New Year's Evil #1 Review: Festive Holiday Cheer, Tears, and Celebration from DC's Villian Side

new years evil 1
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

It's the holiday season and even as people around the world prepare for various forms of winter merry-making, so too does DC Comics. With the "Year of the Villain" crossover event being such a prominent story working its way across various characters and titles it should come as no surprise that it's the villains who get to come out and play the imprint's winter special, New Year's Evil #1. What may come as surprise, however, is how moving, uplifting, and even hopeful many of the collected stories of evil-doers on New Year's Eve really are.

New Year's Evil #1 is a large, 80-page prestige-format issue with an incredible roster of writers and artists lending their talents to offer 10 tales featuring villains such as Black Adam, Sinestro, Chronos, Poison Ivy and more. There's even a Calendar Man story. It's the wide range of creators and the diverse roster of "bad guys" that make the issue and its stories such a rich read as there is truly something for everyone's tastes, but it's the individual stories -- as least some of them -- that makes this collection a truly incredible book.

Villains are frequently shown as being pretty directly what they are: antagonists sent to give the heroes something to fight against. While there are plenty of times in comics when we get to see different nuances and shades of those villains, we rarely get to see those moments as stories about them, a peeling back of curtain if you will of who those characters are in their most "human" states. All of the stories in New Year's Evil are fun to read, but there are some specific standouts.

"Bright and Terrible", the Sinestro-centric story from writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artist Sumit Kumar is one of those that sees Sinestro be the hero of the story -- a very Sinestro fashion, of course. There's also the deeply moving, punch-in-the-gut of a tale "Father Christmas" by writer Dave Wielgosz and with art by Cian Tormey that is so finely crafted that it may make you see Chronos in an entirely different light.

Arguably the best story in the issue -- and to be fair, they are all a treat -- is the Black Adam feature "A Coal in My Stocking" from Ram V. with art by Anthony Spay. The book is largely focused on New Year's Eve-related tales, but this Christmas-oriented one is both heartwarming and hopeful...and so true to the character of Black Adam that it will easily be one readers remember for a long time.

Generally, it's very difficult to pull off a multi-creator, multi-story epic of an issue with so many characters and so many different stories which has an end result of a truly great issue, but New Year's Evil #1 does it spectacularly. It's an issue that's truly a gift to comic fans of all kinds and it's one that may just become a new holiday classic they’ll enjoy for holidays to come.

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Published by DC Comics

On December 4, 2019