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It’s well known that I have been of this events staunchest defenders, and I remain so, but there comes a point that one has to concede some area of truth. The truth here being that DC has made some considerable splashes when they decided to place David Finch onto a big event book like Forever Evil, and not in any good way for the most part. It was from the get go considered a very ill-thought out move.
For a story that would rely on a steady, recognizable, DC style, they backed the wrong horse is what I’m trying to say. It’s a perspective that has only grown more widespread as Forever Evil has gone on and as more characters began to become no more than steadily, but not iconic, rendered morphed versions of themselves. Still, it was tolerated. Johns had been bringing his A-Game writing/plotting wise and even then the large amount of tie-ins always had nice diversions. Finch’s shortcomings were small peanuts when placed in comparison to the variety of well-done output.
Then, almost predictably, the unimaginable actually happened. Several times in fact. The main miniseries began to get delayed. It began innocently enough, the third issue was bumped a month, but by that point it allowed the other minis to catch up. The main tie-in minis had started a month late, so it was an odd twist of fate. For a month or two, with the end looming to come in early April, it seemed like things had reached a sense of normalcy. Sure it was reaching past its natural end point, but the variance was slight enough to go unnoticed. The final round of tie-ins had even been pushed along accordingly, so the wait in-between was not too distended. Of course that was just the calm before the storm.
The idioms hit the fan when the “grand finale” Forever Evil #7 was pushed back to the end of May. A full month and some change off its most recent store date. This is without a doubt the worst thing that could ever happen to an event miniseries. It contradicts and even brings itself into conflict with its main goal. Event comics are more often than not supposed to set a new status quo or company line for the various books under their publisher. Books are created, cancelled, and relaunched in accordance with what goes on in an event series. Which is why the circumstances at hand were so baffling to behold.
There are many DC books in the coming two months that would have been riding the coattails of Forever Evil and it’s after effects. Whether or not a series directly tied into the event was secondary, the event has had very far reaching consequences. All of those books, much like Nightwing, Justice League of America, Suicide Squad, Justice League, and others face a tremendous task because of this. It’s a huge stall on their development. It goes even further if one takes into account that it not only plays against current books, but also future ones. Due to developments in the event, a book can be stalled from even being announced.
What purpose would there be to announce a book if to do so would just spoil the ending to the currently ongoing story? Now Johns has already gone on to apologize for the delay, it does not seem that anyone places any blame on him. For example, in his most recent interview he mentions that it’s due to Finch’s hard work and that they’re trying to keep the quality up. Admirable enough on paper, but the fact was that the latest issue (Forever Evil #6) was also the product of Finch taking his time. Yet, even with that advantage, the work shown in that issue was only “not terrible”, which is the best that Finch can seem to get. It was serviceable to the very definition, which is not something venerable enough to create such an embargo.
Overall, people should have seen this coming from a mile away, but maybe it was a mix of confidence and denial that clouded us from seeing it sooner. Finch has never been able to work a fully monthly schedule without making some sacrifices in form, having been late on even his most recent projects. It was a notable occurrence last year that Justice League of America #3 was delayed a month due to art difficulties, and that was for a simple, normal sized, outing. Johns is known, almost at the same time famed and infamous, for his big bombastic, blockbuster endings. Forever Evil #7 is itself said to be a double sized whopper, and it just seems like pairing these two together was a recipe for disaster. It almost becomes inevitable that giving Finch a double sized issue would cause a (cumulative) double sized delay. Forever Evil is on the very edge of losing steam and traction at this point, and not many non-loyal readers are going to have the patience to wait it out or even remember.
What this has left us with is a future of uncertainty, uncertainty of when books will be announced, of what books will be delayed, and of what Forever Evil #7 will end up being. Even it is a nice ending, it will have the weight of two month’s anticipation and hope weighing down on it. Almost amusingly, the hype behind an event may in fact be the thing that brings it down. It will have to go above and beyond to gain back the goodwill of the readers. It will take DC moving ahead and trying to patch up this mess equally as well to smooth this over. All that’s certain is that Forever Evil has reached a big drought. What are your thoughts on this “temperance”? Opinions and comments would be appreciated below.