Thursday, May 29, 2014
Forever Evil #7
"Chapter Seven: Crisis of Self"
Geoff Johns Writer
David Finch Penciller
Richard Friend Inker
Sonia Oback Colorist
Rob Leigh Letterer
Kate Durré Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Group Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster by special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family
The cover is by David Finch, Richard Friend and Sonia Oback. It's alright, I guess. Nothing special. There are several characters on this cover who don't appear (or make a very brief cameo) in the issue. I guess I was just hoping for something more iconic for the end of such a large event.
Our story begins with Lex Luthor and Bizarro teaming up with Batman and Catwoman to save Nightwing. He was captured by the Crime Syndicate, who then revealed his secret identity to the world and hooked him up to a machine that would cause a large explosion unless his heart stopped beating. So Luthor technically killed Dick Grayson, much to the anger of Batman. But then Luthor easily revived him with an injection of adrenaline. The newly repaired Cyborg then arrives and announces that he's defeated Grid. He takes Batman and Catwoman with him to save the Justice League, while Luthor and Bizarro leave to battle the Crime Syndicate.
Deathstorm tells Ultraman that their mysterious prisoner, Alexander Luthor, has been freed and called down the power of Mazahs to become the Earth 3 version of Shazam. Mazahs has also killed Johnny Quick and gained his super speed. Superwoman then arrives with Mazahs and announces that he's the father of her unborn child. The four begin fighting, and Superwoman helps Mazahs kill Deathstorm so he can absorb his powers.
The fight then spills out to Luthor and his crew of Bizarro, Captain Cold, Sinestro and Black Adam. Mazahs kills Bizarro, which devastates Luthor. He then comes up with a plan to jam a lightning rod in Mazahs' chest and have Black Adam call down the lightning of Shazam to turn him back to human. This plan doesn't quite work, but it does knock out Superwoman.
Meanwhile, Cyborg, Batman, Catwoman and Dick find Firestorm, who has the rest of the Justice League trapped in his head. Batman starts to use Wonder Woman's lasso of truth to free them, when Owlman suddenly arrives. But he doesn't want to fight, explaining that he's lost everything — his Gotham and even his Alfred, aka the Outsider. All Owlman wants is the chance to work with Dick Grayson again. But then he disappears as suddenly as he arrived.
Lex Luthor soon finds himself fighting his double. Since they both have the same voice, Luthor shouts, "Mazahs!" And it works, calling down the lightning to turn Alexander Luthor back human. Lex then kills Alexander, and Sinestro and Black Adam move the moon out of the way so the sunlight can start to weaken Ultraman. Just then, Batman finally rescues the Justice League.
In his weakened state, Ultraman begs Luthor to kill him, but he refuses — wanting him to live out his days as the weakest man on Earth. Luthor does, however, kill Atomica, whose belt has broken, keeping her about three inches tall. Luthor then rejoins with the Justice League, which is quite concerned about Superman's kryptonite poisoning. But Luthor handles the problem, performing a quick brain surgery to save the Man of Steel.
Everyone more or less returns to their normal routine, with the exception of the villains now being acknowledged as heroes. Batman sends Dick on a secret, dangerous mission, and Luthor convinces a young Ted Kord to keep his company. Flash and Cyborg search high and low, but are unable to find any trace of Vibe or Element Woman. Owlman is still loose, Ultraman is sobbing uncontrollably in a cell, and Superwoman is gloating over the imminent birth of her super-powerful, super-evil baby.
Luthor asks his team of geneticists to make him a new Bizarro clone, which will take five years. He then does a quick Google search on Dick Grayson to learn that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Superman and Aquaman then discuss the great threat that destroyed Earth 3. They assume it was Darkseid, but we see it was really the Anti-Monitor.
Epic story. Forever Evil was the biggest, most important DC story of the year, and everyone needs to read it. The story itself was pretty good, but more importantly, it seems to be setting up something even bigger down the line. Here are the biggest takeaways from Forever Evil: Dick Grayson is no longer Nightwing, Lex Luthor knows who Batman is, the top three members of the Crime Syndicate are still alive, and the Anti-Monitor is approaching. That is some pretty interesting stuff, but not necessarily Earth-shattering ... yet. As for the Flash, he basically goes right back to where he was before, but now his old villain Captain Cold is going to join the Justice League. That seems like a neat idea, although I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't last too long. But all in all, Forever Evil was a pretty fun ride.
Too many conveniences. This is a problem that has always plagued Geoff Johns, where certain things just happen just ... because. Perhaps my biggest complaint here was how Luthor defeated Mazahs. As established in the New 52 continuity — in stories written by Johns himself — the casual use of the word "Shazam" does not turn Billy Batson into the caped superhero. He has to say that word with meaning, or in other words, actually exert some sort of magical force from within himself in order to transform. I'd assume that it should work the same way for Mazahs. But somehow Luthor was able to trick the system by having the same voice. That makes absolutely no sense. Is there some sentient, but easily confused being lurking in the heavens, listening and waiting for Alexander to say the magic word? Then when he heard someone sound exactly like Alexander, he decided to send down the lightning anyway? So lame. Just about as lame as Johns' solar eclipse, which required Sinestro and Black Adam to undo. If those two didn't push the moon out of the way, would it have stayed there forever? Normally, eclipses don't last too long and are over only a localized area. If it were possible for somebody to move the moon, I'm sure it and the Earth would keep on moving like normal. Yeah, the ocean's tides would get messed up, and there would probably be a bunch of tsunamis everywhere. But ultimately, the moon would keep on revolving like normal and the sun would soon come out on its own. It's funny how I can accept stories about a man who runs faster than the speed of light, but strange errors like this bug me so much. But that's the way it is. I can only stretch my imagination so much, and when a writer breaks the established rules of this reality, I rebel.
Late book. There's no doubt I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it came out on time. But it was delayed a long time for David Finch to finish his extra pages. Since the New 52 began, DC has been very good about making deadlines, often compromising the art to get the book out on time. That's not an ideal solution, but in certain cases, I think circumstances demand it. And this is one of those cases. There were about five different titles that were also delayed because they absolutely could not come out until after Forever Evil #7. And there were about 10 other books that ideally should have been delayed but went out ahead of this issue anyway because DC couldn't afford to delay everything. And I don't think it was worth it one bit. Yes, the Forever Evil trade will have consistent art throughout, but I don't think Finch's art is that special. But if DC was unwilling to get another penciller to do some pages, then why didn't they at least get some extra inkers to help out? Or better yet, why didn't they plan far enough ahead to give Finch enough time to finish everything himself and still have the book come out on time?
Final score: 4 out of 10
Well, I didn't get to end my blog on the highest note, but now I can say I've covered every major Flash appearance from the inception of the New 52 through the end of Forever Evil. I won't miss this blog too much, since I'll be having plenty of fun covering every appearance of Impulse at bartallenimpulse.blogspot.com. But I'll always be open to the possibility of returning to this blog. I'm just going to take an extended leave of absence first.