able to drive home the fact Kyle has lost everything that means anything to him, the emotional impact he provides with Kyle’s past, does set up a mystery for how the story will unfold. Reverend Anderson is a man of God, who smokes and hosts all night card games with town officials in his church office. Kirkman is weaving these two’s relationship to be the driving force of the series. The plot itself is very strong and serves deeply in the aspects of the horror genre. I cannot wait to see how this story will unfold, I know Kirkman to be a very twisted writer from his past works on his little zombie book.
Paul Azaceta’s style is foolproof for the horror genre. The dreaded tone he sets for Outcast is aided by the wonderful color of Elizabeth Breitweiser, fits rural West Virginia perfectly.The focal points on the art side are the exorcism scenes. They don’t intentionally show us anything we don’t expect in those scenes, but Azaceta handles the profound moments of those scenes very well. The facial expressions Azaceta provides from Kyle to young Joshua is damn near frightening. I can not wait to see the art Azaceta will match with what comes from Kirkman’s twisted imagination, which will be enough to keep me reading this series.
Ultimately Outcast is a solid debut issue, Kirkman provides a sympathetic main character. The level of scares will vary from person to person based on views of religion and demonic possession. The scares weren’t found in the somewhat derivative violent parts of the exorcism but rather in the quieter moments of dialogue and facial expressions. Where is Kirman heading? Only he knows and the size and price of the first issue is enough alone to check this out.