DC is set to roll out their new big event for this summer in Year of the Villain. This massive event is going to touch on every corner of the DCU. DC will be tying in the events over in the Superman franchise concerning Leviathan with the events in the Justice League franchise concerning the Legion of Doom. DC has been white-hot since Rebirth started. I am confident that the Year of the Villain is going to be an absolute blast.
Year of the Villain #1 is a teaser issue for this upcoming big event. We will get three different stories covering different aspects of this big event. Then we will get a check list of all the various Year of the Villain issues coming out this summer. Let’s hit this review for Year of the Villain #1.
Words: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Jim Cheung
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Amanda Waller at the White House for her meeting with the President. Amanda is there to talk to the President about Lex Luthor. Waller enters the Oval Office and sees Lex Luthor at the President’s desk. The members of the Legion of Doom are all surrounding Lex. The President and his Secret Service guards have all been knocked out.
Lex tells Brainiac to access Waller’s mind and get all of the information that they need from her. Brainiac hooks into Waller’s mind and gets all of her knowledge.
We cut to later in Metropolis at Lex Luthor’s building. Lex tells Mercy to cancel all of his meetings for the week. Lex tells her to tell all of the LexCorp employees that they are fired. Lex tells her to tell everyone to get out of his building in the next 5 minutes or he will personally kill them.
Mercy asks if Lex is finally going to kill Superman. Lex responds that he has learned that there are things far bigger than Superman. Brainiac then teleports into Lex’s office. Brainiac says that their attack on the White House was too brazen and public. Brainiac says that the US military and Captain Atom are on their way right now to get Lex.
Lex says that he is ready for everything. Lex hands Brainiac his journal detailing his plan. Lex says that he is the smartest man on this world and he tells Brainiac to run his calculations based on Lex’s plan.
Brainiac scans Lex’s plan and runs his calculations. Lex says that all the world’s villains will fall into line. That they will all help to build to the same end. We see a shot of Gotham’s villains including Bane, The Grim Knight, and Psycho Pirate.
Brainiac responds that he understands Lex’s plan. That Lex has been studying the villains of the world and has a plan for them. That the plan begins today. Lex says that The Offer will go out to all of the villains momentarily. We see Lex and Brainiac surrounding by video images of various villains from the Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Justice League franchises.
Lex says that the villains of the world will learn that Lex has dismantled his fortune, his discoveries, and his assets and distributed them to the villains of Earth. Each one will get just what they need to finally finish off their hero forever. The heroes will never see it coming.
We then see Captain Atom and a bunch of U.S. military helicopters appear outside of the window of Lex’s office. Lex says that this is the right way forward. Lex says that for the first time he believes in something bigger than himself. Lex tells Brainiac to leave now. That this part he does alone. Brainiac then teleports away from the scene.
Captain Atom tells Lex to surrender or they will kill him. Lex responds that they will not kill him. That Lex will kill himself. Lex then pushes a button and suddenly, the entire floor of the LexCorp building explodes. End of story.
The Good: Damn! That is how you kick a big event teaser issue off in serious style! Scott Snyder kills it with this teaser story. My jaw was wide open and on the ground once I got to the end of this story. That is how you stun a reader and get them eager for more. I certainly did not see this ending coming at all.
Snyder’s story is tightly plotted and paced. The story drives forward with a clear direction in mind. There are absolutely no wasted panels at all. The story moves forward in a logical fashion with each page organically building off the prior one.
The stunning hook ending is delivered in masterful fashion. This is a dramatic moment that had real impact on the reader. Brainiac’s stunned reaction and his last farewell to Lex underscored the commitment and passion that Lex had for his plan. Lex went out in style. No doubt about that.
The dialogue is excellent. Lex’s lines are perfect. Lex easily gets all of the cool lines. The character work is well done. This story is centered on Lex and he is the focus of all of the character work. Snyder has an excellent feel for Lex’s character. Lex is properly icy and fully in control at all times. Lex’s supreme confidence oozes off of every page.
I also love the character growth that Snyder has delivered with Lex ever since the No Justice mini-series. Snyder has taken Lex from a selfish and egotistical villain and had him mature and grow into a villain who now believes in a higher goal and purpose than his own simple desires. Sure, Lex is still evil but it is interesting to see his character believe in a greater cause.
Lex’s plan is the genesis for the Year of the Villain. Any big event that includes all of the world’s villains should be based on a plan from Lex Luthor. There is no villain in the DCU that deserves to be the center of such a big event other than Lex Luthor. The plan itself is quite fascinating and unique. I love that Snyder has the plan be based off of Lex having everything he owns be broken up and distributed among the world’s villains so that they can finally take down their corresponding hero.
Again, it is this act of sacrifice by Lex Luthor so that the world’s villains can succeed that makes this plan so fascinating. Lex normally wants the spotlight. Lex wants to be the one to deliver the finishing blow. However, with this big event, Lex realizes that in sacrificing himself and everything he has he can finally achieve his greatest accomplishment. It is an interesting twist. It will be fun to see how the various villains use whatever they get from Lex to take down their corresponding hero.
Jim Cheung delivers plenty of good artwork. Cheung’s best art was reserved for the dramatic double page splash shot of Lex and Brainiac surrounded by videos of various villains from across the DCU.
The Bad: I have no criticisms of this story.
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Colors: Alex Maleev
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in Seattle on the rooftop of a building. We see Merlyn being captured by Green Arrow and Batgirl. Merlyn is scared and tells the heroes that he has an offer for them. Merlyn asks the heroes to get into the helicopter with him right now and get out of here like their lives depend on it.
Green Arrow and Batgirl are highly suspicious of Merlyn’s offer. Merlyn says that they are in the middle of a Royal Flush. That the League of Assassins has been taken out. That all the institutions and organizations in the world are falling.
Batgirl cuffs Merlyn and says that she believes him. Bargirl tells Merlyn to get in the helicopter. Merlyn then says that it is too late. That Leviathan is here. We see a giant robot appear on the scene. The entire roof of the building is engulfed in a massive flash of light.
We cut to Batgirl tied up in a dark room. We see Leviathan wearing a helmet standing there. Batgirl asks where is Green Arrow. Leviathan says that Green Arrow is safe. The person says that Batgirl is one of the all-time greats. (That’s a stretch.) The person says that he is going to give Batgirl an offer than Green Arrow and Batman are not getting.
Batgirl asks Leviathan what his name is. Leviathan responds that they do not have each other’s trust yet. Leviathan says that he is offering Batgirl a complete and total do over. The world, her life, and her place in it. Leviathan says that Batgirl has been a member of Suicide Squad, Justice League, Batman, Inc., Gotham Police Department, Seven Soldiers of Victory and Birds of Prey. Batgirl wasn’t to change the world so much that she will heroically sacrifice everything.
Leviathan asks if Batgirl has changed the world. That the world is a completely broken global disaster. The superheroes keep trying to save the world by doing the same thing over and over. And it is not working.
Leviathan says that they are not enemies. That they want the same thing. That they have to save the world. Right now. That if Batgirl joins him then he will show her how they are going to save the world.
We cut to the Batcave with Batman getting a message from Green Arrow that he and Batgirl are headed out-of-town to get Merlyn. Batman tells Damian to fly over to Seattle. Damian seems bothered and says that sometimes Batman will get an idea in his head, a detective’s theory, and he cannot shake it until the idea becomes more and more real. Damian says that he is having an idea like that right now. Damian says that he needs Batman to help him prove that this new Leviathan is not the Red Hood of Gotham. That it is not Batman’s old Robin Jason Todd. End of story.
The Good: Brian Bendis has a tough act to follow coming behind a Scott Snyder penned story. It just highlights Bendis’ weaknesses. Having said that, Bendis did end his story with a cool hook ending. I love Jason Todd’s character and I have been enjoying his transformation over in his Red Hood title. I dig the teaser that Jason might be behind the new Leviathan threat. Todd is the ultimate tweeter in the DCU. I definitely hope that Todd has a major role to play in the Leviathan storyline.
I also like Batgirl’s character. It is cool that Leviathan is trying to recruit her. Batgirl has had a unique position in the Batman mythos given her contrasting roles as Batgirl and Oracle. Personally, I always thought Barbara Gordon shined far more brightly as Oracle than she ever did as Batgirl. Having said that, Batgirl has a different view of Justice than Batman and the various Robins. It will be interesting to see if Batgirl joins Leviathan whole heartedly or if Barbara joins Leviathan just so she can infiltrate the organization and take it down from within. Either way, this is an interesting plot line.
Bendis does do a nice job complimenting Snyder and Tynion’s grand scale cosmic level stories with a more grounded street level story. I do think it is important that a big event be delivered to readers through a diverse set of eyes. It is enjoyable to see the difference in how street level characters view a big event versus more cosmic and higher powered characters.
Alex Maleev’s art is solid. Maleev’s best panels were during the scene on the rooftop in Seattle.
The Bad: As usual, Bendis’ story suffered from plotting and pacing issues. Yeah, even in an eight page teaser story Bendis still cannot get a handle on how to poorly plot and pace a story. Out of the three stories, Bendis’ story was the slowest paced story. There is absolutely zero sense of urgency to Bendis’ story. The story lazily progresses forward in an ambling fashion.
Bendis’ plotting was also nowhere near as tight and focused as Snyder or Tynion’s stories. Bendis’ story lacks a strong sense of purpose and direction. The story meanders a bit offering just vague hints about what direction Bendis wants to take with this big event.
Even in an eight page story there is too much filler. The five-page scene with Green Arrow, Batgirl, and Merlyn was fluffed up. It is clear that Bendis was stalling and wasting panel time. There was obviously not enough actual content in this scene to warrant five full pages. This opening scene would have been far more effective if it had been delivered in three pages.
Bendis’ story also lacks much depth and real content. Everything is right on the surface. Compared to Snyder and Tynion’s stories, Bendis’ story seems a bit shallow and lacks the richness and texture of what Snyder and Tynion deliver.
Bendis’ also delivers his usual repetitious dialogue. It is a bit tiring to keep being told the same thing in several different ways.
Maleev’s panels in the scene with Batgirl being recruited by the mysterious person are dull. That scene is full of way too many repetitious panels of just Batgirl’s head. It is so boring.
Words: James Tynion, IV
Art: Francis Manapul
Colors: Francis Manapul
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin at the edge of the universe where the Source Wall once stood. With the destruction of the Source Wall, the Void is now consuming the fringes of the universe. The Void’s consumption of the edges of the universe gets faster and faster every moment.
The Justice League is busy saving the people of the Gorathian system. All of the people have been placed in massive arks. The Gorathian system is then consumed by the Void. Martian Manhunter says that the Gorathian system was one of the oldest galactic civilizations. That at least the people are safe.
Batman then says that there is a problem. That one of the arks is heading straight for the Void. Superman says that he is on it. Superman races to the ark and busts through the side of the vessel and into the bridge of the vessel. (Ummmmm…so…wouldn’t that create a massive hole in the ark and cause it to lose its life support system or something? That cannot be good.)
We see that Gerrian Myrde, a priest on one of the planets, is piloting the ark straight for the Void. Gerrian says that the Source Wall has fallen and Perpetua has risen. That it is futile, cruel even, to try to avoid the inevitable reach of the Void. That death is a mercy.
Superman pushes out Gerrian and says that this is not mercy. It is fear. Superman then pilots the ark away from the Void and back in line with the other arks.
J’onn then calls a psychic Boardroom meeting. We see J’onn, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart, and Hawkgirl in the meeting. Wonder Woman says that Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom have been trying to raise Perpetua. That the Legion of Doom have made inroads on Earth. J’onn says that they will not be able to communicate with Earth until they get closer to their galaxy.
Batman says that Lex is probably recruiting all the villains that he is able to get. Superman asks if Batman thinks that the Justice League needs to grow. Superman asks who should they call?
Batman says that they need to call everyone. And then they go to war. (Batman is such a badass.) We see a double page splash shot of heroes from every Justice League team, the Titans, the Terrifics and a few other heroes from all over the DCU. (But, most importantly, KRYPTO!)
We hop over to the Hall of Doom. We see Perpetua breaking free of her containment tube. Perpetua has regained her full powers. The universe now tips toward her favor. Towards Doom. Perpetua says that Lex Luthor’s sacrifice was the key. That the villains will rise and the heroes will fall. Perpetua says that she knows some of the villains. We see the members of the Legion of Doom. Perpetua says that she does not know other of the villains. We see the Batman Who Laughs.
Perpetua then stands in front of a machine that has a pool of green liquid in it. In the liquid we see Lex Luthor’s body. Perpetua says that in the end they would all evolve and change. Just like Perpetua’s chosen son was changing right in front of her.
Perpetua tells Lex to let himself become what he was always meant to be: Something beautiful. End of issue.
The Good: Damn! James Tynion, IV ended this story with as much style as Snyder did with his story! Tynion delivers his usual strong plotting and pacing with this story. The story moves forward with a clear purpose and each page builds logically upon the previous one. Tynion gives the reader a dash of action to keep the story lively. Having said that, the main purpose of this story is continue the incredible world building that Snyder and Tynion have been delivering on Justice League.
The only new information that Tynion gives the reader comes in the final three pages. We finally see Perpetua free from her containment unit and once again in full control of her powers. Then we get the stunning hook ending that Lex Luthor is not dead. Instead, Lex is being reborn as something greater and will serve as Perpetua’s right hand man.
Tynion does an excellent job of building off his story about Perpetua and her three sons in Justice League #22. The reader already saw how Perpetua was betrayed by her three sons. This betrayal stung Perpetua and led to her being sealed in the Source Wall by the Judges of the Source.
Tynion takes Perpetua’s betrayal by her sons and uses it to craft a strong ending to his story in Year of the Villain #1. Here we see Perpetua creating yet another son. However, this son is one of her own choosing rather than as a result of the rules of the Source. Lex Luthor being reborn as Perpetua’s chosen son is absolutely brilliant. It gives Perpetua the son she has always longed for but never had. This rebirth also gives Lex a role he has never had before in the DCU. It also gives Lex a relationship to a mother figure that he has never had before, as well. This is such a fascinating direction and I cannot wait to see where Snyder and Tynion take Lex’s character from here.
As always, Tynion delivers plenty of excellent character work and quality dialogue. Tynion has always demonstrated a good feel for the personalities of the various Justice Leaguers. Of course, Batman gets the coolest lines. Batman bluntly delivering the line that it is time to war was such a badass moment.
Francis Manapul cranks out his usual awesome artwork. Manapul’s best art was delivered in the form of a glorious double page splash shot of all of the heroes who will be joining the Justice League in the Year of the Villain big event.
The Bad: I have no criticisms of this story.
Overall: Year of the Villain #1 was a fantastic teaser issue for this upcoming big event. Snyder, Tynion, and Bendis did their jobs in getting readers excited for Year of the Villain. Year of the Villain #1 certainly increased my expectations for this big event.
Readers who have not been reading Action Comics or Justice League should definitely pick up a copy of Year of the Villain #1. This issue gives those readers all the information that they need to know in a clear and concise manner so that they can enjoy the story in the Year of the Villain big event.
Now, for readers who have been reading Action Comics and Justice League, is Year of the Villain #1 worth getting? I think so. Snyder and Tynion deliver some pretty exciting new content in this issue with the endings to their stories.
Another benefit of Year of The Villain #1 is that the reader gets a detailed checklist of the different storylines that constitute Year of the Villain and the reading order of the various issues attached to this big event.
Plus, Year of the Villain #1 is only .25 cents!! C’mon! Nobody has seen a .25 cent cover price on a comic book since the 1970’s! Buy multiple copies of Year of the Villain #1 and give them to your friends who stopped reading comics during the New 52 or during the All New All Different initiative and tell them that comic books are good again!
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