KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Mild Mannered Reviews - Special Comics

Forever Evil #7 Forever Evil #7

Forever Evil #7

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 21, 2014

Cover date: July 2014

"Crisis of Self"

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

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Forever Evil #7 Forever Evil #7 Alexander Luthor tells Captain Cold and Black Manta that they are useless to him and flies off. Meanwhile the "real" Lex brings Dick back from the brink of death. Cyborg arrives and after some discussion Batman and Cyborg leave to free the League while Lex takes on the Crime Syndicate after taking Batman's Kryptonite ring. Deathstorm and Ultraman are discussing the fact that they need to get Alexander under control when Alexander arrives with Superwoman, who has been having an affair with Luthor and is carrying his child. The fight is brief with and in the end Ultraman is taken down and Deathstorm is killed.

Batman and crew find Firestorm and try to figure out how to free him when Owlman arrives saying he has come for Dick Grayson. Alexander attacks Luthor and his crew and makes short work of them. Bizarro tries to put up a good fight but Alexander beats the creature to death. Lex makes a quick plan of attack and order Black Adam, with the help of Sinestro, to call down on the Power of Shazam to transform Alexander back to his human form. This fails and Alexander attacks Lex but Lex is able to turn the tables on his counterpart and calls down the thunderbolt which de-powers Alexander. Lex kills him and then defeats Ultraman thanks to Sinestro and Black Adam putting the moon back in its proper orbits. The Justice League is freed, Lex leaves Ultraman to suffer but kills Atomica.

After saving Superman's life by removing the small piece of Kryptonite that had been embedded inside him things start to return to some semblance of normal. Black Adam and Sinestro laugh off Lex's offer of wiping their slates clean. Batman tells Catwoman that there can't be anything between them before setting up a new identity for Dick Grayson. Sometime later Lex meets with Ted Kord and informs the young man that he won't be taking his father's company from him. The League rebuilds, Owlman is on the loose and Wonder Woman tries to interrogate Superwoman but doesn't get very far. Back at LexCorp Lex oversees the creation of another Bizarro before discovering that Bruce Wayne is Batman.

Superman and Aquaman discuss the person responsible for destroying the Syndicate's world. No one wants to talk about it but the Man of Steel is certain there is only one being that has that kind of power...the being that brought the League together in the first place. Darkseid. In another universe an unseen entity tells the Anti-Monitor that all the power has been consumed and he will find another universe for his master to consume. The Anti-Monitor replies that when that happens Darkseid will be his!

Forever Evil #7 4Story - 4: I almost gave this story a five. It had all the elements of a great finale and for the most part I enjoyed myself quite a bit. There were specific points that had me feeling like I did when INFINITE CRISIS was coming out. My biggest problem with this issue was some of the more excessively violent sequences. I am fully aware of the fact that this is how DC operates now and to be fair things have been violent for going on two decades now but my taste for it has waned. Or maybe they are more gratuitously violent than they used to be.

All of that is a long winded way of saying that Lex Luthor crushing Atomica was unnecessary. Yes, she deserved to be punished and no I didn't shed any tears when she died. I just found that scene distasteful. Alexander Luthor's death was violent and it had some nasty sound effects but compared to Atomica's it was restrained.

Now that I have that out of the way I can go on and on about why I liked this book so much.

I am one of those readers that "came up" as a comic fan during the late eighties. I first started seriously reading comics back in 1987. Because of that I have this attachment to CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS that won't go away. I am not a fan of the fact that it got rid of the Multiverse but it would be hypocritical to say that I didn't like the world that stemmed from CRISIS. I also like CRISIS as a story and there were certain characters right there at the beginning of the series that stood out. The Luthor from Earth-3 was one of them. He was a hero in a world full of villains with a wife and a son and no matter what INFINITE CRISIS did to Alexander Luthor his origins will always be special to me. I also liked the idea that the Lex from that world married the Lois Lane of that world.

So when you take that idea and transpose it on the updated version of a Luthor that fights the Crime Syndicate right down to he and the Lois (a.k.a. Superwoman) of that world getting together and conceiving a child...well, Geoff Johns knew exactly which buttons to push with me as a reader. The Mazahs Luthor was one of the elements of the story I should have seen coming. Superwoman and Luthor being together is another element I should have seen coming given the history of the characters. I have to admit that Grant Morrison's take on the CSA from JLA: EARTH-2 had a profound effect on how I saw those characters so my mindset was more Post Crisis on Infinite Earths CSA than Pre-Crisis. Still, it was a great twist and gave me one of those thrills that remind me why I like comic books in general and the DC Universe in particular.

There were other aspects of the finale that I liked. Watching Sinestro and Black Adam work together was a lot of fun. Here are two characters that Johns has obviously had a lot of affection for as well as time invested in making them flesh and blood characters. Oddly enough, and I really couldn't tell you why, I don't have a problem with shading those characters into more anti-hero roles. Maybe Lex as the hero was the bridge too far but Adam and Sinestro are fine by me.

I'm fickle and moody. What can you do?

While it was a bit disappointing that the JLA didn't fight their counterparts in the CSA watching Lex take care of business was entertaining. His take down of both the Mazahs Luthor and Ultraman were perfection. That is sullied a bit by what Lex did to Atomica which, as I mentioned, was a bit gratuitous, but given that Lex was the protagonist of this piece the wrap up at the end was satisfying. It was almost touching to see him creating a new Bizarro, who for me was the break out character of this series. The scene with Ted Kord was awesome as well, but to me fair that is mostly because it's Ted Kord and I have liked that character for years. That scene also served as a nice bookend to issue one and showed that Lex had grown as a character. Seeing Lex figure out the Bruce Wayne is Batman reminded me of a similar scene from the early 2000s where that Lex figured out that Clark Kent was Superman. Part of me was a little put off that some of the story beats reminded me of the finale to INFINITE CRISIS, especially Lex telling Alexander that he is smarter than him but Johns had built up enough good will that I just let it go.

I skirted around the issue a few paragraphs ago but the more I think about this book and the more I write about it I find myself in a bit of a quandary. Lex is a villain. He's a bad guy. He's been a bad guy for decades. Back in the 2000s something changed. Maybe it was the fact that he was elected President. Maybe it was that awful LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL mini-series that spent five issue making me angry. Maybe it was Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's JUSTICE series. Maybe it was Johns' take on the character through LAST SON. Maybe it was Paul Cornell playing with Lex during his run on ACTION COMICS. Maybe it's all of those put together. Somewhere during those ten years Lex stopped being a bad guy and turned know, I really don't know what to call him. He wasn't an anti-hero. He wasn't a hero. He started defying classification and through that the character got lost.

Things didn't improve with the New 52. He has been everything from a cowardly mogul to a Hannibal Lecter wannabe to the evil businessman and now he's the hero of the day. This brings up another problem with Lex. We are being told he's the villain and we are being told that Superman is angry but there was nothing to back any of that up because we haven't seen much of him in the New 52. So when you add those two problems together what should be an interesting examination of what happens when the ultimate villain of the ultimate super-hero becomes a hero himself turns into something that feels forced and two dimensional. The writing is strong but it's all on the surface. Dig into the support structures and everything starts to fall apart.

No matter how well written this final issue was the thing with Lex is becoming a bother.

But then the Anti-Monitor shows up and that whole train of thought is derailed for a moment.

At least with the Anti-Monitor I don't feel the need to kick myself. Everything pointed towards the big bad that destroyed the CSA's world to be Darkseid. Then again there were freaking red skies so holy crud I SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING.

I am slipping as I approach old age.

In the end despite my misgivings about the gratuitous violence and the Lex Luthor problem this was an enjoyable end to an enjoyable event. Johns did some great things with the villains of the DCU (especially his favorites) and with the Crime Syndicate. While I hold out hope that at some point we'll see the JLA vs. CSA fight we didn't get in this story I can't say that the fight we got let me down. As with most big, huge crossover events the story is not quite over but unlike some of those events I don't feel annoyed about it.

4Art - 4: I'm still not entirely sold on Finch's art. It's not bad. He knows how to lay out a page and the action was very dynamic. He also pulled off some of the more complicated bits of business like Bizarro's heat breath and ice vision. I especially liked his design for Alexander Luthor. There's just something off about his figure work and I really can't put my finger on what it is. I felt the same way when he was drawing NEW AVENGERS. The characters look good just...weird. Lex (the Earth Prime Lex that is) is especially wonky. During the scene with Ted Kord he seemed off model from how he looked earlier in the issue. On the plus side his Anti-Monitor looked amazing. So I'm of two minds on the art. On one hand it fit the epic tone of the series. On the other it looked strange in places.

Wow...there were a lot of covers to this one.

4Cover Art - 4 (Main Cover): This is a solid, actiony cover. It's not the strongest of the series but as the main cover of the final issue it does its job and it does it well.

4Cover Art - 4 (Robot Chicken): Eh, it's fine. To be fair my opinion on this cover is colored by the fact that I didn't think the second Robot Chicken DC special was as good as the first, but seeing Sexy Lexy was fun.

3Cover Art - 3 (Batman & Nightwing): This one looks odd. Batman seems out of proportion as does Nightwing. This makes a fine variant cover but I am not liking it all that much.

5Cover Art - 5 (Luthor vs Luthor): This cover, on the other hand, is great. Luthor vs. Luthor. It's powerful and both characters look great.

4Cover Art - 4 (Luthor vs Batman): I'd make a MAN OF STEEL joke for this one but I just don't have it in me. This is a good cover. I feel bad for Batman but this is what a variant cover should be; a nice piece of art that you wouldn't want as the main cover but still reflects the contents.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2014

February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2014.