Given that he’s the mastermind behind ‘Forever Evil’, Geoff Johns has been surprisingly absent from Villain’s Month so far, with only the Black Manta one-shot until this week. However, now he’s got 3 books co-written out this week, and they are all good. This one, co-written with Sterling Gates, isn’t really about the Secret Society, but instead focuses on Earth-3, and on Owlman and The Outsider. As such, I’d say it’s pretty essential reading if you’re following the crossover.
Most of this issue is set on Earth-3, and tells us a lot about that Universe, we see that the new Owlman is actually Thomas Wayne Jnr, which makes sense, the New 52 version of this character was of course part of the Court Of Owls, and that he and Alfred conspired to kill his parents. The whereabouts of Bruce Wayne in this universe are mysteriously unknown however, perhaps he’s the hooded figure the CSA brought with them? Everyone thinks it’s going to be Alexander Luthor, but it could be something else.
We see that Owlman has Gotham under his control, but after his version of Dick Grayson, known as Talon has discovered some shocking truth about his parent’s death, he’s been left alone. Talon is killed by Earth-3 Joker (I miss the ‘Jokester’ name, but I don’t think the Jokester would ever kill anyone) and in battle with him The Outsider is injected with Joker poison, which explains why he keeps laughing. Sensing weakness, the Gotham Police turn on Owlman, and this is when things start to go bad for the CSA. We then see the beginning of the crisis that seems to destroy Earth-3, and interestingly, it begins with Red Skies, which is of course a reference to Crisis Of Infinite Earths. Is Johns introducing a new version of the Anti-Monitor here? That would be very interesting indeed.
We then get a repeat of The Outsider and Atomica escaping to ‘our’ world, and the process of creating the Secret Society. The final page was very interesting indeed, The Outsider wants to kill the ‘real’ Dick Grayson, but Owlman wants to keep him alive, and ask him to join their cause. It seems he’s guilty over what happened to the Earth-3 Dick. With what happened to Nightwing in Forever Evil #1, it’s going to be fascinating to see what’s done with his character.
This was a very enjoyable issue, it gave some cool insight into the new version of the classic Earth-3 concept, fleshed out the main villains of Forever Evil, and actually made me interesting in stupid bloody Nightwing. The art from Szymon Kudranski, which was dark and muddy, was also pretty much perfect for a story set on the grim nightmare world that is Earth-3.