Anghus Houvouras reviews Forever Evil #1 (spoilers within)…
“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!”
We are neck deep in event comics right now. It seems Marvel and DC are intent to end the year with a deluge of Universe shattering conflicts. DC has been relatively event free since the New 52 revamped the current continuity and gave us new takes on classic characters. The recently wrapped Trinity War storyline weaving throughout the three Justice League titles set the groundwork for what is being billed as the first DC Universe spanning event with Forever Evil.
At the conclusion of the Trinity War we learned of the existence of Earth Three. The villainous Outsider was revealed to be none other than the Earth Three version of Alfred the Butler who was working to open a portal between worlds. Eventually he succeeded and a new version of the Crime Syndicate (Evil incarnations of our favorite heroes) crossed over and are now hell bent on taking over Earth.
The first issue kicks into high gear with the re-introduction of Lex Luthor, now free from prison and returning to his role as the most ruthless businessman on the planet. The opening scenes give us some nice character moments as Luthor as he maniacally threatens the head of Kord Industries, informing him in no uncertain terms that he will reduce everything he holds dear to ash and walk over their cold corpses.
Their conversation is interrupted by Ultraman, the evil Earth Three version of Superman, who is collecting Kryptonite and snorting it faster than a Hollywood starlet in the Viper Room bathroom. The other evil doppelgangers are wreaking havoc, freeing the inmates at Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison, capturing Nightwing, and assembling the villains of the DC Universe to let them know who is running the show.
There’s reluctance from the villain community, who are naturally suspect of these carbon copies of the heroes who have tormented them. They are quick to come around after Ultraman brutally dispatches a fellow villain and one of DC’s most iconic heroes in unmasked for all the world to see.
Forever Evil is an extremely satisfying start that delivers on its promise, filled with villains from every dark corner of the DCU. It’s an interesting dynamic, seeing the takeover of the world from the perspective of the most reprehensible rogues. I love the idea of a series featuring two different factions of evil. How will the villains react to these evil counterparts of our heroes? I’m betting there’s going to be some friction as this seven issue series moves forward.
Geoff Johns has had some success (and some failure) with event comics. He’s done a great job with the inaugural issue of Forever Evil. Things go from bad to worse very quickly, and the stakes feel remarkably high. David Finch has delivered some of his most engaging art in ages. I’ve always been 50/50 on Finch. Sometimes his panels pop. Sometimes his work has a noticeable lack of finesse which can feel disconnected from the story. I know, I know. That’s his style. It’s personal preference. After seeing his work on Justice League of America (which I didn’t care for), I was a little concerned about Forever Evil, but the stops have been pulled out and Finch delivers on his end.
I’m a fan of the Crime Syndicate since the Silver Age of comics, and I love what Grant Morrison did with them in the excellent Earth Two graphic novel. The Crime Syndicate’s introduction to the Nu52 brings up so many potential problems and could wildly change the villainous dynamic.
Forever Evil #1 is a fantastic launch with a couple of exceptional moments. This is exactly what the first issue of an event comic should be. Johns comes out with both barrels blazing and gives us the super villain team up we’ve been waiting for.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.