Book review: The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History

Morris, Jon
3 stars = Pretty Good

With the success of comic book movies in the last decade, it's sometimes hard to forget that these films don't explore all of what the pulpy medium offered. The rise in popularity of comics in a few different "eras" inevitably led to saturation in the medium. When something becomes saturated, creators don't care as much about what they're putting out, since everything sells. This is how a book like The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains can collect quite a few foes that were better left forgotten.

If there's anything this book does well, it's showing how simple and bland the early years of comics were. Perhaps I'm just used to the modern era that's had decades to figure out which superheroes and supervillains work best. Many of the early comic villains are forgettable, indicating a lack of imagination on the part of their creators. Unfortunately, since this book collects a lot of these villains in one place, it is boring to get through. After a few pages of supervillain puns, I got the "joke" this book was trying to make. And it just kept going.

While I understand organizing this book chronologically showed how these regrettable supervillains evolved over the years, I think it might have had more variety if it just stuck to being exclusively alphabetical. After all, it would have kept my attention a little better if I learned about a villain like Lepus before being reminded that M.O.D.O.K. exists. Perhaps my surface-level interest in comic books (especially the classics) is why it took me a while to get through this book. Still, if you want to be a super-fan of this medium, you might already know about Doctor Voodoo, which might make this humorous commentary on him a moot point.

A slightly amusing gimmick that highlights the lack of early comic book creativity, I give The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.