Review: Forever Evil #7
The New 52’s first line wide event is in the books. Forever Evil came in with a bang and came out with a, “What did I just do?”
Mild spoiler warnings for the entire Forever Evil event
Forever Evil #7 features most of the scenes that we have been begging for. Luthor and his InJustice League finally fight the Crime Syndicate, and the Justice League is saved. It’s a jam packed issue that really shouldn’t have been jam packed. It’s entertaining stuff, but doesn’t have enough time to really savor in the reader’s mouth. The great character work on the InJustice League is nowhere to be found except for Luthor and Captain Cold. In fact, they are mostly relegated to fodder status against the Crime Syndicate. Luthor’s characterization is the saving grace for this issue. The way he thinks and acts almost has the reader convinced that he is turning over a new leaf. It makes me yearn for a Lex Luthor ongoing written by Johns. He is seems weirdly good at points instead of the maniacal genius we are use too. The characterization comes back in Justice League #30 though so it’s not a huge problem.
Besides Batman, the rest of the Justice League floats into the background with little to do. There is a strange moment where Johns writes Batman as if he has a previous romantic relationship to Wonder Woman. Nothing in the New 52 has indicated that these two have a previous relationship besides a friendship. It’s out of character and had me going through past issues to see if there was any indication that there was a romance between them. There wasn’t. It also causes an unnecessary riff between Batman and Catwoman.
Alex Luthor’s powers are a tad confusing in Forever Evil #7. I’m not familiar with the character pre-New 52, so maybe this was something explained previously. I was under the impression that he was a Shazam analogue considering he says Mazahs to get his powers. Then all of a sudden he’s absorbing them? I was a tad confused by it, but at least Johns works it into the battle strategy for Luthor well. The final battle between Alex and Lex was pure comic gold, and a shining spot in an otherwise middle of the road comic.
The main thing I took away from this series was that it should have been a few issues shorter. Considering the amount that happens in this issue, and how little happened in the previous six, this title could have been an issue or two shorter. Or, take some of the story elements from tie-ins and incorporate them into the main story. There never felt like there were enough story elements to sustain this event. The Crime Syndicate took over the world, but we never saw them ravaging it or instilling their power over us worthless humans. Instead, we hear about it through dialogue or see a little aftermath that doesn’t sell the scope of the supposed damage they are causing. The Crime Syndicate’s characterization has suffered as the event moved along as well. They never reached the complex nature that was needed to sell them as complete opposites of the Justice League. They seemed like cheap knockoffs closer to the end.
It wouldn’t be an event by the big two without a few pages devoted to the future in the final issue. By page count, a quarter of this issue is devoted to future storylines. The only one that NEEDED to be in Forever Evil #7 was what Luthor learns in the last few pages. The rest of it could have been examined in other issues. Justice League #30 does a better job of establishing Luthor as Earth’s savior and his new place in the world. Luthor saving Superman from the Kryptonite in his ear could have been there as well. Remove that, and we have plenty of space for examining Dick’s place in the world and how the InJustice League will handle their newfound claim as “heroes.”
David Finch has had a host of problems throughout the Forever Evil event, but overall been good. His artwork in #7 is slightly better since the sun finally comes out. This keeps Richard Friend’s inks from casting a shadow on everything in sight. There are the normal complaints with Finch: characters are stiff at points and their expressions leave something to be desired. Luthor escapes this though and Finch really sells the “good” that we see in his eyes as he heals Superman. Alex Luthor’s battle looks fantastic though. It’s some of his best work on the series. Alex Luthor’s punches have the weight you’d expect from a guy this powerful. Deathstorm’s look is pure greatness. I know Finch is exclusive to DC, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him tackle Ghost Rider.
Forever Evil #7 gets 3/5.
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