Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2 is published by DC Comics, written by James Tynion IV, art by Steve Epting and Javier Fernandez, colors by Nick Filardi, and letters by Travis Lanham. With the last issue’s reveal that The Batman Who Laughs’ Toxin grants The Infected immunity to Lex Luthor’s powers, it would seem Luthor is in a tight predicament. Luckily for him, his greatest weapon is still his to claim: his mind.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2 focuses on Lex Luthor. This is, without a doubt, his book. Tynion captures the evil genius magnificently. Luthor is at his best, most condescending, self. His confidence is written in so powerful a tone you can’t help but hear it come out of the pages, like the contempt of a thousand super villains lives within him. While Luthor pulls out all the stops against his opponents, I never felt like I couldn’t believe the tools he uses wouldn’t be at his disposal. This was greatly appreciated as I always struggle with stories where a chapter has unbelievable tools/plans prepped and ready to go. Also, in retrospect, who thought it was a good idea to send a Kryptonian into Luthor’s house?
After the dust settles from the initial confrontation, both sides step back to set up their next moves. I am especially curious to see what exactly the Batman Who Laughs has up his sleeve. As his side of the plot begins to dive into areas of the DCU that I’m not particularly knowledgeable about, I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes with him.
Lex’s side of the story post-battle is where the story falters a bit for me. To say why would give away a significant spoiler, so I won’t go into detail. But let’s just say some fairly smart people would’ve had to take one very potent stupid pill for what occurred.
The final moments in Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2 leaves the story in a particularly interesting place. With a new player invited onto the field, the game may change significantly. And, if this character can be handled by Tynion as well as he’s handled Luthor, the next issue could be even better than this one was.
The art in Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2 splits the book in two, and honestly, it’s a little jarring. While I think both Epting and Fernandez do solid jobs, I don’t feel like the looks mesh particularly well. Especially where Luthor is concerned. His character design changes at an odd time. When you’d expect him to look the most like his normal self is when he’s changed to look the most abnormal. Even though earlier he was just a pale looking Lex. There is no reason given in the story for this change. It almost feels like a miscommunication between art designs.
While it has some faults, I thoroughly enjoyed Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2. With both masterminds hard at work getting their next moves in order, I’m eagerly awaiting the next issue. I just hope the creative team can keep the story going in its, mostly, strong fashion.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2 is available January 22nd wherever comics are sold.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2
While it has some faults, I thoroughly enjoyed Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2. With both masterminds hard at work getting their next moves in order, I’m eagerly awaiting the next issue.