Overview: Harley Quinn hosts the annual villain awards.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): The Enchantress and Killer Croc arrive at the Annual Villains Awards in their limo, hoping to be acknowledged by their peers for their “good” work this year.
Harley welcomes the crowd and introduces herself as their host for the night’s festivities. She looks out into the crowd and notices how good everyone looks. She asks Ted Krosby who he is wearing tonight. (He literally is wearing a dead person’s face.) She jokes that Mr. Freeze should take off his helmet and get comfortable.
Before the night gets going, Harley calls for a moment of remembrance for all the fellow villains who have passed away this year. Krull, Snakebite, Deathstroke (Does it count if he comes back from the dead?), Master Jailer, and Lex Luthor (He died and became half-man half-Martian.) She sniffs and said they all died too soon…except for Krull. He was a jerk.
From the rafters, Flamingo looks down on the ceremony and scoffs about how ridiculous this is. Every year he gives his best and it seems like he cannot get the respect he feels he deserves from the villain community. To truly be the worst villain, he is going to bomb the ceremony just as the last award is called out.
However, Harley knows Flamingo plans to blow up the place. A month earlier, Lex Luthor tells her he received an anonymous letter threatening the annual awards ceremony. He tells her if she stops the plot, he will give her a present she cannot refuse. However, Harley is fixated on the note. She cannot help but study the stationary. She asks Luthor for stationary just like this paper. He agrees, unsure of what just happened. She could ask for immense power, but she settles for stationary.
Harley announces the first award of the night, the Has-Been Award, goes to Gentleman Ghost. He accepts the award and he gives a brief acceptance speech. He tells the crowd that one can be both a ghost and a gentleman.
The next award is the Obsession Award. The nominees are Rogol Zarr, Black Manta, Mr. Freeze, and as always Bane. After a momentary drum-roll, she announces that Bane is the winner. He accepts the award and talks about the trials of being a civic leader. There are always insurgencies to stop and enemies to execute. It really is a tough time to be a politician.
The next award is for Best Moral Justification. The nominees are Lex Luthor, Mirror Master, Flashpoint Batman, and Leviathan. The winner is Flashpoint Batman. He accepts and talks about the perils of fatherhood. He acknowledges that many in the audience have lost their fathers. And even though they are not around, their fathers are thinking about them. Even though they are “villains” who are trying to change the world in their image, each is the world their parents hoped to create.
The next award is Best Villain Upgrade. The nominees are Black Mask, Oracle, The Batman Who Laughs, and Captain Cold. The Best Villain Upgrade goes to The Batman Who Laughs, who left right before the announcement after killing everyone at his table because of a minor disagreement.
The next award is Best Supporting Villain. The nominees are the Ventriloquist, Brainiac-1, Mr. Terrible, and Red Cloud. The award goes to the Ventriloquist. While giving his acceptance speech, he gets into a heated argument with Scarface.
The next award is Comeback Villain of the Year. The nominees are Lobo, Deathstroke, Red Hood, and Catwoman. The award goes to Red Hood. He gets on stage and threatens everyone.
The last award is the Villain of the Year award. Flamingo is ready to detonate his bomb, but he cannot believe what he hears next. Harley announces he is the Villain of the Year. He is so excited he fell from the rafters and stumbles onto the stage. He is so thankful for everyone and this opportunity. It has been over twenty years since he first got into the game, and he finally has something to show for it.
He goes backstage with Harley and Lex Luthor to do a quick photoshoot. However, Luthor imprisons Flamingo and takes him away. Luthor asks how she knew it was Flamingo, and she tells him the clue was on the stationary. It had a flamingo watermark. He then asks who won the real Villain of the Year award, and she tells him the Batman Who Laughs is the villain of the year.
Analysis: What a wacky story! Its everything I didn’t know I wanted in a comic. It is just pure ridiculousness.
It reminds me a bit of Paul Dini’s story in Detective Comics #1000. For me, the similarities exist because of the uniqueness of the stories. Dini’s is a documentary, while Mark Russel’s focuses on an awards show. And, it totally works. This has been my favorite Year of the Villain tie-in.
I thought the specific awards were funny. There were a lot of moments I did not capture in the synopsis that were flat out hilarious. I love how Bane has to leave the ceremony early because he has meetings to go to.
The humor is amplified if you have been reading other DC titles. There was so much meta-humor that really adds to the ridiculousness of the story.
The art by Mike Norton, Hi-Fi, and Dave Sharpe was alright, nothing exceptional. With so many villains, they did do a great job of capturing everyone’s facial expressions. I was happily surprised by how real these people’s reactions are.
Final Thoughts: I really wanted Kite Man to make an appearance. He tries so hard.