No matter how you feel about The Outsider Wars' conclusion, there's just no denying how brilliant the visuals are by artist Andrea Sorrentino and colorist Marcelo Maiolo. Really, you could feel an unhealthy amount of hatred for this story and you'd still be totally blown away by these panels. Everything felt topnotch; the panel layouts, the perspectives, the epic atmosphere as rain poured down on everyone. Each and every page has something worth admiring and to get into specifics would ruin just how superb some of these cinematic moments truly are. There's such an immense amount of detail put into not only the characters, but also the areas surrounding them and the way it's all presented. Seriously, this is easily one of the most creative art teams in comics right now -- stunning work all around. Okay, I said no specifics but I'll give you just one: Katana looks superbly awesome in her segments. Even if she's just standing in the background, she looks amazingly cool. If there is an Outsiders title at some point, I sincerely hope DC has Sorrentino and Maiolo providing the art.
This was a pretty fulfilling course of events. Some parts feel rushed (see "The Bad") but what did work left quite a mark. Writer Jeff Lemire was able to create a whole new world and family dynamic for Oliver -- now it's just a matter of seeing whether it plays any kind of role moving forward. The next story hits us with a huge teaser and has me beyond stoked to jump into the next issue (BRICK!). That said, it would be very unfortunate if these big developments are just left behind and don't take a toll on Oliver as he heads back to Seattle. Still, some complaints aside, Lemire made sure this was a thoroughly entertaining and gripping finale. When all is said and done, it's a little surprising that Katana has the honor of the "coolest" bit, but seeing as her role has been pretty minimal in the story so far, I'd say it justified her appearance.
The Outsiders War was pretty ambitious and tried to include a few really big elements. Unfortunately, by trying to tackle a lot of content (the loss of a family member, a new family dynamic, the villains' grand plan, what's to come), you don't feel a great sense of weight behind some of these huge incidents. Maybe it's just me, but the emotional element behind Oliver's father didn't really stick and it feels almost glossed over as we move to other scenes. A few bits of stiff/somewhat unnatural dialogue didn't help this feeling, either. And, is it just me or is it a little tough to swallow that this small group of clans could take control of Europe with just some chemical weapons? The big agenda/villainous plan definitely felt secondary and it's more like the scheme was just a way to bring Oliver and Emiko to the same place. Lastly, I can't help but shake the feeling this issue didn't have a "big showdown" for Oliver. Sure, there's jaw-dropping moments, but a little more tension behind Komodo and Ollie's encounter before it wrapped up would have been hugely appreciated.
The Outsiders War ends on a consistently gorgeous and pretty satisfying note. Truthfully, the story feels like it's trying to juggle a little too much at times, but it's mostly well-written, makes some big developments and has some legitimately stunning moments. It may not be a perfect bull's eye, but it's still a massively enjoyable ride and does a terrific job building the hype for what's to come.