Forever Evil #1

DC Comics

 

by Geoff Johns, David Finch, Richard Friend

Reader Appeal/Publisher Rating: T (Teen and up)

Genre: Fantasy/Superhero

 

 

What if earth's superheroes suddenly disappeared? If The Justice League—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest—no longer mattered? If maybe they'd all been killed?

 

And what if, into that heroic void there came an evil cabal led by a Superman-like villain whose allies wield world-conquering powers that mimic those of The Flash, Supergirl, Green Lantern and others?

 

Well, that'd be a pretty bad situation—and it's exactly what happens at the start pf DC Comics' villain-spotlight miniseries, in Forever Evil #1.

 

The story arc here begins with the news that everyone in the Justice League is (presumed) dead. With earth's greatest heroes gone, supervillains are ready to take over, and everything is up for grabs.

 

Enter the Crime Syndicate: "We come from another world," says their leader, Ultraman (the aforementioned Superman-like villain). "We ruled that world until they turned against us. So we destroyed it."Now the Crime Syndicate is inviting earth's mightiest villains to join their wave of terror—or be destroyed like the syndicate's former world.

 

To make matters worse, they've captured Batman's former "boy wonder," now a hero in his own right named Nightwing. And they promise to make an example of him, to "hunt down and destroy everything [Nightwing] cares about."

 

In the superhero vacuum that is this earth, who will stop the Crime Syndicate? What would you say to...Lex Luthor?

 

Yep, that's the tease of this set up story, that the FATE OF THE WORLD (that's always in all caps, right?) may rest in the hands of Superman's worst, psychopathic enemy. Will Luthor be enough? Only issue #2 (and following) of Forever Evil will tell.

 

On the one hand, Forever Evil #1 is a rehash of way too many superhero stereotypes. There's the aforementioned FATE OF THE WORLD. There's the tease of deaths of our most-loved heroes. There's whining, carping, power-hungry villains. There's an overkill in the number of villains for the story. (DC promises "All the greatest villains of the DCU take center stage, from Arcane to Zod...") So, from that perspective this bad-boy miniseries has all the markings of being another bloated, overblown hype-machine created simply to cash in on fanboy fervor.

 

And yet...

 

I have to admit that, after I started the story, I didn't want to stop reading. Scripter Geoff Johns is a pro at telling this kind of tale, giving teases and plot background without overwhelming the reader. He does a nice job of showing us who these villains are instead of telling us what we ought to know. (Whoa—did that Superman-guy just snort kryptonite like cocaine? And how did he get Aquaman's trident unless he pried it from the sea king's dead hands?) So while I'm skeptical of the lazy stereotypes inherent in this series, after reading episode #1 I'm also optimistic that Johns might just be able to pull it off.

 

From a visual standpoint, David Finch's artwork is like lighting on a page. The imagery pops with realism, particularly when close-ups fill a panel. Faces are expressive, eyes shine like they have real souls. After reading this book, I actually flipped back through the pages just to look at the illustrations again. Impressive. The only weakness in the artwork is in the occasional colorist choices. Likely because the tone of Forever Evil is, well, evil, there's an overabundance of black backgrounds and gray shadows. I guess this is to be expected (particularly in nighttime scenes), but it felt overused to the point where I actually noticed it and it distracted me from the story.

 

Parents should be aware that DC rated this comic at "T for teens" primarily because of the violent content and dark, oppressive storyline. There's blood and torture, explosions, and drug use, though it's all "apocalyptic fantasy" in style. As always, I'd recommend that you read this first before passing it off to a child, particularly one 13 or under.

 

Overall, I think Forever Evil #1 is a solid, if unspectacular, start to this miniseries. There are many ways this story could fracture and fail over the rest of the episodes, but at least the beginning has laid a foundation for success. And if David Finch keeps drawing such stunning panels, it's probably going to be worth looking at no matter what Geoff Johns does.

 

Here's hoping for the best with the rest!

 

Let’s Talk About It

If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:

 

• What makes something evil, and what makes something good? Explain.

 

• Do you think anyone can truly be "forever evil"? How about "forever good"? Defend your answer.

 

• When it comes to good and evil, how does Jesus make a difference in people's lives? Prove it.

 

--MN

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

 

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