Dear Super-Villains is finally here! After almost a two year wait since Dear Justice League, this sequel has been a highly anticipated book for me. I adored the first installment, and I am very happy to report that this second addition to the series had the exact same effect on me.
Firstly, the cover perfectly captures the entire essence of the book. I love the unique and playful styles that Gustavo Duarte has created for some of the most well-known villains in DC history. These unique and vibrant styles perfectly draw you into the book itself and is perfect for its intended target audience. I am a huge fan of Duarte’s designs and I would happy sit and watch him recreate the entire DC Universe.
Like its predecessor, Dear Super-Villains gives us a peek into the personal lives of DC’s most notorious bad guys, through vignettes centered around each of them answering a piece of fan-mail from curious kids. Where as Dear Justice League found many of the heroes living together as dorm mates at the Hall of Justice, this new volume finds the villains in a similar situation at the swamp-based Legion of Doom. And just like the Justice League book, the Legion has a slightly tweaked roster, giving us some insights into some less traditional members, which I really enjoyed.
This volume contains 9 chapters, featuring the likes of Catwoman, Lex Luthor, Harley Quinn, Gorilla Grodd, Giganta, Sinestro, Katana, and Black Manta, along with plenty of cameos from other DC Universe characters. The book takes some liberties with characters personalities, and even powers, but all in service to the comedy the book so it effectively delivers. Whether you’re a kid or kid at heart, there are some truly funny moments, especially if you’re invested in these characters as a DC fan.
Dear Super-Villains accomplishes its goal of delivering some fun comedic storytelling to a younger audience, with the tone, script, and style very much aimed at kids. Puns ABOUND throughout the book, puns of all shapes and sizes, puns where there should never conceivably be a pun! So if puns are your thing, run to the stands to pick this one up!
Unsurprisingly, my favorite villain spotlight was Lex Luthor, the ending to his vignette being one of the funniest things in the book for me. That being said, there were many other comedic standouts, like Sinestro one-upping Superman using proper flying etiquette (see the previous volume for Superman’s snafu), Catwoman having cat-like powers with hilariously exploitable weaknesses, Katana singing along to the Legion of Doom’s very unorthodox elevator music, the true purpose of Black Manta’s helmet, and a peek at Swamp Thing’s morning routine.
Sure there were a few things that bugged me, like how Katana was a member of the Legion of Doom, or you know, the very premise of the book, that kids are e-mailing the most dangerous criminals on the planet seeking life advice! Where did they get these e-mail addresses anyway!? Does the Legion of Doom have a website? Contact Us? Surely that would be highly traceable! But hey, it’s a comedy book, I’ll let it slide and it makes for some great entertainment.
Gustavo Duarte’s art absolutely makes this book stand out on the shelf and makes for a delightful read. The illustrations are dynamic, emotive, and even work with the lettering at points for a truly cohesive experience. His renderings are perfect for this style of book, and I actually wouldn’t mind seeing him take a crack at something a little more mainstream. The character designs evoke the thought of what a Disney made Justice League movie of the 90’s would have looked like, and that my friends, is something worth checking out for yourself.
Dear Super-Villains feels like a natural yet hilarious continuation to Dear Justice League, delivering just as many, if not more, laughs as the original, while continuing to capture the eye with unique and emotive artwork.
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