Comics Anonymous


Issue #1 of this indie release from Obscure Reference Comics has one of those eye-catching covers which seem to grab your attention and almost hijack your subconscious to read it…..good marketing ploy??…..or was there more on offer here?

Villainous has a dark premise about it, opening with Victor Arkin being chased home from school only to discover his mother’s dead body on the kitchen floor.  Killed by his drunken father who then turns on Victor himself and we’re dropped head first into a change of pace from another superhero comic.  Victor’s obvious torment at these scenes sends him into a downward spiral – ending with him killing a man and ending up in jail.  A daring escape sees him come face to face with the man’s son – Detective Thomas Bryson.  Now victor gets the better of Bryson during his escape but doesn’t pull the trigger like he would have done before….hinting at a possible change to his mental state.

It soon unfolds that we’ve got a game of cat and mouse on our hands as Victor’s as yet unclear mission is on the go to reclaim some sense of justice for the hard life he’s had to endure all coupled with Bryson’s urge for revenge on his father’s killer.  All mixed in with an admirer of Victors “work” almost torturing Victor with his hints and jibes about his past – including handing him the man responsible for his capture in his old house.

Now indie’s can be pretty hit or miss and there are a few things on this that at least start off a little rough around the edges, particularly in issue #1 – some of the artwork slips and loses some of it’s consistency as does some of the dialogue but there’s a lot to be said for sticking with this title.  We seem to get a much darker offering of topics and styles with indie releases compared to the big 2 or other well-known publishers – keen to play it safe but if anything, that’s a risk in itself – indie titles like Villainous at least take that risk and run with it.

The dark almost bittersweet edge to Victor’s life in Villainous seems to demand some sense of compassion but his actions make us question that…..a good thing to get in any comic…..something different at the very least.  Gary Chudleigh writes this with art by Graeme Kennedy and they are developing as a creative team across these 2 issues, so it’ll be interesting to see how this story evolves across the next few issues.  I think the only thing I wish they’d done with this title, was to make it black & white…….probably just a personal thing but I take a look at their other work on their website (stories like ‘Good Night’ or ‘Anniversary of the Dead’) and could have seen this title working better – maybe showing not so much of a difference between that strong cover to issue #1 – but even with that being said I’d like to read issue #3 and beyond to see how things go.

Get over to the Obscure Reference Comics website and check out this and their other titles:


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