I’ve always been a fan of big overblown comic events. I know that’s not the most popular stance, but I like the spectacle. Being more of a Marvel fan than DC, I had never really read a DC event or any of their lead-up comics before. However, if Year of the Villain #1 from DC Comics, writers Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, and James Tynion IV, and artists Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, and Francis Manapul is any indication of quality, then I see that I’ve been missing out all along.
The issue opens with Suicide Squad director and coordinator Amanda Waller making her way to the Oval Office. She needs to brief the president about a plot being carried out by genius, billionaire supervillain Lex Luthor. However, as the doors open she finds that she is too late. The president and his staff are unconscious (or worse) at the hands of Lex and the supervillain team the Legion of Doom.
Before she can escape, Waller is attacked and the perspective shifts. We are now following a conversation between Lex and his personal assistant inside a Lexcorp skyscraper. His attack on the president has become public knowledge, and he orders the building cleared.
Entering a lab, he begins talking to Brainiac, a fellow member of the Legion of Doom. Lex finally reveals his plan for the conquest of earth. Outside the police and several superheroes have arrived and demand Luthor turns himself over. Claiming to have finally come to see “past himself” Luthor presses a button and obliterates the upper floors of the skyscraper with himself inside.
The rest of the issue jumps between several different heroes as they react to the sudden surge of villain activity. By the end, the mystery of Luthor’s actions has both become clearer and muddier all at once.
As a Free Comic Book Day preview that runs only 0.25 cents this issue is, understandably, jam-packed. So much so, that I actually only covered the first nine pages in my recap as opposed to my usual first half. This is because the story is broken up into several vignettes, each written by different and outstanding authors. Writers Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, and James Tynion IV are all masters of their craft and do an excellent job showing the situations that their disparate characters and storylines are involved in.
Similarly, the art by Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, and Francis Manapul is beautiful. Each artist’s style is shown in full effect for their segments. The art is phenomenal and the colors match the tone and themes of each different storyline beautifully. Sadly, no letterers were listed on the comic or the DC Comic’s website and as a result, I am unable to credit anyone for the solid and consistent lettering.
Year of Villain #1 was a fun read. The expertise of the creative teams involved is in full effect. The story itself is a little disjointed, but still clear. The initial stakes are now set and I’m very interested in seeing where the event will go. If you are a fan of DC Comics and don’t mind events then there aren’t many better ways to spend 0.25 cents.
Year of the Villain #1 is available in comics stores everywhere now.