Sunday, 19 July 2015

Villains United Review (Gail Simone, Dale Eaglesham)

Dr Light’s told everyone what happened to him at the hands of the heroes in Identity Crisis (boo!) so now the villains are uniting in a Society to prevent any further mind-wiping (and here’s me hoping Villains United was a football team). However, six villains hold out so the Society decide to kill them and find out the identity of their secret benefactor, Mockingbird. Even though none of that makes any sense. 

So this is the beginning of Gail Simone’s Secret Six run, a series I’ve read some of and can’t understand people’s enthusiasm for. Ditto Villains United which is basically the same crapfest. 

It’s part of the Countdown to Infinite Crisis series which I’ve only read one other book of (The OMAC Project, also terrible) but that’s ok because there’s an 8 page recap at the start! After that, we’ve got to slog through the first third of the book which is setting up the moronic core conflict of a small group of baddies versus a bigger group of baddies. 

The six in this book are: Catman, Deadshot, Cheshire, Scandal Savage, Ragdoll, and Parademon (the lineup often changed in Simone’s Secret Six series). And Simone does make each character distinct, in a cursory way. Except seeing them bicker and threaten one another wasn’t interesting to read in the slightest, nor was I rooting for any one character (though I sense we’re supposed to love Catman). 

The main story wasn’t very good either - I’ve read Infinite Crisis and these characters haven’t got any major part to play in that storyline so this book is entirely missable - not to mention unbelievable. These six D-listers can stand up to hundreds of DC villains, headed up by the likes of Lex Luthor and Black Adam?! Parademon’s just a parademon - you know, Darkseid’s lackeys from Apokolips the Justice League cut through, dozens at a time? Ragdoll’s… a contortionist? Catman has jagged knuckle dusters - meooooow! Come on. Deathstroke could take out these idiots single-handed. 

Simone’s storytelling, like in many of her DC books, is very weak. We’re just meant to believe hundreds of villains will flock to Lex’s Society and then want to gang up against six - six! - minor characters because they didn’t buy membership cards? The missions the six went on were forgettable to say the least and Simone consistently failed to make the reader aware of the importance of anything that happened so big reveals like Mockingbird’s identity are terribly underwhelming. 

I suppose Dale Eaglesham’s art was pretty good but not that exciting to look at. It’s essentially generic superhero artwork. 

I like Gail Simone’s Red Sonja series over at Dynamite and her Batgirl was decent, but her whole Secret Six thing - no clue why it’s considered among her best work. Villains United was immensely boring.

Villains United


  1. As much as I loved Gail Simone's Batgirl, I'm suspicious that most of her critical acclaim is more connected to the fact that she coined the term "women in refrigerators" than her work as a writer.

    1. Her Red Sonja over at Dynamite is really good - I got Simone's appeal after reading that title.