Forever Evil collected edition by Geoff Johns and Daniel Fitch
Last year in the fall DC comics stirred up their New 52 universe by introducing the new version of the a Crime Syndicate from the pre crisis era DC. This evil version of the Justice League arrives and claims to have killed the Justice Leage and now rule the world. This seven issue series spotlighted the villains of the DC universe particularly Lex Luthor as the heroes of the story; much of the narration of this tale is from his voice. For me the book certainly has its moments and though I didn't love it I did like it enough to reccommend it to DC comic fans who have been a little let down by the recent reboot of the universe.
For the uninitiated the Crime Syndicate is the evil mirror versions of the Justice League; Ultraman/Superman, Superwoman/Wonder Woman, Owlman/Batman, Power Ring/Green Lantern, Jonny Quick/ Flash and adds Deathstorm/Firestorm, Atomica/Atom, Grid/Cyborg to the mix respectively with compareible powers if darker and more bent personalities. Though its cool to see these characters again since their last appearances the cast of other ne'er do wells that are the stars of this boob is pretty big for this book give the old earth 3 villains little time in the spotlight. Surprisingly Grid, one of the new creations who is the creepy counterpart/part of Cyborg, felt like he most personality overall having more interactions with the other syndicate members than the rest. The characters that really shone in this story were Lex Luthor, his creation B-zero (yup its who you think), Captain Cold and Black Manta with a backup band of Black Atom, Sinestro, who have their cool moments too. There are Hero's in evidence but they amount to hostages and mere bit players in my opinion like many villains are in their books.
So why would you want to read a book that stars the heel? Well, Lex is a heel don't get me wrong he may do an overall good in this book but his some of his action show he's still the loveible self centered sociopath he's always been. Johns makes him if not heroic pragmatic because he has no intention of bending knee to the Syndicate and as it turns out he is not the only one. To let you all know I have been enjoying the villain centric books recently like Magneto, Sinestro, and the Superior Foes of Spider-Man so its likely no surprise I like this one too. Lex who tells most of the story in his own voice tells a lot about himself, he knows how people think about him and over the course of the seven issues I got a feeling he learned that though he thinks he knows himself the person that comes out of the experience of fighting alongside his creation and other he has changed if just a bit. That is the strength of the story, the growth that happens to the players. I was saddened by so,e of the outcomes and am really tempted to follow the further adventurs of Lex and Captain cold as part of the new justice league. There are a few kitchy surprises in Forever Evil and some of the bit players, those being the overexposed Batman and his partner here, Catwoman have some nice characterful interchanges.
The art by David Fitch is as exaggerated as you might expect for someone who started his career working for image but his style has grown over the years and developed into something very fun to look at. His faces are expressive and saying he made a character who basically all mechanical like Grids emotive might say its all on that front. The art tends towards dark and moody with many scenes taking place in caves, sewers tunnels and cities in a state of disrepair and balances that with bombastic displays of power, flames and lightning all those pretty energy blast colors so its funny that the things that win the day are subtleties. Its a very lice book to look at and his redesigns of the characters are great since they include a sketchbook section.
All in all Johns and Fitch give good treatment to this tale about how the bad guys can be the heroes too because well they have to live in this world too and well some things are unacceptable even if your the bad guy. The last few pages sets up future stories, some of the syndicate are still out there and there is something darker on the horizon. Maybe it didn't hit on all cylinders for me but if you like to see a cool buddy story between a man and his monster doing right this should be on your list. Forever Evil collected edition is out September 9th from DC comics in hardcover.