Another week, another set of Year Of The Villain Dark Gifts tie-ins, some that have something to do with Year Of The Villain and some that don't. Nothing getting pulled and pulped like last week though. But how much of them actually play a role in the overarching storyline? Or does it even appear at all? Is the connective tissue strong, weak or non-existent? We'll be marking them out of ten drones for actually being part of the storyline.
And we begin with Aquaman #51, which saves its Villainy for the final pages but then blows you away.
AQUAMAN #51 YOTV DARK GIFTS
(W) Kelly Sue DeConnick (A) Daniel Henriques (CA) Jason Paz (A/CA) Robson Rocha
Lex Luthor's surprising offer to Black Manta is revealed! But is it too good to be true? Plus, a gruesome murder in Amnesty Bay shocks the town to its core…and the prime suspects are none other than the Old Gods! Can Aquaman and his new partner Aqualad solve this murder mystery? In Shops: Aug 21, 2019 SRP: $3.99
As Aqualad battles with his own paternal issues, it looks like Black Manta is also equally vulnerable. Something that Luthor intends to exploit with his Offer and Dark Gift…
Just as Mister Freeze is getting his wife back, so Black Manta gets his own father back.
In a manner of speaking. It's only a few pages but it makes Year Of The Villain essential reading… bring on the drones.
Batman #77 has been tangentially aligned with Year Of The Villain, with Bane's actions being given the blessing of US Government, leading to him to achieve peace in Gotham and all that jazz. With Damian Wayne as the one kicking things off.
Gaining a tangential three drones I think…
BATMAN #77 YOTV DARK GIFTS
(W) Tom King (A/CA) Tony S. Daniel
"City of Bane" continues! The last of the independent villains are on the run, leaving Gotham City entirely to Bane and his cronies-including Flashpoint Batman and Gotham Girl! Though this means a semblance of peace on the streets, the iron grip of tyranny is squeezing all life out of Gotham. And with Bane's machinations keeping other heroes out, the city really needs the Batman to return. Is Bruce Wayne ready to face his toughest foes yet…his father and the man who broke his back? In Shops: Aug 21, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Teen Titans is an interesting one. In that it jumps a month after Luthor approaches Lobo.
If DC Comics is trying to make a consistent timeline as it promises, these are the kind of things that may cause issues. Because given what Damian Wayne is up to in City Of Bane in Batman, also part of the Year Of The Villain – does what happens in Teen Titans come before or after that?
We've seen Damian Wayne creating prisons for the villains he captures
Which seems to have Damian mirroring Luthor's offer to Lobo, regarding all the villains Damian encounters. A solid eight drones as a result.
TEEN TITANS #33 YOTV DARK GIFTS
(W) Adam Glass (A) Sean Chen (CA) Bernard Chang
In the wake of the Terminus Agenda and Crush's first encounter with Lobo, the Teen Titans begin again at Mercy Hall with a new mission and a new lease on life. But just when they catch their first break in ages in their hunt for the Other, Robin confirms that the person who let his prisoners escape…was one of his teammates. As Robin's hunt for the mole begins, Lobo accepts a gift from Lex Luthor…and an unholy alliance is born! In Shops: Aug 21, 2019 SRP: $3.99
But Black Mask is free of Damian Wayne's prison now and doesn't seem – at least not yet – to be part of his mind-wiped reintegrated villain coterie.
And is instead finding power and influence through profit in his own Year Of The Villain Special. So, yes, heavy on the event, heavy on how it all ties in and where the true power lie in the DC Universe. That is until Damian Wayne finds him.
BLACK MASK YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1
(W) Tom Taylor (A) Cully Hamner (CA) Mitch Gerads
Black Mask was one of Gotham City's most ruthless crime lords. He had money, power and respect. But after months in the Teen Titans' secret prison, Roman Sionis is finally free. Given a new purpose and new abilities thanks to Lex Luthor's offer, he's found a new racket. Corporate crime not only pays better, but it's far less dangerous. At least until Batwoman discovers what he's up to and plans to put an end to Black Mask's latest power grab. Is Black Mask the same crime boss he's always been, or has time and a new approach made him something far more unstoppable than he's ever been? In Shops: Aug 21, 2019 SRP: $4.99
While former Robin and former Nightwing, Ric Grayson is being hunted by the original Talon, great grandfather of Grayson, with the promise that he will be given to him by Luthor. But, well, it seems there are a number of Nightwings to go through.
What will happen when Cobb meets a Grayson who doesn't even recognise him anymore? No idea but plenty of drones…
NIGHTWING #63 YOTV DARK GIFTS
(W) Dan Jurgens (A) Travis Moore (CA) Bruno Redondo
While the Nightwings recover from their last battle against the fiendish Burnback, Ric reflects on the small portion of his past that he remembers-life in the circus as the youngest member of the Flying Graysons-in hopes of finding any clues as to what kind of man his parents hoped he'd become…perhaps a certain Talon has the answers he seeks? In Shops: Aug 21, 2019 SRP: $3.99