The Hunt is almost a text book example of how to take what might have been an interesting premise and thoroughly throttle it via a compulsion to cross over with other events. The Deep defined the Outsiders without Batman, but with Alfred’s presence now required elsewhere, the Outsiders are cut loose without funding, or much purpose. The dangling plots from the previous book are forgetten, and as a stopgap it’s suggested the Outsiders round up a few of Batman’s foes who’ve been let loose from Arkham Asylum, hence the hunt of the title.

Fernando Pasarin is an extremely dynamic artist. He cut his Outsiders teeth with a fine action chapter in The Deep, and The Hunt is page following page of thrilling art. His versions of the cast have less individuality to them, but the locations he creates and the action he conveys are great. For the extended final chapter Derec Donovan contributes a number of pages, and he’s not as accomplished.

In plot terms, Peter J. Tomasi tries to make the best of what’s been thrown at him, although the references to other events are now incomprehensible to all but those with the longest memories for superhero stories. If you want to read this, you’ll just have to take peoples’ word for something without pondering the reasons why, because there’s also a Blackest Night crossover to be dealt with, as dead people close to our heroes are revived. Tomasi appears unable to take this remotely seriously. There’s a dark sense of humour at work behind what he puts the cast through, and some overstatedly ridiculous dialogue, but it still doesn’t make for very entertaining comics and anyone of a more sensitive disposition is likely to find these stories distasteful.

Tomasi seems to know his days on Outsiders are numbered, so provides an extremely rushed ending before exiting for Dan Didio and Philip Tan. They pick up with The Road to Hell.