DC Comics has unveiled their exclusive “Year of the Villain” issue in conjunction with this year’s Free Comic Book Day. Justice League and Batman writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV join Superman writer Brian Michael Bendis in authoring a 32-page story that features the most infamous super-villains of the DC Universe Metaverse such as Lex Luthor, Cheetah, and the Batman Who Laughs. Backing up the dynamic duo and man of steel writers on art are Alex Maleev, Jim Cheung, and Francis Manapul, with Greg Capullo working on the cover. Lettering by Tom Napolitano and Joshua Reed, colors by Tomeu Morey.
Chapter 1 – Doom
In the first chapter of the special 25-cent issue entitled “Doom,” Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom appear in the White House and stun the president into a paralyzed state. Brainiac manages to also take out Amanda Waller who had a meeting planned with the president. Later, we find Lex back in Metropolis as he tells his assistant Mercy, “there are things far bigger than Superman.”
As Brainiac and Lex discuss the latter’s plans, we are treated to an amazing double-page spread featuring many of the DC’s villains all in action around the world. Who is the most obscure character you recognize? Mine is Jaina Hudson/White Rabbit who was introduced back in the New 52’s “Batman: The Dark Knight.”
If you’ve read Final Crisis, please tell me if you agree that Lex sounds like the new Libra of this post-Rebirth universe.
Chapter 2 – Leviathan
In the next chapter, “Leviathan,” Batgirl and Green Arrow are working together to take down the Dark Archer Merlyn in Seattle, as he tries to escape on a helicopter to flee from the mysterious and dangerous Leviathan. Except, the three of them are all too late, and Leviathan strikes (literally, with lightning).
When Batgirl regains consciousness, Leviathan makes her an offer as he acknowledges her time in this continuity as Batgirl, Oracle, a member of the Suicide Squad, the Justice League, Batman Incorporated, GCPD, Birds of Prey, and even the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Most notably, Leviathan calls her Barbara, indicating he is aware of her secret, not-so-secret, identity.
The chapter ends with Green Arrow updating Batman over a video call. With this information, the Dark Knight asks his son to take a trip but is interrupted as Robin states his suspicion that this new Leviathan is the estranged son of the House of Wayne, Jason Todd.
Any ideas yet on how exactly Lex Luthor’s grand scheme for the Year of the Villain fits with Leviathan Rises?
Chapter 3 – Justice
The final chapter, “Justice,” opens with our League of heroes handling intergalactic problems stemming from the fall of the Source Wall. Following the success of the mission, we see 6 of the Justice League members united in the lineup that mirrors the Animated Series. The only one missing is The Flash, which I can understand, given that in the Animated Series he was Wally West, but currently in these pages we have Barry Allen. Regardless, seeing the Martian Manhunter, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern John Stewart, and Hawkgirl brings back fond memories of the early 2000s. And on the next page, we see Batman answer the question “You think we need to grow the league, too. Who do we call?” with “Simple. We call everyone. And then we go to war.” We’re treated to a beautiful double-pager that shows a large roster of heroes from Atom to Green Arrow to Supergirl to the Titans to Zatanna. Even Krypto receives an invitation.
Following this lineup of heroes, we see Perpetua; she is inside of the Legion of Doom’s lair. Seriously, the more things change the more they stay the same. Does anyone else feel like these are complete callbacks to Final Crisis? Even more recent is the Forever Evil storyline. Who wants to bet that Year of the Villain will include the revival of the heroes in order to stop an evil (Perpetua) deemed too malicious for the bad guys of the DCU after they emerge victorious over the heroes?
DC Insider: Year of the Villain
In the remaining pages of “DC’s Year of the Villain,” the publishers give us a backstage pass to the titular event with descriptions on the involved comic issues being released later this summer.
The related stories that I’m most excited about include:
- “Harley Quinn” #63 (July 3) – Ugh, ANOTHER comics event? Harley undermines our cash-grab and disrupts an otherwise very serious list of stories by Parodying Year of the Crisis or whatever. Sam Humphries (w) Sam Basri (a) Guillem March (c)
- “Supergirl” #32 (July 10) – If Brainiac is in the Hall of Doom, why is Lex upgrading an old Brainiac drone body? And why is the body calling itself the true Brainiac? Marc Andreyko (w) Kevin Maguire (a) Yanick Paquette (c)
- “Batman/Superman” launches August 14 and features a Secret Six comprised of their known family and friends who have been warped into a Dark Multiversion version of themselves by the Batman Who Laughs. My Secret Six predictions are John Constantine, Green Arrow, Booster Gold, Plastic Man, Jimmy Olsen, Hawkman.
Let us know who you think has been infected by the Batman Who Laughs. Other possible candidates include Beast Boy, Supergirl, Ric Grayson, Miss Martian, Donna Troy, Robin, Batgirl, Hal Jordan, Alfred Pennyworth, Catwoman, Shazam, Kyle Rayner, Wonder Woman, Superboy Jon Kent, and Commissioner James Gordon.