I came into chapter 6 skeptical after all the delays and the slow build-up of the first few issues, but I must say that all of the setup from Forever Evil and Justice League (if you didn’t read the Crime Syndicate origins, you should) is all paying off now. Big time.

If you read the free preview of Forever Evil #6 then you know it begins with Luthor and Batman glassing the horizon, surveying the area around the fallen Watchtower to see if the coast is clear and Nightwing’s prison can be infiltrated. Miles away, the Crime Syndicate gazes at a cracked sky with dread as they know this is a harbinger of some terrible force that once consumed their own world. These are the most calm moments of the entire book. 

David Finch’s panels grow crowded in Brady Bunch-style grids that quickly cut between locations, building tension as the two groups of characters come to their own horrifying realizations that will ultimately bring them all deep within the confines of the crashed satellite and when they come face to face there will be no monologuing. No dragging-out of what has already been postponed for long enough. Writer Geoff Johns puts Finch to the task of drawing some of the most gripping action you’ll likely see this year and since these are villains fighting who have lack a “no-kill-rule” you should brace yourself for a number of rather graphic surprises. Of course, the two surprises that readers will be most interested in are regarding the following lingering questions: “What the heck happens to Nightwing?!” and “Who is the prisoner beneath the hood?” 

Solicitations and all other forms of hype floating around for the past few months have promised that this issue would reveal Nightwing’s final fate and the identity of the mystery man, but it only fully delivers on one of those and I won’t tell you which (at least not outside of spoiler tags). Just know that I was personally very satisfied with how things played out and was more than entertained by this comic from start to finish, that’s why I’m giving it a 10/10. I think that those who were getting bored with Forever Evil will have their interest reignited and those who have been hooked from the beginning will likely cheer aloud as Black Manta and Captain Cold get their shining moments or find themselves shaking nervously as Batman struggles to save one of his greatest allies. I was just as engrossed in the fight between the villains as I was the struggle to rescue Nightwing and that’s saying something. There wasn’t a sense of “Dammit, get back to Nightwing!” I was getting a thrill from what both incredibly intense scenes had to offer.

It’s a hell of a penultimate issue that displays what I think we all wanted from Forever Evil all along– a number of “Oh snap!” moments, a few laughs, captivating drama that makes us care for those characters who are in danger, and some striking moments of really dynamic artwork.

Andrew Talks About What Happened to Dick Grayson & The Masked Prisoner

I’m going to leave a few thoughts on “Nightwing’s Last Stand” in the spoiler tags below. I suggest you read the comic first.

Spoiler

The one complaint that really comes to mind about this comic is that… if I’m reading it right… Batman should’ve thought of it first. Bizarro, Luthor, Catwoman, and Batman are both locked in a chamber with Nightwing, who has been turned into a human-bomb. The “Murder Machine” he is strapped to can only be defused by stopping Nightwing’s heart. Always the pragmatic one, Luthor orders Bizarro to keep Batman and Catwoman away as he approaches the restrained Dick Grayson and makes a proper seal over the former Boy Wonder’s mouth and nose, applying pressure, even and firm, like packing a snowball (if you get the reference, sound off in the comments or tweet me @AndrewBatReview). Dick Grayson dies. Before Batman can murder Lex Luthor in return, Luthor says that “it’s not too late, you idiot.” So it sounds to me like Nightwing isn’t really dead, Luthor just stopped his heart and they can try and resuscitate him in the next issue now that the bomb is deactivated. If that’s the case then I would think Batman would’ve thought of this plan first or at the very least, Luthor could’ve just explained his plan to everybody– but that doesn’t make for very good drama, does it?

As for the reveal of Alexander Luthor as the man behind the mask, well, it’s not just a simple reveal. Alexander has essentially become the new “big bad” when there’s only one more chapter remaining, plus we still have a few Crime Syndicate players running around and that whole sky-splitting evil coming our way to boot! I’m not sure how Geoff Johns will be able to squeeze details about the New 52 Alexander in the next issue and still have a satisfying conclusion without kicking off an entirely different event. Is there another mini-series I don’t know about? I try to skip out on a lot of that stuff so things aren’t spoiled for me in advance so I don’t know.

Other spoiler-related things: the swift off-ing of The Outsider by Black Manta and Cold’s attack on Johnny Quick were my biggest “Hell yeah!” moments. What were yours?

Other questions you might want to consider: I was very surprised that the evil thing making a rip in the heavens wasn’t revealed. Is it Anit-Monitor? Is it Darkseid? And where did Grid go?

Recommended If…

  •  Suspense is what  you’re after. This comic will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end
  • You’ve been waiting for a big pay-off from Forever Evil
  • You want to see your favorite villains rock the s***t against The Crime Syndicate
  • The true identity of who the man is under the hood has been driving you crazy
  • David Finch is one of your favorite artists– he’s had some weak chapters but I think he delivered here
  • You’re looking to see a few casualties (that’s right. plural)

Overall

I couldn’t put this one down.

SCORE: 10/10