Comic Review: Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #1
Those who can do, those who can’t well, they teach.
Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors from Image comics is like teen titans, but instead of it being boring and about anime Robin it’s about kid villains, and it’s pretty clever. I got the chance to checkout the first issue so you don’t have to. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Back in the day there was a man named Ashu Gladstone, who is described as a “down on his luck magician, and an even worse off villain”. Realizing that some people aren’t meant to do, he decided to teach. He traveled high and low speaking to villains of all skills in hopes to learn the secrets of villainry so that he could pass on his knowledge to others.
After a short history we are introduced to a few of the students. Kid Nefarious is what he calls a “legacy villain”, a villain in training with baddie parents. Martian Jones is Kid N’s friend, he doesn’t speak but can communicate through telepathy how that equate to a super power is beyond me, but I’m sure it works for him. Mummy Girl and her sister Ghost girl are your typical teenage girls, except for the whole being a ghost and mummy thing.
While not the deepest story, Gladstone’s was fun to read. I’m a sucker for slice of life stories so immediately I was into the Mummy girl and Kid Nefarious romantic sub-plot which I hope isn’t dropped. With so many comics trying to get into the “serious story for serious people” category, it’s refreshing to see a different take on the super villain story. There’s a fight later on between two groups of kid villains which I wont spoil because it was super fun to read and you should totally check it out.
The story just follows the Kid Villains around school, the first issue at 40 pages long doesn’t get into much but hints at a possible twist in regards to the relationship between the villains and heroes
I can’t find another way to describe the art of Gladstone’s without saying Teen Titans so I’m just going to say that it’s very anime inspired which isn’t a surprise since the artist, Armand Villavert, worked for Tokyopop and ASCII for a few years.
That being said, Gladstone’s looks like it could very well be a Teen Titans spinoff because the art is so similar. Being a huge manga fan myself, I quite enjoy the Japanese comic style, but some purists might be taken aback. Besides the “non-American” art style, the Armand has done a great job with the art, especially when it comes to the facial expressions of the kid villains, It hits a nice middle ground between the super-exaggerated anime style and the sometimes tame American style.
Every page is brimming kid villains of every shape and size, I chuckled more than a few times seeing warped water beings, robots on stilts, and melty-men in speedos.
Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors was a delight to read and I would definitely recommend this to anybody who’s looking for a light but fun read. With a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and an art style that adds to the charm, Gladstone’s is a welcome spin to villain origin stories that anybody could enjoy.