Tilly, one of the newest super-powered people to join the Coalition of Heroes through their sidekick program, is doing her best to navigate the dizzying world of superheroes. Working with her idols should be a dream come true, but when she learns too much about her heroes, Tilly’s dream quickly turns into a nightmare.
Villainous arrives in a time where questioning the superhero genre is on point (for better or for worse), as the everlasting solution of the righteous heroes seems less fitting for an era where adoration of personalities and figures presents itself more as a risk than a guarantee. It also has a more comedic and fun approach than other titles like The Boys, distinguishing itself by a modern and sweet light to this theme, even if only because of the language and the common places that inhabit it.
The protagonist is one of the most empathetic self-insert of a naive view of the world of superheroes possible, and as we know her through the action happening and her internal monologue about it, she’s sharply defined and grows a lot emotionally for the reader, becoming far from a plot moving character. The fact that Tilly looks non-human but is one of the most humane and kind characters of the book (and the ways in which that makes her easier to be demonized by other characters in the fictional world) really arrived somewhere inside of me and made me tear up a little. To round it up, this fact of her appearance and her internal kindness starts to be showcased no less than in the cover of the issue.
Sadzinski’s art and LaFuente’s colors have this sweet 2000s superheroes YA style to them, mixed with a lot of exaggeration, absurdism, over-shadowing and some always trembling lines. At the same time, they put the weight a lot on facial expression, lighting and composition, giving a central place in the panel to every emotion (especially in Tilly). And there are sweet details like the precious green lizard styled boxes used for the internal voice narration or the designs of social media notification “pop ups”. The combination of all of those, plus a really good weight to action and fantastical onomatopoeia lettering, makes this comic flow really smoothly. It’s definitely stylistically related to a few runs of early 2000s superhero teen books like Runaways or Young X-Men, and it will be delightful for fans of those.
The question “what if superheroes were creepy murderous rich jerks?" has been asked numerous times. But Villainous offers a different, proactive, fresh answer.
Villainous #1: Kill Your Idols
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 8/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9/10
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