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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

cover of Villains United

I thought the idea of a bunch of villains banding together to fight other villains sounded kind of fun-- and it was. One problem: this book is part of a much larger story (the Infinite Crisis) that I really don't know that much about; the book did a nice job of giving an intro (with snippets from lots of different series and stories and characters that feed into this larger story), but I still felt a little bit lost. Another problem: maybe I usually don't read about villains because they tend to be rather nasty-- and bad guys beating up on other bad guys, even more so. I found it hard to identify with the characters, or want to care too much about them. With these reservations, it was an enjoyable quick read.

Lex Luthor has started a society of villains, and is basically forcing everyone to join with him-- and because of some recent poor treatment of another vilian by the Justice League (they wiped his memory after a particular atrocity), most are pretty willing to join in. But this book focusses on a group of six small-time villains who have been drafted by the mysterious Mockingbird, most of them against their will, to fight against Luthor's society. They are the "secret six."

There's lots of intrigue-- traitors and insiders, secret information and informants on all sides. Even the rather interesting notion that because one of the six secretly wants to be a hero rather than a villain, he is a traitor to his fellow bad guys. By the end, the various tasks the Six have done come to seem a little pointless-- just maneuvering on both sides. I suspected that Mockingbird was working from his own agenda entirely, and even thought it might be Lex playing both sides-- and I was half right. Turns out there were two Lexes in play, one from an alternate earth (who was running the Society), and the Lex from our earth wanted to eradicate all the competition-- not only the Justice League, but the other villains as well. Which is an interesting notion, but the very idea of alternate dimensions makes that idea seem rather short-sighted: there will always be competitors, in this dimension or another one.

A fun read, with really great artwork. It was fun to see the wide array of different villains, even though I'm not that familiar with them. (They kindly provided a kind of visual index in the back with a listing of all the villains featured, and it is amazing how many there are.) I didn't hate reading it, but I don't feel a need to re-read it anytime soon.

Title:Villians United (Countdown to Infinite Crisis)
Author:Gail Simone
Date published:2005
Genre:Graphic Novel
Number of pages:144


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