Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Steve Epting and Javier Fernandez
Colors by: Nick Filardi
Letters by: Travis Lanham
Lex Luthor will have to unlock a cure for the Batman Who Laughs infection and that means going into the brain of the Joker.
Lex Luthor has been captured by the Batman Who Laughs twisted heroes and they plan to torture him before ending his life. Fortunately for Lex, Joker decides to intervene and save his old colleague. After escaping with him, Lex discovers Mercy in the clutches of Joker’s new girl Punchline with the Clown Prince of Crime laughing about Lex’s plan. With his new powers, Lex decides that the answer he needs to find a cure for the infection are in Joker’s brain and decides to dig into it to get what he needs.
Armed with the knowledge of how to stop the Batman Who Laughs, Lex calls him out. When he and his twisted Justice League arrive, they discover that Lex isn’t alone and the criminal mastermind has something devious up his sleeve. Something that will require him to call in some favors from the villains he’s upgraded all year.
There is a lot to like in this story. The plot moves really well and James Tynion IV does a great job with the dialogue. The dance going on between Lex and BWL started interesting enough and thankfully, it is coming to a conclusion. The biggest drawback to the story overall is the fact that Lex and BWL never really went head to head. The kept dancing around each other using intermediaries to do their work and I would have loved to see more interaction between the two.
Epting and Fernandez keep the story moving perfectly with the tone of the art. Joker is beautifully menacing. The villains look fantastic and the action looks good as well.