Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crisis Update: Villains United

Crisis Update
Volume I, Entry 5

Villains United
Gail Simone - Writer
Dale Eaglesham - Pencils

Gail Simone is a pretty hit-or-miss writer. Sometimes, she flubs it pretty hard (like with the new 52's Batgirl, which hasn't really gone anywhere in five issues), but on some occasions, she knocks it out of the park. Villains United is one such case.

What is essentially a rebellion story, Lex Luthor has created a secret Society and is recruiting villains from across the world. From the lowliest of cat burglars to the likes of Deathstroke, Black Adam and Dr. Psycho, Luthor invites all but six villains to join his cause against the superheroes of the world. These are the six villains that the title focus on.

In a double entendre, Villains United eludes not only to the unification of villains under the Society led by Luthor, but also the rogue group of six that come together to combat Luthor's stranglehold on the villains of Earth. Made to participate by blackmailing them, the mysterious Mockingbird finds Deadshot, the man who never misses; Cheshire, lethal assassin; Parademon, solider from Apokolips stranded on Earth; Rag Doll II, disowned nephew of the original Ragdoll; Scandal, daughter of Vandal Savage; and Catman, one of the most forgettable of Batman's adversaries. While the revamped Catman gets the star treatment throughout the series, most of the 'Secret Six' get a lot of panel time and, eventually, have good chemistry during fights and operations.

Villains United was a way for DC to show readers a more relatable side of some of it's villains. Though each is made to work for Mockingbird against their will, the members of the Secret Six begin to develop their own personal moral objections to Luthor's tactics with his Society. And this is the real value from a story such as this; being able to see villains acting in a less-than-evil way is exhilarating. Of course, Cheshire betrays the group in a moment of deceit that would have been missed if it wasn't included, and Parademon dies at the end, giving way for new member - and Scandal's lover - Knockout.

Gail Simone's character-driven story was, by far, my favorite of the 'Countdown to Infinite Crisis' mini-series. The series told a story without being overbearing while also giving readers valuable information about the coming crisis. It felt the most coherent and the most satisfactory at the end.

Grade: A

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