On the morning of his wedding, super villain Johnny Bolt robs a bank to make sure he and his new bride, Kasey (herself a crook, although her codename is not provided), have enough to live on. He is stopped in typical fashion, buy star-spangled hero The Gladiator. Bolt goes back to jail for five years.
Cut to the present and retired criminal Carmine, who mentored Johnny and Kasey among many others, is attempting to use a goth kid with psychic powers to rip off the Osiris casino in Vegas by cheating at roulette. The house gets suspicious and they find the psychic kid in a car outside the casino. They grab Carmine and bring them both into an office. They kill the boy and order Carmine, who had run his score up to 12 million, that he owes them 100 million and it is due in one year’s time.
Johnny gets out of prison and visits Kasey, who wants nothing to do with him. But Carmine, post-smack down, arrives and they take him in. Back at Kasey’s place, she watches a news report of a super hero, The Praetorian, who is set free after 57 counts of “abusing his powers.” Kasey is disgusted, having experienced first hand, The Praetorian’s corruption. She is hesitant to help Johnny, but she owes Carmine, so she listens as he hatches a plan; go someplace without super heroes. Johnny makes a few phone calls and puts together a gang of crooks to pull a heist in Spain.
Millar absolutely loves reveling in the seamy side of comic book heroics, and in this case, villainy. His characters typically ooze corruption and greed among other nasty traits. So it’s funny here that the villains seemingly exude admirable traits like loyalty and friendship! Johnny and Kasey both studied under Carmine and seem to have his back completely. The fact that Johnny committed the robbery on his wedding day, not out of greed, but in order to ensure he and his new wife had money to live on, almost seems noble! This feels like a super villain twist on ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ which in itself is a fun idea. So I’m definitely on-board for the duration of this series.
Leinil Yu is one of the best illustrators in comics, but he seems to outdo himself here! This book seems even more detailed than his prior work! The facial renderings are great!
I’m sure it’s going to get bloody, but Millar rarely fails to deliver a solid story. Paired with Yu, there’s little to not like about this issue.
Written by Mark Millar
Co-Plotted by Nacho Vigalondo
Art and Cover by Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan