Demythify: Top 5 Things We’ve Learned About Forever Evil #2 & Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 From The DC Comics New 52 (Spoilers)

DC Comics has released interior, unlettered, art pages from October 2013’s Forever Evil #2 and one of its three companion mini-series Forever Evil: Arkham War #1. Similar art for the remaining two mini-series also debuting in October have yet to be released: Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1 and Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1.

Spoilers follow.

Forever Evil #2 teaser interior art pages:

The previously released cover art and solicit for Forever Evil #2 are as follows:

Forever Evil #2

    The villains have taken over the world! The Teen Titans fight back! Can the inexperienced teen heroes do what the adults could not? (Answer: Nope. It goes very poorly.)

    Written by: Geoff Johns
    Art by: David Finch / Richard Friend
    Cover by: David Finch / Richard Friend
    Variant Cover by: Ethan Van Sciver / David Finch / Richard Friend
    Color/B&W: Color
    Page Count: 32
    U.S. Price: 3.99
    On Sale Date: Oct 2 2013

Forever Evil Arkham War #1 interior teaser art pages:

The previously released cover art and solicit for Forever Evil Arkham War #1 are as follows:

Forever Evil: Arkham War #1

    As FOREVER EVIL hits the world, no corner of the DC Universe is in worse shape than Gotham City! Madness and mayhem hit the streets as both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison unleash their prisoners upon the helpless citizens of Gotham. And with no Dark Knight to protect the city, what horrors will follow?

    Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
    Art by: Scott Eaton / Jaime Mendoza
    Cover by: Jason Fabok
    Variant Cover by: Jason Fabok
    Color/B&W: Color / Page Count: 32 / U.S. Price: 2.99
    On Sale Date: Oct 9 2013

With that, here are the Top 5 Things we learned from the interior art teases, the solicits in the post Forever Evil #1 DC Comics New 52.

(5) More new New 52 DC Comics debuts

Well it sure looks like we’ll have a new Reaper debut in Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 along with Rag Doll (formerly of the Secret Six pre-Flashpoint), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum among others. This follows introductions in that Forever Evil #1 Teaser gatefold page that also had several new debuts including a Royal Flash Gang, in the vein of their CW Arrow Season 1 counterparts, Slipknot, The Key, and others. An annotated version of that David Finch gatefold is available here. The un-annotated version is on your above right.

(4) Crime Syndicate’s Power Ring Problems

The parasitic nature of Earth 3’s Green Lantern, the Power Ring of the Crime Syndicate, seems to be a big part of the character as seen in the Forever Evil #2 interior art. The villain Power Ring seems like a coward who is afraid of his ring and may not be himself. You can see on his ring arm that the ring seems to be feeding on him and/or fuelling his neurosis. This continues to support the theory that Power Ring, in part, will lead to the Crime Syndicate’s downfall when the Justice League(s) return.

(3) Suicide Survivalists?

In the recent Villains Month spotlight on Harley Quinn in Detective Comics #23.2: Harley Quinn #1, we learned that she and Deadshot are heading back voluntarily to Amanda Waller and the Squad. (So, why are they on the cover of Forever Evil: Arkham War #1? The road back to Belle Reve winds through Gotham City? The Suicide Squad is considered a companion title to the core Forever Evil series and its mini-series, so I’m curious how that all plays out in Arkham War.

(2) Reviving a Batman?

The Forever Evil #2 cover has a Batman on the cover alongside DC’s preeminent villains while the solicit for Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 clearly indicates that Batman is MIA with the rest of the Justice League post Trinity War. In light of these events, and the reveal of Dick Grayson as Nightwing to the world by the Crime Syndicate, this seems to support the theory that Batman IS missing with the Justice League, likely on Earth 3, while Nightwing in need of a new nom du guerre likely adopts his mentor’s point ears in his absence; maybe Dick thinks Bruce is dead and the world still needs a Batman. A win-win for Dick Grayson; two birds, one stone and all that.

(1) Reviving the Teen Titans?

Teen Titans in the New 52 has become a book, not a franchise any longer, exclusively focussing on teen heroes not next generation teen sidekicks trying get out from under the shadow of their respective mentors. Even when that concept evolved in the past, the nucleus of the team was – with one exception, the Atom-led Teen Titams – always former (teen) sidekicks. When the Teen Titans debuted with the rest of the New 52 it had no real tethers to other books or franchises with the exception of Tim Drake a.k.a. Red Robin who actually was Batman’s sidekick at one point. Later Superboy’s series become a bit more interconnected with the Superman franchise not just in name. However, while the Teen Titans book has ventured down new paths creatively, for many it has veered farther and farther away from what a Teen Titans book should be.

August’s Teen Titans #23 was number 64 on the Top 100 sales list with almost $32K in sales. By way of comparison, Batman #23 was number 3 with over #128K in sales followed by Justice League #23 with over $103K in sales. Teen Titans still outsells Superboy and Supergirl, but the book hasn’t been a tier one book since maybe 1982.

DC seems intent on elevating the Teen Titans as a team in its shared universe creatively and certainly increasing its sales fortunes as well.

One of the company’s Forever Evil teaser advertisements prominently focuses on the Teen Titans in addition to two other ads focussing on Green Lantern and Nightwing respectively.

We see the Teen Titans relevance revival project begining with October’s Forever Evil #2. The teased interior art pages show the Teen Titans taking on the Crime Syndicate. One hopes that while the battle likely won’t go well, per the solicit, that the efforts to revive the fortunes of the team are successful. With a long-standing team franchise like Legion of Super-Heroes now seemingly ended, for the time being only one hopes, I don’t think DC can afford for another storied franchise to fail.

Look to Forever Evil to see what direction DC has in store for DC’s next generation heroes.

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