By Marv Wolfman (writer), Rick Leonardi (artist), John Stanisci (inker), David Baron (colorist)

I wasn’t sure I would have the honor this year of reviewing a truly terrible comic, but then DC stepped up and delivered this steaming piece of crap like an awful, unwelcome Christmas present.  Hey, ’tis the season, right?

Vigilante, a character first updated in 1983 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, is an anachronism that has spent the last twenty-five years living in the shadow of the Punisher’s glory days, and seems perfectly content to die there as well.  Not quite a hard-boiled detective, not really a superhero, and not nearly the ruthless vigilante Wolfman would have you believe him to be, the only things Vigilante seems to fully embrace is the degree to which he utterly sucks as a character, and his refusal to see how irrelevant he is in the DC universe.   How lame is it that a vigilante needs to call himself Vigilante and wear a helmet with a V-shaped visor?  I mean, is he so insecure that nobody will take him seriously as a crime-fighter that he needs to browbeat villains with the fact that, yes, he IS a vigilante!?

Wolfman is not a bad writer by any means, having helmed the enormously popular Teen Titans relaunch with Perez back in the 80s, but it’s obvious that he’s barely phoning this one in. The story provided is tiresome and simply uninteresting as it’s about a criminal power struggle between the Penguin and the Whale (seriously), the cops’ pursuit of Vigilante, and Vigilante’s pursuit of answers regarding the Mob’s connection to the Election Assassinations and a superhero gone rogue.  By the end of the issue, Vigilante proves what a hardcore vigilante he is by allowing himself to be arrested and sent to jail so that he can find his answers.  The Punisher’s done this five or six times by now, but hey who’s counting?

Rick Leonardi’s art, while traditionally reliable on superhero books, seems incredibly out of place on a story that wants to be crime fiction.  Leonardi tries to go for a dark, gritty, atmospheric look, but falls short. The one redeeming quality to this book is Walt Simonson’s dynamic cover.  If you can justify paying $3.00 for that cover, then I say go for it, otherwise please vote with your dollar, avoid this book like the plague, and let DC know you expect better than this.

Grade: F

-Tony Rakittke