Issue #26 isn’t just the backstory for Power Ring as many anticipated, it’s a showcase of origin tales for Grid, Johnny Quick, Deathstorm, and other members of the Crime Syndicate as well and I think that gives you plenty of bang for your buck this Christmas Eve.

Geoff Johns continues to leave the Justice League on the back burner in their titular series while he instead focuses on the characters who kicked off the epic Forever Evil event. The previous two installment have each centered around Ultraman and then Owlman so with Power Ring being featured on today’s cover it seemed safe to assume that we’d spend every page dwelling on the cowardly lantern of Earth 3’s past. Not so.

Plain and simple: if you read Forever Evil then you’ll enjoy this issue.

Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ “Numb” begins with Grid, the evil robot who has narrated all of the Crime Syndicate features so far. The bot describes his origins to the reader, even going so far as to break the fourth wall just to drive the point home that he truly knows everything. But in addition to learning about his beginnings we also come to understand what his motivation is: to feel. He’s been hacking into the Crime Synidcate’s archives searching through all their biographies in hopes of discovering a story that would allow him to discover his own emotions and so far Ultraman and Owlman have been a bust. So in this issue we not only explore Power Ring’s sniveling secrets, but those of all the other remaining Syndicate members.

I won’t spoil these tales for you, but as you can expect they are all a perversion of the heroic origin stories you know and love from the old DCU and the New 52. Power Ring’s is the most fun because it’s neat to see the writer who revived the Green Lantern series and keep it at the top of its game for 10 years approach the story again in such a twisted way. But overall it’s just great to see this much content in a $3.99 book. Readers will definitely walk away from this issue knowing a whole lot more about the villains who pose the biggest threat in Forever Evil.

Spoiler
The issue also has a great ending with Cyborg waking up ready to turn the tide, but the closing lines didn’t satisfy me as much as they probably should have. I saw the trailer for the documentary “Necessary Evil” play so much around Comic-Con over the summer that when Cyborg’s dad said “The heroes had to win every time. The villains only had to win once.” I could only hear Dan Didio’s voice. And when Cyborg said “They didn’t win. Not yet.” all I could think of was The Dark Knight Rises‘ “Not everything. Not yet.”

The artwork by Ivan Reis is awesome. I think I liked the opening splash page of Grid the most but there are a number of really compelling moments throughout. You have to applaud Reis for being able to condense this story so much without things feeling crowded. The panels get quite narrow with the bulk of them being horizontal so of course none of the layouts are all that visually interesting, but their packed with so much detail and life that I didn’t mind. This was a fun read and a beautiful book to look at.

Recommended If…

  • Forever Evil is a saga you’re following closely
  • You want a lot of content for one issue, we get origin stories for multiple villains here
  • Ivan Reis’ artwork is something you long to admire
  • You’re looking for more hints as to who the hooded prisoner of Earth 3 could be
  • You’re a Cyborg fan

Overall

There’s a whole lot of content here and Ivan Reis’ artwork is breathtaking. I highly recommend it to anyone reading Forever Evil as it is very good supplemental material. If you’re skipping that saga then this won’t mean much to you, but if you are then I think issue #26 is a must-buy.

SCORE: 9/10