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Mild Mannered Reviews - Special Comics

Forever Evil #2 Forever Evil #2

Forever Evil #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 2, 2013

Cover date: December 2013


Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: David Finch
Inker: Richard Friend

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

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Forever Evil #2 Forever Evil #2 Lex Luthor stalks through his own building and muses on adaptation and survival. He comes across a security guards named Otis, who points out that the power is out except for the screen of his tablet. Meanwhile the Teen Titans discuss the incursion of the Crime Syndicate and the revelation of Nightwing's secret identity. Robin tells them to suit up and while the others are a bit dubious of this Robin points out that if they found out Nightwing's identity it's only a matter of time before they figure out the rest.

Elsewhere the Crime Syndicate debate how they should handle the chaos Ultraman's relocation of the moon has caused. Johnny Quick is all for killing all of the law enforcement personnel but Owlman wants them alive so they can have an infrastructure to build on. Johnny is against this and eventually runs off to give in to his baser needs. Ultraman tells them to let him go and is briefed by Grid who has prioritized the uprisings that have popped up since their arrival. Ultraman then checks in on a prisoner the Alfred from their Earth has been keeping and an argument breaks out on what to do with him. Owlman wants him dead. Ultraman doesn't and Owlman states that if the hooded man lives so does Dick Grayson. Grid informs the group of an uprising by the Flash's rogues and Ultraman leaves to take care of a situation in Khandaq.

As Lex Luthor and Otis find one of his experiments that is not quite ready yet Johnny Quick and Atomica confront the police and soldiers outside the crashed Watchtower. Quick throws their bullets back at them but Superboy uses his heat vision to melt the bullets before they can do any harm. Meanwhile Lex releases his creation, which needed another five years before it was ready and orders it to kill Otis. It does after Otis threatens Lex, which satisfies Luthor. Back at the Watchtower Johnny Quick messes with Kid Flash's vibrational frequency which sends Kid Flash and the rest of the Titans into the time stream. Luthor retrieves his battle suit as the bizarre creature puts on his uniform inside out. This is a job for Lex Luthor.

At the STAR Labs facility in Detroit Dr. Silas Stone and his associate Thomas set about destroying the contents of the Red Room, which contains the most dangerous technology on Earth. Suddenly Batman and Catwoman break into the room with an injured Cyborg. When Silas asks what happened to the Justice League Batman tells them that they didn't make it.

Forever Evil #2 4Story - 4: The strength of this issue is that after the huge build-up and release of the first chapter Geoff Johns uses this chapter to have his characters take stock of the situation and plot their next moves. I appreciated that. The scenes with Lex and the Crime Syndicate both felt like the momentary calm after the first front of a storm blows through. There was a big action scene right there in the middle that served to set-up the next TEEN TITANS storyline but mostly it was people talking. Some consider this a bad thing and with certain writers I agree but Johns' strength as a writer is his characterization so to see him stretch his legs with this new Crime Syndicate and even with Lex was very welcome.

Lex's end of the story had a lot going for it. It was a long way to establish Bizarro but the whole monologue at the beginning about how survival of the fittest works was a great way to kick this issue off. I could have done without seeing the rat get killed but it certainly was a memorable way to open the story. Having the guard's name be Otis was a little too cute for my taste but the character didn't survive until the end of the issue so I guess in the end it doesn't matter. What I liked most about Lex's story is that everything he is doing in on the fly. Bizarro needed another five years to achieve full clonage. The armor wasn't 100% done. Both of these facts bothered Lex but he went ahead anyway. The throwaway comment about the flash gun that he hoped to gain from Thomas Kord made me smile as the flash gun was the main weapon of the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. It continues to give me hope that we might see a Ted Kord Blue Beetle in the New 52 but I am not going to pin all of my hopes and dreams on that.

Bizarro wasinteresting. There have been many takes on the character over the years. Some comedic, others more horrific. Johns definitely leaned towards the horrific for this new version of the character. I don't really have a preference so this doesn't bother me. I thought it was excessive to have Bizarro kill Otis but the violence in most Geoff Johns comics can be on the excessive side so you can either accept it or it drives you crazy. My favorite moment was when Bizarro put the uniform on inside out, which explains why his S symbol is on backwards. That made me chuckle.

The Crime Syndicate was a mixed bag. Johnny Quick is an extremely two-dimensional character but that seems to be how he was designed. Everything seems to be about instant gratification for him and Atomica. Deathstorm and Power Ring are the opposite of this. While they didn't have a lot of screen time the moments they had stuck with me more than Johnny Quick's scenes did. The quiet moments as Deathstorm examines Power Ring's arm was actually chilling because you get the sense that he was never going to take the ring off even though it is causing Power Ring some pain but he wanted to let Power Ring think that he was considering it. It was a great character moment and oddly enough one of the highlights of the issue for me.

The triangle between Ultraman, Owlman and Superwoman is carried over from the Grant Morrison take on the Crime Syndicate but that doesn't bug me. Johns is handling it with a bit more subtlety than Morrison's take on the characters. You get the sense that there is tension between the villains but it was the revelation that Superwoman is pregnant that the tension started to make more sense. Part of me wonders if the child is really Owlman's and not Ultraman's but time will tell on that. I wouldn't put it above Superwoman to lie about who the baby daddy is.

I had some minor quibbles with how the story played out. There was a mention of the Flash's rogues and of Khandaq. While I didn't have a problem with them in and of themselves those are two pet characters and settings for Johns as a writer, so there was a moment of, "He's trotting them out again." To be fair I loved his run on FLASH and his time with Black Adam so I am not being critical, just making an observation. I mentioned Johnny Quick earlier as being two dimensional and the more the issue wore on the more that bugged me, especially since the other members of the CSA are more fully formed as characters. The Atomica thing is a bit disappointing because I thought Johns did such a great job setting her up as a character but now that she's with her boyfriend all of that is gone. None of these or the other small problems I had ruined the book for me but they were there.

FOREVER EVIL is shaping up to be a really fun event. Elements of the Villains Month issues are trickling into this book and that made me feel like the New 52 DC is an actual universe and not a place where creators throw a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Between the tie in to Villains Month and other media connections (such as the reality series INK MASTERS and the upcoming documentary) I get the sense that DC as a company is firing on all cylinders for the first time in years. I am glad they took their time getting to the first big event of the New 52 and it seems to be paying off for them.

4Art - 4: There was some weirdness to the artwork this time out but overall I liked what I saw. There were times, such as the scene with the Teen Titans at the beginning of the issue, where the faces got a little wonky but Finch more than made up for that with the storytelling he was able to pull off. The reason the Deathstorm/Power Ring bit worked as well as it did was how Finch drew the scene. The same with the moment where Superwoman talks about the child she is carrying. I especially liked his take on Luthor's armor and Bizarro. Both were very strong and visually compelling.

4Cover Art - 4 (Main Cover): While Ultraman is a little stiff this is an effective cover. Johnny Quick looks especially evil and you really get the sense that something bad is going down in the DCU, especially for the Teen Titans.

4Cover Art - 4 (Bizarro/Luthor): The Bizarro/Luthor variant is decent but isn't my favorite. Van Sciver did a fantastic job with Bizarro but Lex looks very out of proportion in the background.

5Cover Art - 5 (Crime Syndicate): The Crime Syndicate Trinity cover is more like it. It is dynamic and I like Van Sciver's take on the new Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman.

5Cover Art - 5 (Villains): I really like that villains united cover. Van Sciver nails all of the characters though my personal favorites are Black Adam and Sinestro.

4Cover Art - 4 (B&W Cover): The black and white variant of the main cover showcases what I liked and didn't like about the cover. Without the color Johnny Quick actually looks more evil that in the colored version, which was neat to see.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2013

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