(DC Comics, 2013)
Review by Heather Antos
Written by: Geoff Johns
Pencils by: David Finch
Inking by: Richard Friend
Colors by: Sonia Oback
The first Universe-wide event of DC Comics New 52 era continues in Forever Evil #3, and sadly it is not staying true to what the first issues promised us; the truly epic and threatening event to the universe we’ve grown to love was supposed to be a page-turning series. But that is not what happened this week.
With the world under the rule of the mysterious and deadly Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 and our greatest heroes supposedly dead, Lex Luthor takes it upon himself to save us all. But is he doing so in a true-to-Luthor fashion?
The issue itself feels very sluggish. Forever Evil is supposed to be this epic event for the whole of the Universe, and yet Geoff Johns pacing is found lacking. Nothing new has been revealed about Nightwing’s fate (which Forever Evil #2 all but ignored), however the issue opens with Batman, so that allows Johns to barely brush Dick Grayson’s life-or-death on the minds of the readers. Clearly Geoff Johns is trying to build suspense to some great reveal or turn of events, but in order to do so, something - anything - needs to happen to raise the status quo.
Perhaps he tries to do so by continuing to focus on Lex Luthor, who has previously unleashed his experimentally cloned Kryptonian and uses him to help set up a monitoring system on the Crime Syndicate. Johns almost humanizes Luthor’s obsessive hatred of Superman in a way that almost de-villainizes the character. This does not feel like the ruthless mastermind that the world has grown to fear. And the dynamic only grows more interesting as Black Manta, Captain Cold, and Black Adam are drawn into the fray. Though Johns does seem to focus a bit too much attention on the Flash Rogues as a whole, sparking a new stats quo that probably has more to do with the Rogues’ Rebellion mini-series than it does this book. That speaks to a larger concern with this book now. The book itself is complicated - and it feels complicated. There is far too much going on in the Universe for Johns to truly give every storyline the attention every reader craves.
The art for the Forever Evil event continues to be strong, yet it feels like there was a bit of a miscommunication between writer and artist. David Finch’s lines and Richard Friend’s inks are sharp and daunting. They are filled in by Sonia Oback’s dark and shadowy colors. But why is Lex Luthor fighting Black Manta and Bizarro fighting Black Adam on the cover? This is very misleading when the issue reveals that they are to be allies. Also, the undercooked Superman clone’s appearance seems to be jumping back and forth between T-Shirt/Jeans ensemble to now a contemporary Superman uniform. But still, the pages look exactly like you’d expect them to dark, threatening - and yet something is missing. There’s nothing in the art that makes the reader want to see what happens next.
Forever Evil isn’t moving as quickly as you’d expect of a book that’s now delivered three of its seven issues. Luthor’s team is still just barely coming together, much less waging war against the Crime Syndicate (who of themselves were barely seen in this issue). It’s tough to imagine Johns having enough time to truly develop a proper story in the remaining four issues. Does that mean Forever Evil will ultimately just lead into another event as Trinity War did into this?
I, for one, hope not.
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