As DC’s darkest, most disturbing month continues (remember folks it’s VILLAINS month, its supposed to be dark and scary) we see bigger machinations taking place among the Society’s recruitment drive, as well as a looming war in Gotham, and villains hunting villains over in Central City. And here with out anymore preamble are my top 5 Villains of this weeks titles….
Detective Comics #23.3 Scarecrow
w. Peter Tomasi
a. Szymon Kudranski
This is another one of the Villain’s month specials that deals more with the current situation of the character rather than their origin. In this case, the Scarecrow is wandering the madness that is Gotham, since the Crime Syndicate released all the inmates from both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison. Professor Crane has realized Bane and his army of venomized hoodlums are in Gotham , to recruit the Blackgate villains ( see recent issues of Talon for Bane’s rise and return to Gotham ) and quite possibly wipe out the Arkham inmates. The interaction between Scarecrow and fellow Arkhamites such as the Riddler , Poison Ivy, Mr.Freeze and Kill Croc are well written, each capturing the villain’s personality , and motivation as Scarecrow attempts to recruit them to battle Bane and his Blackgate Army, with Gotham as the prize. Kudranski’s art is perfect for catching the darkness of a burning Gotham in the hands of its worst villains.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Green Lantern #23.3 Black Hand
w. Charles Souls
a. Alberto Ponticelli
Coast City, home town of the now missing Green Lantern has a new problem. The Black Hand has returned ( again ) and he has a Zombie Army behind him. While the city suffers the wrath of riots and unchecked super-villainy, William Hand has returned from dead by the power of his Black Ring. At first an amnesiac, his memory, and hatred for life, grow with each use of his deadly power. He eventual ends up at Coast City’s cemetery where he does the unthinkable, resurrecting someone very close to Hal Jordan, and gains all his memory back. Trouble is brewing for Hal, if he ever gets back to home to find it. Soule does an amicable job, moving the villain further along in the current story while telling the origin in dribs and drabs as the Blackhand regains his memory. Ponticelli is another nice pick by DC to handle a villain’s month one shot, keeping it nice and dark for books featuring villains.
3 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Justice League of America #7.3 Shadow Thief
w. Tom DeFalco
a. Chad Hardin
This title is solely on here because it’s a perfect example of what I think DC was trying to achieve with this Villain’s event. I gave up on Hawkman way back when it got Liefeld-ed. This JLA one shot made me want to go back and get a few issues to see what I’ve been missing. DeFalco’s new Shadow Thief, who previously interacted with Hawkman in his own title, is a cool design with a well thought out back story.
A master spy for the Mossad, Aviva is loaned out to A.R.G.U.S. under the orders of the mysterious Mr. Q. After a mission involving an alien virus, which kills her scientisr mother and brother, Aviva escapes by donning a suit she thought was a bio-hazard suit, but turns out to be so much more.
With a second skin that allows her to manipulate shadow substance, as well as travel through a shadow dimension, Aviva now wants revenge on those who she believes are responsible for he family’s death: Aliens.
The character is a nice twist on a classic villain, with a nice anti-hero streak and a good motivation for her career as Shadow Thief. And that suit looks pretty awesome… Chad Hardin is an artist we all should watch, as I assume he’ll be a big draw in the near future.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Swamp Thing #23.1 Arcane
w. Charles Soule
a. Jesus Saiz
Anton Arcane was always a villain I appreciated as truly villainous, ever since the 1982 Swamp Thing movie scarred me a little. The team of Soule ( regular writer on ST) and Saiz have done nothing to ease the fear Arcane instills.
After trying to overtake the Parliament of Rot and failing, Arcane is trapped in a realm of unending life, where nothing rots or dies, what would be heaven to us, but is hell to him. His only visitor is his niece Abigail, Swamp Thing’s sometimes girlfriend and current Avatar of the Rot. When she asks for information about her mother after torturing him by letting him feel the power of the rot momentarily and then taking it away, she gets more than she bargained for when he reveals not only his first foray into the Rot, but a secret from Abigail’s childhood that changes everything she knew about her mother, and shows a closer connection to her uncle Anton then she ever expected.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Justice League Dark #23.2 Eclipso
w. Dan Didio
a. Philip Tan
Eclipso rocks! And always did! I have all those annuals from the 90s, and that one shot with the Black Diamond on the cover. I even dressed as him for Halloween when I was 13. I ended up telling everyone I was a dark elf, since no one outside my comic shop knew what an Eclipso was, but none the less I looked pretty cool.
Dan Didio and Philip tan capture all the major aspects of Eclipso, from his birth as a shadow to God’s light, to the possession and coercion of his latest victim Gordon Jacobs, to the drug addict like pull of the Black Diamond that makes it so hard to give up, yet so easy to give in to your darker wants an urges. A nice set up for future appearances and cementing his origin in the New 52, by referring to the Black Diamond stories that took place in Sword and Sorcery, Team 7, All Star Western and Catwoman earlier on in the DCU.