Forever Evil #4 Review: All For One
is an event that cannot be stopped. For the past couple of months I have been dancing around the subject, but given this month’s releases it has surpassed any vague descriptions. It has to be the most exciting and most tightly written event in years. More than half-way through and it has reached an exhilarating amount of momentum.
One of the major complaints about the last few issues have been there sense of pacing. The previous months have been filled with rather slow developments. It was only in the third issue that the “Injustice League” finally even began to form together. Of course these issues all had their merits and they myriad of exciting moments – but there was a kernel of truth in what the detractors said. After so much wasted build up to the incredible disappointment that was "Trinity War" it would have been nice to see a story that was fully in motion from the get-go.
Of course another complaint was that Forever Evil
went from being a first week title, to being pushed to the end of the month. The tension behind the wait was palpable for most readers with the various tie-ins only providing the slightest of reliefs. Finally, however, it was released on an odd week – and it makes up for the lost time in the biggest ways. Everything that had been lacking in the previous issue or things that had only been shunted out of the spotlight get full focus here. It’s an amazingly well rounded issue.
Not only is the Crime Syndicate given due deference but as are the various plot threads such as more focus on Batman and Catwoman, plus even more fantastic character moments with the Injustice League. Johns proves his worth with all of the characters in this event in this single issue. Even if it is as something as small as a simple line – he knocks it out of the part. While Justice League
is itself dealing with the various motivations and origins of the Crime Syndicate, it is Forever Evil
that reaps the fruit of those seeds. For example, Power Ring gets the most amount of focus and in actuality has a very powerful and emotional moment of fear and terror – which needs Justice League
to balance it out.
Such a moment – wherein Finch also gets in on the action and which is perhaps his finest work on the event so far – strides a line between humorous and frightening. Ultraman and Superwoman also get a scene to themselves, that exemplifies their power-hungry and manipulative qualities respectively, but it is Power Ring who steals the show – becoming a fast fan favorite. On the side of the “heroes” – Johns has wasted no time in setting up the various Injustice Leaguers with aplomb. Given that he has personally written great stories with all of these characters beforehand – setting them down to a ground level is better than nothing, and Johns’ ground level is sublime.
So, here and there, Johns hits all of the right beats for these characters, emotional or otherwise. After a point, however, it does start to sound like a basic catalog for the various villains: ie. “Captain Cold plus description” etc. Still the one with the most pathos and character integration has to be Lex Luthor due to him being the point of view character. He is not alone however – he is joined by Bizarro – and it is this pairing that has led to what is one of the finest scenes that Johns has drafted since the start of the “New 52”. A small moment where Lex tries to instill some sort of confidence into his misshapen creation, only to give up in shame.
Yet, despite all of this, Bizarro speaks his first words, and finalizes his loyalty to his “father”. It works on so many levels, but most of all it is the first time that anyone has called Bizarro any sort of name, and he did it himself. A fact compounded by the emotional roundhouse kick of Lex using it himself from there on out. The two are the emotional core of the series, and I hope that they get more development as the series comes into a close. Suffice it to say, there is no stopping a Johns who is on his A-game. Of course there is also a big Sinestro moment, which is a signature Johns-shock page, that closes the issue, but it is something that looks like it will be saved for the following issue.
Overall there is not much to complain about in this issue. Batman and Catwoman, ostensibly heroes and not in the way the Injustice League is, even get a good amount of enjoyable dialogue. It was nice to read a story where Batman is completely helpless and having to think on his feet. Finch was even palatable in this issue – his artwork gaining some very real footholds here and there. The only real misstep being his rendition of Metallo, which looked like a doodle. This is a fantastic story and may become the greatest Crime Syndicate story that there ever was. If only Johns can stick the landing.