‘Villainous’ is the first release from new publishers on the block Obscure Reference comics.
It’s the first of a five part series telling the story of Victor Arkin, convicted psychopath with a tragic childhood who escapes his imprisonment in Straffen Asylum in an attempt to stop a copycat killer who has taken Victor’s legacy as inspiration.
While the story works well, it’s let down a little by the artwork, which, in places, doesn’t quite come up to the mark. Still, its early days and the project has promise.
This issue deals with the introduction of the characters and the setup for the rest of the take. If there is one weak point to the story it’s that Victor’s reason for escaping – to stop the copy-cat killer – is not made clear in this first issue.
Granted, the blurb on the Obscure Reference website explains Victor’s reason for escaping, but without prior knowledge of this the first issue comes across as a standard ‘killer escapes, cops chase killer’ story.
If our anti-hero’s motives were known earlier it may have served to add an extra layer of originality to the telling.
Conversely, the website gives away the reason for Detective Thomas Bryson’s obsession with Victor which, had it been left to unfold in the course of the story, would have been a nice hook to keep readers coming back for each new issue.
There is, however, a nice cinematic feel to the script. It is entirely readable and pacey and this first part could easily be the setup before the opening credits run on a movie. There are enough characters in there to make you wonder how they got where they are, and what is going to happen to them next.
Overall a good story and a promising start to the series. I want to know what happens and next and will be looking out for Issue 2 when it’s released later on in the year.
It has me coming back for more, which is pretty much what you would want an opening issue to do.