cover image Forever Evil

Forever Evil

Geoff Johns and David Finch. DC Comics, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4012-4891-8

This collects a seven-issue “event” that finds the Crime Syndicate—alternate-reality “evil” versions of the Justice League—taking over our world. Soon after they arrive, the group mysteriously (and unbelievably) gets rid of most of the heroes on Earth, leaving it to unlikely bad guys like Lex Luthor and Black Adam teaming up with Batman to save the world. Johns delivers a few cool superhero moments, but they’re not nearly enough to overcome the story’s gimmicky-ness and its lack of emotional resonance. Bizarrely, despite the large number of characters, only two women get anything resembling legitimate page time. Catwoman is Batman’s glorified “arm candy,” while Superwoman is apparently sleeping with three of the primary Crime Syndicate villains—Ultraman (alternate-reality Superman), Owlman (alternate-reality Batman), and Alexander Luthor (alternate-reality Shazam)—all of whom think she might be having their baby. It’s painfully embarrassing that the only two female characters featured in the book are relegated to such awful stereotypes. The art is overworked and relentlessly dark, every page filled to bursting. Though there are too many characters for any artist to handle easily, the art never finds a way to breathe or to give any of them a moment to shine. (Sept.)