Wednesday Comments – Breaking Down Villains Month

I know it might not feel like it, with the way the GOP is behaving, but Villains Month is actually over. Let’s assess things, shall we?

There was some grumbling before the event about how regular creative teams wouldn’t be working familiar titles and characters. But less than half of the villain centric one-shot featured writers who weren’t working on with those characters (or family of titles.)

Sometimes this was a good thing. I really enjoyed Parasite #1, which was all about fresh blood and a fresh take. Aaron Kuder knocked it out of the park. I honestly had low expectations for the book and it was one of the books that impressed me the most.

On the other side of the coin is Eclipso, which completely disappointed. It wasn’t interesting and the whole abandoning of “Bruce Gordon” and changing him to “Gordon Jacobs” was felt cheap and unnecessary. And I was looking forward to Eclipso, especially after all of the build up with the Black Diamond traveling around the DCU. Eh.

Over 60% of the Villains Month offerings were written by writers who worked with the character or at least the hero associated with the villain. There were some standouts here too. On the plus side you have Secret Society and First Born, two books that furthered the storylines of the parent titles and illuminated the villains accordingly.

Relic, H’el and Cyborg Superman didn’t fare quite as well. Relic was an issue of single panel pages with an equally filler story. H’el was just a head scratcher that involves traveling back to Krypton and time paradoxes. Cyborg Superman could have been interesting, but instead we end up with a clichéd villain, who used to be unique.

But another way to look at the books is to see how they tied into Forever Evil. Less than 40% directly tied into or crossed over into Forever Evil, with just over 60% being essentially divorced from the event. Those numbers can be good or bad depending on how you look at them.

You can look at that over 60% and complain that the majority of the books had nothing to do with the event that set the books up. That’s certainly a valid way to look at things. But another way to look at it is that those books were relatively free of “editorial interference” which has become a hot topic for DC lately.

The majority of the Villains Month books weren’t forced to participate by an editorial mandate. Couldn’t that be viewed as a good thing?

For me personally, I found it kind of frustrating when books didn’t have a connection to Forever Evil. It’s cool that Count Vertigo, Reverse Flash and Dial E weren’t really a part of Forever Evil. They were interesting stories and I enjoyed the issues.

But some books seemed like pure set up for things to come. Mongul, Lobo, Arcane and Doomsday had nothing to do with Forever Evil. I’d turn pages waiting to see how they connected and they never did. Darkseid, Zod and Joker apparently only had one-shots because of their prominence in the DC pantheon of villains.

And then you’ve got a book like Solomon Grundy.

For those of you who aren’t in the know, Forever Evil is about villains from Earth 3 invading Earth 1. So, why would an Earth 2 villain get a one-shot? Pretty much.

The final way to break things down is by the content of the story. For over 60% of the villains months books, the story contains elements of an origin story. When it worked well (the aforementioned Parasite, First Born and Count Vertigo) it’s a home run. But then there are unnecessary origin stories, like Sinestro, Harley Quinn and even Ra’s al Ghul.

It’s hard not to compare Forever Evil to Underworld Unleashed, DC’s similarly villain themed event from the 1990’s. While Underworld Unleashed was an editorially mandated crossover event, it did deliver on the promise of something new and something that tied into the event. The same can’t be said with Forever Evil and Villains Month.

It’s sad because I wanted to enjoy Villains Month more than I actually did.

But whatever, it’s Wednesday which means new comics are out. I’m going to pick up mine and you should totally stop by your local comic shop and get some for yourself.

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