GRAPHIC NOVEL
Villains United

Author: Gail Simone
Artists: Dale Eaglesham and Val Semeiks
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84576 232 0
Available 21 April 2006


When the super-criminal community learns that the Justice League of America tampered with their minds, they band together in a deadly alliance, seeking revenge. But not everyone agrees. Six villains refuse to join this new Society. Recruited by the enigmatic Mockingbird, these rogues are all that stand in the way of an all-out war between hero and villain. But who is Mockingbird and what is the real agenda? The Society's murderous mission rocks the status quo between good and evil as shocking revelations make certain that when the Secret Six complete their mission, nothing in the DC Universe will ever be the same...

Villains United is another graphic novel released under the Countdown to Infinite Crisis banner. This tale sees the JLA's enemies being brought together by Lex Luthor in a bid to defeat the JLA once and for all. However, not every villain wants to play ball. Six costumed criminals, all of whom are pretty useless at their chosen profession, want nothing to do with Luthor's plans. The problem is that now these six not only have to fight against the JLA, but also the new league of villains.

Why Luthor doesn't just leave these six alone is never really explained. While it is mentioned that the Secret Six may provide inspiration for others who don't really want to be a part of his group, Luthor could simply state that he hasn't asked these six to join as they are too useless to be of any help. But then, I suppose, this would be a very short tale.

There is real jeopardy in this collection, unlike the majority of superhero tales, as we are never sure whether any, or all, of the six villains will bite the bullet. This really helped to give this release an edge that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The writing is tight and the artwork is incredible. There's even a run down at the back of this collection of all of the villains that appeared in the story - some of them are very well hidden in the background.

I'm not sure whether the review copy I received was a rare faulty copy, or whether this affects the entire print run, but there were eight pages (16 sides) repeated in this graphic novel.

If you want a tale with an edge to it then you've found it in Villains United. Refreshingly original.

Nick Smithson

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