This probably makes me a big dumb idiot, but I’m still enjoying Forever Evil. This second issue probably wasn’t as good as the first, but it still did a good job at setting up how big of a threat the Crime Syndicate are, as well as developing them as characters, and at the same time, showing us more of the people who will become our defacto heroes and oppose them.
As we saw in #1, a big focus of this story is going to be Lex Luthor, and in this issue, we see his first steps in fighting back. Deep in the bowels of the Lexcorp building, Lex finds not only his familiar green power-suit (and we also get another shout-out to the Ted Kord Blue Beetle character, as the missing piece of the suit that Lex was trying to acquire in #1 was Kord’s ‘flash-gun technology. All of these mentions are getting me way more excited than I probably should be, but man, if this event ends with Ted Kord as a superhero, then all, and I mean all, of DC’s fuck-ups will be forgiven. Yes, I am that easy) but also releases Bizarro, his clone of Superman. I do like the explanation for why Bizarro is an imperfect clone, that he’s had to be released 5 years early, and the added wrinkle of Bizarro being under the control of Lex Luthor is a cool one. I did think it was a shame that Johns had Bizarro kill Otis in the same issue as introducing him. Otis is of course a reference to Ned Beatty’s character in the classic Superman movies, and I enjoyed seeing him show up in the comics, so that was a bit disappointing. But I suppose it was done in a kind of meta way to show that this Lex is not the same as Gene Hackman’s Lex, and doesn’t tolerate a bumbler, his assistant is instead the deadly Bizarro.
As for the CSA themselves, we find out a lot more about them in this issue, including the delicious idea that Super-Woman is pregnant with Owlman’s baby and Ultraman doesn’t know. There’s even more conflict between the Owlman and Ultraman too, as Owlman wants to kill the mysterious hooded prisoner, but Ultraman wants him alive, and the same applies, but vice versa for Nightwing. Ultraman wants him dead, but Owlman wants him alive for sentimental reasons.
Speaking of Nightwing, we don’t get much aftermath to his ‘outing’, but it does spur Tim Drake and the rest of the Teen Titans into action against the CSA. Now, we all know that the Teen Titans are normally cannon-fodder in DC crossovers, so I was expecting some glorious carnage and perhaps even some arms being ripped off, but nope, instead, Johnny Quick realises Impulse/Kid Flash is from the future and opens up a portal sending him, and the rest of the Titans into the time-stream. I suppose it does the same job of removing the Titans from the board, but dammit, I miss my traditional teen slaughter. Would it have been too much to ask for Atomica to explode Wonder Girl’s head? Wow, that was dark, sorry, I guess I’ve been reading too much Avengers Arena.
Despite that minor letdown, this issue did do a good job at showing the scale of the destruction across the Earth, as The Grid surveys the various important cities of the DCU being ravaged. I also appreciated how Johns made sure to set up a couple of the tie-ins, like Flash’s Rogues not playing along. I’m not reading any of the tie-in minis, but I do like it when a writer makes the effort to show that there’s more going on.
The issue ends with Cyborg’s father (who’s much less of a dick in this issue than normal) in STAR Labs, waiting to be attacked by some villains, and when his door is bust down, it’s not by villains, but by the only 3 surviving Justice League members, Batman, Catwoman and a barely alive Cyborg. Bats confirms that the rest of the various League members are dead, and boom, end of part 2. Does it seem weird to anyone else that these 3 are the only ones to survive? Batman and Catwoman are bad-asses for sure, but they don’t have any superpowers, and Cyborg is basically dead already, so how did they make it? Did the CSA just forget about them? Hmmm, lots of questions.
All in all, this was another strong issue, I always enjoy Johns when he’s in event-mode, and he and David Finch are doing a damn good job at making this story look and feel epic enough to be the first New 52 major event, We know more about the CSA now, and the likes of Lex and Batman are on the scene. I just wish that there could have been more dead Teen Titans, it feels like a Birthday Cake with no candles.