By Geoff Johns, David Finch, Richard Friend & Sonia Oback
Forever Evil: the biggest event in the New 52 since, well, the New 52. This comic book epic, and an epic is the perfect name for it, is written by one of the biggest names in current comics, Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, Justice League, Batman: Earth One, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint… you name it). It’s an event that spans so much of the surrounding DC Universe impacting many characters and entire series, Nightwing to name one. Tie-in books like Arkham War and Rogues Rebellion displayed the impact the Crime Syndicate’s invasion has had on the world, while the main Justice League series delved into the origins of these villains from Earth-3. But it’s the 7-issue miniseries collected in this hardcover collection where the story really takes place.
A miniseries that showcases what the world would be like if the Justice League disappeared, leaving the fate of the planet in the hands of the evil Crime Syndicate, with our world’s villains being the only ones left to stop them. This is a tremendous story that explores an idea that feels fresh and original, especially with interesting characters for the story to center around. At its core, it’s the journey of Lex Luthor and his transformation from villain to savior of Earth, a position he reluctantly takes after realizing there’s no one else. Never has Luthor been a more compelling and complete character than he was in this series. The work done by Johns on his back story and thoughts throughout this book make it fun to cheer for him.
Evil is relative indeed and Johns is successful in turning the bad guys into heroic figures. With so many twists and turns, this story shocks even the most intelligent and knowledgeable fans. Backstabbing and devious plots keep the story moving and keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Each issue features an interesting main story with an abundance of subplots elaborating on the secondary characters and motives. Each issue features some of the most epic fight scenes and turning points that make even the most cruel DC fan go “wow, I’ll admit that was pretty cool”. I know because I know one. But everything that happens in this book happens for a reason, and every scene is so meaningful that no content is misused or wasted. This book really is as complete as can be, but it wouldn’t be a Geoff Johns epic without one heck of a cliffhanger, and man, does this book deliver a cliffhanger.
David Finch is an artist that can do no wrong. Very few artists are great at drawing everything and Finch is one of them. From faces to figure, conversations to world-shattering explosions, Finch was the perfect artist for this miniseries and only enhances its already tremendous quality. Richard Friend was another perfect choice for his position. Finch likes to use a lot of darkness, shadows and shading in his art so a skilled inker was needed to fully capture those shadows and make them crisp and clean. This event, while only seven issues long, spans many varying locations and environments, each demanding individual shades and hues.The colors were provided by Sonia Oback who did as good a job as could have been done. Whatever the situation was, her colors are fantastic. Whether its Johnny Quick running, Ultraman soaring, or someone saying “SHAZAM!”, Oback’s colors make every page explode with bright colors and the book looks better for it. The high quality look of the book is proof of the time and effort put in by the art team, immediately placing it as one of the best looking books the New 52 has produced.
It wouldn’t be a DC Collected Edition without some cool extras at the back of the book. An array of variant covers (my favorite is Robot Chicken’s) fills the back pages. Artists from all across the DCU, including Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, and Gary Frank (all who’ve worked with Geoff Johns in the past), lend their talents for this large variant gallery. Since the New 52 DC has been very good with its extra content featured in collected editions, although, Forever Evil only features a few pages of bonus sketches and drawings. Normally we’re used to seeing a lot more bonus content, especially considering the importance of this book, but at least the main content picks up the slack.
Johns creates an amazing story that introduces and expands on many famous faces in DC. Forever Evil gives well-deserved screen time to a lot of villains that have yet to be expanded on in the New 52, like Bizarro, who stole the show in most of the scenes he was in. Along with great character development and a great story, this book is an epic first and foremost; an epic that excels at action and excitement on every page. While there are many tie-in stories needed to get the full tale, the heart of the story lies within these seven issues collected in this beautiful, organized hardcover edition. Geoff Johns and David Finch create a compelling, interesting, game-changing story. It proves that this is not the climax of the New 52, it is only the beginning of bigger and better things to come.