Review: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN: HELL ARISEN #3  

Review: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN: HELL ARISEN #3  

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: James Tinion IV

Artist: Javier Fernandez, Steve Epting

Letters: Travis Lanham

Colors: Nick Falardi

 

Reviewed by: Carl Bryan

 

Summary

” You always over play your hand Lex.  You’re the smartest guy in the world, so you always go with the most complicated thing you can think up…and you’re always defeated in the simplest way, because you don’t know how to think simple.  ” – Commissioner Gordon to Lex Luthor

Apex Lex Luthor’s first run-in with the Infected didn’t go as planned, and the Batman Who Laughs’ influence is continuing to spread. Now Lex must find out who in the world can think like the Batman Who Laughs-and there are only two folks who come to mind. The first is Batman, who probably has his own ideas for Lex; the other is The Joker, who also likely has his own ideas, but who just maybe wants to see this twisted doppelgänger sent back to the Dark Multiverse he came from. It’s a gamble Lex has to take, because the Infected are gearing up for round two!! 

Find out in the first chapter of a two-part epic featuring the work of artist Nick Derington!

Positives

James Tinion IV picks up the story line with a back story from Batman/Superman #7.  In fact, this is a Year of the Villain issue where you need to read it with Batman/Superman #7. 

Artwork is phenomenal and Nick Derington paints a pretty awesome Joker.  I swear there are shades of Cesar Romero in his art.  And if I am not mistaken, Tinion IV reveals a new “main squeeze” for the Joker, Punchline.  She’s no Harley ,but it is obvious that Joker’s new brunette has a history and TinionIV is going to bleed it out slowly.

Batman #89 gave us our first glimpse of Punchline and now we get expanded panels of her in Year of the Villain. 

Speaking of the Joker, he is not keen at all on The Batman Who Laughs.  It’s amazing how this character gets along with the ego likes of Lex Luthor, but Joker has to be the number one in any story.  If The Batman Who Laughs is his main competition for Batman’s attention, then that confrontation will be one for the ages.  Human psychopath who will not die versus Dark Metal special combo #1… this is going to be big!

Positives 2.0

Lex has his tail between his legs a bit as he is defeated and appears to be double crossed.  But Lex is Lex, and he is never down for the count.  I love that is he is the master manipulator and he is still pulling a lot of strings.  It takes a lot for Tynion IV to write Lex into a corner and then find a way to bail him out.  Seeing The Batman Who Laughs with his Dark JLA against Lex and….is that Lobo the main main with Lex? 

I won’t spoil the issue, but again, this one is chock full of surprises with another appearance of Punchline, a lobotomy of the Joker, and enough heroes infected with The Batman Who Laugh’s virus to fill a JLA hospital!

Negatives

It’s hard not to ping-pong back and forth between Batman/Superman #7 and YOTV:  Hell Arisen.  This comic stands alone, but Batman/Superman has plot implications here as well. So those of you invested into the World’s Finest comic need to make the investment in the Year of the Villain series as well.  And that might be viewed as a negative on the wallet!  

The other thing that is nagging me is that James Gordon is not a super villain.  He’s seen more of his fair share of grief in his police officer career, but he should have never been cast as a Phantom of the Opera sidekick to The Batman Who Laughs.  But Tynion has a certain number of characters to work with and he does the best job he can with this one!

Verdict

Lex and the Joker – Just seeing two iconic villains teaming up…albeit, can those egos ever really work together….is worth the price on this one!  And you get another glimpse at Punchline…can’t wait until Harley sees her!  This might be one of those obscure issues you wished you had invested in!

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Carl Bryan

Doc B is a college physical education instructor that has coached numerous sports on the rec, club, and collegiate level. He has a wonderful wife, two awesome kids, and remembers when Kryptonite came in a lot of different forms. He also has learned not to utter "Mxyzptlk" backwards!