Yes, you read that right. Forever Evil finally came to a close today after suffering numerous delays that made it a pretty miserable reading experience for folks who frequent the local comic shop, but I think the trade-wait crowd should enjoy what Geoff Johns and David Finch crafted here. Overall, Forever Evil is a fun ride when read beginning to end. However, I’m conflicted about the ending, as you can tell by the score of 6.5, which is “okay” but definitely not great. I think one of the major drawbacks for this finale, at least for me, is that the story set up so many obstacles and then really glossed over all but the most pressing concerns. You’ll have to read Justice League #30 to see Geoff Johns acknowledge many of Forever Evil #7’s loose ends. The artwork of this issue was also in no way worth the wait. Finch has done some amazing stuff, especially on earlier issues of Forever Evil, but this installment had some panels that looked quite rough. Also, much like Trinity War, it turns out to not be a self-contained saga and serves more to set up yet another crisis to come. There’s a lot in Forever Evil that is good, but I get the sense that it wasn’t thoroughly planned out or it had gone through countless revisions that caused some of the original ideas to be deserted.

Any time I review a comic I always type up some notes on my phone when something springs to mind while I’m reading, but every once in a while I get a comic that I’m so engaged in that I forget to write down any criticisms and make it from cover to cover without noting a single thing. Forever Evil #7 is not one of those books. There certainly wasn’t ever a dull moment and that’s certainly a positive (it’s without a doubt a must-read for Lex Luthor fans), but there are numerous occasions in which I found myself picking up the phone and typing out my confusion or frustration. Rather than do a typical review, I’m just going to transcribe my notes because there are a lot of them. These will all be featured in spoiler tags.

Spoiler

  • We still know nothing about Alexander Luthor and it doesn’t look like we’re even going to attempt to fully understand him, his motivations, or how his abilities came about
  • The same criticism of Nightwing’s faux death remains– Batman’s not stupid. He’s Batman. He should’ve understood exactly what Lex Luthor was doing when the villain stopped Dick’s heart. In fact, 9 times out of 10, stopping Nightwing’s heart to halt the death machine would’ve been a Batman idea
  • Dick is mistakenly given Bizarro’s speech bubble and growls
  • The Justice League tie-ins are almost required reading for Forever Evil. Perhaps ARGUS and some of JLA as well. Otherwise, the exposition just doesn’t do a very good job of explaining how the lasso came into play or what exactly Cyborg has been up to
  • So you’re telling me Cyborg dragged Grid’s body all the way back here just to drop it on the floor now? Why? Because of the visual, that’s why. Otherwise it makes no sense. They fought far away from the fallen watchtower in Justice League #29
  • Oh come on, now you’re telling me that Batman can’t read Luthor’s obvious sarcasm? He’s the butt of a joke now?
  • Whaaaaaaat? It’s bad enough that Batman looked like a dummy in the Dick Grayson death scene, now he’s getting pick-pocketed by Lex Luthor? I love Lex Luthor, but he shouldn’t be able to pickpocket Batman. He’s wearing gigantic gauntlets too so he’s even got a handicap and still Batman doesn’t realize that his pockets are being pilfered? These were a rough couple of issues for Batsy
  • The panels are getting awfully tight trying to cram in all the story that’s left. Poor planning
  • Alexander saying “Our unborn child.” seems pretty redundant. I think it’s pretty clear with just Superwoman saying her line and Alexander being present
  • Now Firestorm is going to blow up? Since when was this a factor? Might be that I just haven’t read issue #6 in a while, or we’re just throwing in a ticking clock trope to make things more exciting
  • I… don’t remember why they brought the masked man along with them (this is explained in the comic later on though, still kind of a weak reason since they’d have to know that Alexander would rather wipe them all out to gain their power and then confront Anti-Monitor if it came time for a fight)
  • If Alexander Luthor’s motivation is to kill and absorb the power of each meta human then why is he just knocking Ultraman out and moving on? Just an example of the villain “saving the best for last”?
  • How is Alexander not punching the head off every non-meta he encounters?
  • Hints at Batman having a crush on Wonder Woman seem kind of forced but then again an angry Superman in Trinity War did suspect something…
  • Bizarro no!!!! Damn, this series did a good job of making me love the DC Universe’s Sloth. Watching his relationship with Luthor grow over the course of the series was great (the closing scene with Luthor trying to rebuild Bizarro was also great)
  • Bizzaro, Luthor, Black Adam, and Sinestro really shine in this story. Great issue for them. Johns did a nice job with the characterization of all the villains
  • The action in the comic is good. It’s fun watching Alexander tear through everybody
  • HOW are these punches to the head not killing Lex Luthor? There’s no helmet, no force field, nothing.
  • Lightning rod? I vaguely remember this being mentioned in an earlier issue. VAGUELY. However, I don’t remember why they needed it prior to learning about Alexander’s existence. Gonna need to re-read Forever Evil from start to finish to know for sure
  • Does Black Adam turn back into dust again and die if he says “Shazam”? I am still not clear on how he was revived in the first place since you HAVE to read his villain’s month issue to know. It was never brought up in any other issue of Justice League or Forever Evil
  • So I take it that Alexander’s power-absorbing abilities stemmed from the magic specifically? I initially thought that portion was just from murdering the Earth 3 version of Shazam. Seems to me that using the lightning rod on him would only strip him of the Shazam powers and he’d retain the abilities of Bizzaro, Johnny Quick, etc. etc. Whatever… This comic seems to be making up convenient rules so we can wrap things up. This and Batman having a connection to Wonder Woman and her lasso seem pretty convenient
  • I can nitpick as much as I want, but the moment where Luthor says “Mazahs!” is still awesome
  • Why doesn’t Luthor’s beam hurt Ultraman? He appears to dodge it but if it’s a solar gun it should still harm him just being in the presence of the blast. Also, why is it colored like kryptonite despite the dialogue explicitly stating that it’s a solar gun?
  • I just don’t get the lasso and how it works. Guess I should’ve read Forever Evil: ARGUS
  • Didn’t the heroes already escape back in an issue of JLA? I recall flipping through one and seeing Batman mistakenly drawn into the scene as if he was one of the imprisoned heroes… I must be misremembering things. It would be nice if they did these events as a weekly series so I could keep everything together
  • While it’s a cool moment (that’s an understatement, watching Luthor crush Atomica under his boot was quite the “Oh snap!” moment) to see Luthor stomp on Atomica, it may have been better leaver her alive so we can have an evil Atom running around because it showed us just how devastating those abilities are. (Oh well, somebody had to die and later in the book we keep Owlman, Ultraman, and Superwoman alive for the sole purpose of ensuring future stories)
  • This has been an amazing issue for Lex Luthor. Everybody else just kind of fades to the background and we see Lex Luthor become the hero he always said he could be
  • Owlman could totally become Dick’s arch enemy
  • Are we changing the rules again? Shouldn’t all that sunshine just flat-out kill Ultraman? Seems like he’s only surviving because DC wants to use him in future stories because he should be dead. Seeing as how the sun doesn’t kill Ultraman now, does that mean he’ll go right back to being super-powered when the sun sets in a few hours? (later in the book he gets locked up in a special cell so at least that’s straightened out)
  • Jeez, we’re really glossing over the plucking-out of kryptonite. Seemed like a helluva difficult task, but apparently not. Pretty lame.
  • I suppose Lex Luthor isn’t killing Superman now because he beat him a different way. Ultimately Forever Evil was Lex Luthor proving his point that we don’t need super humans and can save ourselves
  • Apparently Black Adam didn’t die. Still not sure how this makes sense or what happened to Shazam. First I thought he was turned into Black Adam, then he showed up in the prison in JLA
  • While I believe Lex would let Superman live, I don’t for a second buy that Black Manta would give back Aquaman’s trident. I’m suddenly reminded of Marvel’s 9/11 comic where Doom was crying at ground zero
  • I wonder how fans of Blue Beetle will feel about Ted Kord being brought into the New 52 this way, and so young! (or am I misreading it and this is like Ted Kord junior– wouldn’t there need to have been a Ted Kord before so that the other alien/scarab Blue Beetle stories are still canon, those had to of referenced his predecessor dozens of times)
  • How the hell did Owlman escape?
  • What happened to Vibe and Element Woman? And that reminds me, what happened to the Justice League International? Didn’t they all vanish mysteriously too?
  • Yikes, Bruce looks bug-eyed in that image on Lex’s computer
  • Apparently Lex Luthor is the only person smart enough to Google the name “Dick Grayson” and spot the obvious connection between him, Bruce Wayne, and Bruce Wayne being Batman
  • Images on the computer are lazily copied and pasted from issues of Batman: TDK and Nightwing comics
  • Superman looks pretty stupid on the final page when he speaks with such certainty and is immediately proved wrong by the big reveal
  • Anti-Monitor’s New 52 design looks more true to his first ever comic appearance
  • It’s a neat reveal and all, but did we really need to tease another major event? Just give us a thoroughly satisfying ending for a change. And let’s face, it’s just a “neat” reveal and not a jaw-dropping one because I saw countless people predict Anti-Monitor a long, long time ago
  • Nobody in the comic addresses the fact that there are still HUNDREDS of super villains on the loose and an entire world with cities turned to rubble, regular criminals on the loose, and no electricity. I know you can’t catch ’em all in one issue, but let’s at least acknowledge that the problem exists
  • Doesn’t touch on the Earth 3 Power Ring that zoomed off a few issues back or the character who was teased in all those Forever Evil ads– you’ll have to read Justice League #30 for that. Looks to me like they planned to have her play a big part in this story, but eventually dropped her from the storyline
  • Nightwing got SO little attention in Forever Evil that I’m utterly dumbfounded. All that hype about him and he barely did a thing. Even the moment we’ve all been waiting for where Batman tells Dick to go underground as a secret agent is over in a flash and doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already hear in solicits or assume from the context of some issues of other Batman comics
  • Are we going to get a Batman comic that addresses Dick’s death? Shouldn’t the city have a memorial for him or something? Maybe something like the statue that Batman got in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. ANYTHING would be nice.
  • Comic had a lot of cool moments that struggled to mesh together

Recommended If…

  • Lex Luthor is one of your favorite DC characters. He owns this issue and Forever Evil will undoubtedly go down as one of the character’s most notable stories
  • You just want to get your hands on it. Feel it, smell it, lick it, know that it’s real and was finally published

Overall

I have mixed feelings about it. There are a lot of cool moments and a lot of predictable moments that I saw readers guess long ago in the comments section right here at Batman News. It also raises more questions than it answers and leaves a lot of loose ends dangling. It’s not self-contained at all and simply leads into yet another crisis, and the artwork gets rather sketchy. Then again, Geoff Johns writes the heck out of Lex Luthor and makes it one of the villain’s best issues in ages. For the most part I would say it satisfies with the biggest threats resolved, but there’s still quite a bit of ground left uncovered. Overall the Forever Evil saga was entertaining, but it seems to have stumbled its way to the finish line.

SCORE: 6.5/10