Outlaw (Inez Temple) is an unusual subject for a comic-book-based prose novel, which tend to limit themselves to bigger names. Aconyte has published a higher-than-usual portion of books based on lesser-known figures, but Outlaw is (I think) particularly obscure. However, she was most recently serving as gal-pal to Domino in the Hotshots, and so was included in Tristan Palmgren’s Domino Strays. There, Palmgren did an excellent job of weaving Domino’s past with her present, while also demonstrating a deep knowledge of the source material. So, even though Outlaw’s main super-power is being able to fight in what is essentially a cowboy-themed bathing suit (what do you expect from someone who first made her mark as a ‘love’ interest for a Deadpool variant?), I was looking forward to Outlaw: Relentless.
Outlaw: Relentless picks up somewhere after Domino: Strays left off, with a job gone wrong. Or, at least, not entirely right. Something’s up with Inez, but she’s been hiding it, and now she can’t be entirely trusted – by her team, or herself. After a quick stop with the students for a cross-promotional tie-in with the X-characters featured in Liberty and Justice for All, Outlaw heads home to Texas to find herself. And then needs to earn that “relentless” title when an evil that has victimized her in the past is coming after her again.
Unfortunately, Inez’s relentlessness does not translate to an entertaining read with a lot of twists. She kind of just keeps going and going and going in the same direction. By focusing on Inez’s role in The 198 and Civil War, Palmgren manages to add some seriousness to a character who has, for most of her run in the comics, been almost inherently not serious, but any emotional heft this added is ground down by the singled-minded plotting. Palmgren even misses in areas they excelled at in Domino Strays. The attention to detail and fidelity with the comics is, overall, still there, but there’s a plot point in Relentless that hinges on a character not having joined the X-Men yet, when they had years ago (this isn’t a big deal, it just stands out compared to how well Palmgren usually seems to handle these things). Their are flashbacks to Inez’s childhood, but they don’t seem to matter much. And I would not suggest starting a drinking game based on how many times Outlaw refers to her “mutant endurance” (or mutant strength or mutant whatever).
Ultimately, Outlaw: Relentless doesn’t manage to rise above it’s limited source material and linear plotting. I was disappointed here, because Palmgren did a good job with Domino: Strays and Outlaw: Relentess just doesn’t live up to that standard.
A copy of this book was given to me for an honest review. Strange Assembly may earn commissions from affiliate links in this review.
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