Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
Justice League: Forever Evil
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
About the time that I got back into reading and collecting comic books was about the time that the Forever Evil event under DC Comics was just wrapping up. A little bit later I would learn that I had just missed out on one of the coolest comic book events to hit DC in a while, a story where the tables are turned and with the Justice League nowhere to be found the villains now reign supreme under the new group in charge of the world the Crime Syndicate. If you are anything like me then the idea that villains are in control is a very cool concept and I personally gravitate towards villains much more than heroes. The Crime Syndicate are essentially a reverse Justice League where each member is an evil doppelganger from another world in the Multiverse that seek out the Earth Prime after a mysterious being has destroyed their world and they could not defeat it. Getting into this event there were a lot of books that tied in to the Forever Evil event however to get the full story I wanted to pick up the stories that mattered and really bridged the gaps in the main event title. Forever Evil’s main series follows Lex Luthor as well as the Crime Syndicate and the events that follow through the eyes of the villains in the world where you learn that the only heroes left to save the world ARE villains themselves. There were multiple tie in stories however none of them grabbed my attention but apparently you aren’t told about Cyborg and how he comes back to fight Grid of the Crime Syndicate in the Justice League series tie in issues, and not wanting to miss anything major I read Justice League side by side with Forever Evil which I found was a great way to approach reading this event.
Kicking off the Forever Evil event DC launched a line wide launch of 3D cover issues that break off of each series and features a story that has to do with major villains of the respective books, for example Justice League’s issue 23.1 features a story about Darkseid and his origins. This was a great tactic as the 3D cover issues had interesting content and really cool villain cover art which brought attention to the event. I jumped in to the main Forever Evil series up to issue 3 and then jumped to Justice League and I would read between both back and forth an issue or two at a time and I found this to be effective as I would read one thing in Forever Evil that lead into the Justice League series. If someone was just reading the main Forever Evil series then I believe they would be at a loss and possibly be asking confused about what happened to certain people and why certain things happened, however it is not necessary to read Justice League tie ins to have a good time with the main Forever Evil event.
Forever Evil’s main series followed Lex Luthor and him trying to buy out the Blue Beetle’s family company to own a 27th building in Metropolis however upon trying to use scare tactics in a helicopter all technology goes black and the helicopter crashes into a Lex Corp. building. We are then shown the Crime Syndicate where they begin to take over all connected technology with an evil tech virus that was inside of Cyborg and ripped him apart named Grid. The Crime Syndicate has also captured Nightwing in hopes to lure in the heroes of the world when they divulge his real identity to the world. Ultraman goes off in search of Kryptonite to eat and gain power (as well as moves the moon in place to eclipse the world into darkness) while other Syndicate members distribute tracker calling coins to all the villains around the world to gather together and become a united force under the Crime Syndicate to take over the world. Not all of the villains think that this is how things should be so we find Lex Luthor leading some pretty heavy players in the DCU such as Black Manta (who is upset the CS killed Aquaman before he could) or Black Adam who had his jaw crushed by Ultraman and was tossed into the ocean to die. Captain Cold and The Rogues also play a somewhat important force again the chaos in this situation eventually teaming up with Lex Luthor. This event features an incredible amount of notable villains on the pages which is a staggering amount of work for an artist to do but David Finch does beautiful work portraying all these villains in his distinct art style. He must have had a lot of fun with this book and I must say that his art for Bizarro is absolutely my favourite rendition of the character that I have seen. Geoff Johns writes this book with layers of secrets and excitement letting you in on little things such as Superwoman’s secret child or the mysterious man they have tied up and heavily sedated to the chair in the room counter to Dick Grayson. Geoff Johns really had a lot of plans with this event that are even MORE evident now as Forever Evil is almost directly connected with the current Justice League comics and the Darkseid War story arc.
Justice League’s tie in issues told an important chunk of the story that broke things down when it came to back story and bigger perspective of different players at the time. The first issue begins by sort of explaining how and why the Crime Syndicate are actually in the world showing telling us the tale of Ultraman’s origins. As the issues keep going, it focuses on Silas Stone repairing his son Cyborg after he was torn apart by Grid desperately trying to detach itself from the android flesh of Vic Stone leaving him mangled and near death. It is important because he might be the only person who knows how to save/bring back the Justice League while being close to death. The issues continue breaking down even more Crime Syndicate origin stories as well as tells us the story of the Metal Men and how they are in need to fight back against the CS and the deadly villains that have sided with them. These issues are important as they tell us the story of how the Justice League are ultimately freed and how Grid, the force behind all technology being down, was distracted and brought down while the events of Forever Evil main series unfolded. Ivan Reis and the art team on this book was really good but sort of paled in comparison to David Finch which left me happy to get back to David Finch’s art when I would read back and forth between series. Geoff Johns was also the writer on this book as well as the main Forever Evil event which made the two series really fit well together when reading back and forth and it was a lot of fun to get glimpses of the Crime Syndicate members’ origins. Geoff Johns is the smartest writer at DC Comics and much like other things he’s written these books are solid gold.
DC Comics has recently announced that they are “rebooting” (my words not theirs) their universe and ending the New 52 generation of comics into their new ‘Rebirth’ launch. This will effectively end all current main series at issues #52 and begin them anew/continue with the old three-digit numbering of Action Comics and Detective Comics. Regardless what is to come, Forever Evil and Darkseid War are beautifully drawn epic stories that will live beyond DC’s next reboot/re-launch and these books will stand on their own down the road as some of the best stories told. I highly recommend picking up Forever Evil, especially if you are looking to break into reading DC comics as this is a great starting point. Not only does Justice League stand on its own and does not cross over with main series Batman or Superman, but it is the originating point of Justice League’s current Darkseid War event and is the start of when Lex Luthor got on the Justice League’s good side and thusly joined their group of world saviours!
~ T.J Head