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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Villains United #2

Villains United #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 1, 2005

Cover date: August 2005

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger

"A Fire in the Steppes"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Deadshot and Catman, unable to sleep, walk around the mansion. They encounter each other, almost come to blows, and then end up cooking eggs.

As they do, Scandal writes her love.

They eat, and Deadshot asks Catman what happened to make him stop being fat and start being effective again. Catman explains that Luthor killing his animals did a lot to motivate him.

The Secret Six receive a mission from "Mockingbird", the strange entity that controls their organization. They are going to take some Thanagarian weapons from a ship owned by Oswald Cobblepot in Gotham to gain an advantage against Luthor's organization.

Luthor and crew reveal that they know about the plot, and plan to stop the raid.

As the Secret Six arrive, the weather is unseasonably rainy. Weather Wizard appears, as does a large cadre of villains, to take out the Secret Six.

The Secret Six runs, but Catman stays behind to fight. The large number of villains quickly overpower him, but Deadshot spurs the rest on, and they leave him behind.

As they run, the villains knock the Secret Six aside like insects, and they appear to lose the battle.

Catman wakes up strapped to a table with a sadistic doctor promising him pain and death. The doctor begins asking him about the identity of the entity known as Mockingbird.

3Story - 3: This story is interesting, but it's not entirely amazing. It's got an event issue vibe, but the story is just about average. It's essentially a team book so far, and the problem when you get team books based around peripheral characters is that you get a lot of characters you don't know, aren't that familiar with, or don't care too much about. I fully understand that the point is just that, to get you to care about these characters, and often it works when done right (I now know a lot about Calculator, Deathstroke, etcetera, from Identity Crisis).

This plays like the recent Justice League Classified arc, where you either know the characters and vibe off the fun, or you don't know the characters that well, and it flops.

With this story, I know half the characters pretty well (I'm fond of old school Catman, and I like Talia and Luthor, for obvious reasons, and I know the name of most of the characters in the book), and half the characters I am less familiar with.

There's also the dynamic that nags at you, a dynamic that seems to be present in a lot of comics over the last few years. You have GREAT rogues. GREAT rogues. So why are there all of these tertiary stories about tertiary characters?

You have Lex Luthor assembling a MASSIVE taskforce of villains to take on the JLA and anyone associated. Do you focus on THAT, or do you focus on... well... Catman? And I LIKE Catman. I do. I want him to be prominent and fun again.

BUT LUTHOR! You know? It's like Man of Steel. You have Lex Luthor, and you're telling a story about... Orr? And I LIKE Catch-22. Okay. Obscure joke. Sorry.

The tons of villains battle was neat, as was the redemption of Catman as a strong entity in the villain world. I like the intrigue of Mockingbird, and the ending is interesting. The dialogue with Catman and Deadshot was awesome, and tense, and funny at the same time.

But I find myself somewhat apathetic as to the direction of this series, mostly because, like I said, they have the DC version of the Sinister Six, and they're focusing on the ANTI-Sinister Six, which is distracting and frustrating.

I don't know how Simone works, because I haven't read much of her work, but so far, she's a strong writer with a weak premise. I think this series might turn around, and this book is NOT a waste of time. It's just not amazing.


Oh, and DC... for crying out loud, Lex Luthor's eyes are GREEN in this continuity. They were BLUE in pre-crisis. It's not that hard, and it's a big deal when you get a kick out of Lex Luthor having the same color eyes as you do.

Just saying.

3Art - 3: This art suffers the same problem as the issue. There are a lot of great moments, and good storytelling in the panels (That explosive spread with all the villains... WOW). But there are a lot of lazy, sloppy moments as well, and cramming. A lot of cramming to get all that story into one panel, which may be the writer's fault.

There are great moments. Talia is especially well drawn, Luthor is a bit thin, but still great. I like Dr. Psycho, and the fights are really well done.

There are other things, though. In particular, there is a panel that really just leapt out at me. As Deadshot is pulling out a cigarette while they're making eggs, his arm is GROSSLY disproportionate, and throughout the story there are characters that have just MASSIVE muscles that are ordinary human beings. Catman, in six months to a year, could not be THAT buff.

But all in all, a good effort. A few things stick out, a few detract, that equals average.

3Cover Art - 3: The characters look crammed into their position, and I'm wondering what Cheshire is trying to do, seduce her enemy to death? Still, it's neat to see the image jumping out of the last cover, it's a neat pose. It balances out. The whole issue had ups and downs like that. Strange, usually there are at least some extremes all the way...

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2005

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