DC Comics has a rich pantheon of supervillains, so it’s no wonder the publisher would want to put them all in the spotlight as often as possible. With a roster including Lex Luthor, the Joker, Black Adam, Deathstroke, and the Turtle, how could you not?
This is of course nothing new; the idea of a villain centric takeover is common throughout comics history, whether we’re talking about Marvel’s Acts of Vengeance, key portions of Infinite Crisis, Forever Evil, or even the New 52’s “Villain’s Month.”
So what makes 2019’s “Year of the Villain” different? (Apart from the June kickoff, which positions more of a Villain’s Summer Vacation. And now that I’m picturing Grodd in a speedo, let’s move on…) The answer’s have been building throughout writer Scott Snyder’s run on Justice League, which has focused heavily on Lex Luthor’s spiritual awakening that “evil” self-interest is humanity’s true purpose. “Year of the Villain” will focus on Lex taking this message across the DC Universe, and assembling an even larger Legion of Doom that buys into his ambitions for the planet.
Previously: Heroes in Crisis
Road to The Year of the Villain (Scott Snyder’s Justice League)
Collects: Justice League: No Justice #1-4 And Stories From DC Nation #0
Following the events of Dark Nights: Metal, the Justice League lineup of comics rebranded with new core rosters under the “New Justice” umbrella. The “No Justice” mini kicked things off, and leads to three core titles: Justice League, Justice League Dark, and Justice League Odyssey.
Collects: Justice League #1-7
The Scott Snyder written era of Justice League begins, with artists including Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez.
Justice League – Legion of Doom Checklist:
If you’re really looking for a “Road To” fast track, I’d recommend the various “Legion of Doom” takeover issues, where the Justice League comic is converted into a villains highlight!
- Justice League #5
- Justice League #8
- Justice League #12
- Justice League #13
- Justice League #18
- Justice League #22
Collects: Justice League #8-12
Collects: Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1, Justice League #10-12, Aquaman #40-41, Titans #28 And Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1
You can find a checklist and reading order for this crossover with Comic Book Herald’s Drowned Earth guide.
Collects: Justice League #13-16, Justice League Annual #1, Justice League #17 To #18
Justice League #19 to #25 – “The Sixth Dimension”
Year of the Villain Comics
The first two Year of the Villain tie-ins released – Deathstroke and Harley Quinn – do not bode well for the relevance of this “event’s” tie-ins. We’re talking approximately 4% of the comic book that actually relates to Year of the Villain, in the most predictable way possible. Harley Quinn at least has fun with it, but until further notice, unless you’ve been reading the DC series prior to Year of the Villain, you don’t need to exclusively as part of the bigger event picture.
I’ll go ahead and reiterate here, if it’s not an issue of Justice League, or doesn’t have “Year of the Villain” in the one-shot title, then the “tie-ins” are really only recommended / necessary if it’s a series you’re already interested in keeping up with. Which is fine! Again, “Year of the Villain” is not an event so much as an idea.
For it’s part, the Mark Russell written Sinestro: Year of the Villain is a fun meditation on godhood, worship, and the value of the self.
Writer Sam Humphries and the Harley Quinn team are clearly having a lot of fun making fun of “Year of the Villain” and crossovers in general. It’s really smart meta-commentary, and a tonic for the burden of tie-ins!
Whereas Sinestro: Year of the Villain concentrates on a core Legion of Doom mainstay, this Black Mask one-shot written by Tom Taylor (always a good thing) perplexingly zooms into the life of one Roman Sionis. There are a lot of elements that feel like this should make for a great comic – particularly the inclusion of Batwoman and Renee Montaya – but it’s all a bit flat. I’m curious how this will or won’t play into the rest of Year of the Villain.
This is the big one, the start of the Justice/Doom war!
Note that this “Year of the Villain” tie-in kicks off the crossover within the crossover – “The Infected.”
This issue has a lot more to do with Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium
While it may seem extremely weird to so clearly jump Superman issues like this (it is weird!), Superman #17 actually follows up pretty directly on “The Gift” portion of Year of the Villain.
Also an epilogue of sorts for Heroes in Crisis.
Sexy Lexy roams the DC multiverse in search of Luthors! Solid multiversal one-shot by Jason Latour and Bryan Hitch.
Also an Event Leviathan tie-in!
Follow-up tie-in to “The Infected” alongside “Year of the Villain.” Oh, and Black Adam tosses in “Leviathan” references for an incredible three point play.
This “Infected” chapter takes place mostly prior to Batman #77, but ends closer to the “Doom Rising” portion of “Year of the Villain.” If you’ve already read Batman to this point you’ll know what has to occur earlier than these events, and it won’t really diminish the issue to read closer to publication date here.
Primarily an “Infected” tie-in