When Insight Editions comes out with a new book, I’m going to take notice. They consistently put out some of my favorite books about pop culture in particular, and DC Comics specifically. Everything I’ve read that they’ve published is fantastic, but what’s truly impressive just how diverse their output is, from comprehensive histories to movie scripts to fun gift books. Last year, they published a really cool Batman adult coloring book, and they’re back at it again. Instead of focusing on another hero, though, they’ve turned their eyes on the villains.
All of them, not just Batman’s.
With DC Super-Villains: The Official Coloring Book, Insight have delivered another great book, printed on high-quality, sturdy card stock and featuring a truly diverse assortment of bad guys and gals.
I’m not kidding when I say that there’s a wide variety of villains on display here. Yeah, we see Lex Luthor and the Joker and Harley Quinn and Flash’s Rogues, as you’d expect. The entire thing kicks off with a double-page spread of the Fourth World, though, with Granny Goodness, Steppenwolf, Kalibak, and DeSaad. Characters that many comic readers would know, sure, but not exactly household names.
This is a good thing.
In fact, the first several pages are filled with fairly obscure villains, like the Legion of Super-Heroes foes the Fatal Five, the Rogues who make life difficult for the Flash (no doubt the highest-profile group of the lot, so far), and Justice League antagonists like Despero, Prometheus, and Vandal Savage. Like the denizens of Apokolips, these characters are featured across two-page spreads, and there are enough of these groups that I thought that’s how the entire book was going to be: big scenes with lots of villains. That would have been cool, sure, but there’s quite a bit of variety in the characters used and the types of scenes you can color.
My favorites are some of the truly weird pairings that penciler José Carlos Silva opted to illustrate (assuming he was given carte blanche, of course). Do you like Giganta? How about Starro? What do you think about Giganta and Starro together?
Friend, if that’s your dream team-up, then I have good news for you, because you can color the duo as they destroy a city skyline.
Others make more sense, but are still delightfully obscure, like Monsieur Mallah, the Brain, and Mr. Nobody representing the Doom Patrol’s enemies, Red Lanterns Atrocitus and Dex-Starr account for just a few of the Green Lantern Corps foes in these pages, Psycho-Pirate and (I think) the Shade get into some sort of shenanigans, and there are solo pages devoted to guys like Chemo and the Anti-Monitor. Heavyhitters are well represented too, of course, with Joker, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, Lobo, Cheetah, Black Adam, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Sinestro, and Brainiac just a few of the big name baddies featured.
Each page is nicely illustrated by Silva, who has a relatively clean style. The characters and backgrounds are detailed enough that you’ll spend some time coloring each page, but they’re not so overly complex that it would drive you mad. A wide variety of environments keep each page fresh, with characters in urban locales, swamps, underwater, in laboratories, vortexes, jungles, and on moons, to name a few. There’s hardly a hero in sight too, with Superman accounting for the lone appearance by anyone of the noble persuasion, so this is well and truly a book for and of villains. On the one hand, it might have been nice to have a few more heroic characters here and there, to add even more variety to the scenes, but it’s DC Super-Villains: The Official Coloring Book, not DC Heroes and Villains: The Coloring Book.
Retailing for $12.99, this won’t set you back too much and it will take you plenty of time to work through it, if you decide to color in every page. It’s a pretty good deal for a fun, unique gift idea for a loved one, or just something nice to treat yourself with if you want to relax and flex your artistic muscles.
Disclaimer: Insight Editions provided a copy of this book for review.
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