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Forever Evil #3 Review: Super Friends

The universe spanning epic known as Forever Evil reaches new heights as the Injustice League finally forms within the pages of this third issue. What had already been just a simple fun ride so far has suddenly grown into its own, and how exactly did it turn out?

I think that I can honestly say, with some bias but with only the slightest bit of hyperbole, that this is no doubt one of the best events that either of the "Big Two" have passed out in the last few years. It is one of the most sublime combinations of pacing, framing, and exposition. I've already gone through what makes up a good tie-in but good event should have it's own story within it's own miniseries but also have easily detachable plot threads that can faciliate the plots of the tie-ins. As noted in my reviews for Justice League #24, Justice League of America #8, and ARGUS #1 - they all expand and contribute to this narrative in an incredibly tangible and noticeable way. Most events that are shelled out without rhyme or reason usually produce a quickly resolved or unnecessarily complex plot in the main miniseries and just adds really unrelated tie-ins as ornamentation. Creating something easily forgettable which has weak foundation.

Forever Evil has weight. It's not amazing, at least not yet, but the structure of it all clearly has a lot of thought and care put into it. The various story beats line up and the work is on the page for all to see. Keeping in that same tradition Forever Evil #3 brings not only new information to it's assets but also its very own plot developments and character dynamics. For example, the opening pages here not only explain, in graphic detail, what happened to the Justice Leagues, but also brings brand new context to JLA #8. Some have already written what was stated as a contradiction but it does in fact melf together in a really clever way - with the stated "Firestorm Matrix Prison" serving as a literal mind prison. To continue on with how it connects plots far and wide, this issue also performs a double play for Rogues Rebellion - explaining and progressing the story of that miniseries so far. Yet in a way that serves the main miniseries and compromises hardly anything - it flows from one to the other without missing a step.

For the lay reader they are not missing anything, but for the more immersed participant - there is a level of nuance that is there for all to appreciate. Even then, the best scenes in this issue are the ones that are all it's own. The biggest standout has to be the interactions between Bizarro and Lex Luthor, who form the initial Injustice League members. Their interplay is humorous, with touches of a Frankenstein fable. Johns is seriously taking advantage of the contrast between the two and plays it up for all that it is worth, the story of a simple minded monster and his unpleasable father figure - it's a shining moment of cuteness that adds levity to the overbearing tragedy of the setting. Second only to that has to be the rather significant scene that The Rogues (of The Flash fame) get as they stand up to both Power Ring and Deathstorm. It is equal parts action-packed, suspenseful, and frightening. It also has one of the most surprising and rather unexpected changes to Captain Cold, who is summarily left depowered and vulnerable. If there is one thing that Johns can always be counted on doing right it is writing The Rogues, and they get to show off why they are so popular in the few pages thet have.

Speaking of that scene, and of Power Ring in particular, there occurred an intensely hilarious - and at the same time incredibly unnerving - moment wherein Power Ring's own ring talk backs to him. Insulting him. This is one of those rather unsubtle, yet still definitive, moments that truly show how unlike our normal heroes the Crime Syndicate are. Johns has placed great importance to how Power Ring uses his ring, and that is something to watch out for. Of course the biggest draw that this issue had to offfer was the long awaited introduction to our erstwhile "Legion of Doom", the Injustice League. The momentum right up until that moment is incredibly well paced and constructed - things were rolling and accumulative in a very realized way. Yet the moment that Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Black Manta, and Captain Cold gather around the fallen body of Black Adam and decide that they are the only ones who can save the world is truly chilling. They all got there by cliche, yet very understandable, methods - but the end result is something utterly cool and serves as a capstone for Forever Evil in general. If evil is relative, then we have finally met our lesser evil.

Of course, after all of this gushing, there is always a downside. In this regard that is something that flls squarely on the art side - with David Finch and inkers/colorists Sonia Oback and Richard Friend. Some of the pages in this issue are among some of the worst work that Finch has ever done for DC Comics. The otherwise interesting fight between Ultraman and Black Adam look nothing more than glorified rough sketches. The counterpoint to this is that the first two pages of the issue are also among some of his most serviceable work. It's really frustrating to have some a disparity in quality in the writing and the art and I hope this is not something that intensifies over the next few issues. Johns has set out to create the "greatest DC Comics Super-Villain story of all time" and he might just make it.



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