March 12, 2012

Riding the Edge: A Review of VILLAINS # 1

(Full Disclosure - an electronic copy of this book was provided for review purposes). 

Sometimes, having an open mind can be a benefit, because it then allows me to neatly avoid putting words in my mouth.

Initially, I had given a preview of this book a rather middling review in a previous post. To quote:

The only story that did not work for me was Ethan Slayton and Ben Ferrari's Villains short - it seemed an almost stereotypical superhero-goes-too-far piece, but in all honesty, since it was a lead-in to an upcoming series....I can give it the benefit of the doubt. It's not my favorite, but it's also not that bad, either.
In fact, I'm grateful that Earthbound decided to send me a review copy of the Villains one-shot, because taken out of context, their preview might have been a little misleading - this is a pretty solid, well thought-out book which ends on a bit of a cliffhanger....but makes one wish for a second issue.

In a rather straightforward story, writer Ethan Slayton looks at the morality behind superheroes....and tells a tale about what happens when desperation might lead a "hero" to extremes. It's not a typical "hero-becomes-anti-hero" tale, but more an exploration of how choices can impact on behavior. Oh, and yes, it's all within a relatively straightforward superhero context (Ben Ferrari's art is relatively clean and straightforward, especially given some of the overt drama of current superhero artists).

Ironically, this came within the same week that DC announced its "Shazam!" revamp - a moody, hooded hero light years beyond his innocent beginnings. (And which also prompted what I think is the greatest single moment of insight on the social web). Villains is a great example of how a writer can explore darker themes in comics without losing sight of engaging the reader.

Well worth checking out - available via IndyPlanet.

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