Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: 'The Legion of Regrettable Super Villains'

When we last left the regrettable world of comics-chronicler Jon Morris, he was introducing us to a colorful cadre of super also-rans such as Bozo the Iron Man and Captain Tootsie. With his encyclopedic knowledge of characters most serious comics readers would rather forget and his bouncy wit, Morris turned The League of Regrettable Superheroes into one of the most fun reads of 2015. Two years later he is following up with a logical companion volume called The Legion of Regrettable Super Villains.

In some ways, this delightfully designed and written new book is more of the same despite its decidedly evil bent. There are many, many more asinine characters to make you giggle and cringe. 7ll’s enemy Brickbat is a schlub in a Batman cowl who hits people with poison bricks. A nemesis of The Black Hood, The Crow is an alcoholic opera singer who turns into a giant crow. The Dude gives corpses makeovers. Big Cheese of the Big Gang wields killer cheese. Egg Fu is a giant, offensive-ethnic-stereotype egg with a prehensile mustache who menaces Wonder Woman.

That’s where Regrettable Super Villains veers away from the wall-to-wall obscurities of Regrettable Superheroes. Some of these baddies actually faced off against genuinely legendary heroes, proving that even Wonder Woman, The Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Aquaman, Daredevil, Spiderman, and others of their A-list ilk were not immune to the taunts of D-list villains. One of these regrettable fellows— big-headed MONOK— even proved so popular that he got into it with virtually every top-line Marvel hero.

Some of these villains aren’t even all that regrettable. Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man is a rather ingenious creation who can simultaneously take on the characteristics of all three of his namesake organic matters, sprouting a dinosaur from half his face while ensnaring The Doom Patrol in hands made of crystal and tree. And I don’t need to explain to regular Psychobabble readers why I genuinely believe the natty simian Mod Gorilla Boss to be a villain right out of my own wildest dreams. Plus, any villain known to exclaim, “I am Bloor, dictator of Uranus” could hardly be labeled regrettable.
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