Reviews You Can(not) Use: DC Villains Month Edition!

9,984!…  9,985!…  9,986!

Oh!  Hi there!  Sorry, I didn’t see you come in.  I was just prepping for the upcoming push-up world championships in Belgium.  As 6-time champion, I look forward to defending my title again against the world’s strongest men.  Well… second strongest men, anyway… losers.

Anyway, since you have so rudely interrupted my training regiment, I may as well take a break and do something fun.  What’s this?  A stack of unread comic books?  That’s my favourite thing ever!  Why do they look so weird?  Are all of the DC book covers in 3D?  Whoa!  This doesn’t seem like a cash grabbing gimmick at all!

Okay.  For those of you not reading comics on a regular basis (you poor, poor souls), this September is the two-year anniversary of the New 52, which is DC Comics reboot of its entire universe.  Last year, DC Comics celebrated the first anniversary of the New 52 by releasing a series of zero-issues, which were largely meant to give origin stories for all the main characters in the DC universe.  This time around, DC Comics is issuing a series of 52 one-shots that focus on the villains of DC universe.  I think these books are supposed to focus on the origin stories of the baddies and maybe tie into the big Forever Evil event that is happening across the DC universe for the next few months.

As I alluded to earlier, the big thing with these books is that they all have 3D covers, and apparently DC did not print enough of them because it has been almost impossible to find any of these books on the rack.  Given the shortage, people have gotten the idea that if they can find them, they can sell these books online for a profit.  So speculators have been grabbing as many copies as they can, sometimes getting mad when they can’t.  The Silver Snail here in Ottawa (my personal favourite comic book store) instituted a one-copy per title per customer policy so that more people would have a chance to enjoy each book.  This was even more important given that the Snail decided to sell the books for their regular cover price, instead of upping the price like some other stores did (not necessarily in Ottawa, but I’ve heard of a few stores in other places charging a few extra bucks for the 3D covers).  Apparently some people didn’t like the policy at the Snail, because it led to some childish name calling.  And even more surprising, I had nothing to do with it!

While I do not appreciate some jerk giving my friends a hard time, I am happy that this fungdart has added an expression to my already expansive lexicon (hehe… anal pore).

So is it worth it?  Should you go online and bid on a bunch of comic books with 3D covers?  I managed to get a few of these special 3D comics after beating up some small children, so how about I give them a quick read and let you know what I think?



Batman 23.1: Joker


Writer: Andy Kubert

Artist: Andy Clarke

Cover: Jason Fabok

This is a story about a man and his monkey.  Just kidding, it’s not a story about a man and his monkey.  It’s about a man and his ape.

In this book, we learn that part of the reason the Joker is the murdering psychopath that he is, is in part due to his crazy aunt who had an… interesting way to bathe a child.  It makes sense that Joker would have something traumatic in his past, but I think it would have been scarier if Joker had a normal childhood.  The idea that someone with a normal upbringing could turn into someone like the Joker is terrifying.  But alas, that’s not what we have in this book.  Instead we have an abused child turning into a monster that somehow raises and trains a gorilla to become as monstrous as he is.  I don’t understand how Joker is able to raise a full grown gorilla without getting his face ripped off, but whatever (that comes later I guess… hehe).

The art throughout most of this book is solid, but it really shines (figuratively, not literally) when it shows Joker as a child.  Everything is grey, beige and gritty.  It’s just my cup of tea.

Overall, once you get past the 3D cover, this is a pretty silly story that only adds a small piece to the Joker mythos, and in my opinion, it’s a piece that shouldn’t have been added in the first place.

Green Arrow 23.1: Count Vertigo


Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

Cover: Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo

I have really been enjoying Lemire and Sorrentino’s work on Green Arrow, so it’s too bad that everything had to be put on hold for this whole Villains Month thing, but I think this book ties into their regular run well enough that it’s a decent addition to their story.  In this book, we learn how the New 52’s Count Vertigo came into being.  Like Joker, it turns out that Count Vertigo had a terrible family member that had a big hand in making him the super villain he has turned out to be.  But unlike the Joker story, Lemire has crafted a scenario where the Count actually gets to punish the ones who wronged him in his youth.

Sorrentino’s art in this book (and all other Green Arrow books) is incredible.  There is an awesome two-page spread where a young Count uses his… brain powers, I guess… to put the hurt on some jerk kids that are making fun of him.  The art is stylized in such a way that it looks like blood is pouring from the sky, which looks bad-ass, even though I’m pretty sure the scene isn’t supposed to have any blood in it.  But don’t worry, there is plenty of blood and head-exploding later on.

Even without the 3D cover, this book is well worth its cover price.

Swamp Thing 23.1: Arcane


Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Jesus Saiz

Cover: Jesus Saiz

For those of you who don’t know, Swamp Thing’s main antagonist is Anton Arcane, the former avatar of decay.  Unfortunately, Swampy’s love interest is Anton Arcane’s niece, Abigail, who is the current avatar of decay.  It makes for interesting stories, but uncomfortable family reunions.  In this book, we see Anton in his own personal hell – a place where everything is clean and beautiful, and nothing ever rots.  While in hell, his niece comes to visit him to learn more about her mother.  In addition to learning how Anton infected Abigail’s mom with rot (at least… who Abigail thinks is her mom…) we also learn how Anton became the avatar of decay in the first place (it involves eating the rotting corpse of a rabbit… obviously).

Saiz’s art in this book is strong, but this is one case where I really dig the cover more than internal art.  They really make great use of the 3D in this one.  It may not be my favourite cover of the Villain Month promotion (that crown goes to the Harley Quinn book), but it’s definitely up near the top.

We learn many things in this book, but the most important thing may be that there are worse things to find in your apple than a razor blade.

Wonder Woman 23.1: Cheetah


Writer: John Ostrander

Artist: Victor Ibanez

Cover: Victor Ibanez

I know absolutely nothing about the Cheetah, but I figured I would get this book since I’m reading (and thoroughly enjoying!) the regular Wonder Woman comic.  I was pleasantly surprised by the first few pages.  There is nothing better than seeing a cheetah-human hybrid eating the flesh of a man sent to capture her.  This book acts as both an origin story for Cheetah, as well as a tie-in to Forever Evil (which was mostly lost on me, since I’m not reading any part of the crossover event).  In terms of the origin, I’m not sure how the person-who-will-become-Cheetah and Wonder Woman go from best friends to mortal enemies in 7 panels, but whatever.  Oh wait.  Was that a dream?  I’m not sure, it isn’t very clear.

At a certain point in the story, everything pretty much turns into the Hunger Games, and we get another instance of a super villain origin being dependent on the horribleness of a family member.  Sheesh.  It’s like all the writers drew from the same playbook this month.

Anyway, I don’t have much else to say about this issue.  The art was good, but nothing really stood out (except for the panels where Cheetah eats someone’s heart.  I’m a big fan of heart eating).  I guess if you’re someone who wants to read all the Forever Evil tie-ins, you’ll want to read this issue, but if not, you can probably skip it.

Based on the four issues I have read of Villains Month, I’d say it’s a big waste of time, and more importantly, money.  There seem to be a couple cool bits, but mostly a lot of blah.  Maybe next September, DC Comics, just let the regular books come out.

Now, back to my training.

9,987!…  9,988!…  9,989!


P.S. Remember how I said the Harley Quinn cover is my favourite?  Here it is for your viewing pleasure.


Never has there been a better use of 3D technology!


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