The Justice Leagues are all dead and every supervillain has been unleashed upon the world. It’s a new world order and the Crime Syndicate, an evil incarnation of our universe’s heroes, is in control. Last issue, the Crime Syndicate savagely beat Nightwing and then exposed his identity for all to see. What other horrors are in store for the DC Universe in chapter 2?

In the opening pages we see a rat caught in a trap and Lex Luthor racing through the shadowed halls of his once great headquarters and it’s abundantly clear in this moment that we’re in for more doom and gloom. Not even a nod to the Donner Superman character Otis can wash away the sense that things are going to go very bad for even more good guys this time around. And who are the good guys? The Teen Titans.

Forever Evil #2 really gets moving with a great moment in which Tim Drake, a bat-character who has been rather neglected in the New 52, rallies his team to go out and rescue Dick Grayson. Unfortunately, the genius Red Robin (Who writer Geoff Johns never has characters refer to as “Red Robin” – it’s just “Robin”) doesn’t Heisenberg a strategic plan of attack and just charges his team head-first toward the baddies who allegedly murdered the entire Justice League. So as you can imagine it’s a rather short-lived hurrah for Tim Drake and it can be argued that the biggest development in Forever Evil #2 is simply a setup for the next Scott Lobdell Teen Titans arc.

Spoiler
The fight between the Teen Titans and Atomica & Johnny Quick felt mostly like an excuse to make those two Earth 3 villains look more formidable. It felt way too easy to sabotage Kid Flash (or is he called Impulse?) but why is it that the resulting future-vacuum Quick started only sucked up Teen Titans members and nobody else? What was the point of Atomica going inside of Wonder Girl’s mouth? At first I was like “Whoa! Geoff Johns is going to kill off Wonder Girl in a really ****ed up way, but then nothing resulted from that at all.

While this issue doesn’t necessarily advance the plot all that much further, it still serves a very important function: world building. While Lex Luthor is busy in his headquarters setting into motion what will undoubtedly be a catalyst for big action in issues to come, most of the pages of this issue are devoted to the dynamic between the members of the Crime Syndicate. Now, much of this– particularly when it comes to Owlman and Superwoman– was hinted at in last week’s Secret Society #1 but here those narrative threads are fleshed out much more and we get a better idea of who these villains are and what they’re motivated by. If Forever Evil is proving anything right now it’s that not all evil characters are alike. Even when we’re dealing with characters that are all categorically bad there are still varying shades of grey. Through focusing on these characters in chapter 2 I think that Geoff Johns has created a richer world and ideally a more rewarding story in future installments. And if the final page is any indication of what’s to come, things will most certainly be escalating in issue #3 with plenty of new characters, answers, and explosive confrontations.

Spoiler
Although I liked the final page reveal I can’t help but wonder how exactly an injured Batman (who has his hands full with Cyborg’s body) and Catwoman kicked down a giant, steel door. I also wasn’t entirely clear on what the big “Cha-vummmmm” gun was that doctors Silas and Thomas were handling.

When it comes to the artwork, if you enjoyed last month’s issue then you’re going to love what David Finch has in store for you this time. While there aren’t as many villain cameos, the dark and foreboding atmosphere is still there and when we do get large splash pages of foes such as Johnny Quick or Lex Luthor

Spoiler
Is it a spoiler if I say Bizarro’s name? He’s on one of the variant covers.
they are nothing short of iconic. However, some problems still persist with many of the character faces looking too similar and too many people are overly musclebound. Also, there was a page in which Ultraman appears to fly away from the fallen Watchtower, but then in the following panel Ultraman is still standing alongside Owlman inside of the Watchtower.

Recommended If…

  • Teen Titans is in your pull-list
  • It’s long overdue that Tim Drake stepped up to the New 52 plate and helped out the Batfamily
  • Secret Society #1, Darkseid #1, and Bizarro #1 were Villains Month titles you enjoyed (hint hint)
  • You like to see infighting between supervillains
  • You’re a fan of David Finch’s artwork

Overall

It isn’t as earth-shattering as the previous installment and it won’t satisfy readers who are anxious to find out what’s next for Dick Grayson, but the squabbling between supervillains is fun and fans of the Teen Titans and the Man of Steel are sure to be happy. I’m enjoying this even so far and a part of me wishes that it was weekly instead of monthly.

SCORE: 8/10