By: Mark Millar (writer), Leinil Yu (artist), Nacho Vigalondo (co-plotter), Gerry Alanguilan (inker), Clayton Cowles (letters) and Sunny Gho (colors)
The Story: The super-villains get the team together to pull a big heist.
Recap/Review (with minor SPOILERS): This comic is pretty entertaining while also a good example of how “there are no new stories.” You could look at this comic and say, “Sheesh…it’s just a heist story with superpowers. That’s been done a billion times before!” Or…you could appreciate that the story is well-paced and the dialogue is pretty well written and that the pictures are pretty. It isn’t a new story, but the execution is pretty good.
This is your basic “getting the team together” issue. Continuing the story from issue #1, an old supervillain needs to repay a huge gambling debt and enlists his former proteges to help him out. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a very fun story if the heist to repay the debt was a 2-man job, so our central characters have to round up a bunch of other villains. The other villains they round up fill some of the standard slots: weather control, regeneration, etc. All of this is pretty standard stuff and it’s easy to see the movie pitch that this could lead to (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
But, we also have a few of the over-the-top wrinkles for which Millar is known. There’s one particularly gross scene where two brothers with regenerating powers are seen engaged in a kinda under-ground, to-the-death cagefight. As the fight goes on, one brother gets his crotch obliterated by the other team and since he’s incapacitated while growing a new lap, his brother pulls his leg off and beats the hell out of the other team with the severed leg. I’m not trying to say it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a comic book, but when you’ve read a bajillion “getting the team together” issues, and you’re getting bored with the story and wish the main story would just start already…this is the kinda thing that perks you up: “Hey! That guy’s crotch just got zapped. Wow…he’s really bleeding! Did that dude just pull his brother’s leg off? Yes he did! And, he’s beating that other guy with the leg.” It kinda serves to jiggle the mind a little bit in the middle of a formulaic story.
Then there’s also a pure Millar moment that I don’t want to spoil where the gang of villains entraps a particular superhero into giving them the help they want. Let’s just say that THIS is the reason why you can’t have Secret Service guys hiring Columbian prostitutes!
The art is quite good. This realistic style that Yu is showing probably isn’t my exact cup of tea; I like art and page design that’s a little more experimental. But, it fits the story very well given that (like all Millar stories) this story is about as grounded as a superpower story can get. It isn’t a superpower story with a heist…..it’s a heist story with superpowers. Plus, if they are able to make this into a movie they want the collected hardcover to be relatively accessible for new fans and that means realism. All that to the side, Yu can draw like a sunnofabitch when it comes down to pure pencil and pen work. A big nod should also go to the inker who keeps Yu’s pencils about as lively as anyone working in this hyper-real style can be.
Conclusion: Pretty good comic. It isn’t a new story and it is formulaic, but they execute on it well. Plus, I kind of appreciate that they’re not trying to trick us into believing that a classic story is “new” by adding some twist.
- Dean Stell