Astounding Villain House (Dark Horse)


Rating: 4.5/5 – Great fun!  Check this out!

This reprints stories originally presented in Dark Horse Presents #21-24, but given that DHP is $7.99 an issue and this comic is 32 pages (four 8-page stories) for $3.50, this is a great deal!

Shannon Wheeler is best know for his creation Too Much Coffee Man and this is that same style of comedy (with a bit less coffee drinking).  I’d put this is the same humor category as Flaming Carrot, which is a good thing since I love Flaming Carrot.

You’ve heard of maximum security jails built to house the world’s most vile criminals, people  who are beyond redemption?  This is not one of those places.  This is a medium security prison that houses mediocre mid-level mooks.

The first story introduces us to The Squid and the Pachyderm who typically run afoul of some hero with a power they don’t expect when committing a crime.  Next we meet a couple on a date who met via an on-line dating service.  She used to date super-villains.  The third story introduces us to the Buzzard who is under house arrest but still years to set up crimes as long as he can recruit others to assist him.  Finally, the Fantastic Family yearns to put an end to the reign of the Blind Mole-Rat King.  The humorous parallels to Marvel’s FF and Mole Man are played for laughs.

Since they’re short stories we’re in and out pretty quickly, but Wheeler does a really good job of fleshing out his characters quickly and working in a quirky twist or two along the way.  This is a specific genre of humor that parodies super-heroes in a very sideways fashion, not much emphasis on the super-hero battle though we get a few punches and kicks, it’s wry humor focusing on the verbal and situational.   Your enjoyment of this comic, as with any comedy, is going to have a lot with how well it fits into your own sense of humor.  This plays quite nicely to my personal sense of humor, I liked it a lot.

I need to get back to filling in the holes in my Too Much Coffee Man back issue collection.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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