Review: Secret Society of Super-Villains #1

Secret Society of Super-Villains #1 cover
Cover by Ernie Chan (as Ernie Chua)

Secret Society of Super-Villains #1
Published and © by DC, May-June 1976

Title: “Attend – or Die!”
Synopsis: A clone of Paul “Manhunter” Kirk calls together several DC big bads to form a Secret Society of Super-Villains.

Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Pablo Marcos
Inker: Bob Smith

Review: This reviewer has never been a big fan of supervillain team-up books. While superheroes often share a common motivation, villains tend to draw on more varied inspiration: hunger for power, the need to control, even plain ol’ insanity. Writer Gerry Conway tries to address that here, suggesting greed as the common denominator for this fledgling Secret Society. Perhaps, but such a simple motivation doesn’t ring true for characters like Sinestro and Gorilla Grodd. Still, the introduction of a Paul Kirk clone as team leader is intriguing, as is the lingering secret of the team’s unnamed benefactor.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “What 10-year-old could keep from reading this until it disintegrated? … 5 out of 4 stars.” – Jack Abramowitz, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1597, October 2004 … “Conway’s early issues were the best, having a firm storyline … as well as some nice artwork by Pablo Marcos.” – Alan Brightmore, Comics Unlimited #50, June-July 1979 … “One of the most enjoyable series of recent years.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983

Cool factor: An interesting mix of characters. There’s just enough going on here for readers to come back for more.
Not-so-cool factor: Captain Cold and Mirror Master. Never did like those guys.

Notable: This issue includes a text page titled “The Sinister Citadel,” featuring character profiles of Manhunter and Gorilla Grodd.

Character quotable: “In a way, this fight was a demonstration – a practical display of the need for a secret society – to fight them – the heroes – our mortal enemies!” – Paul Kirk, Manhunter (not the good one)

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on June 23, 2010.

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