Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1 Review

by Olivier Roth on December 18, 2019

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Steve Epting

Colorist: Nick Filardi

Letterer: Travis Lanham

Published by: DC


Now that the Year of the Villain storyline is truly in full swing (please see recent issues of Justice League) and that Batman and Superman have introduced the Infected, Hell Arisen is the logical continuation of both series to explore what the villains are up to. 


Tynion splits the issue almost in two: concentrating on both The Batman Who Laughs and the new and improved (I guess) Lex Luthor as both villains start putting their plans together. Tynion’s decision to put a sort of “prequel” at the beginning of the issue, showing that both Luthor and The Batman Who Laughs believe they are the superior of the other is a great touch and sets the tone of the series really well. 


From there, we jump to Earth-3 as our favorite villainous dopplegangers, the Crime Syndicate, have gotten wind of Perpetua’s plans, and by proxy, Luthor's plans are, and they want a slice of the action. The use of the Crime Syndicate is actually twofold by Tynion within the context of the story: it both showcases that the powers of Perpetua are absolute and will even cow some major leaguers like the Crime Syndicate, but it also gives some hints to how the Multiverse works - which is explained in the issue. 


If you’ve been following The Batman Who Laughs in other DC comics, you’ll know that he is a master strategist (I mean, he’s essentially Batman right?) and that comes into play within the issue. I mentioned above that the first few pages were used as a somewhat prequel to this story, and during this section, The Batman Who Laughs essentially throws down the gauntlet to Luthor, asking who would win if they went head to head. This comes into play in the latter half of the issue as each make their first move on the other, and the results are yet to be seen. 


The art team of Epting and Filardi do a great job throughout the issue. Epting is a veteran of the comic book scene and continues to offer up some excellent pencil and ink work. I’ve always enjoyed his grittier takes on superhero comics, and he brings that flair to this issue. I enjoyed Filardi’s colors for the most part, but at times they do come off a little lifeless, especially in the Luthor scenes. I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t mesh as well with Epting’s heavier ink work, but it does seem a little off at points. 

Our Score:


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