Villians United #5

Reviewer: Jesse Baker
Story Title: Victims of Aggression

Written by: Gail Simone
Penciled by: Dale Eaglesham
Inked by: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colored by: Snd-Cone
Lettered by: Nick Napolitano
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Publisher: DC Comics

Villains United #5: AKA Bait and Switch Theatre With Secret Six Instead of Secret Society of Super-Villains

The book opens with Monsieur Mallah being beaten up by Catman while the rest of the Secret Six go after some files that the SSOSV have on Mockingbird. After slaying the Madmen and beating up Tweedledee and Tweedledum and implementing a deux de machina device to let them have five minutes without Mockingbird monitoring them. The goal of all of this? To find the SSOSV’s file on Mockingbird so that the Secret Six can escape his control.

As this is going on, we cut to the SSOSV and find Luthor and the remaining members of the Fearsome Five (Psimon, Shimmer, Jynx, and Mammoth) talking about their new assignment. Sadly Gail fails to give us a full Fearsome Five reunion with Dr. Light rejoining the group he founded to lead their mission. Nor do we get any sort of callback to the last time Psimon and Luthor met, back during Crisis on Infinite Earths when Psimon used his mindpowers to nearly kill Luthor until Brainiac bashed his brain-globe into pieces and Psimon fell to the floor, his brains sliding out of the body.

It is here that Gail has the book jump the shark with the worst moment of the entire series so far; as Vandal Savage treats Luthor like crap and quits the SSOSV and Luthor just stands there like a dweeb as this low-rent piece of sh#t wannabe castrates Luthor. I mean, it is one thing to turn Catman into a Brad Pitt look-a-like rebel who causes girl villains to swoon and offer their wombs to him and makes life hell for Luthor and company. But a low-life piece of crap like Vandal Savage? Luthor should have killed him dead on the spot. And after pulling out a gun and shooting the mother-{BLEEP]er and leaving a bloody hole in the back of his head, using the corpse on the floor as a warning to the Fearsome Five to not[BLEEP] up their assignment.

We cut to outer space and who do we see? Lady Quark! How the hell she’s alive after being murdered by an evil parasite with a vendetta against Captain Comet in the pages of L.E.G.I.O.N.? We don’t know but then again, just a couple of pages ago we saw Mammoth, Shimmer, and Psimon walking around and these guys all died pretty definitive deaths themselves. Anyway, Sinestro captures Lady Quark and badmouths her by saying her powers are chaos themed. I thought they were nuclear themed?

Meanwhile, the Secret Six return home and we’re explicitly told that the gang is living in the House of Secrets, which DC fanboys should recognize as the home of Abel of “Cain and Abel” fame. Scandal says the place is cloaked from all technology and magic but that the place is a “House of Victims”. So why haven’t we seen scenes of the Secret Six finding Abel’s dead body parts all over the place? Or Catman and Deadshot bumping into Cain and his hatchet in the middle of the night?

We get more sex banter between Cheshire/Catman with Deadshot butting in and wanting to watch. Meanwhile Scandal reveals that Mockingbird wants to talk to the team. Busted! Deadshot pulls off his hood and smokes while doing his best to get Scandal to talk with him later that night one-on-one.

Meanwhile, Luthor is chairing a meeting of the core of the SSOSV sans Black Adam. At this point, I have to add, why the hell did Luthor choose these suckers? I mean, you have two Morts of the Month, a slutty chick and a morally ambiguous mercenary both known to betray people at a drop of the hat, and Black Adam, who’s not even evil anymore? Were Joker, Bane, Cheetah, Sinestro, Reverse Flash, Riddler, Despero, Carol Ferris, and Mirror Master too busy to help Luthor found his gang?

The meeting falls into chaos as Talia announces Psimon and company have got their target. It’s Pariah!!!!!!! Again, screw you Gail Simone for pissing away what could have been a DRAMATIC moment with regards to Pariah’s return by having him being dragged into Luthor’s meeting room in TOTALLY anti-climatic fashion.

Pariah does a song and dance about being a mind-reader and how Luthor’s going to turn against his teammates as soon as he gets a hold of Wonder Woman’s lasso and a pretty pretty princess power ring, and run around the Watchtower naked while singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” out loud. Luthor tells Pariah to shut up and Pariah warns Luthor that there is someone out there who’s an even bigger “Apex Predator”. Given the sudden appearances of Lady Quark and Pariah and the fact that the crossover this mini-series is building up to is called “Infinite CRISIS“, we are to assume he’s talking about Anti-Monitor. Though there are at least a minimum of ten other super-villains out there who fit Pariah’s “Apex Predator” profile, not counting Darksied and countless other outer space bad guys. Oh and we get a clip of the first issue of Crisis, mainly Pariah showing up in the middle of the destruction of Earth 3(complete with Silver Age Power Ring and Ultra Man cameo) which makes no sense in the current context of the issue given that the Silver Age incarnation of the Crime Syndicate of America no longer exists in DC canon.

Cut to the House of Secrets, as Mockingbird reveals that he/she/it knows they tried to find out what Luthor had on Mockingbird’s identity. Mockingbird threatens random murdering of one of the Six’s family members as Catman talks Mockingbird into a deal with the devil. The Six will make a suicide run against Luthor’s main headquarters and if they survive they walk free. If they die, Mockingbird will leave the newly expired Secret Six’s family members (whom Mockingbird has previously threatened with death) walk away as well. Mockingbird agrees and wishes them luck and prays that his next batch of Secret Sixers aren’t as suicidally insane like the current group is.

Cut to Scandal and Deadshot, as Deadshot gets Scandal to send his daughter a goodbye e-mail before they attack Luthor’s compound. We learn some stuff about Scandal in this scene as she tells Deadshot that she’s gay and Vandal Savage’s daughter. There’s another reason for me to hate Gail then, making Scandal Savage’s kid. Catman breaks up the gab session as he reveals that he knows that Deadshot, not the SSOSV, killed his lions. What? I know, it doesn’t make much sense even as Deadshot admits doing it. But before they can kill each other, the House of Secrets is attacked by an army of SSOSV villains led by Deathstroke, Black Adam, and Dr. Psycho. And look! It’s the real Ragdoll! And Captain Nazi sans cheveux but avec ses yeux!

Cheshire then pops up and reveals she’s selling the Secret Six out and telling the gang that she’s telling Mockingbird to go ahead and kill her kid because she’s got Catman’s kid in the oven. This makes Catman keep Deadshot from shooting Cheshire in the face for being a traitor, as Cheshire gloats at how she’s got Catman by his balls.

Vi-Vi-Section

Forget the recent abortion of an episode of Teen Titans drawn by Rob Liefeld; this is the book that Gail Simone should be on her knees apologizing for. Was there a nastier way to kill off an enjoyable mini-series than this issue? Vandal Savage’s continual existence, the nonsensical revelation that Deadshot killed Catman’s pride, the entirely unrelated appearance of Lady Quark, and the ultra-anti-climatic return of Pariah? Garbage writing.

Granted I can’t use this issue to condemn Gail Simone as the worst woman writer at DC Comics, since Devin “I got my start writing sex-based Robin fanfic on the internet” Grayson is still gainfully employeed by DC at the moment. But really, this issue totally kills the series in its tracks. Oh, and let’s not forget her stupid handling of Pariah. Having him be dragged into Luthor’s lair with it being said that he was found wandering around the West Coast nonchalantly kills the whole point of the character, since his whole thing is that he doesn’t show up unless a BIG apocalypse/doomsday is coming. Big as in God-Wars and Anti-Monitor wiping out all positive matter universes type things.

And the ending? Why would Chesire doublecross the Secret Six? Makes no sense especially under the notion that Catman wouldn’t just let Deadshot kill Cheshire just to spite her. Given how we’ve had Catman’s lack of people skills in terms of interacting with women brought up, who’s to say that Catman would give a damn about Cheshire’s life?