DC Comics' event series pitting its bad guys again some even worse guys from another universe reaches its penultimate installment this week, as the home team of villains finally takes the fight to the evil invaders from Earth-3, the evil universe! Which of course means our super-close reading of this superhero epic also reaches its penultimate installments.
The latest issue of DC Comics' Forever Evil opens as the previous four did, with Lex Luthor sharing a little anecdote about his childhood that somehow relates to the current state of affairs. In this issue, it ends with Luthor telling readers that "48 hours ago, a group of beings called the Crime Syndicate came to our world and declared it theirs."
Forty-eight hours! That's only two days! But man, this story seems like it's been going on for months now. Like, at least five months.
So let's refresh our memories. The Crime Syndicate of Earth-3? Ascendant. The heroes of all three Justice Leagues? MIA. The Society? Running rampant. Dick "Nightwing" Grayson? Publicly outted and held captive by the Syndicate. Earth's only hope? Batman, Catwoman, Lex Luthor and a small band of disaffected villains, who were just about to get in a big fight at the end of Forever Evil #4. But then Power Ring appeared with a group of Society members crashed through one wall, and Sinestro crashed through the other.
And that can only mean one thing: A big fight. Wait, two things: There are only two walls left in the big, empty Wayne Enterprises room everyone is convening in. It is now a structurally unsound, and likely quite drafty, building.
Top DC Comics writer Geoff Johns is collaborating with longtime Marvel Comics visionary John Romita, Jr. for a new run on Superman. They will be joined by frequent Romita collaborator Klaus Janson, a legendary artist in his own right. The move returns Johns to a Man of Steel solo title for the first time in this decade, following an extremely good run of stories in Action Comics in the late 2000s.
While October's trailer for Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment's upcoming Justice League: War animated movie seemed to show that the adaptation of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's debut New 52 Justice League arc may take some liberties with the original story, the just-released first clip of the movie appears to indicate it will stick pretty close to it.
See that clip, which features Green Lantern meeting with Batman for the first time after fighting a Parademon, after the jump.
In the pages of Forever Evil, the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 -- the evil opposites of Earth-New 52's greatest heroes (plus an evil opposite of Alfred Pennyworth) -- have conquered the world!
The master villains have come up with a particularly brilliant plan to rid themselves of the DC Universe's heroes, trapping them all in sinister tie-in comics well beyond the pages of the main series. If you're wondering who's where, you can find most of the Justice Leaguers trapped in a weird prison in the pages of Justice League of America; Steve Trevor and his military team are in Forever Evil: ARGUS; the Teen Titans got sent into the future in the pages of Teen Titans; and all the magic guys are embroiled in their own 18-part tie-in crossover "Forever Evil: Blight", which is, amazingly, going to end up being much longer than Forever Evil itself will be. They don't call the Crime Syndicate villains for nothing.
It looks like the only forces left to challenge the Syndicate now are a handful of free-thinking bad-guys under the leadership of Lex Luthor, and Batman and his remaining Justice League allies, Catwoman and Cyborg. If they can put aside their differences and work together, they just might have a chance at saving the world from the clutches of the Crime Syndicate.
When we last visited the DC Universe in the wake of Forever Evil, it was a dark, grim and gritty place -- well, darker, grimmer and grittier than usual, anyway. Most of the members of the Justice League of America, Justice League Dark and Justice League Vanilla mysteriously disappeared after encountering the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3, the evil doppelgangers of Earth-New 52's greatest heroes.
Rallying an army of supervillains behind them, the Syndicate announced the death of the Justice Leagues, outted Nightwing as Dick Grayson, moved the moon to eclipse the sun, and exiled the Teen Titans into the time stream. With the world pretty much conquered, the Syndicate went about the business of ruling it -- you know, establishing a currency and economic system, redrawing maps, writing up a constitution, designing a flag, developing a body of laws, intervening in disputes between countries and the meetings! Oh, the many meetings they'll have to have!
Is that what we're in for with the remaining issues of the seven-part series? Perhaps we would be, were it not for a handful of villains unwilling to sign up with the Crime Syndicate. Villains with home-world pride. Bad guys who are bad, to be sure, but not that bad. They're just almost always evil, not forever evil, and this issue, they start to get organized.
When the DC Universe relaunched in 2011 with The New 52, the idea was to put a current-day spin on superheroes: lots of seams in the costumes, more aggressive attitudes, rockier relationships.
If the trailer for Justice League: War, the new animated film that adapts the first storyline from The New 52, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's initial six-issue arc from Justice League, is any indication, it has all been set to a dubstep soundtrack, too. Check out the trailer after the jump.
Last month was a pretty rough one for the heroes of the DC Universe. The Justice Leagues—all three of 'em—apparently fell before the onslaught of the Earth-3's Crime Syndicate, somewhere between the end of Trinity War and the first issue of Forever Evil #1. The Syndicate then proceeded to take over the world, opening all of the super-prisons, assembling all the super-villains into an army, destroying all communications for some annoying "This World Is Ours" spam and a brief infotainment segment where they revealed Nightwing's secret identity as Richard Grayson on television. Also they pushed the moon between Earth and the sun, plunging the world into darkness.
To add insult to injury, the villains booted the heroes off all of their comic books in September, writing their own names over the heroes' logos and starring in the books themselves!
Well, it's a new month and there's a new issue of Forever Evil, so we can find out if there's any hope at all for our heroes. Or at the very least, which of those Villains Month issues we really needed to read.
If you've been following the story of Vertigo -- the DC Comics mature readers imprint that's home to The Sandman, Preacher, Scalped and much, much more -- you know that there was a time in the recent past when it seemed the once legendary label had lost its prestige, especially when founder Karen Berger left the company. Thankfully that downward trend has been steadily reversed with the progress of JH Williams III and Neil Gaiman's new Sandman project, critically acclaimed new titles like FPB: Federal Physics Bureau, The Wake and Trillium, and promising books to come like Hinterkind. All these projects speak to the variously dark and wild-eyed visions that defined the Vertigo line at the height of its influence, but what you may not recall is that this creative refocusing began in earnest where so many great comics do: within the pages of relatively innocuous anthologies.
On sale this week, The Unexpected is a paperback collection of The Unexpected #1 and Ghosts #1, two Vertigo anthology one-shots released in 2011 and 2012, respectively, that signaled the imprint's aesthetic resurrection. The book compiles done-in-one horror shorts from the imaginations of some of comics' most enduring talents as well as promising newcomers, including one of the final works of master cartoonist Joe Kubert and a rare mature readers outing from DC's top superhero writer Geoff Johns.