Dear DC Super-Villains | Review
Dear DC Super-Villains
Writer: Michael Northrop
Artist: Gustavo Duarte
DC Comics; $9.99
In 2019’s Dear Justice League, writer Michael Northrop and artist Gustavo Duarte imagined DC’s greatest superheroes answering questions sent in to them by their child fans. In Dear DC Super-Villains, the bad guys get their turn, as Catwoman, Lex Luthor, Harley Quinn, and the various members of the Legion of Doom answer letters and emails sent to them by little kids.
It’s a rather straightforward conceit, but the creators weave a more complex story around it. Each chapter stars a different supervillain receiving and answering a piece of “fan” mail, usually in the midst of an adventure or mission of some sort, and the answering of the question posed usually involves the telling of a story within a story.
For example, in the first chapter, we watch Catwoman rob an Egyptian museum before relaxing with her ill-gotten gains and checking her email, during which she answers a question about why she so often gets captured by the superpower-less Batman, which involves a flashback story to an encounter with the Dark Knight (this being an extremely light-hearted work, Batman manages to capture the cat-like Catwoman by distracting her with a laser pointer).
But Dear DC Super-Villains isn’t merely an anthology; like Dear Justice League, each chapter is a building block in a larger story that gradually comes into focus. It seems the Legion of Doom just hasn’t been the same since Lex Luthor was last captured and sent to jail (The question he’s asked? If he’s so smart, why hasn’t he come up with a cure for baldness yet?), and eventually some of the villains come to realize they need him back to lead them, so Harley Quinn plans a jailbreak.
Unfortunately for the forever bickering bad guys, Black Manta explains the whole plan to a young correspondent claiming to be his number one fan in an email supsiciously signed “Artie Fishman”, and so the Justice League is there waiting to receive the Legion and add them to the prison populace.
Dear DC Super-Villains is a very joke-dense work, hardly any panels going by without at least one joke in them, sometimes more than one. As with Dear Justice League, Duarte’s art proves to be perfect for the only semi-serious story, his character designs rendering all of the villains (and the occasional heroes) enough like themselves from other comics appearances to be taken seriously, but with extremely expressive faces and body language perfectly suited to the character-based comedy.
Though obviously directed at younger readers, Northrop and Duarte’s comic is well-made enough to appeal to DC comics fans of any age.
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About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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