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Friday, March 1, 2024

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VILLAINOUS Vol 1 review (Williams, Sadzinski, Lafuente, Birch) Mad Cave Studios – Morally Ambiguous Superheroes

Thanks to Mad Cave Studios for the review copy!

I had the pleasure of reviewing the first issue of VILLAINOUS, and the release of a collected volume containing its first arc was a great excuse to revisit the title. Like THE BOYS, VILLAINOUS is a look at what happens when superheroes aren’t quite so heroic. The main character (at least initially) is Rep-Tilly, a superhero sidekick who gets her chance with the Coalition of Heroes. Unfortunately, things go sideways and Rep-Tilly finds herself on the other side of the law (hence the series title). In the process, the series forces us to look at what makes a hero a good guy and a villain a bad guy.

Volume One establishes a robust universe of characters, mostly falling into three categories – the heroes, the villains, and the un-superpowered police. Each plays an important part of the story. Many of the characters are established through a welcome video (the second time actually becomes a decent punchline). Rep-Tilly, who has one of the best superhero names of all time, is a scaly, lizard person complete with a prehensile tail. Her character design is one of the strong points of the series. The artists’ ability to give her reptilian features and a wide array facial expressions is to be commended. The remaining characters lack her visual uniqueness, but each is given his or her own power set.

The action sequences are so well executed I could visualize the scenes being adapted into a live action movie. The plot also feels like it would fit right into a big budget blockbuster movie. There are some plot twists, but nothing that will shock you. This is a story that is more about solid execution of its premise than throwing curveballs at the reader.

VILLAINOUS has a few curse words and some death, some parental discretion is advised. It also avoids the ‘the good guys are 100% good and the bad guys are 100% bad’ characterization that most comics for younger readers use. If you like stories about morally ambiguous superheroes, like THE BOYS, you will want to give this title a look. The first volume tells a complete story, while leaving open the option for future adventures.

VILLAINOUS Vol 1 is set for release on April 21st but it can be pre-ordered now at Mad Cave Studio’s website.

Are you going to pick up this trade paperback? Want to talk to me about it? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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