Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday Comics - DC's Villain's Month
I know it has been a while since I have done a Wednesday Comics article. Besides my usual excuse for being too busy to write, I have fallen behind in my comic book reading. I finally caught up with about half of my comic book stack and decided that this would be a good time to comment on DC's Villains Month.
As a tie-in with the Forever Evil mini-series, all of the main titles in DC had one or more issues dedicated to that comic's villain(s).
This can be a very effective tool for serialized storytelling. Geoff Johns was particularly good at this in his run on The Flash. He would take a single issue to get you into the mind of one of the Rogues. Sometimes you came to be more afraid of them (Heat Wave). Sometimes you became more frustrated with them (Mirror Master). But always you came to care about them more. His Captain Cold issue, especially the last panel, still moves me.
So with that in mind, this was an opportunity for all the DC books to do this. The result?
As you would expect, it is a mixed bag.
But I have two general thoughts before I move forward with specific insights.
1. There is a difference between villains and rogues. A "villain" is a bad guy who does bad things that is in many ways monstrous. A "rogue" is a bad guy who does bad things but is just walking down the wrong path. There is an honor to a rogue. There is a code. And because of that, there is something interesting and redeemable.
2. Spending too much time with villains is depressing. After binge reading many of these stories, I was left with a very icky feeling. I was not surprised by what I found, but the total lack of redemptive qualities, especially among Batman's villains, made for a very unpleasant experience. That isn't to say that it wasn't effective, but I wanted to read something more fun when I was done.
So, below are my assessments of the Villains Month issues:
-I was surprised by this book. I thought it would be a straightforward monster story, but there was a moment of humanity at the end I was not expecting.
-Great opening page that pulled me in and had me completely invested in the character.
-I have always viewed him as the Dr. Doom of the DCU and this backs up that idea.
-This new take on Lobo was fascinating. He is someone completely amoral and that is scary.
-What does a villain fight against when his main adversary is dead? Manta struggles with that question and tries to find meaning in his life.
-This story makes Mongul feel like the terrifying cosmic despot that he is. He is the Ghengis Kahn of space.
-What made this story so good was how it captured Orm's completely alien way of thinking. He is inhuman in a literal sense.
-An interesting story that I thought was about humanity and innocence buried under an evil exterior. Interesting ending.
RA’S AL GHUL & LEAGUE OF ASSASSINS
-Reminds us why Ra's Al Ghul is such a formidable adversary to not only Batman but the entire DCU
-A new villain at the center of the "Lights Out" story in Green Lantern. This is truly a villain who is the hero of his own story.
-I finally understand this character and why precise shooting is so important to him.
-For years he was treated as a joke, but the Riddler is more dangerous than anyone thought.
-I love stories about the Rogues. This was no exception.
-This gives a greater insight into the world of the Crime Syndicate. It was fascinating and tantalizes upcoming story threads.
-I never realized I did not know the story of how Sinestro became a Green Lantern. This is the perfect origin story for that character.
-I was iffy on this story until the very end. Great ending.
-A nice, twisted tale that shows the bifurcation of Havery's mind
-When you understand Zod's childhood experience by the end of this story, everything else about him makes sense.
-funky art and inventive story
-I like this as a setup for a larger story, but it was a bit flat
-Same as with Trigon, I can see this starting a larger story, rather than being self-contained.
-Morbid. A bit too morbid.
-A nice story about a powerful villain without enough brains to use them to his advantage
-A fresh take on the character and an explanation of his motives in the original Justice League Story
-fascinatingly dark, but a bit too dark.
-boring and one-dimensional
-I can't even remember what this story was about.
COURT OF OWLS
-I did not find these characters compelling at all.
-like a super-violent mob-movie.
-I had a hard time caring.
-I can't believe they completely retconned Cyborg Superman. He's no longer Hank Henshaw? He's now a hybrid Zor-El? That's lame.
-This is another retcon disaster. He's now Barry's future brother in law?
-a decent story, but it never connected with me.
-This read like a straight Stephen King-type horror story. The art was good, but I felt horrible afterwards.
DID NOT READ
BANE BRAINIAC METALLO BIZARRO BLACK HAND MAN-BAT THE CREEPER DESAAD DOOMSDAY SOLOMON GRUNDY DEATHSTROKE FIRST BORN H’EL HARLEY QUINN JOKER JOKER’S DAUGHTER