Forever Evil #4: Luthor vs. Batman
Forever Evil, the event series, is an interesting paradox to the stories it relates to in other books. The tie-ins are attempting to build a history for Earth 3, where the Crime Syndicate originate from. In doing that, they create a world entirely too “opposite,” and thusly unbelievable. For example, in a world that is nothing but crime and criminals, why would there be a Crime Syndicate? Why would the powers need to join together to oppress a people who live by their same code? The logic of it begins to strain even the most powerful attempts at poetic license.
On the flipside, the main Forever Evil book, which does little in the way of Crime Syndicate backstory, is a rollicking good time. Issue #4 opens with Batman and Catwoman sneaking into the Batcave. Believing his fellow JL members dead, the Dark Knight is calling upon his long standing Justice League contingency plan to try and thwart the Crime Syndicate. In short, Batman had a plan to destroy the Justice League, and he’s about to point that plan at the Syndicate. Granted, it’s a hard pill to swallow that Selina can’t figure out who Batman is. His mask is half destroyed, Bruce Wayne isn’t exactly an unknown, and he’s whining about the plight of Dick Grayson.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is on the fast train to heroville. He’s saved the life of Black Adam and corralled Captain Cold and Black Manta into his stable of criminals looking to beat back the Syndicate. The CS is having a glorious day of melodrama as well. Ultraman slaughters Metallo in order to snort his kryptonite heart. Superwoman is busy playing Ultraman and Owlman against each other, and Power Ring is having a nervous breakdown because he’s alone. Remember, unlike our Hal Jordan who is incredibly brave, this Power Ring is a pussy.
Luthor and his men bump into Batman and Catwoman in a lab at Wayne Industries, but before they can get into it, Power Ring shows up to take them down. Batman, who had kept one of Sinestro’s yellow rings, dons the intergalactic bling to try and beat down Power Ring. It doesn’t work, all is lost, and then Sinestro shows up. That’s how the issue ends, which is awesome. Geoff Johns is churning out some great work on Forever Evil. The intrigue of the “alien creature” that forced the Crime Syndicate from their planet, the mystery of the captured guest from their world that the CS is terrified of – it all combines nicely with the rest of the action to provide a slice of comic joy.
Helping to knock this out of the park is David Finch. I’m pretty sure if you got Finch drunk, then blindfolded him and tied a hand behind his back, he would still turn out incredible artwork. The guy just gets it, he understands line work, details, action, panel flow, all of it. While I’m sure the man studied, Finch has a natural gift with pencils, one that continues to be a joy to view.
Forever Evil is a stomp-foot good time. Geoff and Finch have decided to throw a comic book party and we’re all invited.
(4 Story, 4.5 Art)