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Comic Review: Forever Evil #2

Crime Syndicate DC New 52 Forever Evil #2 David Finch Cover

I’m really going to miss the Crime Syndicate when they’re gone.

With the Justice League M.I.A., Geoff Johns uses much of Forever Evil #2 to develop the Crime Syndicate in tantalizingly brief character moments that make you beg for more Owlman, Superwoman and Ultraman.

And those characters will get their time, but if one villain gets center stage in Forever Evil #2, it’s Johnny Quick.

With the Justice League gone, Red Robin and the Teen Titans take it upon themselves to rescue Nightwing from the Crime Syndicate. They go for the downed Watchtower, only to run into Johnny Quick and his cruel, pint-sized girlfriend Atomica. Quick makes short work of the Titans, effectively ending any hero-based resistance Earth has against the Syndicate.

Now, only some malcontent villains–or infighting among the Syndicate itself–can save the planet.

Chief among those malcontents is the ever-prepared, ever-ambitious Lex Luthor. Luthor decides it’s up to him to fix things, and he’s willing to rush some of his long term plans to do it.

Neither of his responses is a surprise: he busts out his power suit, and he prematurely pops open his Superman clone, Bizarro. And while it’d certainly be fun to see Bizarro fight Ultraman, you’ve got to believe Johns has something more cunning up his sleeve for Lex’s master plan.

David Finch is the best part of the Luthor scenes. His dark style is well-suited to drawing Lex, flashlight in hand, skulking through the blacked out basement of LexCorp. Lex’s scenes let Finch play with light and shadow to create some wonderfully paranoid, claustrophobic panels.

Finch also has the perfect touch to draw Owlman. There’s one panel in particular, a closeup on Owlman’s face, that absolutely captures the cold, calculating nihilism of the character.

Johns does a lot of jumping around in this issue–it is a worldwide event book, after all–but he spends just enough time with situations to tease out interesting developments. He adds a ticking time bomb to the love triangle between Superwoman, Ultraman and Owlman, preps Luthor for big things, banishes the Teen Titans and reveals another mystery captive of the Crime Syndicate.

The mystery captive has to be the most intriguing development of them all because it’s not Dick Grayson. It’s somebody from Earth-3 who Owlman wants dead for “tearing our team apart.” But Owlman concedes to let the captive live in exchange for keeping Dick alive, too.

Sadly, that’s about all the Nightwing we get in this issue, but Johns does give us one reveal we’ve been waiting for.

Three members (okay, two and a half members) of the Justice League and Justice League of America are alive, as the final page shows Batman and Catwoman bringing Cyborg’s body to his father for repairs.

Where are the rest of the teams?

The next issue promises to tell, but in the mean time, it looks like Bat-family members Batman, Nightwing and Catwoman are going to be a big part of fixing all this going forward.

So it’s not really all in the hands of the villains, but kudos to Johns for resisting the urge to restore the League immediately after Villains Month. He’s doing it right with the slow play, and this story will be stronger the more time he gets to commit to the Crime Syndicate.

Johns is a master at juggling the larger DC Universe, and his skill is on full display in Forever Evil #2. Johns lays down plenty of plot threads that promise short and long term payoffs for this six-issue event, while artist David Finch renders a suitably dark, dirty world ruled over by the evil Crime Syndicate.

I’m loving this event.

8 out of 10

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  1. October 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm

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