Let is be known that I tend to stay away from DC events. I haven’t been totally keen on the events DC has been promoting since Brightest Night (which was the perfect event) except for Flashpoint, and even some recent crossovers have left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t pick up Forever Evil in single issues and actually dropped the Justice League title I was picking up monthly because I didn’t want to bother with the tie-ins. With all of that out of the way, I do have faith in Geoff Johns (even as of late) and enjoy David Finch’s art when I feel he is “on,” and also figured that we are far enough removed from this storyline in the monthly DC titles for this event to finally pique my interest. It turns out that I was pretty excited to see that I had won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I will admit that after the first ten-or-so pages that I had a gripe with the pacing. I appreciate the idea of this story taking off as it hits the ground, and I am aware of all of the set up and other story tie-ins involved, but since I avoided those I almost felt like the beginning of the book was rushed. I’m not looking for a clunky exposition dump, but the way this story took off didn’t feel quite right. While the writing left me feeling slightly off in the beginning, David Finch was nailing it with the artwork at the start (focusing on Lex Luther and that whole talking heads scene), but once the helicopter crashed and the action hit all around, everyone became a little less detail oriented and the focus shifted to a few bombastic explosions. Finch picked it back up with that four-page spread of the Crime Syndicate and all of the DC rogues (which was a beautiful scene), but lost that strength towards the end of the first issue.

The inconsistencies in artwork seemed to plague the remainder of this book as well. I really love Finch’s work on the Avengers, and a lot of his Marvel work in general (oddly enough since his style is suited far-more for the house style DC likes to keep in a lot of their current books) but I couldn’t tell what Finch I was getting here. Looking over the book again I can see that the quieter moments where Johns focused on plot development and character interaction seemed to bring out a much cleaner and enjoyable style out of Finch than that which we saw depicted in his fight scenes and battles. That isn’t to say it is all bad – there are some great shots in some of the fights, but it’s almost as of the characters come second to the overtly shadow-heavy fights, which can also be attributed to a possible inking issue.

Geoff Johns nailed it and kept me interested with those quieter character moments. He also seems to have better comedic timing than most other comic book writers, knowing exactly when to drop in a line or two for levity’s sake. Reading the Grayson monthly title has obviously left me privy to what happened to Dick Grayson in this story, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get tense seeing how it all played out here anyway. Johns has such a good grasp on the character voicing and I believe he hit the right notes with the Batman/Grayson relationship. Even the choice of Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, Black Adam, Bizarro, Black Manta and Sinestro teaming up together made for an interesting ride from the disparate villains. (Side note, I want to see an Owlman ongoing series.)

I was torn between rating Forever Evil a 3 and a 4, but eventually settled with a 3. While I had some complaints with art and pacing, especially at the very beginning of the story, Forever Evil seemed to nail all of the emotional beats seamlessly and make for an enjoyable story. I don’t know if this is a story I need to revisit, but I am glad I gave it a shot at the very least.

-Rob Pettinato


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