These Forever Evil tie-in issues continue to be very enjoyable and pretty much crucial to the ongoing story. This issue also continues a trend I’ve very much been enjoying from Johns recently, in that he really is bringing back some classic DC characters. We’ve already seen Plastic Man’s origin, as well as hints and teases about Helena Bertinelli Huntress and Ted Kord Blue Beetle, and this issue sees progress on the return of the Doom Patrol and the Metal Men to the DCU. I know for some this is too little too late, and that even when these characters do come back, they won’t be the same, but I’m personally loving it. I mean, how different can they really be? Um, don’t answer that.
This issue actually begins with the Doom Patrol, as we see two members of that team, Scorch and Karma get killed by Johnny Quick and Atomica. I’m guessing that these characters were Doom Patrol members before the New 52, but I’ve certainly never heard of them, and from the looks of the single page we get of Niles Caulder, this is going to lead to his formation of the most familiar Doom Patrol line-up, with Elasti-Girl, Negative Man and Robotman, which really, is the Doom Patrol that everyone wants to see, at least in a non-Vertigo setting. I suppose some people will be upset by this wanton character death, but I don’t mind, it’s a lot of fun seeing Johnny and Atomica be absolute dicks, and if there’s one thing the Doom Patrol is known for, it’s dying. If you get upset at characters from that team dying, I don’t think you understand the concept.
The bulk of the issue here is focused on Cyborg, as he tries to convince his dad and Professor Morrow to rebuild him. Dr Stone is initially reticent to do so, but he eventually comes around, and we do get to see them reconcile. I still have problems with the New 52 Cyborg’s origin, and how it seemed to glorify stupidity, but now that Cyborg has started to value intelligence himself, it works a lot better. To upgrade him, Cyborg needs to go into the ‘real’ Red Room and find the even more top-secret technology (lots of interesting stuff there, and I bet some of it comes into play in future JL stories, perhaps when Morrow finally becomes a villain like we know he will, hell, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already). Johns goes into great (probably to much) detail about the new changes, but basically, the end result is a slimmed down, sleek Cyborg, who looks pretty bad-ass. I am intrigue by what this mysterious green button he has is, is it a suicide button?
Cyborg needs help to stop The Grid, so he goes looking for Platinum, and the man who created her, the man who knows the most about artificial intelligence in the DCU, Dr Will Magnus. However, what Cyborg finds isn’t very promising, as Magnus is sat alone in a dark room, moping because the Metal Man are a failure, as we saw previously in this book. I’m excited to see more of the New 52 Will Magnus and Metal Man. They are great characters, and, even though I think Grant Morrison wrote most of Magnus’ scenes in 52, Johns was surely a part of that somehow.
The art for this issue was good as usual, although because Reis was only doing layouts, it did look a little uneven, you could tell which one of Prado, Merino or Cifuentes was doing the finishes. But overall, it was still decent.
With these issues, Johns is moving the DCU forward into the future, whilst at the same time revisiting it’s past, as well as indulging in his usual villain-heavy focus. It’s pretty much the perfect encapsulation of who Geoff Johns is a writer. You decide if that’s good or bad, but for me, at the moment, it’s good.