It’s just an average high school dance at John C. Fremont High School in El Dorado City. Cliques, bullies, and the epic battle between the popular kids and the not-so-popular ones. Oh…and there are also demon spawn and evil spirits lurking around every dark corner. They’ve taken over the principal’s body, murdered a drug dealer, and who know’s what they’ll do next. The freak, the geek, the jock, and the popular girl must come together to discover why a supernatural force has taken over their town—and why the sheriff seems in on the coup.
Readers have to dive into this story with a heavy duty dose of suspension of disbelief. The exposition is short: the four main characters are introduced, and then BAM! Demons! The battle is on: good versus evil and high school nemeses coming together to fight otherworldly powers. If you’re looking for a more nuanced set up and lots of character development you might want to look elsewhere. Out There is action oriented, and that’s okay—as long as that’s what you’re into.
Ramos’s art seemed a little off to me, or maybe his exaggerated and stylized designs just doesn’t fit within my preferred styles. The girls seem a little extra voluptuous, the boys a little too masculine, and there is a thing going on with oversized feet which seems humorous to me, though I don’t know if that was the intended effect. The clown feet became more and more distracting as I read. That being said, the visual characterization of our high school pals might appeal to readers who like their character designs manga-esque. The ratio of text to image also seemed off in places, which makes some panels hard to read and follow. (Those familiar with Ramos’s more recent work on Spider-Man or X-Men should take note that Out There was originally published back in the early 2000s.)
This is not my favorite comic ever. Both plot and characterization combine a bunch of cool things and pull from different parts of nerd culture, and maybe that’s why it doesn’t work for me. This book may find the right reader in larger collections: recommend it to your voracious readers who devour anything they can get their hands on or those who are okay with a little more style than substance.
Out There, vol. 1: The Evil Within
by Brian Augustyn
Art by Humberto Ramos and Sandra Hope
Boom! Studios, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: 14+