A masked vigilante stalks the streets of downtown Los Angeles, disrupting crime and rescuing movie starlets. After being spotted on security cameras and thrust into the national spotlight, he is pursued by both the media and powerful new enemies. Little does the world know the Outlaw is just High School junior Chase Jackson wearing a mask and wondering why his body is suddenly…extraordinary.
by Alan Janney
The Outlaw #1
June 2, 2015
Outlaw is an origin story about a teenaged superhero. Unlike many superhero stories, there are not-so-subtle hints that Chase’s condition is actually a deadly disease rather than a supernatural or alien power, which piqued my curiosity.
Beside the hero stuff, both Chase and his history are interesting and complex. His relationship with his dad reveals his struggles at home and how he had to grow up too soon. I specifically like how many of the choices he makes are inspired by a desire to help his father recover.
Adding to that, his feeling of being a nobody, even when both his known and secret identities become famous/infamous, was one of Chase’s most interesting characteristics. He’s a reluctant, accidental hero. With every game and with every appearance of the Outlaw, Chase does crazy, extraordinary things and does not quite realize their magnitude, and he never quite gets why everyone is so interested in his alter ego.
I thought the emotions around his crush, his girlfriend, and the starlet he saves are well described and developed, and I also love that his secret identity feeds into his romance troubles. Then again, Chase is rather fickle, and I got a little frustrated with him misunderstanding, overlooking, and caving in to the hints, tendencies, and whims of all three. On the other hand, despite Chase’s attraction to three girls, he is loyal to his official girlfriend while they are together, a definite plus in my opinion.
I thought the football games tended to be rather long and detailed, although they are easy to picture and to follow. Chase’s performance in the games relates to his progressing condition, so I didn’t get the feeling that the games were filler. I think folks who love football will really dig the detail in those parts.
Overall, this is a great origin story. Fans of YA, superheroes, and football will like this. I’m really curious about Chase’s condition, and I suspect it’s caused by something scientific, rather than paranormal, which I like.
The review copy of The Outlaw was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
About Alan Janney
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Book Three (The Sanctuary) will be out in December of 2015.