(Titan Books �10.99)

BEFORE the events of Final Crisis saw him join the remnants of the Justice League to battle for the very survival of humanity, Mark “The Tattooed Man” Williams was a low-level supervillain working as a hitman. After failing to defeat the likes of Green Lantern and Batman all he had to look forward to was a lifetime in prison, but the impending apocalypse allowed him to prove his heroic nature and redeem himself both publicly and in the eyes of his new JLA comrades.

A former US marine, Williams had been given mystically-powered tattoos through the ancient art of “sin-grafting”, which saw him taking the souls of those he had killed and bonding them to his flesh, ultimately offering redemption for their sins in return for using the supernatural power of the tattoos themselves.

Picking up his story some time after the world has been restored to normal following the Final Crisis, Williams is living with his family in the crime-ridden city of Liberty Hill, not far from Washington DC, using his abilities to help those in need. But faced with a corrupt police force and his son’s increased involvement in gangland feuds, Williams’ life takes another dark turn when he discovers his tattoos have gained independence and are now capable of acting outside his control…

Fusing the street-smart drama of The Wire with morally-questionable superheroics, this series was one of the stand-out mini-series of last year, and the collection deserves a place on the bookshelf of any comics aficionado.