Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 Review

Can We Talk?

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Steve Epting, Javier Fernandez, Nick Filardi, and Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: February 26, 2020

I have enjoyed Hell Arisen enough, but I need more.  So far, it's been a gathering of forces, and a posturing war between Lex Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs.  While that is fun for a bit, it doesn't feel as big as it is making itself out to be, and I hope that ends this issue.  So, does this penultimate issue feel big, and is it any good?  Let's find out...

We open where we ended the last issue, in the Hall of Justice with Lex about to become mincemeat at the hands of a bunch of newly infected heroes.  On our Podcast, Eric and I debated how Lex would get out of this jam, and I have to admit, neither of us thought Warp would be involved!  Of course, the big deal here is the Joker showing up just in time to save Apex Lex.  I say "just in time," but it was after an extended monologue by Infected Jim Gordan that while good, it just went on a little too long.  That's what I was talking about above...everyone talks a big game, but then nothing comes from it.  It's frustrating because the dialogue is good, but I need some action to back it up.

After Joker saves Lex and then covers his tracks in a cruel way, we get more cameos and even more exposition.  I know that it's cool to get Joker and Lex in the same room, but nothing new is going on here as Joker reminds Lex that he does not like the Batman Who Laughs, and that's just what Lex is counting on.

Meanwhile, the Batman Who Laughs is playing a game of "Guess Who's Come to Hell Arisen" with another wild card character.  It's a big reveal, but so was Phantom Stranger last issue!  Since nothing came of that yet, I can't get excited least for now.

While this goes on, Lex is picking Joker's brain for a plan.  He figures out the secrets of the Infected and announces he knows how to win and then hits the road.  Before he leaves, though, the Joker tells him to know his role and Punchline does just enough to make this issue collectible (i.e., she shows up).

Check out my video review of Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1

The issue continues with both sides of this war gathered like it's 3 o'clock high at the Hall of Justice, and I don't know who Buddy Revell is in this situation.  It's probably Lex because there is a twist here that's not explained, but it certainly levels the playing field and makes the next issue better already.

This issue is setup through and through.  I did like the dialogue overall, but again, it talks a big game without bringing it, but I guess that will have to wait for the finale next month.  I said it already, but this story just doesn't feel big.  Perpetua hasn't shown up,  I am sick of the Batman Who Laughs, and I want Lex to shed this Apex nonsense and get back to being just Lex.  What I'm saying is, I want this to end, and luckily it will next issue...or will it?  If DC holds to what they usually give us, this will end up being just another prelude, this time for Death Metal this Summer.

The art was okay, and while I didn't see anything I hated, there wasn't anything that took my breath away either.  It's a shame since we rarely get Lex and the Joker together, but them standing around isn't a breathtaking sight.

Bits and Pieces:

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 talks a good game, but you'll have to come back next month to find out if it's all worth it.  Tynion is doing his best to convince the reader that this is a big story, with guest stars crazier than the last and crazy twists and turns, but it just hasn't reached that level with me yet.  The art was good enough, but unfortunately, so was the story and something that's supposed to tie up so much a send us to bigger and better things needs to be better than "good enough".   Here's hoping it all ends on a high note in next month's conclusion.



  1. It's hilarious how retailers are taking a stand on speculators over this issue. This is suddenly a thing. They're mostly annoyed because they can't possibly fill the demand that they didn't see coming. If anything, it shows the weaknesses in their business models. If they can't special order something, that's the problem right there. And if they're unwilling to special order, that's another problem entirely. I can't even fathom a business in 2020 not having the ability to compete with, y'know, the internet.

    1. It is crazy! So odd they can't special order it. I thought high demand for something was a good thing!

  2. I agree with the retailers. If it's not in your pull then you pay the price they put on it. I got mine for cover price because I also ordered the rest of the issues. People who came in looking for just that issue got the mark-up. One guy offered me $40 cash right there in line for mine and I told him I hadn't read the story yet. He said "That's what the internet is for." I told him the internet is for comic reviews and porn.