REVIEW – Villains Like Us #1

Villains Like Us #1 is a freaky cartoon gem.

The book follows struggling low-rent supervillain/crow fetishist, Crow King, out to build a reputation with the help of his crew, Mother Mamba, Joey the Genie, and Wildflower. But more to the point, he’s trying to win back his ex, Amara (a sublimely deadpan creation in this OTT super-people world), and will happily kidnap the mayor and terrorise the city to do it.

Spencer Afonso’s vibrant art is a mix of the best that underground comics and Cartoon Network have to offer, energy and joy spilling from every inch of every panel. Thankfully, Spencer (on writing, art, and lettering duties) marries this boundless enthusiasm with superb craft, expertly balancing the two so that Villains Like Us #1 is a punchy extravaganza throughout.

The story itself is purposefully OTT super-folk pastiche. While that means the plot is necessarily familiar so far, it’s constant fun and, by the end of the issue, sets up a world and core cast which looks set to take some fun left-turns as the series progresses.

The humour is fantastic, from the silly energy of the art to the squeezy bottle SFX, from big pratfalls to tiny detail-based gags, all as our four a-hole protagonists bring an overall foul-mouthed sitcom vibe. I’m a dour reviewer, but Villains Like Us #1 honestly made me laugh out loud, and three or four times too.

My main criticism is that the book needs a proofreader – there are mismatched balloon tails, some misused words, plus frequent missing punctuation. It’s a persistent issue, but hopefully one a proofreader can sort before a well-earned collected trade is released.

That aside, Villains Like Us #1 is a joy – silly, energised, hilarious, and expertly crafted with a fantastic depth of detail. I look forward to getting issue #2 ASAP.

Villains Like Us #1, $5.00 CAD – for 24 pages of content. 17+ Rating

Reviewed by Tom Woodman @TomMayoWoodman

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