Spoilers ahead for this week's Detective Comics #987.
The Outsiders team that was teased in the pages of DC Comics' Dark Nights: Metal (and more officially promised by Scott Snyder) was has finally shown up in this week’s Detective Comics #987.
What is the purpose of the new Outsiders team? Deal with the threats identified from the Brainiac Files (which were downloaded during May’s Justice League: No Justice event).
Detective Comics #987 finishes up the run by Bryan Edward Hill and Miguel Mendonca, and coincides with Wednesday's announcement that Hill and artist Dexter Soy on a new Batman and the Outsiders title, spinning out of this storyline.
So what are the Brainiac Files? Let's review: Amanda Waller downloaded the Brainiac Files just before Brainiac died in Justice League: No Justice. After Batman stole the Brainiac Files from Waller, he created a new team to deal with the threats outlined in them, combining experienced heroes with younger characters who can be taught how to improve.
By the end of this week’s issue, Batman had established the new Outsiders team with Black Lightning as its leader, including the Signal(Duke Thomas), Orphan (Cassandra Cain), and Katana.
The formation of this new team follows a reveal in Dark Nights: Metal that Batman had a black-ops team (at some point in recent history) that was called the Outsiders. That team included Metamorpho, Black Lightning, Katana, Halo, and Geo-Force.
The Outsiders is also a concept that’s been around in DC Comics for awhile, tracing all the way back to 1983 when the team was first put together to handle things the Justice League couldn’t.
So how did Hill’s storyline finish up his run on Detective while also introducing the new Outsiders team? Let’s take a look…
In the Batcave, Batman is introducing the brand new Outsiders team to the first threat he acquired from the Brainiac Files. Her name is Martina Dementieva, a black market weapon’s dealer from Markovia, and the team discusses the project while getting to know their teammates.
But Alfred breaks up the fun by reporting that Karma and his gang have broken into Wayne Enterprises and are now holding a security guard hostage.
The Outsiders offer their help, taking down the crew pretty easily (although Batman has to remind Katana not to kill anyone). And the hostage is freed.
But Karma himself is upstairs.
Karma Comes Full Circle
After Jefferson and Bruce disagree about how much help the Outsiders can offer against Karma, Bruce decides to head upstairs in Wayne Enterprises to meet the villain alone.
After the two share witty observations and shared memories, they fight. Karma keeps reading Batman’s every move before he makes them.
But Batman follows some advice that Katana gave him - forcing Karma to see more in his mind than just the next fight move. He floods the villain with hurtful memories and thoughts.
In that moment, Batman attacks and removes his adversary’s mask. "I’ll find a way to heal your mind," Batman says. "And you’re going to tell me everything you know about Markovia."
Batman asks Jefferson for an answer: Will he lead the new Outsiders team?
The answer is yes, and after Bruce promises Jefferson that he’ll get whatever he needs for his school in Metropolis, Bruce says to Jeff:
"If he asks you about it, there’s no point in lying to him."
Who is "he?" Well, after Bruce leaves in his sports car, the 'he" to which he was referring shows up. It’s Superman.
Although Superman doesn’t want to know what Jefferson and Bruce discussed, he does offer Jeff some advice: "Whatever Bruce Wayne wants, I’m sure you can help him, but try not to become him."
The issue ends with the aforementioned Martina Dementieva, who’s being warned about Batman’s discovery of her nefarious schemes. She demonstrates that she doesn’t care, and the final page has the tagline: To be continued … very, very soon!
That, presumably, refers to the new Batman & The Outsiders title - which as of yet has no announced debut date.