Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Steve Epting, Javier Fernandez, Artists; Nick Filardi, Colorist


Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, a mini-event comic, holds a strange place in the DCU’s big meta-story. Apex Lex vs. the Batman who Laughs is a major event, but we also know it’s not going to resolve much – both villains are headed on for bigger storylines this year. But that doesn’t mean that James Tynion can’t make this a hell of an entertaining read in Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3.

When we last left off, Luthor had been ambushed in the Hall of Justice by a mob of Infected Titans, all of whom now served the Batman who Laughs. Overwhelmed, he seemed done for – until he gets an unexpected assist from a machine-gun toting Joker. This is perfectly in character for Joker – despite his insanity, he plays by his own set of inscrutable rules, and he’s not about to let any Batman win. So Luthor finds himself in a bizarre carnival hideout, complete with other captured villains, as Joker quickly switches from helping him to being ready to kill him.

Captured. Via DC Comics.

This title is likely to be a hot item on the stands, because it’s the second (and first full-body appearance) of the hottest new character in comics, Punchline. I don’t get the hype so far, because she doesn’t actually say anything here. She’s just an evil clown character so far, but Tynion seems to have a big plan for her.

Far more interesting is the mental battle of wills between Joker and Luthor, as the unpredictable terrain of Joker’s mind faces off against a powerful psychic in Apex Lex. Ultimately, Luthor winds up with what he needs to mount a counter-attack on his nemesis – complete with an army of villains who remain loyal to him. This feels like the culmination of a year of stories that upgraded great villains like Captain Cold and Black Manta (and Oracle, who didn’t quite land how DC was hoping). This has been a tight series, and it seems likely the conclusion will be a thrill ride.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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