Writer: Gail Simone
Pencils: Derlis Santacruz
Inks: Karl Kesel
Colors: Brett Smith
What makes a good villain? Is it their actions or the actions that led them to being the villain we know today?
That is what we find out in the DC Villains issue all about The Ventriloquist.
Ever since her debut in Batgirl this has been a character I have absolutely loved. Such a departure from Arnold Wesker or Peyton Riley, Shauna Belzer is a much darker and more mentally disturbed Ventriloquist than I feel we have ever seen before. Lucky for us this issue really serves as an origin story for the character and fully expands on what we were told during her arc in Batgirl.
This issue if full of dark imagery that fully exposes the persona and psyche of Shauna, from the dead that she leaves in her wake to the way she tells the story of her upbringing. You really get the sense that the person you are reading telling the story is mentally disturbed and more than that, she is so disturbed she is actually pure evil. Right from the beginning we see how twisted and deranged she is and yet the way she tells it, she was a perfect angel. This truly shows how damaged the mind of this character is and in an interesting way makes me want to read a lot more about her.
She has no problem with killing as we see in this issue; she also has a warped sense of reality as well. While telling her story we are told one thing and shown another, this is one of those times when Gail Simone nails it. I have always said with me she has hits and misses but this issue was a hit in my book. The way she writes Shauna is how I wish she would write all her characters, with us being able to see inside the mind of the person and not feeling as if we are just supposed to accept this character is a villain. She actually shows us what this character is made of and how she came to be how she is.
As far as the character design goes I much preferred her previous look in the Batgirl series. In that series you could see how she was thin with a grey waxy look, much like on the cover of this issue. Even with that you could see someone who was once much more pretty underneath the grotesque. Her look in this issue left much to be desired in my opinion, as she didn’t have that anorexic look that made her so unique in her original appearance. However the imagery of the dead in this book was fantastic and gave me the sense that to her everyone in this world is just a puppet ready to serve her will.
As far as the Villain one-shots go this is one of the ones I would highly recommend people to pick up. With a fantastic story and a deep look inside one of the newer rogues in the bat gallery, Ventriloquist is a demented, twisted, sick ride that must be experienced.
4 out of 5 nerds