Comic book events tend to be less than great.
For DC Comics it means a Crisis, for Marvel it means throwing some X-Men together with some Avengers and across the board it usually entails some sort of alternate earth or timeline and a half-hearted shake up of the status quo that ends up meaning nothing to solo monthly titles.
Remind me again how the massive ramifications of Infinity impacted Hawkeye? Or how Trinity War shook the foundations of Wonder Woman?
Comic book events have undoubtedly offered their fair share of intriguing concepts and shocking moments, but they all seem to wind up bloated and eerily similar to one another, eventually collapsing under their own weight.
Traditionally, my favorite part of a big comic book crossover event is the inevitable return to my regularly scheduled programming, but hot damn, DC Comics’ Forever Evil was badass!
Considering its humble beginnings, it was set-up by the largely uneventful event Trinity War and debuted amongst the less than substantive novelty of DC’s Villains Month, Forever Evil certainly had the deck stacked against it. Add to that a reliance on the all-too familiar comic book trope of an alternate earth and you’ve got a recipe for yet another run of the mill comic book event.
But rather than putting characters we can read about any month in a solo series into scenarios far less interesting than what’s going on in their own books, Forever Evil focused on stars lest frequently in the spotlight – the villains.
There are no Justice Leagues in Forever Evil, just a rag tag group of ruthless badasses, and while we’ve seen the cast of Forever Evil square off against various heroes before, this time is different due to one glaring change to the fundamentals of the comic book villain: in Forever Evil, Lex Luthor and his fellow bad guys are allowed to win.
Villains are awesome. They possess an inherent danger that Superman and even Batman will never truly possess. But in the back of our minds, even when the Joker is at his deadliest, we know he isn’t going to win.
But when Batman and Superman are replaced by the evil Owlman and Ultraman of Earth 3 those kiddie gloves we are always aware our favorite villains are unknowingly wearing come off.
Forever Evil sees Lex Luthor’s fierce intellect unshackled from the unspoken handicap of comic book villainy, and what a triumphant unshackling it is. Writer Geoff Johns unites Luthor with the perfect line-up of badasses, all prominent enough to garner excitement, but not so famous as to be tired and predictable. The cast of Forever Evil isn’t a bunch of Batman movie villains, but they’re definitely heavy-hitters, as are their competition, the Crime Syndicate.
Auxiliary books that tie-in to big events tend to get pretty extraneous and often leave a reader feeling like they’re on a distant planet looking at the main event like a far off star. Geoff Johns’ Justice League, however, provides some pretty awesome insight into the Crime Syndicate, an alternate, evil Justice League that provides surprisingly clever twists on DC’s A-list.
Over the last nine months Forever Evil consistently held my attention with each new installment, putting two of the most fascinating teams assembled since the dawn of the New 52 against one another in an excellent exploration of the spectrum of villainy.
Now, how many Justice League movies does Warner Bros. need to make before they get around to Forever Evil?
1. Am I wrong? Are event comics always awesome?
2. I’ve heard of “diamonds are forever,” but Forever Evil?
3. Who do you think Lex Luthor’s best friend is? And don’t say Andrew Garfield because I already made that joke just now.