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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Outsiders / Checkmate


Authors: Greg Rucka and Judd Winick
Artists: Joe Bennet, Matthew Clark, Eddy Barrows and Ron Randall
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 737 2
ISBN-10: 1 84576 737 3
Available 22 February 2008

Checkmate are a group of government operatives, superheroes and spies, dedicated to keeping the world safe - even if they operate in darkness. The Outsiders are a team of superheroes operating above the law, bringing justice at any price. When the Outsiders inadvertently caused a nuclear explosion, they became public enemy number one. But Checkmate have a plan to redeem them... a mission to deadly Oolong Island, home to a group of mad scientists, and the evil genius Chang Tzu - the ultimate egghead. But when the mission goes wrong, will anyone make it back alive...?

Outsiders / Checkmate: Checkout collects the crossover story from Checkmate issues #13-15 and Outsiders issues #47-49.

Something sinister is happening on Oolong Island, home of mad scientists and their terrifying creations. But the island lies too close to China and North Korea for the U.N.'s metahuman monitoring force, Checkmate, to do anything about it.

Nightwing's team of Outsiders, however, was created for just this sort of mission. The rogue super-team goes to places no other heroes can go, no matter the consequences. So when Checkmate deputizes the Outsiders (by means of kidnapping them), it's off to Oolong Island and the horrors that await.

When these two teams on either side of the law join forces, personalities are sure to clash, secrets are sure to be revealed... and not everyone is guaranteed to make it back in one piece...

The writing for this collection is tight and manages to squeeze a lot of narrative into as compact a space as possible. The art work is also worthy of note. There are some pretty ugly and twisted beasties lurking in this collection - and I particularly loved how Chang Tzu was realised.

An interesting release that, while rather twisted, manages to stay just this side of sane.


Pete Boomer

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