“Superior Foes of Spider-Man” was the 15th best book of 2014. It was a genuinely hilarious take on super-villain partnerships and mutual betrayal. Praised by critics and superfans like myself, it was part of Marvel’s attempt to create “indie-ish” comics under the Marvel banner. Similar books have gone this route, from Elektra to Hawkeye to Black Widow and beyond, with varying results.
Illuminati, written by Josh Williamson (Ghosted, Nailbiter) and illustrated by Shawn Crystal (Arkham Manor, Fantomex MAX), is the latest installment in this trend and, so far, it’s damn good.
The premise, begun above, is that Titania is essentially kidnapped by The Red Hood when he believes she is being caught by Power Man and Iron Fist during the commission of a crime. From there, we meet his gang of idiots and see Titania, reluctantly, being brought into his web of crime.
Subsequent issues involve the bar where bad guys go, the beginnings of a big heist, and a guest appearance by MODOK (yay!).
Red Hood was always a serious menace, so seeing him being taken less seriously is a little jarring–and may detract from some of the characters past like the great 2002 “Hood” miniseries by Bryan Vaughan–but keep an open mind. I think this book is going places. Good places.
And I intend to follow it.