REVIEW: ‘Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Devil’s Reign Villains for Hire #2 - But Why Tho

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Clay McLeod Chapman, with pencils by Manuel Garcia, inks by Lorenzo Ruggiero, colours by Dono Sánchez-Almara and Fer Sifuentes-Sujo, and colors by Joe Sabino. This is a tie-in to the Devil’s Reign event.

Mayor Kingpin has gathered a group of villains as a new team of Thunderbolts, instructing them to clean up the streets now that the superheroes are gone. But they are murderous, unruly and difficult to control. U.S. Agent lets himself into Kingpin’s office. John Walker is looking for a job, convincing Fisk to install him as the field commander for the Thunderbolts. During their unveiling, things start to go wrong.

The plot of this issue is brilliant because it derails expectations. Inside the opening chapter, the story that had been implied could have been considered unoriginal and predictable, though not at all boring. Even the introduction of John Walker could mean that the reader had a particular direction in mind. Chapman’s script in issue #2 however alters that direction and provides the possibility for great drama. The tensions are always high due to the dangerous individuals involved. Violence is always around the corner, and the target is ever-changing. A sub-plot is added to the comic that increases the danger. The mission itself is interesting and the final page is a move that no one saw coming.

In Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #2, the tie-in has gained a protagonist. Introducing the “hero” of the book right at the end of the last issue is an intelligent decision as it shows the disarray and chaos that is ensuing without guidance. With U.S. Agent, he is rudimentary and steadfast, a loud and authoritative figure. He joins the Thunderbolts because he wants to be their leash. But there is more to him than meets the eye and the reader may change their opinion of him quickly.

The other Thunderbolts take a backseat inside this issue as Walker’s role is explained. They talk and have their moments, but this is not until later. In fact, it is easy to forget that Taskmaster and Whiplash are in this group. But Agony is written superbly and Electro’s power makes her a severe danger all the way through the story.

The art is still very messy. This is not a pleasant book to look at, and it’s not really supposed to be. The gore and the murder is extreme in their presentation, with one scene in particular close to frightening in its portrayal. The crosshatching on Walker’s helmet is nice detailing but can almost be considered too much. Many bodies and heads are misshapen, Whiplash, and Rhino in particular. When in motion the battles are exciting and the movement hides the awkward designs somewhat. But overall, everybody just looks weird.

The colors are muted and gloomy in general, fitting considering the tone of the series. But when presenting the Thunderbolts in public, the scene is lighter and the colors on figures such as Agony and Electro seem more vibrant as if they are out in the open. Additionally, The lettering is perhaps too small in some instances but is not overly difficult to read.

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #2 is conflicting. The story is exciting and has a lot of possible routes for it to take, with characters that are worth following. Whilst they may not all be A-listers, Chapman has already shown their ability to draw the readers in. And the fight scenes are brutal but altogether fun in a morbid fashion. But the art is simply not good enough, and can even be off-putting.

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #2 is available where comics are sold.


Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #2
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TL;DR

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #2 is conflicting. The story is exciting and has a lot of possible routes for it to take, with characters that are worth following. Whilst they may not all be A-listers, Chapman has already shown their ability to draw the readers in. And the fight scenes are brutal but altogether fun in a morbid fashion. But the art is simply not good enough, and can even be off-putting.