Villains month started for DC Comics last week, with the launch of Forever Evil#1 and the beginning of the Point issues spotlighting some of DC most nefarious villains. After doing exhaustive (ahem) research on these titles for my previous article (What’cha Eviling? Bob’s Guide to DC’s Forever Evil), I decided to follow up with a weekly Top 5 for those of you still on the edge of what titles to buy, or those who have just gotten too queasy staring at those strikingly dazzling lenticular covers to make a decision.
Justice League #23.1 Darkseid
w. Grek Pak a. Paolo Siqueira and Netho Diaz
This issue showcases the stone faced leader of Apokolips’ origin, from his pre-God days, and his merciless ascent into power, ruthlessly destroying the petty Gods of his people to gain their power, while destroying what relationships he had with his family as well. Greg Pak tweaks the New Gods Myth a bit, but stays true to Kirby’s adage, ” there came a time when the old gods died…”. The team of Siqueria and Diaz to an excellent job of capturing the scope of giant Gods battling out, and the tech and power usually found surround Darkseid and the New Gods. Pak also links the story cleverly to his ongoing Batman/Superman title, giving us an origin for Kaiyo as well, the shape shifting, dimension travelling villain currently plaguing our heroes in that title.
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Batman #23.1 Joker
w. Andy Kubert a. Andy Clarke
For his writing debut, Kubert crafted a pretty sick Joker story, wisely not doing a full nuts and bolts origin, he only showed glimpses of the Joker’s sad childhood life. A wise choice, keeping as much mystery to the character as possible, and not giving the whole shebang away, like Wolverine:Origin did for Marvel’s mysterious mutant. Instead he reflected the Joker’s twist upbringing, by showing the Joker raising someone himself… a baby Gorilla he names Jackanapes. While appearing goofy at first, the idea is subtly fleshed out allowing the reader to see the damage that was done to the Joker by expressing it in his child rearing techniques. Andy Clarkes’ Joker is equally classic and creepy at the same time, his rendering detail is great, especially visible in the Joker’s expressions. A fun, creepy, wacky ride this was, I’m looking forward to more of Kubert’s writing in the future.
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
w. Robert Venditti a. Rags Morales
Relic is relatively new villain introduced in Green Lantern #21 and menacing Kyle Rayner in recent issues of New Guardians. He is a being from the universe that existed before us, and has been trapped in an energy cocoon-like anomaly at the edge of the universe. Once released from the anomaly, Relic, a giant-sized being in comparison to most creatures in the DCU, attacks anyone wielding a ring that harnesses a part of the emotional spectrum. Calling them “Lightsmiths” and blaming them for some, until now, unknown evil they perpetrate by using the rings. Here, regular GL writer Robert Venditti tells his full origin, revealing the method behind his seeming madness, and adding more to the reach GL mythos that had already been established by Johns and Co. The art by Rags Morales is larger than life and vibrant, and for what is really page after page of splash pages, still manages to tell a sequential story. A must read for GL fans.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Justice League of America #7.1 Deadshot
w. Matt Kindt a. Sam Basri and Keith Champagne
I never really liked Deadshot, until now that is. The perennial Suicide Squad member and assassin supreme (just below Deathstroke I would hazard a guess) gets the full origin treatment by the very talented Matt Kindt (who is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the comic industry). His uncanny ability to never miss a shot, comes not from some super power, cybernetic implant or magical spell. To put it in simple terms, he came from a poor background, and ammo isn’t cheap. So he learned to fire wisely instead of indiscriminately, not only a waste of ammo, but the collateral damage that comes with wild gunfire is something Deadshot has a very personal reason to despise (read the book and see!). Anyone who can you sympathize with a villain, and at least get you to understand where there coming from is a damn good writer.
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Batman & Robin #23.1 Two-Face
w. Peter Tomasi a. Guillem March
Once again Tomasi proves why he is one of the best writers to ever tackle the Caped Crusader, by giving us a story that shows the depth of a character that can seem rather transparent normally. Two-Face’s age-old dichotomy between being a ruthless killer and former law-abiding district attorney gets pushed to the limit in a Gotham left in chaos by the Syndicate’s release of Arkham’s inmates during a time Batman is presumed dead. Gotham is Harvey’s city, as he sees it, and its up to him to dispense Justice, even if it’s Two-Faces own brand of Justice. When he butts heads with The Society, via an invitation given to him by the Scarecrow, Good ol Harvey has some tough choices to make. Guillem March continues to improve, with some of his rendering taking on a Kubert-esque vibe. His Two face is scary as hell, and there are some nice panel arrangements highlighting both the light and dark side of the character.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Tune in next week folks for the next Top 5 Villains of Villain’s Month Week 2