I desperately need to pick up the other two.
Jon Morris writes in a lightly sarcastic style, that conveys basic information about the super villain, their main arch-nemesis, where and when they were created, and what makes them truly regrettable. It’s kind of amazing that he manages to keep the sarcasm as light as he does, because some of these villains are, um, yeah.
Some are just bad ideas, some involve some seriously terrible science that even basic 7th grade Biology and Earth Science should tell you isn’t a thing, and some are just… eh?
Sadly, he edges away from a lot of the just outright racist super villains, but I think I get that. Also, in the two page spread that he devotes to Gorilla super villains, he does not confront the “thinly veiled” racism that led to the creation of many of those super villains. “Thinly veiled” is in scare quotes because it really isn’t. So that is one area in which he falls down pretty badly. But I think I get it. He’s trying to keep the book light. But I think you can do that while mentioning the one or two, or several racist dog whistles attached to an awful lot of comic book villains, like the not so subtle queer coding of a lot of villains, the racist and anti-semitic red flags… but I digress.
I think in his choices of obscure villains to feature, Morris when out of his way to try to stick to the comically regrettable, as opposed to the, “Oh, for the love of… Was this EVER ok?” heroes that many of us who have been reading comics forever still are periodically blindsided by. By doing that he does drop the ball on an opportunity to slip some education in with his spoonful of sugar, but honestly, if that’s my only problem with a comics-related work, I’m gonna call it good.*
Honestly, I do not want to make it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book. I did. I really did. Light fluffy stuff like this serves a purpose. There’s a reason I periodically go on romance novel binges, they don’t require a great deal of mental heavy lifting, and this book is definitely in that camp. It’s light and entertaining.
As long as you don’t expect it to have a lot of depth, you’ll be good. Granted, he is also covering most of these characters in less than a page, at least in the Loot-crate edition, which is what we picked up from the used bookstore.
So, yeah, it is a fun, light hearted look at some super villains who were poorly conceived, mostly incredibly short-lived, and scientifically dubious.
I mean, who thought chlorophyll could be so versatile?
*He does not, in fact, mention that in his origin story, the Were-Wolf “Wolf Krimetz,” is basically a stereotypical anti-semitic caricature of a Jewish person, and at least one other, as well as some vaguely “Yellow Menace” coded villains, in addition to the two page Gorilla Villains spread.
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