Well, it’s finally here. We’ve seen the origin of the Justice League, as well as shadowy figures meeting to take them down. We’ve seen the government’s reaction to superheroes, the Trinity of Sin gallivant about, and the Leagues mix around members in “Trinity War.” And at the end of “Trinity War,” we saw the Crime Syndicate of Earth 3 come to the main DC Universe. Now we’ve got Forever Evil, the first event comic miniseries of the New 52, and is it off to a good start? Well…
If there’s one thing Geoff Johns knows, it’s how to make an event exciting. The issue begins with Lex Luthor attempting an excessively hostile takeover of Kord Industries (and sorry, Blue Beetle fans, Ted isn’t present) before the Grid takes out all power in Metropolis, causing the helicopter they’re on to crash. In the progress of the issue, we see the Secret Society come together, with every super villain broken out of jail and a ton of them in one place. We also see Nightwing get captured, and the big “change” that will happen to him as a result of this storyline.
For the sake of spoilers, I won’t say what happens, but I will say that none of the fan theories I saw, including my own, got it right.
Honestly, there’s not too much to say about the writing in an overall story sense. It’s the first chapter of a big event, and Johns writes that perfectly. We get a good set up, lots of danger, a look into the key players of both this event and some of the tie-ins that start next month (Scarecrow and the Rogues have some interesting scenes in this, and we get a bit with Amanda Waller as well, which is foreshadowing what will happen in Suicide Squad), and it all works.
The fun part of this story is getting to see all the villain interact, because we really haven’t had a lot of that since the reboot started. But here we get it, and it’s every bit as wonderful as one can hope.
It’s like high school, but with amoral psychopaths. So it’s basically high school.
On the visual side, the art is pretty good. David Finch draws a lot of crowd scenes here, and even panels just focusing on a few characters never feel empty. Sonia Oback’s colors throughout the whole thing are nice and dark too. Even with all of these pastel-colored characters around, everything is just dark and foreboding, and it looks awesome.
With a ton of creators on board here, it’s hard to keep things consistent, but there doesn’t seem to be much of an effort. For example, Batman and Robin #23.1 this week starred Two-Face, and the book opens with a seven-page scene on the rooftops of Gotham in which Scarecrow tries recruiting Two-Face to the Secret Society. Of course, one does not expect seven pages of the event comic to be dedicated to a character who isn’t really essential to the plot, but when you go from an intense rooftop scene between just two characters showing one guy joining the Society in one book, and then this book reinterprets that as “Agrees with minimal fuss in a room with a half-dozen super villains”, it makes one wonder if Johns should’ve bothered including Two-Face at all, rather than just leaving well enough alone.
Also, I don’t know if this is a result of David Finch’s pencils or Richard Friend’s abilities as an inker, but some of the inks here just aren’t that good. Finch uses a lot of extra lines in the art here that gives everything a bit more depth, a bit of a sketchy feel, and really makes everything a bit darker. Inked here, however, it’s just kind of a mess. I haven’t seen the original pencils, so I can’t say whose fault it is, but the line work in this book leaves something to be desired. Generally speaking, it’s not enough to ruin the book, but it does make for a weird visual or two.
Johnny Quick just looks incredibly punchable right now.
While there are some minor flaws with the artwork, it’s not enough to detract from this book’s score, because this book does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It gets the reader excited for the rest of the event. Like it or not, “Forever Evil” as a whole is going to be with us for the next half a year, so it’s important for the first issue to make you want to read this for the next half a year, and in that regard, it’s a complete success. And until the next issue comes out, enjoy Villains Month! It’s off to a great start as a whole, really.
Forever Evil #1 is available for $3.99 USD digitally and physically with a normal 2D cover, or for $4.99 USD with a 3D cover at any retailer that