Written by: Kevin Reilly
So you’ve heard about DC Comics’ new Villains Month thing, and Forever Evil, and you want to dive in. I’ve been there, man. Getting into a comic storyline, especially something like this, is really, really complicated. With this feature, I’m planning on helping you understand it all, with a straight-up recap of the event, its tie-ins, and capsule reviews for every single Villain’s Month issue. Why? I don’t know, I’m a maniac. A masochist, even.
The Justice Leagues are fucked, son! They’re dead, as far as the Crime Syndicate from Earth-Three are concerned.
AND NOW... SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU’RE GOING TO READ FOREVER EVIL, DO IT NOW!
FOREVER EVIL #1: LOTS OF THINGS ARE HAPPENING, YOU GUYS, OH MAN
We start with Lex Luthor. Luthor seems to be the protagonist of this event, as we see the entire first issue through his eyes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something really interesting to note as he narrates to us. Lex is in a helicopter, flying over Metropolis, talking up his achievements and the secrets to his success. He’s talking to a man by the name of Thomas Kord. Fans of the early 90’s Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League International recognize that as the last name of the second Blue Beetle, Theodore “Teddy” Kord, killed by Johns eight years ago in “Countdown to Infinite Crisis”.
Well, Tom Kord won’t sell Kord Industries to Lexcorp. And good for him, right? The establishment is for jerks. As Luthor begins to make his big, evil threat, all of the electricity in Metropolis goes out, including the power in the helicopter, which initially didn’t make sense but I’ll just chalk it up to electromagnets or some such nonsense. So in the crash, the pilot is seemingly killed,we don’t see Kord at all, and as Luthor crawls from the wreckage of the helicopter he clutches his destroyed phone. It beeps, blinking one single message on its screen: “THIS WORLD IS OURS*”.
The power’s being shut off by Grid, a new villain who is comprised of all of Cyborg’s robot parts. Last week in Justice League #23, Grid ripped itself free of Vic Stone’s body* and now lives on its own, shutting down cities one by one for the Secret Society of Supervillains.
Meanwhile, popular Chicago resident and occasional former sidekick Nightwing is back in Gotham. He made it all of the way out to Gotham specifically to deliver Mr. Zsasz back to Arkham where he belongs. That seems a bit thorough, though, doesn’t it? Over the walkie-talkie, Batgirl says that she’ll never understand how the mind of a lunatic works. You and me both sister, this seems like a totally inconvenient trip that Dick really didn’t have to take, especially since he left so moodily after "Death of the Family" earlier this year. Batgirl conveniently reminds us of this before Dick’s knocked out by a shadowy figure named Owlman*.
Back in ol’ dark Metropolis, Luthor is attempting to get his bearings. Our friend Mr. Kord is hanging from a helicopter, begging for help. But lo! From yonder! A red and blue blur soaring towards Lex, faster, almost, than a speeding bullet. This Superman-like figure breaks into LexCorp, pulls some Kryptonite from a shelf, crushes it, and snorts it like cocaine*. “Yes!” he exclaims in this comic book in 2013. “I’m the strongest again!” To reiterate, this really happens.
At the same time, there’s a lot of stuff going on: the Flash’s rogues are together, attempting to break free from Central City’s Iron Heights prison only to run into the Flash of Earth-Three, Johnny Quick. Just a side note here, he exclaims “It’s cray-cray time!” and it appears to be written with all seriousness. For real. Across the country at Belle Reve, Amanda Waller’s attempts to recruit Black Manta into her Suicide Squad are squashed as she’s interrupted by Earth-Three’s Power Ring who is deathly afraid of everything and Deathstorm, a skull on fire. The two obliterate Belle Reve Prison! At Arkham, Batman’s villains more or less agree to join the Secret Society. And you can read all about that in the upcoming Rogues and Arkham War miniseries coming from DC Comics!... or, y’know, on this site, from me!
In the rotted-out remains of the Justice League’s watchtower, all of your favorite villains appear. Like, seriously though, everybody is in this huge fold-out spread. Finch has outdone himself. The Society of Super-Villains decides to finally introduce themselves, once and for all, and we meet the aforementioned characters plus Ultraman and Superwoman. They claim that they have killed the Justice Leagues! Oh, man! Not three teams who couldn’t ever get along anyway! Everyone’s favorite super villain, Monocle, doesn’t quite believe them. Then, Monocle is vaporized. Let me repeat that: Monocle is vaporized*. Just, y’know, wiped out. Now, there’s absolutely no emotional connection to Monocle, hell I didn’t know who Monocle was until he was obliterated. What the hell, Geoff? Why Monocle? What did Monocle ever do to you? Is he Rob Liefeld’s favorite character?
In the second act to prove the Society’s dominance, Superwoman drags Nightwing out in front of a television camera. Peeling off his mask, Superwoman exposes him as Richard Grayson to the world for seemingly no other reason than the fact that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But this could be huge Dick Grayson, after all, is the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, whoever that is. And once you figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman, you can deduce more and more identities, until you’ve got the whole damn DC Universe figured out.
In a slightly interesting turn, Ultraman is weak to the sunlight. As Ultraman moves to block out the sun, Luthor is stunned. “This looks like a job for Superman,” he says*. “Where the hell is he?”
All in all, like I said in my review, it’s loud and dumb. I’m so overjoyed to be sharing this journey with you all.
*Not a joke.
SINGLE ISSUE MICRO-REVIEWS/RECAPS:
If something ties into Forever Evil, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, these will be small, two-to-three sentence capsule reviews that will recap the events of the issues so those boycotting due to a hatred of the third dimension can still get their fix. I’ll be using the Comic Bastards Group Review scale of Buy, Borrow, or Pass.
ACTION COMICS #23.1: CYBORG SUPERMAN
So Cyborg Superman is no longer Hank Henshaw! This issue stands completely alone from everything, and shows us this new Cyborg Superman- Supergirl’s father- coming to be in this new universe. It’s a little wooden and hamfisted in the way the story is told, but it’s worth a shot. Borrow
BATMAN #23.1: JOKER
Andy Kubert debuts as writer in this issue of Batman. It’s a very nice done-in-one Joker story that shows us the origin, rise and fall of his gorilla sidekick. Jackanapes. It’s a crazy story that is pretty entertaining, but I would have preferred something a bit more relevant to his character. Borrow
BATMAN AND ROBIN #23.1: TWO-FACE
TIE-IN! After the apparent death of the Justice League, Harvey Dent takes it upon himself to be the guardian/force of terror in Gotham City, depending where the coin lands. The Scarecrow approaches him to join the Secret Society, and he accepts. It’s a really solid story. Buy
DETECTIVE COMICS #23.1: POISON IVY
Same deal as Two-Face, we see Poison Ivy in a post-Batman Gotham serving as a bringer of justice where she sees fit. The book also serves as an origin story of sorts, with an incredibly unique mix of art styles. Nothing too crazy happens, but if you’ve got the extra $4 I’m pleasantly surprised to say that this one’s worth checking out. Borrow
EARTH 2 #15.1: DESAAD
This issue sits completely on its own, but bases itself on events from World’s Finest and Earth-2. If you haven’t been following either book, you probably won’t care about it. If you do, it’s perfectly serviceable. For me, a Pass
FLASH #23.1: GRODD
This issue takes place “before the fall of the Justice League” and directly deals with the fallout of the Gorilla Warfare storyline from earlier this year in The Flash while also tying into the final moments of Forever Evil #1, as the sun becomes permanently eclipsed. Grodd re-appears from the Speed Force, with the powers and everything. The Flash is thought to be dead, and soon Central City is taken over by Grodd and the gorillas who were trying so desperately to forge peace with the everyday citizens.
Oh, and he says “Kneel Before Grodd” which is pretty rad. Buy it.
GREEN ARROW #23.1: COUNT VERTIGO
This book’s kind of fucked up, you guys! If you’re following Green Arrow, Buy. If you’re not, this would be an interesting time to pick it up.
GREEN LANTERN #23.1: RELIC
A lead-in to the Green Lantern event of the fall, “Lights Out”. If you’re following Robert Venditti’s run, this is your fix for September. If you don’t read the book, there’s really no need for you to jump on here as you just had a chance in June. Pass.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.1: DARKSEID
Greg Pak delivers us with an entirely inconsequential explanation of Darkseid’s past and present that stands entirely on its own. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as we get little tidbits of foreshadowing for the future of Batman/Superman, a book which is absolutely worth your time.. Borrow
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #23.1: THE CREEPER
I honestly have no idea why you and I are having a conversation about The Creeper right now. This book has absolutely no appeal to me, and it’s irrelevant to anything. Pass.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.1: DEADSHOT
Didn’t expect this one to be as good as it ended up being. It’s a 20-page story that puts us right into the mind of Deadshot as well as providing setup for Matt Kindt’s Suicide Squad tie-ins. It’s the best of both worlds in a lot of ways. Buy.
SUPERMAN #23.1: BIZARRO
Sholly Fisch’s Action Comics backups were the highlight of Grant Morrison’s run, and he doesn’t disappoint here. This is a great story narrated by our boy, Lex Luthor, in his attempt to clone Superman. Although it’s not the Bizarro that we know and love, the story is a BUY simply because it’s good, clean, old-fashioned fun. And really, isn’t that all we want from comics?