Review: The Truth Hurts In ‘Superman: Villains’ #1 By Bendis, Fraction, Hitch And More

by Tony Thornley
Cover by Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair

The repercussions of Clark Kent’s unmasking are still being felt all across the DC Universe. Superman: Villains one-shot continues to expose the waves that’s made, as well as some other unexpected revelations from the rest of Superman’s world.

This story comes from Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jody Houser, Michael Gaydos, Riley Rossmo, Scott Godlweski, Bryan Hitch, Cully Hamner, Steve Lieber, Jim Mahfood, Ivan Plascencia, Gabe Eltaeb, Alex Sinclair, Dave McCaig, Nathan Fairbairn, Dave Sharpe, Clayton Cowles, Tom Napolitano, Troy Peteri, and Josh Reed.

The entire world has changed overnight. The world knows Clark Kent is Superman. That means protecting the Kent farm (and the familiar faces living there). That means villains the universe over grappling with what this means for them. This means that all this time Superman has been mocking Lex Luthor behind his back…

Somehow this issue is much more lighthearted than its recent sister, Superman: Heroes, but it works really well. The humor is never mocking the villains but providing a range of reactions, while advancing the story of this larger event. None of the vignettes are stinkers, and most are actually great.

One of the best moments of the issue is the Joker/ Luthor vignette by Fraction, Lieber and Fairbairn, a two page scene that starts funny then turns remarkably dark and dramatic. A also get the story opener, a quiet scene between Clark and his parents that not only quietly reveals they are indeed alive but is one of the best written scenes Bendis has done in the last two plus years on Superman.

The absolute highlight though is the foundation shattering main story by Bendis and Gaydos, which reveals that the owner of the Daily Planet is an organized crime boss, but also gives Lois, Clark, Jimmy and Perry an amazing spotlight. This issue spotlights exactly why I was excited for Bendis to take on Superman. It’s full of fantastic characterization and drama. The supporting cast is getting the spotlight that has been neglected for years. It’s some of the best overall writing that the franchise has seen in a long time.

The Man of Steel’s life continues to get complicated. It’s been a great read so far, and continues to get better.

Superman: Villains is available now from DC Comics.

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