Comics, Reviews

Disney Villains: Maleficent #1 Review: All Hail the Queen

Discover a new side to Disney's Mistress of Evil in this new ongoing series by master comic creator Soo Lee.

Maleficent #1
Image: Dynamite
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:05 AM

Disney Villains: Maleficent #1

Review
Rating
8
Good
Maleficent #1

Writer: Soo Lee

Artist: Soo Lee

Publisher: Dynamite

Release Date: May 16, 2023

Page Count: 32

Format: Comic

Fans of Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent will love diving back into the world and exploring a new side of Disney's Mistress of Evil.

There’s an undeniable allure when it comes to fictional villains. Characters like The Joker or Magneto are often the dark counterparts of the shining heroes we see across comics, films, books, and video games. It’s the rebellious personality or warped sense of morality that makes villains such compelling characters to follow. Then sometimes, even at the surface level, villains are just very cool looking characters. But if we are to rank the different pantheons of villains across fiction, few are as iconic as that of Disney.

In 2023, Dynamite Entertainment began its run of comic book titles centered on Disney’s iconic villains. Instead of retellings of classic films, these comics tell brand-new stories that delve deeper into the darker side of Disney. And there is no better way to kick off such a series of comics than with one about the Mistress of Evil herself, Maleficent.

Let’s dive right into why you should check out Dynamite’s Disney Villains: Maleficent.

Maleficent shows herself

Enter the Forbidden Mountain

The story of the comic takes place before the events of Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent still reigns supreme over the corrupted lands of the Forbidden Mountain. A young boy named Raynald finds himself chased through the mountain’s forest by a pack of wild wolves. As bold as the boy is, he was naive to think he could find adventure in the worst place imaginable.

As the master of the realm, Maleficent saves the boy from being torn apart by the rabid beasts. After all, the last thing she wants is her forest stained by a young boy’s blood. To Maleficent’s surprise, Raynald is not afraid of the witch despite the stories of her dark magic. As a gesture of good faith to the harmless traveler, Maleficent gifts the boy a compass to send him on his way out of her forest. But Reynald is as brave, or foolish, as they come because instead of leaving the cursed forest, he ventures even deeper into it. It doesn’t take long for him to learn why Maleficent is feared throughout his kingdom.

Maleficent shows off her powers

A New Face of Evil

As the first issue, Maleficent #1 does a great job of reminding readers why she is a terrifying villain. She’s not as maniacal as Ursula or as bombastic as Hades. Maleficent has an unmistakably sinister presence that makes her such a compelling and unpredictable character. Comic creator Soo Lee perfectly captured the dark and charismatic appeal of Disney’s Mistress of Evil. Everything from the witch’s sharp facial expressions to her imposing body language tells you that Maleficent can go from a regal queen to the devil incarnate at a snap of a finger.

Speaking of Lee, this book showcases her abilities as a powerhouse comic book creator. As the writer, artist, and colorist of this ongoing title, she’s letting her full creative vision shine through every page. While the issue is very light on dialogue, it establishes the world and characters through beautifully done visual storytelling. The scenes throughout the Forbidden Mountain feel dark and ominous. Each panel has a tinge of green, giving you the impression that Maleficent’s influence is felt throughout every inch of the world. We even get hints of the monstrous army Maleficent has at her disposal. All these things tell you that Maleficent’s power is at its peak.

Boy sneaking into the castle

Why You Should Read Maleficent

The comic is made for people fascinated by stories about villains. The classic films already put enough of a spotlight on the heroes and princesses. It’s now Maleficent’s time to shine. While the main plot of the series has yet to unfold, the comic quickly establishes itself as a great way of exploring different sides of Disney’s beloved villains. Seeing Maleficent perform new spells opens the door for even more wicked things to happen as the series progresses. Fans of the evil witch will love to see her do what she does best: being the scariest Disney villain out there.

Final Thoughts 

As someone who grew up watching Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty was one of my least watched because I was terrified of Maleficent. Looking back at that now makes me realize how perfect of a villain she is. With her imposing presence and terrifying powers, she has rightfully earned the notoriety of being one of Disney’s most beloved villains. Using this first issue as an indicator of things to come, it’s exciting to consider the new dark and twisted possibilities for the story of Maleficent.

TAGGED: Dynamite, Reviews, Disney
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