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Forever Evil: ARGUS #3 Review: Broken Memories

Steve Trevor is on the hunt for Wonder Woman and it takes him into the very heart of Forever Evil. Sterling Gates ramps up the engine as plot beats, action set-pieces, and character moments are thrown out with rapid speed. ARGUS #3 may very well be where the series finds its footing.

 

WW Flashback

 

One of the problems that I have had with this series over the past couple of issues has been the rather uneven tone. There was a giant gap in where Kindt said he wanted to take the miniseries and where Gates has so far ended up taking it and the first two issues really did suffer for it in the long run. The third issue exudes a much more confident and stable storyline that promises the end of the birthing pains of the series. Here Gates finally gets his own unique plotline going, instead of the (admittedly interesting) tale that Kindt himself was crafting. Gates’ ARGUS is more directly and bluntly connected to the overall tale than Kindt might have developed had he stayed on as the main writer.

The biggest signifier of this has been the character of Killer Frost, who was given an origin by Gates during DC’s “Villains Month”, and how she relates to the plot. In Kindt’s interviews his cast was rounded out by ARGUS agents, both new and old, who would be led by Steve – but Gates has clearly cast that aside when he made Killer Frost a main viewpoint character. Gates is using her to focus on someone who is invested in Firestorm purely for Firestorm. While everyone else is worried about the Justice League and their fate – it is oddly refreshing to see someone who is solely pre-occupied with a B-Lister.

 

Killer Frost shot

 

Killer Frost is also made an interesting character in her own right by Gates, aside from Firestorm, and is cast is an incredibly pseudo-sympathetic light. Much like the animated version of Mr. Freeze there is a very relatable and very human agenda underneath what seems like a villain. It leads to a perspective switch that could have been jarring, from Steve to her, but instead actually highlights distinct similarities and emotions that are shared between the two. Both Frost and Steve are desperately seeking that colloquial special someone, and even though they have very different motives, there is a passion that seeps through.

Needless to say that Gates uses this emotional fodder to craft some very well done character moments, previously with Killer Frost, but while Steve had some focus in the previous two issues he gets a clearer definition here. One of Steve’s selling points is that he is this heartbroken man who is soldiering on, and the opening scene of this issue really captures that rather well. This mini has done nothing if not done wonders on fleshing out the relationship between Steve and Wonder Woman and how exactly that unfolded, and the scene works double duty and being the prelude to a sad moment of truth for Steve as he is forced to decide whether or not her safety is more important than his unrequited feelings. It’s played out beautifully and serves to round him out.

 

Deathstorm

 

There are also very powerful moments that relate around several other plot threads that Gates has thrown out there for the reader. The primary one being the spotlight cast on Dr. Light, who gets a heart wrenching moment with his family, as he is something of a living dead man. The second being the inner workings of the ARGUS facility and Steve’s assistant Etta Candy discovering its inner most secrets. Both are subtle undercurrents and threads that work without overtaking the main narrative. One of the best moments is a single harrowing page that shows the despair of Firestorm at the hands of Deathstorm.

There is enough being put out here to fill up an ongoing, so while engaging, it remains to be seen in Gates will be able to juggle it all. At the very least ARGUS has found a fine groove and even the art, courtesy of Neil Edwards, has stayed gracefully stable. I am hooked and I definitely do not regret calling this one of the core Forever Evil books and a necessity. There’s three months left to this event and it is racing onwards to a fiery conclusion.

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • Art consistency
  • Valuable insight into the WW/Steve Relationship
  • Touching character moments
Cons
  • Only just now has caught up to the rest of the timeline
  • Too unfocused on ARGUS personnel

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