Forever Evil #4
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by David Finch, Richard Friend, and Sonia Oback
The short of it:
Batman, Catwoman, and a blindfold. The stuff of so many fan fics over the years, I would assume, and that’s how we start here. Thing is, it’s more of an Adam West Batman sort of blindfold where he just doesn’t need her to see how she got into the Batcave, and then trust that she’ll be too in awe of the locale to wander and look for a door to see where it’s attached to. Or to put two and two together when Batman is talking about Dick Grayson and think to herself…wasn’t he adopted by Bruce Wayne? She tries to reminisce about the old days, and how she thought Batman was happy once, but his son just got outed, he’s not in a good mood. In fact, he pulls out his Tower of Babel gear and shows off his anti-Justice League contingency plans. Nothing for Owlman or Superwoman, but it might not even matter….Grid is watching them.
Outside of Metropolis we’ve got out Injustice League. Cold is working on a new cold gun, Luthor is using his suit to supercharge Black Adam, and everyone else is watching. Lex sees a part of himself in each of his unlikely allies, and has to ask Cold the obvious ‘how are you smart enough to make a cold gun’ question….which Cold aces. They’re just about ready. Speaking of ready, Ultraman is in Utah having located Metallo, who he promptly rips the heart out of and snorts it while Superwoman shows up to get into his head. He finds out she’s pregnant, and she tells him that Owlman is going to betray them. She wants him to stay strong for their child, but all Ultraman cares about is himself. In Central City Deathstorm is given the message to hurry back to the lab and figure out how to make kryptonite for him to ingest, while Power Ring is told to go handle Cold and the Rogues. He calls up Grid and acts like Ultraman authorized the big guns being sent to him, but Grid doesn’t bite. He sends backup, but no one from the CSA.
Luthor and company trek through the sewers to stay off the grid (heh), and B-Zero is seemingly afraid of the dark. Luthor tells his Superman clone a story, one about the death of his sister and the fear of failure that led to that. B-Zero….talks, for the first time. His name is Bizarro, and he will try. He and Adam break the ground to get into Wayne Enterprises, and the villains are met by Batman and Catwoman. Smoke bombs are thrown, the Injustice League is baffled by the Bat not being dead, but none of it matters. Power Ring shows up with his backup, and Batman pulls out his contingency. A Sinestro Corps ring, giving us the briefest glimpse of a Yellow Lantern Batman. Power Ring dispatches the object, and shows confidence for the first time.
Unfortunately for him….he really shouldn’t have talked shit about a Sinestro Corps ring. You should NEVER talk shit about a Sinestro Corps ring. Because Thaal Sinestro is not dead, he’s just been away.
What I liked:
Captain Cold gets respect. I may not be the biggest fan of ripping away his powers so shortly after his debut, but the fact that he can build a Cold Gun in twenty minutes from spare parts? It’s very obvious that Geoff is still a big fan of the character.
Power Ring is my favorite CSA member. I love that he’s void of anything resembling confidence, I love that despite his ridiculous power levels, that he’s terrified of his ring. I love that he insists Ultraman said so to get backup, and that he wishes Grid a nice day.
David Finch has turned his art around after the first few issues. Character work has gotten less sloppy, the faces are more defined, and really, the book looks a lot less sloppy than a few issues ago. The lack of Johnny Quick’s awful headpiece may have something to do with that.
I hate Metallo in every variation save for Superman: The Animated Series, so watching him get his heart ripped out and snorted was awesome.
Luthor is amazing. Johns does a fantastic job with the premier villain of DC comics, and in the few issues of Forever Evil so far he’s done a great job of erasing the degrees of total and complete awfulness that had befallen Lex during the first two years of the New 52. Lex isn’t a silver age mad scientist crazy pants anymore, he’s a genius with moral issues that truly does want what’s best….for himself. He will save the world, but he’ll do it for himself. He’ll do it to prove superiority over Superman. He’s Lex Luthor again, and it’s great to have him back.
What I didn’t like:
Bullshit Batman doesn’t have an anti-Wonder Woman plan.
Also, bullshit he doesn’t have an anti-Batman plan with instructions for it to be sent out in the case of him going rogue due to mind control or something.
How does Luthor pee in his battle suit? Did he build in something to let him just do it in the suit? I can’t imagine it’s easy to take off.
I feel like Deathstorm’s inability to transmute kryptonite isn’t an actual fault of the character or his powers, but rather him being smart enough to not let Ultraman use him to become a God.
The anti-Aquaman weapon is useless….until Geoff does his next Atlantis event. I REALLY want to see what he’s got up his sleeve, and I hope it’s cooler than fear toxin to make him afraid of the water.
This version of Bizarro is pretty cool. The unfinished clone that is still developing and growing as time goes on. Learning how to speak was good moment, as was the complete and total innocence in his eyes. Luthor isn’t using the clone for evil, and he hasn’t taught it evil. It comes across more like the son eager to please his father, while Luthor coddles his clone-son. There’s actual humanity there, and not just generic villainy. I really like it.
For a book called Forever Evil, I wasn’t expecting to see bad guys playing the roles of heroes, but I really dig it. Geoff has thrown out the clear cut good versus evil in favor of pushing the shades of gray, and that even the most hardened criminals can be the heroes given the right story. And evil versions of the Justice League showing up to take over the world? Yep, that’s the right case for such a thing.
Black Adam. I was not happy with how he jobbed to Ultraman, but I was happy this issue. Giving the Black Marvel a loss in his debut is just going to make his revenge that much more awesome. Black Adam is going to hurt Ultraman, and I can not wait to see it happen.
When bad is good, awesome things happen. This series has been a fantastic surprise.