Published by: Other
Written by: Mark Millar
Artist: J.G. Jones
Plot: In a world where a secret society of super-villains known as The Fraternity have taken over the planet, office drone Wesley Gibson is inducted into the group after learning that his recently deceased father was a member.
Review: The premise of this series is a fairly interesting one, that all of the super-villains of the world banded together to take down all the heroes and are now basically running the entire world behind-the-scenes. Nobody remembers that there were any heroes (and most are unaware of the villains) because of a memory-wiping device that was created by the villains to work on a planetary scale. The execution of this premise could be found a bit tedious, however, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like to see villains performing a series of horrible acts without getting their come-uppance at the end. It all does seem a bit much from time to time, and the whole thing sort of comes across as an adolescent revenge fantasy without consequences.
The protagonist isn't really all that interesting, but the main reason anyone wants to read this book is for the villains, all of whom are based on combinations of other comic book archetypes (mostly DC characters). The main antagonist, Mr. Rictus, clearly owes a lot to the Joker and Red Skull. Professor Seltzer is a combination of Dr. Sivana and Lex Luthor. Fuckwit is based on Bizarro, Shithead on Clayface, and so on. Gibson himself, the Killer, is based on Deadshot (or Bullseye), while the Fox is clearly meant to be Catwoman.
There are actually five different "houses" to the Fraternity, each located on a different continent. Rictus's gang (out of Australia) is based on Batman villains, while Professor Solomon Seltzer's North American crew are meant to represent Superman's rogues gallery. And while many of these villainous character don't have a lot of panel-time in the comic, they're all fairly interesting, and it's quite a lot of fun watching these twisted versions of familiar villains going up against each other.
J.G. Jones's artwork is just as good as you'd expect, assuming you're familiar with it, and he obviously has a fun time designing their individual looks, so it's probably a good thing that Millar and Jones "forgot" the rule mentioned early on in the series that they only wear their costumes during initiation ceremonies.
The book's main point seems to be that you should seize the day and take control of your life, but unfortunately with all the gratuitous violence, the series isn't nearly as deep as it thinks it is. Watching Wesley running around being "bad" simply for the sake of being bad can get a bit tiresome, but overall the book is a fun concept that fortunately doesn't wear out its welcome by dragging on too long. If you like "Elseworlds" or "What If" kind of stories, seeing this dark and gritty alternate take on villainous archetypes will probably be of great interest to you, but if you're the type of person who doesn't like seeing people doing bad things and getting away with it, stay far away from this one.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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