Monday, September 1, 2014

Forever Evil

What would a world dominated by super villains look like?  DC Comics approached this topic in its recent seven issue mini series Forever Evil.  The premise is that a crime syndicate has defeated the Justice League (which is DC Comics way of uniting all of its popular super heroes on one team similar to what the Avengers is to Marvel Comics) and is now working to establish its global rule over the Earth.  The twist to this scenario though is these villains are evil alternate versions of the Justice League from a parallel  dimension known as Earth-3 in the DC multiverse that have now arrived to dominate Earth-Prime.  There is Super Woman (Wonder Woman), Ultraman (Superman), Owlman (Batman), Deathstorm (Firestorm), Grid (Cyborg), Johnny Quick (The Flash), and Power Ring (The Green Lantern) who bring together all the super villains of this universe to join them to create an army they call the Secret Society.  As the story starts no one knows if the members of the Justice League are dead, captured or on the run, the world is just brutally made aware that they are now gone and a new era of Forever Evil has begun.  If you missed picking up the monthly issues of Forever Evil that started their run in September of last year and want to know what happens, don't despair because you can catch up with the whole story collected in one hardcover book that goes on sale this September.

Forever Evil was a huge cross-over event for DC Comics that was a primary focus for the publisher between Sept 2013 to May 2014 which was kick started with "Villain Month" last September featuring  the first issue of the Forever Evil mini-series plus numerous villain themed one-shot comic books (where the story is self-contained within that one issue and doesn't continue on into future issues) that had special 3D lenticular motion covers on the front of the title.  Plus there were Forever Evil story arcs contained within several of the DC Comics normal monthly publications including Justice League #24 - 29, Justice League of America #8-13 and Suicide Squad #24-29.  Following the release of the principal Forever Evil mini-series three other tie-in six issue mini-series were introduced titled: A.R.G.U.S., ROGUES REBELLION and ARKHAM WAR.  Note though only the seven issues of the initial Forever Evil mini-series are being reprinted in the hard cover publication being released on September 9, 2014.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Forever Evil does an exceptional job of playing out plots full of twists and pivots featuring the Criminal Syndicate members from the alternate dimension.  Lex Luther's role as planetary savior shows how villains are best when portrayed in shades of grey.  He starts off the series acting despicable and devious threatening to destroy someone who doesn't bend to his will and ends the series actually of all things saving Superman's life.  In between we witness Lex create a Bizaro Superman, kill the original Robin aka Dick Grayson aka Night Wing, and fight in a battle against of all people ... himself.  Forever Evil also leaves us with a cliff hanger as it concludes with Lex Luther gaining a little tidbit of information that could have big implications for future stories down the road...he learns that Batman is Bruce Wayne.  Lex really is the core character in this story and that aspect is one of the most enjoyable parts of reading it.  It is interesting how Luther really uses intellect and financial advantages to overpower people that have super powers.

This comic isn't for children as characters in it die, real deaths too not the ones where people are reincarnated a few issues later (aka Johnny Storm - The Human Torch, Peter Parker - The Amazing Spiderman, or Clark Kent - Superman).  These are graphic and brutal deaths too.  Power Ring has his arm chopped off and than is torched to a crisp.  Johnny Quick is frozen and shattered into pieces.  Another character has his heart heart pulled out of his chest.  One of my favorite scenes though is Lex Luther squashing one bad guy with his boot like a bug.  I'll admit enjoyed seeing evil villains getting taken down in the same vein as enjoying a horror flick but these absolutely aren't images I want my 5 year old twins flipping through.

While I was happy that one of my favorite villains Black Manta had a lot of involvement in the series, I was disappointed that most of the super villains gathered for the Secret Society really were treated as an after thought and not referred back to after the first issue.  It seemed DC Comics really dropped the ball on that aspect of the series.  I collected all of the Villain Month one-shot issues too and have to say that while the 3D covers were very impressive the stories on the inside were all pretty bad.  The focus of this min-series is on the alternate Justice League or as they call themselves the Criminal Syndicate, Lex Luther tackling this threat, and how the heroes of Justice League reappear.  Unfortunately, I have to say that the return of the Justice League is very anti-climatic.  Everyone reading this book obviously knows they are going to bring them back at some point but essentially the story wraps up and suddenly they just reappear.  After reading through this story I would have liked a little more meat and detail to that plot point.  To give DC some credit the super villains are much more focused on in the stories contained in the cross-over publications that I mentioned earlier that aren't being reprinted within this hardcover book though it would have been nice to have seen a greater role for them in the principal mini-series itself.

While I was critical of a few points, the story angles for the Crime Syndicate, Lex Luther ... oh and did I mention Batman and Catwoman happen to play a big part in this story too that help make things interesting but you'll have to read it to find out how...make for a good read.  If you didn't happen to read the original monthly issues of Forever Evil when they were on store comic book stands I'd recommend picking up a copy of the hard cover compilation to peruse.  It is an entertaining romp of a comic book adventure.

You can pickup the Forever Evil hardcover edition on , Barnes & Noble or by visiting your local comic book store. 

DISCLAIMER:  I received temporary access to a digital edition of this product to review.  I was not compensated for this post and my opinions and views are my own. DC Comics maintains the copyright of any picture used in this post which were used for the marketing of their product in this blog and they should not be reused without their expressed permission.

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