Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Tom Taylor, with art by Cully Hammer, colors by Dave Stewart, and letters by Wes Abbot. Black Mask is out of jail and looking to rebuild his empire. But when he is approached by Luthor, the scale of his vision is taken to a whole other level. While putting these new plans into motion, Black Mask also finds himself looking back as he considers the life that made him who he is.
Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1 opens with Black Mask remembering his childhood. Made to feel lacking by his parents, the young Roman Sionis struggles with his parents’ expectations. As owners of a massive corporation, they expect him to play his part as a face for the company. And they have little interest it seems in anything else to do with him. This is further brought into focus by the family’s dinner guests, The Waynes.
The use of the Wayne family in Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1 serves to highlight the importance of family and upbringing to a child’s development. While Bruce was nurtured with love, Roman got disdain. And while a child’s upbringing is not the sole factor in where they end up as adults, its impact can be a terrible burden to bear.
While the look into the past is enlightening, the main thrust of the story is in the present. Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1 introduces us to present-day Black Mask as he strives to take back the city of Gotham. But things are off to a rough start for our would-be crime kingpin when he is rescued by a remotely controlled drone. This drone, appearing to be controlled by the deceased Lex Luthor, comes bearing an offer. Black Mask’s acceptance of what Luthor proposes points him in an entirely new direction in his criminal career.
The art does a solid job of portraying the events of the story. Each panel is clear and considered in its presentation. They also have a natural flow allowing the reader to follow the plot with ease. While it does a great job supporting the narrative, I never felt like it did much to enhance it. It seemed to lack that extra depth of light. That sharpness of color contrast that takes good comic art and makes it great. However, it does a great job of presenting the different locales. Every space feels different than the others even if the text prompts weren’t there to inform the reader of a location jump it is always readily visible.
When taken all together, this issue is a solid entry into the Year of the Villain story event. It lays the groundwork for future events while giving the audience a deeper understanding of the main character. This makes this Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1 a great read for people following the event, or readers who are interested in a deeper dive to one of Gotham’s most notorious villains.
Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1
It lays the groundwork for future events while giving the audience a deeper understanding of the main character.