Forever Evil #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

            The Trinity War brought invaders from another World to our planet to conquer and rule. Bursting from the doorway in the form of a golden box, The Crime Syndicate has killed the Justice League and brought the Earth’s heroes to its knees. Recruiting the most dangerous minds the world has to offer, the new world order gathers at the toppled remains of the Justice League’s watchtower to present deadly villains with the opportunity of a lifetime. This world of heroes has been pummelled into submission and is now in the hands of a ruthless evil. One figure with a particular aversion to following orders finds himself staring at a blocked out sun and asking the whereabouts of his nemesis while his visions descends into darkness.

For the month of September the DC universe has been taken over by their catalogue of villains, each commanding a title for their own new number one and the catalyst for such a line wide invasion is the first event series of the New 52, Forever Evil. Geoff Johns and David Finch bring together a wide and still expanding cast of the universe’s bad guys to topple the Justice Leagues and rule the world. Building from the very first issue of Justice League of the New 52 this storyline is a result of carefully planned stories using the rule of three. Three mysterious figures punished as the Trinity of Sin. Three Leagues brought to a head over the possession of a doorway disguised as Pandora’s Box. Three Earths amidst a sea of the infinite. The Crime Syndicate began their immigration into the world with the formation of the first Justice League to battle Darkseid as Earth 3’s Alfred and Atomica travelled through a Boom Tube five years ahead of the rest of their team. They had been laying dormant ever since. Over all, the first issue of Forever Evil is a satisfying culmination of the past two years of Geoff Johns’ plotting throughout the New 52 Universe. A specific seed of note is the inclusion of Cyborg in the Justice League from the beginning to be a host body for the mechanical Grid that joins the forces of Earth 3 and decimates the body of Vic Stone after separating from him. A set up that paid off greatly for me in the last issue of Trinity War.


Johns’ story is carefully plotted yet vaguely familiar. An alternate universe Superman arriving here to take down the Justice League was at the core of Johns’ Infinite Crisis (still a favorite of mine) so this is bordering on similarity but executed differently enough that its parallels are only peripheral and noticeable by DC diehards (like myself). Throughout the first issue of Forever Evil we get to see a mass collection of great C and D list characters from the line’s pantheon of creations and their appearances explode in great sequences of fan service that place these monsters centre stage. Only a handful of superheroes appear and even then only in a few panels. What we get with Forever Evil is a showcase of the cool, darkness that hides in the shadows of the DC universe.


Johns’ stories are always a blast to read and have often been my favourites over the years of reading Superheroes, despite having some really goofy plot points as of late (Constantine being too much of a jerk already to be corrupted by the box in Trinity War), as well as some truly painful dialogue (“It’s Cray Cray Time” in Forever Evil and “It’s not Magic… It’s Science” from Trinity War), Johns continues in his wheelhouse of cinematic, action adventure blowouts between your favorite characters and a handful of the more obscure in the universe with Forever Evil.


David Finch’s style has begun to grow on me since his pencils in the first few issues of Justice League of America. My first exposure to him was with Brian Bendis’ Avengers Disassembled years ago, bleeding into his run on New Avengers and I have always found his work to not be my cup of tea. With Forever Evil I think he is playing to his strengths and designing some of the cooler looking characters in comics with the DC Villains. He is definitely doing excellent work and slowly turning me into a fan. The cover of the first issue of Forever Evil is one of my favorite Finch images to date and inside on a four page foldout he showcases every member being recruited to the Crime Syndicate and his detail is something to behold. I would gladly have it as a poster in my collection with its insane assortment of villains including big names like Hector Hammond, Scarecrow, Penguin, Riddler, Black Adam and some of the more apocryphal baddies dug out of DC storage like Multiplex, Monocle, Starro and many more.


Forever Evil starts off slowly with this first installment being a team building issue as the Crime Syndicate slowly enlists Earth’s worst enemies and gradually shuts down all the major cities to establish their control. Of what will be an 8 issue series it is the logical first step in setting the stage for what will surely be one of Johns’ more interesting stories to date, with a heavy focus on the bad taking over the world and literally bringing about a perpetual nightfall. With Finch’s creepy artwork and Johns’ focus on the evil in the world we can bet to see some pretty menacing and explosive follow up issues.


Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior

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