Forever Evil #7 – Double Review [Bane of Kings/Shadowhawk]
Bane of Kings and Shadowhawk check out the final issue of DC’s biggest event series for the New 52.
“A satisfactory conclusion to an event that didn’t get off to a good start.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
“A disappointing and needlessly delayed conclusion to a disappointing event.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
Bane of Kings:
This issue has been long in the making, but eventually, we’re finally here. Forever Evil #7 concludes the drawn out major event that has shattered the Earth to its core, with the arrival of the Crime Syndicate and the destruction of several major cities in America. This was a global, mega event that affected almost every Earth-bound title in the New 52 to a certain extent – some more than others, and despite getting off to a rocky start it grew on me by the end. By no means is this event perfect though – it’s not even the best from the New 52 with Throne of Atlantis currently holding that title. However, the final chapter of Forever Evil #7 ends things on a high, and sets the stage for the next chapter of the DCU.
Let’s get this straight off the bat, this book doesn’t answer all the loose ends – if you want them then you’ll have check out Justice League #30, which is also released this week, and acts as a continuation from this issue. Normally tie-ins written by the same writer as the event are must-reads, and the Justice League book is no exception, as chances are – if there’s an unanswered problem in this issue of Forever Evil it will be answered in that book.
This book gives Luthor the spotlight that he deserves, a formidable villain to Superman in the New 52, and indeed – his main opponent in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie, gets a character switch here so that he’s now viewed by the world as a hero, and transforms into the one person that can save the world. This was what the book was building up to, the premise all along being what if the Justice League were absent? Who would save the world? Does Luthor finally get the chance to show that he is better than Superman?
The book allowed for some great character moments, which is usually rare in an event like this. Whilst Luthor’s team became shafted to a supporting status, one of the better moments came at the hands of the relationship between Bizarro and Luthor – it was handled very well and gave Bizarro the chance to become something that he’s not normally known as. It just made me wish that we’d had this Geoff Johns for the entire event, and not the Geoff Johns that is capable of producing mixed quality instalments.
Luthor and Bizarro weren’t the only angles explored in this book as well. Batman and Nightwing got some good moments together, as did Black Adam and Sinestro in a book that begs an appearance from Black Adam in the Sinestro ongoing series for at least an arc – it was great to read the two characters together.
However, not every character building moment is perfect here. Johns suggests a love triangle between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman developing but this is never really explained beyond a mere tease if you will, and it’s not clarified here – with it no doubt something that will be picked up in the future.
David Finch’s artwork has been one disappointment after another in this event and as expected, he doesn’t turn the book around here in this last issue unlike Johns’ script, with several scratchy and odd character designs, as well as a less smoother approach. It’s a pity, because with a better artist on this book, and Johns in form the whole way through – Forever Evil really could have been something special, but alas it was not to be.
Unfortunately, much like Trinity War before it, Forever Evil #7 sticks to the formula of setting up future storylines rather than allowing for a closed event. Sure, it may not be on the scale of the Trinity War ending – but the cliffhanger-tease is sort of interesting regardless. Hopefully when the next big event comes around, they won’t make the same mistake as they have done with this title.
I was pretty excited about Forever Evil when it was announced last year, and when the first issue launched, I was really, really happy about the release happening. But then I got a shock to the system because Forever Evil #1 proved to be a disappointing comic. And these disappointments continued over the next few months as the event rolled on. Truth be told, the only good parts of the entire event were the spinoffs Forever Evil: Blight which dealt with the supernatural aspects of the event and Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion which dealt with The Flash’s villain’s team-up Rogues. The other two spinoffs started off decently enough but proved to be just as disappointing as the main series, if not more so.
And this particular issue, the seventh in the series and the concluding installment in particular, has been something that was delayed for a whole two months. That is, this issue was supposed to come out in March actually, date to date. But got delayed for some inexplicable reason and we got nothing in April. All I can say about reading the issue finally this past weekend is that it was needlessly delayed. This issue is full of tropes and cliches and it doesn’t really go anywhere because Geoff Johns draws in far too many plotlines and he isn’t able to do any of them justice.
This entire issue is basically an issue of convenience. The event needed to end and this is the best that the team could come up with on “short” notice. I don’t see anything here that justifies skipping over an entire month, not the writing and definitely not the artwork, which I’ve found problematic from the get go in fact. The thing is that this entire event has felt as if it was mandated from on high rather than something that resulted naturally. I disliked the main event, and only the Blight and Rogues Rebellion spinoffs kept things interesting for me whereas the Arkham War and ARGUS spinoffs came off as really cheap and boring. Sure, I get the whole behind the particular concept espoused by these events, but Forever Evil just does not read like a typical Geoff Johns event and I think that he often was constricted in what he could and couldn’t do, which is ironic given that he’s the publisher’s Chief Creative Control Officer or some such.
All the way through, Forever Evil #7 also has some of the worst art on the series to date. The pencils are off and even the inks and colours are off this time. I just couldn’t get into this issue at all, and I’m really disappointed because there was like no part of this issue that I liked. And the worst has to be Lex Luthor, who comes across as far too… pretty, which was just plain bloody odd. Mazahs was good but proved to be a disappointment as well. The big fight between Mazahs and all the other heroes was similarly disappointing because nothing interesting really happened.
If there’s one thing here that was good in any way, it was the conclusion of the Bizarro storyline, and that’s it.