Forever Evil: ARGUS #2 Review: Cold Hearts
Steve Trevor continues to make long strides within the confines of his very own miniseries. The would-be secondary character must learn to thrive or die underneath the heat of the spotlight, and under the pen of Sterling Gates. With it’s second issue out, how exactly is ARGUS
shaping up to be?
Perhaps the only thing that I would truly hold against the first issue of this rather surprising miniseries is that, due to the quick change of Matt Kindt to Gates as head writer, there was no way to really gauge what tone was whose and who was contributing what. However, in this second issue, we definitely get more of a sure sense of where Gates is going to take the story. The whip crack pace of the first installment, a byproduct of the rushed change, while enjoyable in its own right takes a sure step back as real plot point and directions start to take form. There is still a farmer’s dozen of spy movie clichés, which are a godsend, but are more downplayed this time around. Not only that but Gates is showing signs of using the series to continue and wrap up threads from previous works, such as Killer Frost #1
– one of his “Villains Month” one-shots.
Gates wastes no time in jumping the plot forward, and that is a smart enough move to get readers back into the action. If there is one thing that stays consistent between the two issues it is the sense of motion, the kinetic nature of the story, and the general excitement that it exudes. There were some really intense cliffhangers that the series left of on and this does the reader a service by calling attention right back to them. Of course one thing that might confuse or even aggravate the audience is how quickly the Dr. Light plot thread is pushed aside. With only two pages to its name, four in total so far, this is likely going to be the overreaching plot for this mini – which is a shame because it is definitely among the most tantalizing. Other than that the rest of the plots get due lip service and are given satisfying developments.
What might shock readers from the get go, unless they knew before hand to read Gates’ “Villains Month” one-shots is the appearance of Killer Frost right in the middle of this issue. As one who read it, the issue was the astounding work of Gates giving the “New 52” version of the iconic Firestorm
villain pathos, personality – maybe even a good bit of relatability. None of that is lost in the transition from that short form of an issue to this miniseries, although the pages dedicated to her may roll some eyes. There is an almost laughable villain that is set as a straight antagonist to contrast the now mournful Killer Frost, but the villain’s part is quickly over and leads to a nice moment of character development – so no harm, no foul. It’s an interesting addition to the dynamic of the story and also reinforces the general idea of Forever Evil
as a whole – the inclusion of villains into the heroic mold.
As for our main protagonist, the ever indomitable Steve Trevor, Gates is able to give him more of a unique voice and continues to, well, make Steve look good. There are a lot of situations that are used to showcase his skills as a super spy and as a character within himself. The one thing that I wasn't quite sure about was the rather jokey tone that the issue as a whole had about itself. In contrast the first issue, which was a lot more suspenseful in tone, this was an installment that was a lot more comedic in places where it may have worked better to not be. Overall the writing is solid, but when the chips are down and we head into the final countdown I would hope that Gates drops the quips and gets serious – and Vibe
has proven that he can do so. Steve is certainly a breakout character and, while this issue gets into his less stoic traits, he getting well-deserved recognition.
The art, as such, is incredibly improved over the first issue. While the first issue had some really good work, this is simply more consistent. Neil Edwards is a worthy successor to the mantle of the series’ artist and reaches some rather interesting points in this issue – artistically. The paneling is just enjoyable, easy to comprehend, and simply serviceable. One thing I also appreciated was the introduction of knowledge about ARGUS as an agency, which should produce some fodder for plot-lines. The series is quickly reaching its great potential and has already staked its claim as one of the most entertaining of the general Forever Evil
tie-ins. As a whole this is just another feather in this event’s hat.