Book Quibbles: Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him

Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Despite being a huge Walking Dead fan I have not gotten far in the comics. I’ve heard from other sources about what happens in them and how it compares to the show, but I always figured I’d get there eventually. So this is one of the first comics I’ve read of Robert Kirkman without any bias or judgement (based on another adaptation.)

The artwork is great. It’s eerie and dark, which sets the mood fabulously. It fits with the rest of the story. Kyle’s life hasn’t been easy and the coloring reflects that. You can literally feel how hard Kyle has it and how he’s feeling.

Kyle, along with Reverend Anderson, are on a journey to figure out why so many people in their town are being possessed. It is peculiar. Is there a door to hell that’s been opened nearby?

When it comes to demons I’m pretty used to how they do it in Supernatural. It’s a lot like that in here: from the black smoke of the demon to exorcising it and the demon’s twisted ways. I’m not complaining about it, but I wish there was something a bit different about it.

That different is Kyle though.

I like this story, aside from getting no answers whatsoever. Kyle is constantly called an “outcast” but we’re never told what that was. Why can Kyle hurt demons just by touching them? No clue. The characters are meh, I may start to develop some feelings towards them as the series continues on, but for now we just get demon possession and information on Kyle’s backstory.

None of that makes me NOT recommend the story. There is strong language and violence so, warning to anyone that doesn’t like that, but I say give it a read. The comic is actually being turned into a TV show next year, so you may want to get a head of the game while you still can.

*moving onto some spoilers*

Kyle is able to “hurt” and exorcise demons just by his touch. I’m going to throw this out right now: why does angel come to mind? The demons repeatedly call him an “outcast” which we have no idea what that means. He can hurt demons and demons have been following him around all his life. Being an “outcast” angel would make some sense. Maybe even an outcast demon of sorts.

That is just a theory and I could be so wrong, but I’m only on volume 1 and that’s all I can think about.

Kyle has been a recluse most of his adult life. As a young child he had a pretty good life with his mom…until she started beating him quite literally out of nowhere. After some time Kyle got tired of it and started to hurt her back, and when touching her, got rid of something inside of her.

It’s kind of annoying how Kyle can’t come to terms with what’s happening. He won’t call it possession or demons, but he knows he can hurt someone that has some “thing” inside of them.

Any way, Kyle got into a relationship with a woman named Allison, who also became possessed and therefore, he ended up hurting her too. There was also a problem with his daughter that everyone took as abuse (to his wife as well.) They figured being beaten as a kid would leave some scars and cause him to abuse them. Because of this Kyle closed himself off and barely talked to anyone, including his adopted sister Megan and her family.

New cases of possession turn up all over town and the Reverend is getting pretty tired of it. This Reverend Anderson, he gambles, smokes, and swears. We do find out he gets the money for the church, but the fact that he has to go to such lengths to get it shows how no one is invested in faith anymore.

The Reverend ends up seeing Kyle and telling him about a young boy that is possessed and he wants Kyle to help. After he does this causes Kyle to change, clean his house, and want to get involved more. I mean, the person usually ends up getting a bad beating before the demon is exorcised but at least it’s gone, right? (Do you really have to beat someone up who’s possessed? Just touch them? Why even bother talking?)

There’s also a man who attends the Reverends service one day that gives him a bad feeling. In the end he carves a freaking pentagram in the Reverends chest to remind him to stop snooping around and finding out the answers to Kyle’s problem and all the demons. 100 bucks the guy is Satan (he pretty much says it.)

I’m very curious to see where Kyle’s story goes and how this could mean the end of the world. Is everyone just going to get possessed?

Even though there were some slow moments and us getting no answers, I’m still going to keep reading. Like I said, I’m very curious.


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