Review - Villain #1

"Them superheroes always make me nervous."

In a world of superheroes and powers, it's only natural that those without would feel nervous. It's often likely that those powers are never used on innocents, but when they are things go bad really quickly. For a former villain like Gil Grimes in Villain #1 from Evoluzione Publishing, things are probably going to get a lot worse. The issue is written by Joshua Metzger, illustrated by Grzegorz Pawlak, colored by Ryan Burt and lettered by E.T. Dollman.

The premise behind Villain #1 isn't exactly new, but Metzger seems to have something grander in mind to flesh things out a bit. Gil Grimes is a villain turned everyman who's trying to make a go of it and Metzger conveys this to the reader in a way that's imbues him a sordid past that's not entirely revealed. Metzger does lay that past on pretty thick throughout the issue and it's almost to the point where it's a little heavyhanded--Gil is clearly not a good guy, but the reader is seemingly reminded of that fact a little too often. The dialogue is a little forced at times as well in that Metzger was clearly trying to infuse the book with a sense of the streets even though the language is a little unnaturally rough at times for the sake of being rough. There are a couple of minor plot inconsistencies throughout as well; for instance there's a moment where one character indicates a month timeline as being too short a time to make a decision and then informs the other party that he'll fill him in on the details a few weeks later, presumably cutting heavily into the previously too-short month timeline.

A good portion of Villain #1 takes place at night and in the shadows which allows Pawlak to illustrate the issue accordingly. Characters are presented in a way that masks many of the details of the features and bodies as Pawlak takes a relatively simplistic approach. The city and characters illustrated are done so in a way that emphasizes the rundown nature of the atmosphere. Pawlak uses this to give the issue an almost hard-boiled approach in appearance. Burt's colors further this notion in that they're very dark and seem to emphasize a world where darkness is pervasive throughout--both literally and figuratively.

Villain #1 is an ambitious book with a premise that capitalizes on a presumed fear of superheroes and villains. Gil Grimes is a man content to leave his villainous past behind him as long as can. Metzger relies on the notion of recidivism when it comes to Gil though, giving him a motivation to go back to his villainous ways. Pawlak's illustrations are gritty and grimy, giving the book a very dark tone. Villain #1 is a first issue that effectively sets up the series.

Villain #1 is available now.