Current Reviews


Villains United #1

Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

"And Empires in their Purpose"

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Dale Eaglesham (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

Plot: The book opens with Lex Luthor and a group of villains busily approaching other super-villains, and making them an offer to join forces. The invitation is made in such a manner that one is left with the sense that refusal is not an option. However, six members of the super-villain community have turned down the offer, and in the interest of self preservation these six have join forces. They are also under the control of a mysterious villain who goes by the name Mockingbird.

Comments: The problem I find myself having with this miniseries is the central premise that any of these villains would decide that working together would serve to advance their interests. Now I realize the idea that the Justice League had been messing about with the minds of several villains in a bid to make them easier to control would make super-villains nervous. Sure, several of the lower tier villains would love to hitch their wagons to a more successful villain, but this opening issue asks us to accept the idea that all but six villains bought into the line of goods that Lex and company were selling, and I found this idea difficult to accept. Now perhaps Gail Simone is going to use this miniseries to show readers why the villains joining forces would never work, as we'll see this collection of villains start to fracture as various characters start to work out how they could gain a position of power in this organization. However, at this point of the story it would appear that the central focus of this miniseries will be around the six villain who turned down the opportunity to join in on the party, and while there's a couple of characters who I'm delighted to see among this group (Deadshot, Ragdoll and the new, improved Catman looks promising), I'm a little disappointed that Gail Simone wasn't able to secure a couple more high profile names for this second group of six. Still, the one advantage to making use of characters that are lower down the ladder is that it does afford the writer the opportunity to make lasting changes to the characters, and Catman's new status quo is a perfect example of Gail Simone taking advantage of the freedom. Plus, the mystery of the mysterious Mockingbird's identity makes for a nice hook that hopefully will have a solid payoff. Still, the premise of super-villains forming one cohesive organization strikes me as an unworkable idea that doesn't take the idea that villains are by and large driven entirely by self-interest.

Dale Eaglesham's art does have the occasional moment where his perspective looks a bit off, but the level of detail that he puts on the pages makes it quite easy to look past these moments, as does the fact that there's a wealth of lovely visuals in this issue, from the credit page shot that perfectly establishes the new Catman, to the delightfully surreal appearance of the secret base where the six villains have set up shop. The art also solidly presents the facial expressions of the characters, as I rather enjoyed the page where the various villains accept the offer, as it's nicely contrasted by the look of disbelief on the face of Doctor Psycho when Catman turns them down. The action sequence was also well presented, with a nice little moment of Deadshot willingly playing with fire, and Ragdoll's gimmick is given a good showing as the character manages to walk away from a fall that would have killed most people.

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