Jim Beard: Villains push heroes asideWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes the world’s a dark place, and sometimes comics reflect that. Today’s titles weave stories wherein crime sometimes does pay and ordinary people might be the worst monsters of all. New offerings on the racks this and next week prove this shocking point.
Take “Action Comics” No. 893: no Superman here, just his lifelong enemy Lex Luthor. That’s right — the industry’s longest- running title stars a villain, not a hero. Villain-centric titles have been done before but DC Comics is making strides by showing bad — and bald — can be beautiful, too. It clicks for Ed Katschke of Monarch Cards & Comics, who calls the issue “a fascinating character study of one truly bad guy using the whole of the DC Universe as a colorful and exciting backdrop.”
“Back in June, comics and television writer Paul Cornell and artist Pete Woods took over the title,” Katschke said. “Comics starring the bad guys rarely work for me, but in this case spotlighting Luthor on one of his various quests for unlimited power, all the while butting heads against other DC super villain luminaries such as Deathstroke and Gorilla Grodd, has been a real revelation. The upcoming appearance of Death, a member of the Endless originally introduced in Hugo Award-winning author Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed ‘Sandman,’ promises to pay off big time in comic entertainment dividends.”
If all goes well and the comic-scheduling gods smile upon us, that ultra-rare appearance by the sweet little goth girl who just happens to be Death should materialize in shops by Halloween. To hold you over until then, Katschke conjures up “Alan Moore’s Neonomicon” No. 2, from Avatar Press.
“At once prosaic and spooky, Moore utilizes aspects of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythology to weave a perfect blend of horror and police procedural,” Katschke said. “Artist Jacen Burrows does a great job of translating Moore’s discomfiting scripts into an uneasy and mysterious tableau. I, for one, can’t wait to see where the agent’s investigations lead them although, knowing Moore, I fear for the world.”