“Oh, The Villainy!” Take Six : “Ra’s Al Ghul And The League Of Assassins” #1

Posted: September 20, 2013 in comics
Tags: , , , , ,



This time out, the dreary road that is DC’s “Villains Month” leads us to Ra’s Al Ghul And The League Of Assassins  #1 (or as it’s known in more official quarters Batman And Robin #23.3 — even though Robin is, once again, dead), and I guess as far as these things go it’s actually not so terribly bad — but it’s certainly nothing special either, even though the 3-D holographic cover is out to convince you otherwise, of course.

The story for this issue, written by Scott Snyder’s frequent understudy (and probably heir-all-too-apparent) James Tynion IV starts off with some flashback material to Ra’s and the gang’s early days (think Crusade-era), then flashes forward to the present day where we find an emissary of the Earth-3 Sinister Syndicate group of far-less-than-heroes currently planning to take over “our” now-apparently-Justice-League-free world making his pitch to the immortal one to get him and his coterie of quasi-mystical killers to throw in with his dimension-hopping masters.

Ra’s declines the invitation, and that’s that. We get a few brief recap scenes of “The Ghoul”‘s earlier years thrown in, with special focus given to his first meeting with Batman, his arrangement of an heir between his house and that of Gotham’s Wayne clan (which resulted in that Robin death I just alluded to, of course), and that’s about it.

All in all it’s reasonably readable, if breezy and insubstantial,  stuff, the art by Jeremy Haun is, like the script, serviceable if unspectacular, and at least you walk away satisfied that DC found some way of involving the new readers they desperately need in these proceedings without resorting to a by-the-numbers (and bastardized — this is “The New 52,” after all) origin story.  Sure  you’d still definitely be better off with four bucks in your pocket rather than this book bagged n’ boxed in your collection,  but  in its (admittedly small) favor , the whole thing  isn’t quite as blatant a rip-off as most of the other titles in this still-unfolding travesty have been.

Are we still a long way from anything  giving off even the most faint and remote odor of greatness here? You bet we are. But Tynion and Haun at least seem semi-concerned with delivering a competent (enough) comic to their readers, and while it’s not “damn, I gotta read that again!” stuff by any means, it’s fair to say that the first read-through isn’t a goddamn ordeal like most of this “Villains Month” shit has been.

The final verdict here, then, is one of tired ambivalence. The book’s not actually worth liking by any means, but hey — the guys who wrote and drew it showed up for work. That makes it very nearly a masterpiece in comparison to, say, Scarecrow #1 or Desaad  #1 — but not when you line it up against much of anything else.

  1. Victor De Leon says:

    Not sure if I picked this one up. Gotta check.

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