Nick Spencer has a great track record when it comes to his indie titles, Morning Glories being a personal favorite of mine, and despite some lackluster stuff he's done for Marvel in recent memory I've never doubted his writing ability, so I couldn't pass up a chance to grab this double sized issue for only 2.99$, and neither should you.
The plot instantly grabs your attention with it's main character. If I were to summarize it as best as I can, i would say that it's basically a story asking us "What if the Joker were suddenly cured"? Obviously things aren't as cut and dried as that, but this description covers the basics of this tale rather well. Madder Red is the kind of villain that instantly grabs your attention. I feel that Spencer is trying to make him almost generic in the sense that a lot of his characteristics are basic super villain tropes, but something about him makes him hard to forget. Most of the charm this book provides comes from his fun, yet incredibly creepy dialogue, and his personality out of costume is also just as fascinating. When stripped of his serial killer persona, Madder Red becomes almost pathetic, a pasty, skeletal waste of a man who does nothing but ramble about the world he despises. It provides a great take on what these villains are really like without the mystique that comes with their disguise, and promises great things to come as the story progresses. As usual, Spencer delivers strong, yet incredibly subtle, world building, and the gripping characterization of Madder Red is what really what makes this book shine. Combine that with a minimalist art style that focuses on mood in it's minimalism and you have a real winner in my book.
All I can really say about what I didn't like about this book was the way Red was "cured". Sure, it works in the sense that it would be highly unbelievable to see a criminal whose sins are as great as his be released from jail after all the evil he's done, but something doesn't quite sit right about him being fixed as easily as he was. Still, that's a personal point more than anything, and anyone willing to overlook that will find a fantastic story that is sure to leave you entertained. Consider it added to my list.