Mild Spoilers Ahead
The Commissioner and the other Infected Justice League members have captured Apex Predator Lex Luthor. An unexpected savior comes to rescue Lex: the Joker. With the help of Warp of the Brotherhood of Evil, Joker teleports Luthor out of the Hall of Justice and to a nearby hideout. The Joker is still angry that Luthor unleashed The Batman Who Laughs, but Luthor needs some information from the Joker. He uses his telepathic abilities to rip the needed information from the Clown Prince’s mind. Afterwards, Joker tells Luthor that, if he is to beat The Batman Who Laughs, he needs to do it as Lex Luthor, not a servant of Perpetua.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 finds Apex Lex beaten by the Infected, but Luthor’s past dealings with the Joker give him an unexpected out. All of this is to set up a big smackdown between Luthor, The Batman Who Laughs, and whatever allies the two titans of evil can dredge up.
The Joker’s almost preternatural revulsion towards The Batman Who Laughs is an interesting quality that returns here. It’s interesting that the Joker hates something so similar to himself.
The appearance of Punchline got this comic a bit of attention in the past week. I can’t say that the Joker’s new companion added much to the comic, but she is still a fledgling villain.
Luthor returning to his villainous roots is a promising precursor for the finale and the cliffhanger to this issue does leave me excited for the hellacious finale.
Javier Fernandez and Steve Epting team up for the issue, and both provide some stellar artwork highlighting the grit and gloom of the tale. Their styles aren’t very complimentary for one another, but each artist puts in some damn good visual work on their own, with Fernandez giving the book a dirtier look and Epting providing a very grim realist aesthetic. Nick Filardi provides a fittingly dark yet balanced palette for the proceedings, adding to the villainous glory of the comic.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 sets up the mini-series for an explosive finale. Luthor and The Batman Who Laughs rally what allies they can find for one final showdown at the Hall of Justice. Whoever wins gets to decide the shape of our apocalypse. In either case, this comic gets a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 comes to us from writer James Tynion IV, artists Steve Epting and Javier Fernandez, color artist Nick Filardi, letterer Travis Lanham, cover artist Steve Epting, and variant cover artist Riccardo Federici.
Final Score: 7.5/10