Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from DC before we begin: Its all-out chaos as the DC Universe continues its march through darkness! War erupts across the Earth between the villains! Allegiances are formed! Rivals are murdered! And at center stage its Lex Luthor versus Batman—and their fight couldn’t come at a worse time as Deathstroke’s Hunting Party closes in on the world’s only hope against the Crime Syndicate!
Although I have been enjoying the series, this issue is a lull in the action. As a bridge issue, Forever Evil #4 sees Batman and Catwoman plotting to take down the Syndicate using secret means meant to undo the Justice League. Yes, it does sound a lot like the “Tower of Babel” storyline. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor revives Black Adam so that he and his group, including Bizarro, can follow a course similar to Batman’s. Also from this issue we see that Ultraman feeds off Kryptonite while avoiding sunlight. The episode concludes with a three-way battle that will begin in the next issue.
As mentioned, this chapter gives a whole lot of explanation and very little action. This is terrible pacing, and this is also where I give Infinity a lot of credit. It seems that Infinity balanced the action and explication so that each issue had a great fight along with some good twists. Forever Evil seems to be building up to a great battle; I hope that it’s not something we witness in the last issue, though.
(Say this like you're at a high school pep rally!) Re-re-re-recycled, re-re-re-recycled, re-re-re-recycled! Hey Geoff Johns, Mark Waid wants his storyline back. That was my first thought when Batman busted out individual cases with contingency plans for his team mates and what exactly was the point of him pointing out that he has more than one Krpytonite ring? I get that that’s a cool fucking idea, but this universe is only two years old. Isn’t Bats a little young to be busting out a plan like that? Also this storyline puts DC’s biggest reboot fuck up under the microscope. Not only does it remind us that Batman has been at this shit forever compared to the rest of the JL, but it also reminds us that the Sinestro Corps War still happened. When? See DC this is why you guys fucking suck at reboots. Don’t fucking do continuum because you fucking can’t do it! Am I to believe that in the year that the JL was created in the New 52 that we had the Sinestro War and Blackest Night, while Batman was building a rogue’s gallery and losing Robins left and right? Fuck that shit.
The only part of this issue I liked was Sinestro showing up at the end and only because he’s a bad ass. Too bad Finch decided to make his face look like a prune with a mustache. Also unless DC decided to do something original, which this entire series has been anything but, than bring on the Anti-Monitor already because we all know that’s what the Crime Syndicate is running from. FUCK! I hate to go all fanboy on this shit, but when you toot your own horn about a shared continuity and getting it right this time then fucking it up so obviously because you didn’t want to risk certain books taking a hit in sales then I have to. Comic readers don’t care anymore about continuity until you hinge everything upon it. Well done DC, that’s what you’ve done and now we have this shitty fucking story that doesn’t fit in with the way the rest of the universe has been working and yet you want me to give a shit that Lex Luthor is sharing a moment with Bizarro? Fuck that shit.
I keep hoping Forever Evil will turn a corner somewhere; that, suddenly, this so-far disastrous DC doppelgänger disco will develop into something of actual substance. Unfortunately, however, issue four just continues its plodding, luke-warm plot and unpolished visual direction in a story that increasingly feels pointless.
This book’s propensity for talking a whole lot without saying much continues here in a glut of misused dialogue that makes its characters feel diluted (Batman’s candor, Luthor’s compassion). Meanwhile, Johns injects some surprisingly ham-fisted “evil” chatter and grandstanding that he awkwardly pile-drives into place (Deathstorm’s “For Satan’s sake...” line), making it all feel like he’s trying way too hard.
The only real reason to read this issue is to learn its hurried jumble of reveals (somebody’s preggers!) and get to its spotfest of an ending. Its biggest moment at the issue’s conclusion - the return of my favorite DC villain - was unfortunately muted and visually doughy. Because of that, what should have been a resounding moment, which many of us have been looking forward to, rang completely hollow here.
Finch’s artwork is, as usual, hit-or-miss, with an emphasis this issue on the latter. Given time to focus and a less-fettered page on which to landscape, he is a clearly capable artist, but his figure work here is stiff and feels lost in a muddle, especially when confined to smaller spaces. Also, what’s with the alignment of the insignia on the Sinestro Corps ring? Its position rolls all over the place! Did Batman mod his sheezy with a spinner plate or something?
For the first time, I have to give an issue in this event a definitive pass for an uneventful story that suffers uneven pacing and art in an overall event that circles ever more dully around itself to get nowhere.
Score: 2 Passes and a Borrow
Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: David Finch Publisher: DC Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/24/13