Demythify: Piecing Together The Top 10 Puzzle Pieces Of The Post Trinity War & Forever Evil DC Comics New 52 (SPOILERS) UPDATED!
by John Babos on August 26, 2013

UPDATE:

The number one spot on this list has been updated based on news from DC Comics through media today. All I can say is that we weren’t far off with point numero uno below. :) Or maybe DC released a red herring? Read on!


Hello friends! It’s been a while since I last shared my comic book musings with you. I’ve had a life changing event in my real-life and that means for the last few months and the next few months, I will not be posting as prolifically as before. I hope to get back to some semblance of “regular” output at the beginning of 2014, but until then I plan to at least try to post monthly and, if I can, bi-weekly, but monthly seems like a safer promise. :)

With that out of the way, we’ve had a lot transpire since last we spoke. DC Comics in particular is in the full swing of Trinity War – well it ends this week with Justice League #23 – with the fate of Justice League(s) and even Prime Earth – the main DC New 52 Earth – in the balance. Also, this past weekend, DC Comics made some interesting announcements and teases concerning the post Forever Evil DC New 52 Universe in the Spring of 2014 that we’ll get to.

There be SPOILERS below. So, read with caution.

(10) What we thought about Forever Evil was wrong

IGN – getting a nice scoop from DC herself – was the first to reveal the true villains behind Trinity War who will play a big part in DC’s Forever Evil maxi-series… Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate. That team includes the classic 1960’s line-up of Ultraman (Evil Superman), Superwoman (Evil Wonder Woman), Owlman (Evil Batman), Johnny Quick (Evil Flash), Power Ring (Evil Green Lantern) and a new addition in Deathstorm (Evil Firestorm).

Instead of Secret Society of Super-Villains being the main foil for Forever Evil, Lex Luthor and those Prime Earth villains that don’t join the Syndicate, fight for our Earth’s survival… so it can one day be pillaged by her own villains.

(9) Trinity War leaves the Earth in shambles with Lex Luthor left to clean it up

In the same IGN scoop, Geoff Johns reveals the following tidbits about the how Trinity War ends and how Forever Evil begins:

    “As far as the world knows, the Justice Leagues are dead. What happened to them and where they are will be revealed within the pages of Forever Evil, which is focused squarely on the greatest villains in comics.”
    “We start literally, in the first issue, when the whole world goes dark; communication and power are gone. And as our Earth is plunged into darkness, the Crime Syndicate begins their plan for conquest.”
    “[Lex Luthor will] form his own version of a Justice League to take them [Crime Syndicate] down.”

That certainly explains why Batman and Catwoman are fighting alongside the villains. The enemy of my enemy is my friend… for now. Although while we see Batman around, we don’t see his former teammates? And is that really Batman under the cowl? I have a theory on that. Stay tuned for #2 on this list below.

(8) The Outsider as Refugee from an Earth 3 destroyed

Tuesday Night Movies had a theory about who the Outsider was. He’s the character who has been pulling the strings of the Earth Prime’s Secret Society of Super-Villains. And it seems that recent Director’s Cut of Justice League of America #1 confirmed that theory.

Alfred Pennyworth, Earth 3’s ally of Owlman, has been laying the groundwork for the arrival of Earth 3’s anti-Justice League, the Crime Syndicate. His is the identity of the leader of Earth Prime’s Secret Society.

And, in JLA #5, after Martian Manhunter reveals himself to the leader of the Society, we learn that they both were witnesses to the destruction of their world. The fate of Earth 3 has yet to be revealed, but taking over Prime Earth after Earth 3’s get broken, seems like a good reason as any for the Crime Syndicate to undertake manifest destiny.

(7) When is Pandora’s Box, not really Pandora’s Box?

Pandora’s Box in non-comic book folklore is about opening it and bringing evil to the world. In the comics, we already have the Seven Deadly Sins running amok in the world.

So, does opening the box bring those Sins back into the box… unlikely since without sins in the world, there would be no need for heroism… and comics with super-heroes for that matter.

Perhaps opening the box brings the Crime Syndicate onto Prime Earth? It is revealed to be a “doorway” afterall if the last two pages with The Outsider to Justice League Dark #23 (composite panels to your right) are to be believed.

And, as an aside, if the box isn’t the prison for the Seven Deadly Sins, how will Pandora conquer them or round them up? Seems like a pointless mission if we want DC to continue to publish super-hero comics. ;) Perhaps her raison d’etre changes with Forever Evil?

(6) If not Pandora’s Box, is it a Multiversity Key?

Cementing itself as the most important book in Trinity War so far, Justice League Dark #23 also teased more about the true nature of Pandora’s Box. When know its a doorway, but what else?

When Shazam grabs the box, his possession of it leads to a very Black Adam like transformation for Billy Batson as well as sending ripples to Earth 2, Gemworld, and impacts the avatars of the Green and Red on Prime Earth.

Not only is Pandora’s Box – do we even call it that anymore (?) – a multiversity key, that likely will lead to the Crime Syndicate’s arrival on Prime Earth, it also has sway over magic, nature and more.

(5) Justice Leagues as Villains United?

In the ninth point above, we learned that Lex Luthor will form his own Justice League(s?). Well, we don’t see covers for any of the October solicited Justice League titles. Is that the reason?

Could that mean that each of three core books feature teams of heroes and villains together? Different missions to take on the Crime Syndicate?

The solicits for November may not include “real” covers, and if they do, and the solicits themselves certainly don’t reveal who make up the teams in each book.

(4) Nightwing joins Cyborg on DC’s A-List?

At Fan Expo this past weekend, DC Comics Editor John Cunningham promised that on September 4th, the internet would be abuzz about Nightwing:

    “…the internet is going to explode on September fourth, and it’s all going to be about Nightwing .”

What exactly does that mean? Keep your eyes on Forever Evil #1 for the answer since it ships on, wait for it, September 4th.

Nightwing is also featured in November’s Justice League #25, which sports 4 covers. Who are the remaining members of the Justice League and is Nightwing the ragtag group’s leader? The solicit reads:

    “FOREVER EVIL continues as the Crime Syndicate hunts down the few heroes left foolish enough to challenge them—including Batman’s protege, Dick Grayson. But Owlman has other plans for Nightwing…and Owlman’s teammate: the most deadly being on the planet: Ultraman!”

The blood soaked Forever Evil teaser related to Nightwing has many speculating about something tragic happening to Nightwing. My money is on that blood being someone else’s. I think Nightwing will actual kill or maim a big bad of the Crime Syndicate. Maim Ultraman or kill / maim Superwoman. THAT would elevate Nightwing big-time. He can join Cyborg as a graduate to the big leagues (pun intended).

I’m so glad that Nightwing is central to DC again. He did a great job as Batman pre-Flashpoint and he deserves to be prominently spotlit in the DCU.

(3) Four Justice League Titles Post Forever Evil?

In the news out of Fan Expo about Justice League of America being rebranded as the Justice League of Canada in the Spring 2014, many missed a little tidbit revealed by JLC writer Jeff Lemire (see the bolded part, emphasis was added BTW, below):

    “As a result of that [the end of Forever Evil], without spoiling any of that story, there will be major changes in the Justice Leagues, and in the spring, the current Justice League of America team goes through a dramatic change and some of the pieces that are left behind will evolve into this new Justice League Canada team”

The “some of the pieces” comment has me believing there will be another new Justice League title, likely from writer Geoff Johns or perhaps Matt Kindt, after Forever Evil. That make the four JL books a Jeff-Lemire-less Justice League Dark, a Geoff Johns Justice League, a Jeff Lemire JLC and a mystery fourth Justice League book. Maybe a new JLA or even a Justice League International, with the world wanting to unite having learned lessons from the global threat the Crime Syndicate played in Forever Evil?

JLC does seem pretty interesting the way Lemire describes it. A team of A-list DC characters – some of whom we haven’t seen in the New yet – with a new Canadian teenage hero created for the series alongside Adam Strange, who is Canadian in the New 52. The other team members have not been revealed, but the book will span Canada, with a team base in Northern Ontario, a lot of exploits in Toronto, and will be drawn by Mike McKone. Looks good!

(2) Where are the Justice League heavyweights during Forever Evil?

In Justice League #22, Madame Xanadu opens the book with visions of the future. We see what appears to be DC’s super-trinity in Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman surveying devastation. Could this be what happens to the big guns of the Justice League after Trinity War? Do they – and perhaps some other heroes – swap places with the Crime Syndicate when Pandora’s Box is opened? Are they stuck on a desolate Earth 3?

The silhouettes can’t be the Crime Syndicate as we know how they appear in Forever Evil and that isn’t it. It must be the DC New 52’s “proper” Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

While Batman is on the cover of Forever Evil #1, I can’t imagine he’d play second banana to Lex Luthor. Could that Batman be Jason Todd or Dick Grayson? Could the real Batman be “stuck” on the wasteland that is Earth 3 with Superman and Wonder Woman?

Could the “him” Batman wants to get back to save Nightwing because of something the first Robin does in Forever Evil #1? We may know more soon!

(1) What follows Forever Evil?

We know that Forever Evil will also have ramifications for Green Lantern and the Teen Titans, but what about the DC universe? Maybe even the multiverse?

Over the last few years, since the post-Flashpoint launch of the New 52, we’ve seen a growing number of multiverse incursions. From New Gods – a universal constant in the DC multiverse they are a one-of-a-kind pantheon – tangling with the Justice League and later with the heroes of Earth 2, more New Gody goodness in the pages of Wonder Woman, Earth 2’s Supergirl and Robin trapped on Earth Prime as Power Girl and Huntress in Worlds’ Finest, Batman/Superman meeting Earth 2’s Batman / Superman in the same named Greg Pak written series, and now Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate popping up as the villains behind Trinity War and the leads for Forever Evil. We also still have writer Grant Morrison’s Multiversity maxi-series to come and a Darkseid spotlight Justice League one-shot for Villains Month in September.

Does Darkseid hold the key to defeating the Crime Syndicate? Will he seek Pandora’s Box so he can use the doorway to bring back his forces from Earth 2 and across the multiverse to be united together again? Will the box be Darkseid’s way to conquer the multiverse? Is that the fate of the multiverse in 2014? It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the multiverse incursions have grown over the life of the New 52.

UPDATE:

DC seemed to have confirmed that Darkseid will be in the pages of this week’s Justice League #23 marking the end of Trinity War and the beginning of Forever Evil. Check out the interior art from the issue to the right.

Is it a “live” shot or a flashback to the first Justice League New 52 arc a few years ago?

Regardless, when the multiverse is involved, all roads lead to or through Darkseid. I’m confident we’re barking up the right tree!

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome. :)


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