Kids say and do the darndest things, like wreck downtown. Or blow up a prison wall. Oh youth! Punching your first do-gooder through a sky scraper is up there with learning to tie your own shoes, and you have to learn somewhere. What better place than a school for villainy?

*Warning! This comic doesn’t come out until the 4th of May, 2011. So SPOILERS may be ahead.

Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors #1
Writer: Mark A. Smith
Art and Cover: Armand Villavert
Colors: Carlos Carrasco
Letters: Phonographics
Editor: D.J. Kirkbride
Publisher: Image Comics
Story Pages: 35
Cover Price: $2.99 USD

Previously, in Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors: Nada. This is the first issue.


Ashu Gladstone, Super-Villain Extraordinaire…not! Tired of being the butt of many jokes, and feeling that his legacy will be relegated to nothing more than a punching bag, Gladstone realizes that those that can’t do, teach. Founding Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors, and with a syllabus rooted in arson, espionage, and wedgies, the kids of the school will be Gladstone‘s legacy, or his downfall.

Everything has been done before. The only difference is perspective, and this comic has a great perspective indeed. Taking the concept of training the next generation of Super-Villains, the younger the better, and running with it full tilt, to the finish line. Touching on popular, and obscure touchstones of the comic book culture, as well as animation, with everything from the Floronic Man-like character, to two characters that reminded me of Team Rocket, except with M-14’s.

Mark A. Smith starts out this issue by breaking the fourth wall, something that had me back step. But I recovered, I embraced this technique, and soldiered on. The book uses a few story telling techniques that actually hold up really well, and didn’t hinder it all, even though it could have. The kids of course, are the heart of this comic, and for would be Doctor Doom’s, and Lex Luthor’s they are really cute, and entertaining. There are very few comics about kids, they really come across as actual kids, with a wicked inclination to do evil, and they relish it.


Filled with energy the comic really comes to life. The artwork by Armand Villavert is just perfect for the story, and has a zest to it that makes it stand out of the crowd. The art remind me of a mix of Michael Avon Oeming, and Gabriel Ba, which really kept my focus throughout the comic. The character design for this comic is great, Mummy Girl, Kid Nefarious, and the Skullbrothers among my favorites, and look fantastic. I just love how simple everything is, but is so sharp, and sticks with you like a bowl of gravy and biscuits on a cool spring morning.

The linework is very consistent, and the page layouts flowed real well into each other. The comic was very “soft” the colors were almost watercolor-like, and the use of blacks was very minimal, and allowed, for better or for worse, the comic to blend together. The backgrounds are minimal, to nonexistent, and rely a little too much on the color pallet. I did my best to let it pass, and think the lack of detail doesn’t detract from the comics ability to tell the story, but it’s just something that got into my craw.

The cover for the comic is in that sweet spot when it come to me, and cover. It features the kids that are the future of Villainy, and gives that “Muah-hahaha” factor, so it gets a slide. The letters for the comic were good, but at certain points when it was white lettering on a blue background it was kind of hard to read, and I could see that people may have difficulty making it out, but only slight few.


Within the first 5 pages I was hooked. I liked the path they have chosen, and I will be walking down it. The story, the characters, the art, all add up to be a entertaining comic book, with very few draw backs.

Without spoiling anything, the comic may have something more than meets the eye going on with the plot, something that has peaked my interest. I think it will play out well since I already like a majority of the characters that have been introduced, and if the story and art stays under Smith, and Villavert I think things will turn out extremely well. In closing Gladstone’s School For World Conquerors #1 receives 4 Stars, out of 5.

Rating: ★★★★☆


About Author

It is hard being a King, especially when your first name is Larry. Well, not really. In Larry’s Kingdom the re-imagining “Battlestar Galactica” is superior, “The Wire” is the greatest crime show ever, and “ROM, Spaceknight” is the hero of the realm.

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