REVIEW: ‘Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire,’ Issue #3

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Devil’s Reign Villains for Hire #3 - But Why Tho

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #3 is the final part of the Devil’s Reign event tie-in published by Marvel Comics. Written by Clay McLeod Chapman, pencils by Manuel Garcia, inks by Lorenzo Ruggiero, colours by Dono Sánchez-Almara, and letters by Joe Sabino. 

U.S. Agent volunteered to lead Kingpin’s Thunderbolts team, actually a plant by the feds to bring Fisk down. Protecting Fisk and an election rally, a villain named Conviction used to crowd to try and get to Fisk. Electro was also taken over and unleashed a powerful burst on the spectators. In this issue, John Walker and the other team members reel from the attack. As Fisk and the rest of the team leave. U.S. Agent and Agony remain behind to help civilians. But Conviction hasn’t left and still has a point to prove.

For much of the issue the plot remains as promising as it was from the beginning of the series. Starting right where the last issue left off, there is a brief lull before the action starts up again. There is this tension hanging in the air between Kingpin and U.S. Agent, their anger at each other always threatening to bubble over. Then there is a fight scene that is terrific in its drama and the situation the characters find themselves in. But after that, the comic takes a turn for the worst. The momentum and the tension are drained out of the book and pure exposition takes over. Any plot points are ripped away as the issue just winds up serving to place characters in the right spot for the final issue of Devil’s Reign. This leads to the worst ending of any tie-in so far.

The characters reach their best and their worst in Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #3. U.S. Agent’s personality in the first half of the issue is fantastic. He seems disillusioned with any kind of superior, from the government to Kingpin. There is a depression to his attitude that is effective. The connection built between him and Agony is also brilliant as the two share a battle and a moment together. Similarly, it is fascinating to have someone finally stand up against Fisk, the conflict between them written well. And then like everything else in the comic it becomes irrelevant. The other characters get little development of even lines of dialogue, with Rhino being to only one of some substance. Even a newcomer, one who might be considered exciting, is left as a disappointment.

The art has moments where it is perfectly suited to the comic. When Conviction takes people over, the lumpy nature of the characters’ faces actually works. Their expressions are haunting and scary, with the inks by Ruggiero working wonders on the detail. Agony is fantastic here, slithering and transforming. And the way that Waler’s helmet ends up hanging over his face is growing on me. But there are still some issues with how certain characters look. Both Taskmaster and Whiplash have deformed, misshapen masks and Electro just never looks right. And the newcomer to the team has a completely different design from when he first appears to his final moments. 

The colours are fine for most of the issue. The gloomy, dark tones match the negative mood of the comic. The purple used by Conviction is great, and the notion that people adopt this shade, progressively more vibrant the longer they are possessed, helps discern their state. The lettering is small but easy to read in both the word balloons and the caption boxes.

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #3 is not a good ending at all. This is because it doesn’t feel like one. The drop-off from what is a plot acting within its own comic to suddenly becoming an explanation for the main Devil’s Reign book is so sudden and so violent that it instantly ruins any excitement for the comic. Any subplots are pointless and don’t have a sniff of a conclusion. It is like it ran out of time to tell its story, perhaps an extra issue would have helped. But the art and writing aren’t really good enough to warrant it, leaving a curious and disappointing dilemma.

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #3 is available where comics are sold. 


Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #3
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TL;DR

Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #3 is not a good ending at all. This is because it doesn’t feel like one. The drop-off from what is a plot acting within its own comic to suddenly becoming an explanation for the main Devil’s Reign book is so sudden and so violent that it instantly ruins any excitement for the comic. Any subplots are pointless and don’t have a sniff of a conclusion. It is like it ran out of time to tell its story, perhaps an extra issue would have helped. But the art and writing aren’t really good enough to warrant it, leaving a curious and disappointing dilemma.