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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Villains United #6

Villains United #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 12, 2005

Cover date: December 2005

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

"At the End of All Things"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

The Six debate whether to kill Cheshire, who taunts Catman with her pregnancy. Outside, the villains prepare to storm their headquarters as Mockingbird abandons the Six.

Catman insists that Cheshire be allowed to leave.

Calculator shows Luthor Mockingbird, telling him that Mockingbird is responsible for the recent stolen satellite thefts, praising Mockingbird for its talent. Luthor claims he knows nothing of Mockingbird's signal. He then goes to visit his prisoner, Pariah, in his basement.

Deathstroke shoots Cheshire in the chest as she leaves, indicating that the Society does not need turncoats.

Luthor pushes Pariah for information. Pariah tells him that there's another Luthor. Luthor tells Pariah that he knows, and that the other Luthor is in hiding under a different non de guerre. Mockingbird. The Luthor talking to Pariah has blue eyes as opposed to current continuity, where Luthor has green eyes. This may mean that this scene involves PRE-Crisis Luthor speaking to Pariah.

Luthor then shoots Pariah so he can't share the information.

Talia Head confronts Scandal, and they fight as the daughters of royalty. Giganta smashes into the building, nearly taking out Ragman and Parademon.

Ragman and Parademon duck into a room as Catman and Deadshot move to find the head of the group. Solomon Grundy appears behind Ragman and Parademon, growling.

Mockingbird Luthor, meanwhile, watches the Society-leading Luthor torture Pariah. As he does so, he dons the green power suit and launches a torpedo from his submarine, explaining that he created The Six to counter Luthor's machinations and get back at him for taking his place.

Ragman takes off his mask for Grundy, and reveals that he too is a monstrosity, and tells Grundy he might be on the wrong side.

Grundy bursts out and attacks his own team.

Luthor, leaving Pariah to bleed out (Society Luthor), gets pulled aside by Vandal Savage.

Talia is about to kill Scandal when Knockout comes in and stops her. Knockout has switched sides, and has been a mole. She also is in love with Scandal.

Ragman is attacked by another man with similar powers, presumably his father, by what Ragman says when he's attacked ("Fath-").

Meanwhile, Deadshot and Deathstroke square off for a final battle. Deadshot indicates he's sacrificing himself to pay off the debt he owes to Catman.

Inside, Parademon grabs Ragdoll's assailant for attacking the clown and begins pummeling him.

The Society arrives in force, and the fight seems to be over. Parademon pulls out his liberated mother boxes, all primed to destruct.

The house explodes as Catman and Ragdoll fly out the window.

Deadshot and Deathstroke charge each other, shooting at the same time. Both are hit pretty bad, and fall.

Vandal tells Luthor to call off his society or die, to protect Scandal. Luthor offers up a deal.

Deadshot lies on the ground as Luthor calls a retreat for the Society. Catman tends to him. Black Adam tells Catman that they don't want to see The Six again.

Ragdoll stays by Parademon's side as he dies, comforting him.

Mockingbird (Luthor) calls Scandal and tells her there were no nanites, that he is a liar, not a killer.

Later, Catman meets with Green Arrow, and warns him about the mind-wipe of all the heroes. Green Arrow thanks him, and Catman punches him, telling him that it's the JLA's fault that the villains are uniting, for mind-wiping people in handcuffs.

Deadshot covers him, and they walk off together, trying to decide what to do with The Six.

5Story - 5: Incredible ending.

I'm beyond curious as to what they're doing with Luthor. I was right, though, Mockingbird IS Luthor, just not the way I thought.

There are three options, as I see it.

1) The Luthor making The Society is the Pre-Crisis Luthor and the one making with the suit (heck, perhaps the president) was Post-Crisis. The only evidence I have for this is the eyes. Pre-Crisis Lex Luthor had blue eyes, current continuity Luthor has green eyes.

It would also seem (look at the 3/4 angle panel of Luthor getting his suit out) that the NON-Society Luthor has the look of the Pre-Crisis to him, that slight obesity, which is strange.

And you know...OOOOOH! I'm so mad. You know why? This is an excerpt from my review of issue two:

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.

It was RIGHT THERE, right in front of me. And yet, because DC has made this mistake quite a few times since the Crisis, I didn't raise any he- wait a second. Wasn't the Luthor in Birthright blue-eyed? I dug through my old stacks and found Supergirl #1 and #0, and every Luthor in the Superman/Batman run has had green eyes. I believe, as I recall, that the Azzarello Lex Luthor mini and the Birthright story had a Luthor with blue eyes.

Maybe it's not a mistake? Or maybe I'm just shooting like mad for the no-prize, and sounding like the conspiracy nuts who still insist that Chloe will be Lois in Smallville.

Will this finally be making sense, somehow? If only! Either way, I was already excited about the Crisis, and this makes me pumped. If they don't fail in the execution, it could be masterful.

There is also the fact that a strange man was buying the Luthor battle suit in Identity Crisis. Do we now know who that is? I think we do.

2) An explanation I won't be sharing.

Why? Well, because it's the basic plot twist for my pitch to DC if I ever get the chance to write Superman. I'm pretty sure that's not what's going on here. I'm proud enough of my plotting that I don't think anyone would have come up with it, otherwise I wouldn't mention it, but there is the off chance. It fits into this scenario. And no, I'm not accusing anyone of stealing ideas. If someone came up with what I came up with, if anything, that affirms that I'm headed in the right direction. Every idea has been done ten times.

How's that for vague? But it's honest.

3) It's something we can't possibly guess that won't be established by previous precedent. (Meaning, WOW! Look! It's Luthor's brother we've never seen before, or the like.) I find this one unlikely.

4) It's a shapeshifter.

Any other ideas?

Anyway, point being, if it got me speculating this much, if it made me twist my back pulling out back issues to explore, Gail did a great job.

A good ending. I find that none of the series leading into Infinite Crisis really resolved much of anything, which is unfortunate, but at the same time, good, because it means that Infinite Crisis will be the heroes all having to deal with what is essentially a total failure to resolve four major crises as they all coalesce and descend, which is cool.

Parademon's death was touching, sad, and well put. Seeing Deathstroke and Deadshot finally face off was incredible. Seeing Ollie get his deserved punch for mind-wiping, great.

Gail has in me now approximately three quarters of a fan. What the heck does that mean? It means that I've enjoyed this mini ALMOST as much as I enjoyed OMAC, even though I started as a doubter. I had much the same experience with Chuck Austen. One REALLY great series, and then someone on Superman that just doesn't, for whatever reason, work out. I still have faith in Chuck Austen when he can let loose, just as I'll tune into anything where Gail looks like she might bust out like she did here.

So that's most of faith, but still a wariness. Confusing to a guy who's either "Rules" or "Sucks" and then ten pages of why.

This series, as a whole, really enjoyable when it comes down to it, which is hard when you're talking about a potentially Luthor focal story that makes him ancillary reviewed by the biggest Luthor fan on Earth next to Luthor himself.

Good moves.

And hey, one last thing. Luthor, you've got PARIAH in a basement? First off, you can't kill the dude, and second off, why do you want him ANYWHERE NEAR YOU? Luthor's not that stupid, is he?

Pariah's like a grenade with the pin pulled. You pass him around, you see him coming, you toss him back. If anything, I'd be putting Pariah in a missile and shooting him at Superman.

You don't stand around the guy whose VERY EXISTENCE means that near you, soon, the world will end. That bad, mmkay?

5Art - 5: Cool, like the rest of the series. Luthor's dual nature could have had a few more visual cues, but still, nice. I like how Luthor (green) has a differing suit than the one they're showing in Supergirl. I hope it means something, or at least becomes coherent.

The action is achieved well, all of the characters are distinctive, and despite the difficult, shocking transition from one Luthor to the next, all in all, just as good as the rest. Particularly the Ragdoll with his mask off, and Parademon, in death.

Top-notch for this series.

4Cover Art - 4: Continuing with the theme of revelation from the last one, and the thematic element of the last five, very intriguing in all respects save the lack of vivid color. And hey, why the heck is Calculator in there with a gun with people who can tear him apart? He's not that dumb!

Just kidding. Very cool picture, for the most part.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2005

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