In the last issue of FOREVER EVIL, the Crime Syndicate finally went all-out with Lex Luthor’s Injustice League. Captain Cold and Black Manta freed the mysterious hooded prisoner, who turned out to be Earth-3 Lex Luthor.
We start the issue with Batman attacking Lex for seemingly murdering Dick Grayson to get them out of their deathtrap. Of course, anyone who’s been following the solicts can guess that Lex faked Dick’s death. Sure enough, Dick turns out to be just fine. Cyborg arrives to bust them out of the trap.
Meanwhile, Earth-3 Lex or “Mazahs” battles the Crime Syndicate. Superwoman turns out to be carrying Mazahs’s child, to the surprise of no one. The Crime Syndicate find themselves out-matched by Mazahs, so then it’s the Injustice League’s turn. Bizarro, Black Adam and Sinestro are all smacked around by Mazahs. Bizarro is murdered, in the most shocking death of the series. Lex Luthor manages to trick Mazahs into being depowered.
Unfortunately, the surviving members of the Crime Syndicate aren’t giving up on world conquest. Black Adam and Sinestro push the moon back into its rightful place, weakening Ultraman just in time. The remaining Syndicate members are either captured, escape or in Atomica’s case get crushed under Lex’s metal boot.
And so, the Justice League is rescued, Lex Luthor is hailed as a hero, and the foreshadowing of the next unbelievably long event comic begins. FOREVER EVIL is finally wrapped up.
One complaint I’ve had about the previous issues of FOREVER EVIL is that not much happened. Lex Luthor hung about in dark, dank places while the Crime Syndicate seemingly killed time until whatever was chasing them turned up. Things picked up for me in Issue #6 with actual all-out Crime Syndicate vs Injustice League conflict. That increased pace continues here. FOREVER EVIL #7 contains the chaos you’d hope for in a no-holds-barred supervillain battle.
The death of Bizarro is possibly the most emotional event of the series. In a comic defined by death and bloodshed, this is possibly the first time a character death has carried any real weight. It seems strange that Bizarro is the character with the most growth and development here, but that’s undoubtedly the case. His death is especially shocking coming from one of the “heroes”.
Lex’s defeat of Mazahs was also a highlight. Rather than use a deus ex machina, Lex finds a legitimately clever way of beating him. I didn’t see it coming, but it made perfect sense. I always like it when a protagonist uses his brains.
This comic has been people we don’t care much about defeating people we don’t care much about to save civilians whose only purpose is to die. We simply don’t have much reason to root for the protagonist. Lex Luthor’s characterization as an amoral, murdering sociopath makes it difficult to care for him. There are few sympathetic villains here aside from Bizarro, but what makes them likeable isn’t given much space here.
Of course, an unlikeable protagonist is no barrier to a good story. If what they’re fighting for is meaningful, readers will find their conflicts engaging. But what the Injustice League is fighting for here is a world where people exist only to be slaughtered. FOREVER EVIL promised to show us a world where evil had won and everybody had to struggle to survive. I would have liked to see more ordinary people trying to deal with the chaos. Instead, ordinary people barely mean anything to the story except as corpses, despite being the reason we should cheer for Lex’s triumph.
There’s also some odd moments with Mazahs. He inexplicably fails to use his powers to full advantage again and again. At the start of the issue he leaves Captain Cold and Black Manta alone despite vowing to eliminate every other hero and villain in FOREVER EVIL #6. In the book’s most unintentionally funny moment, Mazahs and Ultraman find time to have a short conversation while Ultraman is firing laser beams point-blank into his face.
FOREVER EVIL wasn’t a disaster. It wasn’t a triumph. It was…fine. Just fine.