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Comic Review: Forever Evil #7 worth the forever wait

Forever Evil #7 DC Comics cover by David Finch

Delays be damned, this comic was fantastic – and totally worth the extra cover price and months-long wait.

Forever Evil #7 is a big-ticket superhero brawl and an intimate character piece all at once. It’s an artistic tour de force by David Finch and a new foundation for the future of the New 52 from Geoff Johns.

It is, in no uncertain terms, a game-changer, especially for Lex Luthor.

Luthor is front and center for the entire story, driving the plot, carrying the emotional weight and ultimately wrapping everything up on a surprisingly optimistic note. And it’s not so much that he’s a bad guy fighting on the side of the angels for his own interests. No, it’s more like he’s legitimately found reason to reform.

From mourning the death of Bizarro at the hands of Alexander Luthor, to saving Superman from the Kryptonite in his brain, to refusing an offer to take Kord Industries, this guy is well on the road to anti-hero status.

So bravo, Geoff Johns, because Luthor’s Forever Evil journey has certainly been a believable one.

It’s Luthor, of course, who strikes the final blow in this storyline, blasting Alexander Luthor with a lightning bolt and killing him before he can do any more damage. And it’s Luthor who brings down Ultraman, saves Dick Grayson and (did I mention this part?) saves Superman’s life.

But don’t freak out, you purists, because Johns doesn’t completely abandon the old Lex we know and hate. Luthor still figures out Batman’s identity (pretty easy once you know Dick Grayson is Nightwing), and he does it in his oh-so-sinister way. No doubt he’ll use the knowledge to force his way onto the Justice League.

He does some other wicked things, too, like swipe the lantern ring off Batman and squash Atomica like an ant.

That, by the way, was my favourite sequence of the whole comic. Big green boot and… splat.

Of course, Luthor’s not the only character in this. Not by a long shot. Johns does all the necessary big team heavy lifting while still managing to squeeze in some interesting little twists of the plot for Batman. Bats is revealed to have a “connection” to Wonder Woman, and his relationship with Catwoman swings back to the ‘won’t they’ side of the ‘will they, won’t they’ pendulum.

Dick Grayson gets more interesting, too, as Batman hands him a new assignment (no more Nightwing), and Owlman leaves him with the promise that he still, one day, hopes they’ll team up.

Owlman remains the one Crime Syndicate villain at large, as Ultraman gets depowered by the sun and Superwoman is imprisoned.

Oh, and she’s pregnant with Alexander Luthor’s hellspawn of a child, so there’s that ticking timebomb on the horizon.

This comic is full of deft little storytelling twists like that, along with the more heavy story beats you come in expecting. The Justice League escapes from their Firestorm prison (drawn in a glorious splash page by David Finch). Evil Alexander Luthor helps cull the Crime Syndicate numbers before he, too, gets killed. And Black Adam and Sinestro play important roles in taking him down, though they leave before receiving any accolades.

Sure, there was a lot of carnage, but overall, Forever Evil has been totally worth it. The New 52 universe is markedly different now, and Johns still found a way to keep the best Crime Syndicate characters around. Owlman will continue to menace Batman and Dick Grayson. Ultraman and Superwoman can sit on the shelf until Johns wants to use them again. And lest we forget, there’s a new, female Power Ring out there.

The Justice League title is going to be very, very interesting going forward, especially with Lex Luthor and Captain Cold slated to join the team.

And especially with Earth-Three’s destroyer, Darkseid the Anti-Monitor, coming for this world next.

9.5 out of 10

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