Anghus Houvouras reviews Forever Evil #2…
“The villains have taken over the world! The Teen Titans fight back! Can the inexperienced teen heroes do what the adults could not? (Answer: Nope. It goes very poorly.)”
As a lifelong comic fan, you sometimes end up in those wonderful weird conversations about fictional superheroes. The kind of ‘What If’ scenarios that have fueled many a nerd filled night. Discussions about whether or not Batman could beat up Captain America (he totally could) or whether or not Galactus had evolved past traditional ethics as was no more or responsible for the lives he took than a hurricane or a tidal wave. One of the recurring questions asked about Superheroes has to do with their villains.
How do the good guys win when they are so vastly and terribly outnumbered by their rogues?
Batman has to deal with The Joker, Scarecrow, Two Face, Bane, the Court of Owls. Superman is constantly battling Lex Luthor, Braniac, Doomsday, Darkseid… As soon as one villain is dispatched, another is right there waiting to try and take them down. So how do the superheroes always emerge victorious? Because they’re better. Stronger, smarter, and possessing more resolve. The villains may have the numbers, but the heroes have the skills.
That’s why the Crime Syndicate was always such a wonderful proposition. Evil versions of the heroes that keep the world safe. The same superior heroes with a wicked, world conquering agenda and complete disregard for life. All of the power, none of the responsibility. Sometimes the idea of an evil doppelganger is glossed over. The Crime Syndicate always had the potential to be the most dangerous villains the DC Universe ever knew. Writer Geoff Johns has fulfilled that potential in Forever Evil #2.
The evil versions of Earth’s greatest heroes have taken over. In the span of the first issue, Ultraman and his cronies have taken over the Earth. The Justice League is nowhere to be found. Evil Alfred and his Secret Society of villains have been assembled. Things aren’t looking all too rosy for the good guys. The second picks up with Lex Luthor picking through the basement labs of his company looking for a stick big enough to swing with: an under-cooked Superman clone and a familiar looking purple and green power suit.
Meanwhile, two of the most twisted members of the Syndicate, Johnny Quick and Atomica go out looking to pick some fights with the remaining heroes. Their first target: The Teen Titans. The teenage heroes get their asses handed to them in record time in an epic beat down that shows you just how much power someone like Flash really has, and what he could do if he was a villain instead of a hero. Johns is taking the time to establish the Crime Syndicate as the terrors they are capable of being. Their lightning fast takeover of Earth not only feels plausible but inevitable. The only thing stopping them is themselves as there is dissension in the ranks and a power play is brewing.
Fortunately, the heroes get the faintest glimmer of hope. Some heroes are still alive, though barely enough to mount a comeback. The fate of the Justice League is still uncertain. The only hope for our world may be the villains and heroes banding together to fight back.
Forever Evil #2 is an extremely satisfying issue which is fast shaping up to be the event comic of the year. David Finch’s art is wonderfully paired with Johns dystopian story. The deck feels squarely stacked against anyone who stands in the Syndicate’s way. For the heroes of the DC Universe, it feels like its going to get worse before it gets better, and I for one am fine with that.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.