An Excellent Start, Builds Great Promise
This was fantastic. Really I cannot say how excited I am for this event, not because of the promotional stuff but because of the event itself – this first issue – and that is how it should be. The promotions were good, but they almost always are so you normally don’t get a good idea of quality from them. This first chapter really lays it out. This is dark stuff that Johns and Finch are delivering. It feels like a whole other world and, unlike a lot of what we’ve seen before in the New 52, I’m actually feeling the gravity of the situation. For once, there are real consequences.
I don’t wish to immediately compare this to another event but in this case I feel like I have no other choice. Trinity War was marketed as the big crossover event of the New 52 and in reality it turned out to be nothing more than a prologue to Forever Evil. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that except that it really should’ve been marketed as such and the event itself had such a feeling of treading water. I didn’t dislike it as much as most people but if the whole basis of your story is a mystery and then you reveal that mystery before the issue even hits the stands, it’s kind of a bummer. I honestly believe if DC hadn’t revealed the Crime Syndicate before the event did then I would’ve liked Trinity War a lot better. That said, the event still felt very old hat and looking back it is a classic example of poor decompression. The story was spread out across six issues when really even three may have sufficed. If you look at the middle chapters, essentially nothing happens but back-and-forths that lead to the same place they started.
Forever Evil brings us into the new. Things feel threatening. Johns does a spectacular job here at worldbuilding. The suspense is palpable, man, on every page of this thing. I had literally no idea where things were going. And the mystery of “what happened to the Justice League” is already ten times stronger than Trinity War’s many mysteries. I really can’t wait to see how this unfolds.
Now as much as I loved the writing here, I have some issues with David Finch’s art. His work is really some of the most inconsistent stuff I’ve seen from anyone. Panel to panel I can go from really admiring his work to perplexed that he’s still got a job. Some of these pages look incredible and some of them look downright awful. There are lot of instances of proportions being completely off (Nightwing’s head looking flat and disfigured, Barbara Gordon looking like someone crushed her waistline) and plenty of “no background” panels – something that really irks me nowadays. That said, in my mind he’s at the very top of the list when it comes to artists who know how to create an atmosphere. Even if his work has really declined lately, I loved his first few issues of “Justice League of America” because they were so dark. He really knew how to work the intrigue, spy atmosphere. And this time, no different, he’s doing a marvelous job creating this sinister, apocalyptic landscape. As far as that goes, he’s definitely the right man for the job. Too much of this issue feels rushed, though, in the art department.
My many problems with the art aside, I still can’t help but give this issue a perfect score. It’s looking like an event that will actually live up to its hype. Truly some of the most promising stuff I’ve seen from Johns’ in quite a while.