Superman: Villains #1
We saw the reaction of those closest to Clark in Superman: Heroes #1. Now see how some of his greatest foes react to "The Truth" in Superman: Villains #1.
Like it’s predecessor, Superman: Villains #1 is more of an anthology than a cohesive story. These two one-shots combine to answer some of the basic questions surrounding Clark’s revelation that he is Superman, insulated by the core stories featured in the various Superman Family titles (Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Action Comics, Superman, Supergirl). The issue jokes about the “villain coming after your loved ones” trope as it explains the protective measures placed upon the Kent Farm in Smallville, simultaneously reassuring readers that this story will not be of that particular variety while acknowledging that it is something on readers’ minds. If there is a central narrative to this issue, it would be the public outing of Marisol Leone as the head of the Invisible Mafia by the Daily Planet but that narrative still feels secondary to the establishment of a new paradigm for Supermany story-telling to come.
Artistically, the issue features numerous artists, all turning in exceptional work in their own styles. Stylistically, each artist is distinct which helps, in this case, to demarcate changes in vignettes. Gaydos carries much of the weight in this issue as his narrative is the aforementioned “central narrative” but each artist has a part to play in the overall schematic of the issue. Also of note in the visual narrative is the use of numerous superstar letters, making this issue a particularly good issue to visit to look at the nuance between various letters. Cowles, Napolitano, Sharpe, Peteri and Reed are all at the forefront of comics lettering currently (along with a handful of other notables), adding an interesting dimension for those interested.
While no story in the issue was bad, The Toyman story stands apart from the rest in terms of showing the future potential of “The Truth”. The Toyman, Winslow Schott, reacts quite differernt from his colleagues in villainous circles to the news. He reflects on his past encounters and the words Superman spoke to him, shifting his belief from the words being patronizing to being genuine. This highlights the elements of hope that have long permeated the Superman mythos in a truly beautiful way as Winslow attempts to reform, goes to prison, and is subsequently recruited by the new Checkmate in the fight against Leviathan. It is certain that he will be back soon.
Superman: Villains #1 (Bendis) takes an insightful look at the reactions of various Superman villains' to the revelation of his secret identity.
Superman: Villains #1: Pros and Ex-Cons
Writing - 9.5/10
Storyline - 9/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9.5/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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