If you have been reading anything in the DC Comics realm for the past couple months, then you have, no doubt, come across the “Forever Evil” moniker written on most of the books. I thought that, given we are about half-way through this FE stuff, I would post this little update, letting you all know how this event is going: the good, the bad, and the David Finch. (Sorry, that was a cheap jab.)
The Good: The two best things to come out of this event were both very unexpected to me, but they have become very obvious as we’ve moved along. First, we are getting some really, really solid mini-books out of this thing! I can’t actually think of one that I don’t like. The mini-books that accompany any big event–that is, books that come out just during the event for 4 to 6 issues or so–aren’t usually worth reading. They are mostly throw-away stories about something happening on sideline that no one cares about, and it’s usually a story that feel inconsequential the the greater world, kind of like a very long, multi-issue annual. But all 3 of these minis are just great! I fully expected to drop them after about issue 2, but I was curious enough to, at least, give them a shot. Now they are all on my pull-list until they are done.
There are 3 of them. One of the them is A.R.G.U.S, which surprises me the most out of them all. I really didn’t plan on keeping this one, but it is doing such big, world-building type things that I can’t let it go! The reader gets to see deeper into how the government operates in the DC’s version of Washington DC as well as seeing how the top secret organization ARGUS works. It also is revealing things about Steve Trevor’s and Diana’s past that haven’t been revealed yet in the New 52. It’s just awesome! Then there is Rogues Rebellion, which I am begging DC–Hello, DC are you reading this?–for a permanent book featuring the Rogues. Come on, DC, the Flash has no other books besides his namesake; it is time to expand the Flash family with the Rogues. The characters are so freaking likable, that it has turned me into a total fanboy of these B-list super-villains or anti-heroes or whatever… people. And finally there is Arkham War! With a name like that you have to use a exclamation mark; I’m pretty sure it’s a rule. This has been slower than I expected, given the premise which is an all-out war between Batman foes, but that’s not to say it’s been bad. It has a lot of dialog, which is a good thing whenever Tomasi is writing a book. The guy gets into characters’ heads so well. Again, wow. They are all actually good books.
The second thing that surprised me was simply this: I am really digging Suicide Squad. Surprise! I did not expect it. I actually didn’t even preorder it like I do for all my other comics. I just grabbed it compulsively off the shelf because it was a tie-in. Now, I know that isn’t the best reason to grab a book–more on that in a minute–but in this case, it was worth it! It is being written with intelligence. It keeps me guessing every issue. It brought back some character that I though were gone from the New 52 for a long time. And most importantly, it is a fully legitimate tie-in. Given how this book feels so similar in arc to the minis, it could have just been called “Forever Evil: Belle Reve War” or “Forever Evil: Suicide Squad Rebellion” and been a mini. I think this is the only case where saying “It could have been a mini.” is actually a compliment.
The bad: Okay, there isn’t much I can complain about. This whole thing has been awesome. This has to be the best time for reading DC Comics right now. Between all this stuff, and Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and everything Charles Soule, Greg Pak, and other new guys to the New 52 are doing, it is getting really hard to walk into a comic shop and pick up a bad DC book. If I were to have one little complaint though, it would be this: All of the (ahem) “Tie-ins”. Teen Titans, while actually becoming a pretty cool book lately, isn’t a tie-in. Yes, it says “Forever Evil” at the top, but that is just an ironic acknowledgment that Johnny Quick literally kicked the Teen Titans out of Forever Evil crossover! Seriously, they were in Forever Evil for like two pages, and it was like Geoff Johns realized that if they stayed anywhere remotely near the event, then that would mean he would be working with Scott Lobdell, so…boom!… the 31st century! I am just teasing about the Lobdell bit. His stuff is actually becoming better and better, but that is another story. Again, it’s not Forever Evil related. Now, as of December, Phantom Stranger is going to tie closely to FE, but those past two issues… sorry… they were good, but the only reason that they even say “Forever Evil” on the cover is because in one panel–one freaking panel–a guy looks up and says, “Hey, check out that eclipse…huh.” That isn’t a tie-in! That’s a teeny bit of world-building at best. Again, Phantom Stranger is one of my favorite books, but there was no reason to read the last two issues if you just wanted to follow the FE storyline. In fact, the only reason that he is going to be tied-in now is because at the end of the last issue, Constantine cast some sort of “crossover spell” over him and Pandora. Seriously.
The Ugly: I have just one thing to mention here. I think that the ball has been dropped on the art quality for the namesake FE book, as well as the JLA tie-ins. I like the style of it. The dark tone works, and David Finch is a very capable artist. But there has been, at least, one jarring slip up in art in every issue of the main book. In one of them, Lex is talking with Bizarro, who is wearing the shirt he put on in the beginning, then a little later, for one panel, he has on Superman’s New 52 armor. There is no reason! After that panel, Bizarro is back in his t-shirt. No one notices or says anything. The issue after that, in JLA, Stargirl gets a blue stomach for one panel. Really!? The overall tone is really good. The style, and camera angles, and paneling is all great, but there needs to be some quality control happening, especially on the main book of the entire event!
Alright. That is what Forever Evil is like right now. If you ‘d like to pick up Forever Evil, I’d recommend getting the minis, although you don’t need them. They are all just great stories! Also, grab the Forever Evil event book and Justice League, as well as JLA beginning with issue 24. That should be all you really need. Happy reading! and Aeternus Malum!