It’s September which means that DC Comics is going to be hitting everyone’s pocket books hard. Sure it won’t be as hard due to the 3-D Motion Cover Extravafuckganza, but they’ll still pull in the cash. With all group reviews the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of one of the following: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Then they’ll give a short reason why and their thoughts in general. First here’s a blurb from DC on the issue: The first universe-wide event of The New 52 begins as FOREVER EVIL launches! The Justice League is DEAD! And the villains shall INHERIT the Earth! An epic tale of the world's greatest super-villains starts here!
I’ve got a weird obsession with doppelgängers. If there’s an evil version of something (Captain Pollution for example), I’m automatically going to check it out. So, of course I’ve been looking forward to Forever Evil, ever since it was revealed (in a stupid move) that it would revolve around The Crime Syndicate. And I have to say, this inaugural issue ticked most of the boxes I needed it to, and did an effective job of teasing a world where evil has not only won, but is getting organized. It did, however, feel very familiar, following the basic Geoff Johns / DC event blueprint. Some of this was probably my fault for reading Forever Evil #1 after Infinity #2; it’s pretty clear that the latter is quite simply in another league ... pun intended.
Saying that, Forever Evil did have some great moments. The rumored unmasking and death were both pretty damn cool and unnerving, as was the suitably disconcerting scene of nega-supes huffing some special-k booger sugar. Otherwise, the book came peppered mostly with setup, and while it did feel like I missed a few things (which possibly means I’ll have to read all those point-1 versions of books for the finer points), I wouldn’t say I was lost. The art was pretty good for the most part, only sometimes seeing proportions and faces go a bit wrong, but the real estate on the page was cultivated well. Honestly, I was hoping Reis would be on this book, but Finch does an admirable job, nonetheless. Overall, I say check it out, especially if you’re a big fan of the “DC Way” when it comes to events.
I’ve never really been a fan of superhero comics. I got into comics through indie books and wanted to start writing for this site because of everyone’s love for indie books, but I understand we need to cover some big events. And this is certainly one of them, being that it’s the first universe-wide event of the New 52. There’s a ton of characters from the DCU that I have no idea even existed, but I feel like the story melded each one in pretty well, even if they only had one line of dialogue. I feel it was a bit dialogue-heavy at times, but the action definitely counter-balanced that well.
The concept is interesting enough; super-villains are trying to take over the world, starting by breaking others out of prison in order to take over the world. One thing I really didn’t like about it were the faces drawn by David Finch and Richard Friend. That might be a minor gripe, but the lines over the faces seemed a little rough around the edges and just unpolished. The rest of the art I felt fit the dark tone of the book very well, and you definitely have to give them credit for drawing in so many different characters. Overall, I enjoyed it enough throughout to give it a borrow rating, but it didn’t want me want to run out and go buy it.
At first, I was a little mixed about this comic; seems like we have been getting tons of story arcs surrounding The Avengers or Justice League to take down evil forces. Some have been good, but some have just sucked ass. Basing your villains off of the superheroes is nothing new either, but DC somehow makes this issue interesting. Geoff Johns lets you see all the villains build into this huge community. It sheds light on each section, not just focusing on The Riddler or on Trickster.
I dig bringing Lex Luther into the mix of things. After all, he is Superman’s biggest villain. When we first start reading this issue, we think Lex is going to that ultimate evil; when really Lex may be the voice of reason. Even he wants Superman to assist. This story could be way more interesting than Trinity War, but I will not be holding my breath.
Event books are all about puffing up your stakes; kill a handful of D-list characters and one A or B-list character to get the Internet frothing and issues tucked in polybags. With this theme accelerating with events dovetailing other events the stakes have felt increasingly insubstantial with each iteration, culminating so far in 'Forever Evil'.
My reaction isn't solely exhaustion with event books as I recently picked up 'Trinity War' #1 against my complete lack of interest and found it enjoyable, but 'Forever Evil' feels like it was contractually written to generate tie-in books. The evil Earth Two Justice League triggers their conquest of the 52 and summons the entire DC Rogues Gallery as an army to rule the world. Nothing clever, no imaginative twist, the Justice League is out of commission and you'll have to read tie in books to see how it happened because it isn't depicted here. The central plan is deplorably unformed and silly without any winking self-awareness, broad enough that in places it feels extremely reminiscent of a quickly produced tie-in book for a video game or action figure line. Scenes with Ultraman forcing the moon out of orbit to make an eclipse and snorting Kryptonite like coke seem destined to live in Internet infamy alongside the 'Goddamn Batman'. David Finch's meticulously detailed lines feel rushed in places, even dashed out, with colors similarly hurried and ugly. I don't feel myself so much blaming Johns or Finch for the book as much as the DC Editorial staff who the book feels custom designed by to sell motion covers. I don't feel frustrated by it. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and hope it doesn't sell so the big two might get a 'The Lone Ranger' style message about heartless blockbusters. A shrug that means I haven't just lost the feeling for stakes in event book storytelling but also for improvement in the Big Two.
Kevin R: BUY
For the last two years, Geoff Johns’ Justice League has been a qualitative roller coaster ride. However, now we’re finally at the big climax of the last two years of stories: Forever Evil, the first big event of the New 52, is officially here. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s excessively violent. So, basically, it’s another issue of Justice League. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; if you already love the book it’s just another storyline. However, if you haven’t been too thrilled with the book, you’re better off not worrying about it. Buy if you like Justice League, pass if you don’t.
You can read about it in-depth in my recap, here on the site.
This event is dated. That’s the best way I can describe it. It really comes across like “Civil War” and “Infinite Crisis” mashed into one. There wasn’t a single point that I got excited for the story or even felt compelled to finish it. Really I finished it because I started it and that was it. Nightwing has been ousted… how the fuck does that not instantly out Bruce Wayne and the rest of the Bat-family? The only part I liked was Lex Luthor and not because I thought he’d save the day, but because he was evil and smart the way the character should be. This event isn’t for me and frankly I don’t think it really highlights the continuity of the DC Universe. Who cares about continuity anymore anyways, I think that went out the window when Batman starred in four monthly titles and Wolverine became a member of every X-Men and Avengers team. If you want to relive the event books that broke the camel’s back then feel free to pick this book up.
Score: 3 Buys, 2 Passes and 1 Borrow
Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: David Finch Publisher: DC Comics Price: $3.99 to $4.99 Release Date: 9/4/13