Forever Evil #1- The solicitations boast that this is the first universe wide event of the New 52, which would actually mean something if they didn’t already suck the money out of you with Night of the Owls, Death of the Family, Rise of the Third Army, Revenge of the First Lantern, or the Trinity War. I’m sorry if I come off sounding jaded and disillusioned by anything published by DC that takes place in the New 52, but if you take into account that I was a hardcore DC enthusiast up until two years ago it might give you an inkling as to the complete and utter tonal shift the entire company has undergone. I don’t buy DC comics so I can read 1990’s Image. Image doesn’t even publish 1990’s Image, meaning that DC made the conscious decision to regress. The art in this issue embodies that decision. I’ve never been a David Finch fan, and I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the Darkness or Aphrodite IX when I’m picking up a comic about Superman or Wonder Woman. Nothing about the artwork in this book entices my eye to the page, and while I don’t need that to enjoy a story it is a major factor that influences my long term commitment.
Disregarding the art, this issue made me realize something that I couldn’t peg within the first year of the New 52: the continuity relaunch effectively neutered one of the greatest villain stables in the superhero genre. With the exception of Sinestro in Green Lantern (who didn’t undergo any significant changes during the relaunch), everyone else has been redesigned, retconned, or has become otherwise unexplainable due to time compression. It never even occurred to me that the Cyborg Superman couldn’t be Hank Henshaw anymore, which seriously undermines a chunk of Green Lantern continuity. Little things like that make the house of cards DC has become seem even more fragile. Another example would be the Flash’s Rogues . I love the artwork on the Flash but the changes to the Rogues gallery are utterly baffling and undermine the entire book and the dynamics of the Flash himself.
A good villain makes up the bulk of a good story to me. We haven’t had any really good villains running around in the DCNU52 for nearly two years. Black Manta was kind of interesting, but the Aquaman title has lost most of its steam. Faceless Joker is a cheap temporary gimmick to bring in the Silent Hill/Resident Evil fans. Harley Quinn is a stripper. Who even knows about Bane anymore. Did he still break Batman’s back? Is that a thing? I don’t even know or care now. Doomsday didn’t kill Superman? But doesn;t that mean....gah!!! My point is, there’s a four page splash in the center of the book meant to impress us with the gravity of the situation by throwing all the villains together. It had the complete opposite effect on me and made me realize everything I’m bitching about above. Between the character changes, the redesigns, and the artwork, everyone on that page looked like a joke to me. I know I sound like a grumpy old fan, but I seriously can’t give a crap anymore or invest in this Universe.
So how was the actual issue? Besides the art that I don’t like and the characters I no longer give a crap about, the scripting was fine. Johns can still write a comic, I just don’t care about anything that happens in it anymore thanks to DC editorial. C-