Alex Lynch Reviews: FOREVER EVIL #1, JOKER #1, DARKSEID #1 And Much More!
DC Comics' fantastic Trinity War has finished. The Justice League are dead and the villains have taken over and I've read pretty much all of the titles out this week except for a couple. Come check out some of my thoughts if you missed any titles this week!
Forever Evil had one of the biggest twists in recent history and it’s going to have an incredibly huge effect on the DC universe, but what about the tie-ins? We’ve read pretty much all the Forever Evil/Villain’s Month books that were released this week. In my “reviews” you’ll find that Villains Month is a GREAT hopping on point as I, who fell behind on comics pretty badly, enjoyed a lot of them despite not knowing the characters. Anyway, we read Darkseid, Bizarro, Grodd, Two-Face, Cyborg Superman, Desaad, Poison Ivy, Relic, Count Vertigo, Ventriloquist and finally, The Joker. So let’s talk about the best books this week so you can decide whether or not you should check these out if your comic store still has printings left!
Forever Evil #1 – Geoff Johns
Jesus, where do I begin? If you know me, I love Geoff Johns. He is an absolute genius when it comes to reinventing storylines and characters and has lead the New 52 to greatness. Trinity War, DC’s recently finished Justice League event, was absolutely fantastic with a great reveal, but now, with Forever Evil, the gloves are off and everything is on the table, including the fate of the universe.
Now, I have to say, this book isn’t as good as the finale of Trinity War, but it’s still a solid 5 star read regardless. There is quite a bit of suspense in this and the mumble amongst the villains as to whether or not they should trust the people who killed the Justice League was really fun to read, especially between The Flash’s rogues. DC wasn’t kidding when they said this event was “universe-wide” and the ramifications are going to be very interesting, because we have no idea what the hell happened to the Justice League. The reverse-weaknesses and strengths of Ultraman are going to be very interesting, and I absolutely love David Finch’s art in this issue. He captures action sequences and expressions beautifully. The twist with Dick Grayson was completely unexpected and there’s obviously more to it, but needless to say the majority of superhero identities could be compromised. DC are crafting a new standard for comic book events this year and it makes me wonder whether or not they’ll be able to top themselves in the coming ears.
There isn’t much I didn’t like, however I thought that the stringing of Dick Grayson was slightly over exaggerated, as well as the fact that he swung and carried Victor all the way from Chicago. Really? Also, I didn’t like that fact that we didn’t get too much development on the Crime Syndicate, but that doesn’t REALLY matter because we’re only on the first issue.
Batman: The Dark Knight 23.1 – The Ventriloquist
Gail Simone, one of DC’s best and fan-favorite author takes on this incredibly scary tale that details the origins of Shauna, the new Ventriloquist and her “puppet”, Ferdie. Can I just say that this story is absolutely terrifying? Not only is Gail an incredible writer, but she KNOWS how to write suspense even in the smallest of stories. After her little short in American Vampire Anthology, I knew I had to go out and grab the Ventriloquist one-shot even though I had always been a fan of Arnold Wesker (and I hope he pops up one day). This story details the origins of this new Ventriloquist including how she gets her puppet. Not everything is clear, but one thing is for certain; she’s evil and has a knack for killing, even at a young age. I really loved this book mainly because of the feeling of tension and the connection to Forever Evil. The Ventriloquist laid a trap for the people of Gotham and they willingly fell into it, including gang members. It’s a genius plot with a great resolution and fantastic dialogue and a hint of horror. Funny fact is that it’s probably scared me more than anything in the Chucky films, that’s for sure. Gail Simone is one of the best writers at DC and always comes up with brilliant on-the-edge stuff whether it’s Batgirl or the Secret Six. I’m actually looking forward to finding out more about Shauna and Ferdie in the pages of Batgirl and out of all of this week’s books, it’s my favorite one-shot. There wasn’t really a single flaw and you should be ashamed if you didn’t purchase it, so go ahead and do that now. This book is a beautiful, self-contained and exceptionally scary book that is definitely worthy of your time AND money.
Green Arrow 23.1 – Count Vertigo
Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have been absolutely killing it over at DC Comics with their Green Arrow book that makes Hawkeye look like Sesame Street. This book is absolutely insane with high-octane action, incredible characters and fantastic stories. Recently, in the last arc, they’ve introduced Shado and Count Vertigo, Green Arrow’s ultimate nemesis. In this Villain’s Month title, we take a look back at the roots of his childhood and how he came to be Count Vertigo and take back his native home of Vlatava. I’ve never really been a fan of Count Vertigo at all, but the reimagining by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (who visually creates some of the most fantastic scenes in comics) crafted an amazing character here. The reasoning behind Count Vertigo’s killings in this book are interesting and adds on layers to his cause. Overall, I really enjoyed this book detailing everything about Count Vertigo from the fantastic dialogue to the very, small story that works so well in the bigger picture. If you’re not reading Green Arrow then you are probably wasting your money on comics that aren’t as good as this.
Batman: Detective Comics 23.1 – Poison Ivy
I’ll be honest here, to me; Poison Ivy was always just a hot, female slutty throwaway character for nerds to obsess over. I love redheads, so naturally, I loved her, but then I read Gotham City Sirens and found out how deep and well-written of a character she really is (we need that series back). Poison Ivy’s one-shot takes us back to the very roots of Pamela Isley’s childhood and explores some very interesting aspects of it. She isn’t a hardened villain, she isn’t looking to kill for money or for satisfaction but she’s just cleaning up Gotham the way it needs to be dealt with. Gotham is gone and the city is in chaos. The police are dead. Who is there to preserve justice? Some of Batman’s villains are really only focused on doing what’s right and Ivy is one of them and this story is about that. How did she get her powers? Why does she kill people? This story pretty much tells it all with charming art. Derek Fridolfs has made quite the personal story for Ivy here and it’s only going to get interesting from now on.
Justice League 23.1 – Darkseid
Now, I’m not a whole fan of all that ‘New Gods’ and ‘Old Gods’ stories in the old DC Universe, or even the current ones. It’s not that these characters and stories suck; it’s just that I was never interested in them. I never took notice to anything about Darkseid that wasn’t in animated television shows or the current timeline of the comics I’m reading. That being said, this Darkseid one-shot explores his origin and it’s quite interesting, however the story did nothing for me, really. It wasn’t quite tied to Forever Evil and didn’t focus much on his rise to power on Apokolips as much as I’d like, but it had a very nice story. However, some of the characters and settings in the book felt very outlandish to me even for a DC comic but that didn’t take away from he wanted to or needed to. Darkseid is one of my favorite villains so it’s nice to see him taking the spotlight for once on the cover. Depending on whether or not you are a fan of Darkseid than this is a very interesting read and probably worth your time. Nonetheless, Greg Paks’ Justice League 23.1 tells an interesting tale about Darkseid and Apokolips so check it out if you have the extra funds but it isn’t necessary for Forever Evil or Villain’s Month.
Action Comics 23.1 – Cyborg Superman
This month in the pages of Supergirl, it was revealed that Hank Henshaw was NOT the New 52 version of Cyborg Superman and everyone took a fit. Now, I’m a fan of the original Cyborg Superman and his reinvention in the Smallville Season 11 comic but I have to give credit where credit is due, this new Cyborg Superman (who is actually a Kryptonian we all know) origin crafted by Michael Alan Nelson not only tells us the story of how Brainiac created Cyborg Superman from [REDACTED]’s dying body, but it also gives us a look into the Jor/Zor-El feud which I was always fascinated by and thought Man Of Steel should’ve teased. We find out that BOTH brothers wanted to save Krypton but had conflicting ideas on how to do so. Cyborg Superman’s first journey parallels that of the end of Krypton and its very interesting to see how his mind works, because he’s not ‘Cyborg Superman’ despite what he looks like. He has no idea who Superman is or that he even exists because he hasn’t really gotten to Earth yet in this book. Even though this version of Cyborg Superman isn’t Hank Henshaw, he has a really good and reasonable origin that’s spanned out in this book and I’m sure it’s going to tie-in to KRYPTON RETURNS which just got my attention. Overall, I beg you to check out this book if you can. It really is one of my favorite origins in the New 52.
The Flash 23.1 – Grodd
Now this story is unique to me because it’s well written and has a nice, contained story that’s also dark and gruesome but I also hate components of it. It focuses on Gorilla Grodd getting new and advanced power from the Crime Syndicate and uses it for very, very bad stuff in a very vulnerable Central City who are just trying to mend their relationships with the apes. I haven’t read The Flash so I don’t know what’s going on there, but this book is very well written and it also gets points for its gruesome nature. I loved this book, it was fantastic, but the reason I’m indifferent so much on this story is because I absolutely HATE this depiction of Grodd. He’s just a ruthless monster killing for no reason without reasoning other than to rule those people. This is not the Grodd I know. The Grodd I know has the intellect that could easily rival Stephen Hawking and barely killed people, so why must he be such a generic ape villain in the New 52? I don’t know why, but this book was a nice read nevertheless.
Batman and Robin 23.1 – Two-Face
This book introduces us to what Harvey Dent’s been up to since the Crime Syndicate took over the world, except that unless I’m missing something, it completely contradicts Forever Evil #1 because here Scarecrow also offers Dent a chance to join to society, but ultimately by the end of the book he refuses, so why is he with the Secret Society in Forever Evil #1? Who knows, but all I know is that this story was actually pretty interesting and delves a bit into Harvey’s days as an attorney. With fantastic art from Guillem March, I really enjoyed this book more than I should have. Harvey Dent is a very unique character because of the “two-sided” personality (which isn’t played upon much in this book) but it also calls back to his early days fighting crime alongside Gordon and Batman which were somewhat reminisce of The Dark Knight. Now, this story isn’t genius and it doesn’t have a bigger picture, it’s just a good old-fashioned story that includes quite the amount of “coin-tosses” that leave Two-Face is some questionable situations. Does he make his own luck? Who knows, but this book was well written by Peter Tomasi and it definitely deserves your spare dough if you’re a fan of the character or want to know more about him and how he operates.
Green Lantern 23.1 – Relic
I’ll be honest. I haven’t been reading Green Lantern since Simon Baz was introduced (about #0) so I can’t say I’m totally “in-the-know” with the current storylines, however this new Relic character seems very interesting from this issue as he’s a being from before-creation. Robert Venditti’s story here is quite nicely structured with some pages that look absolutely fantastic. I like this new villain because he isn’t a monster but he looks evil as hell, and that’s what I’m looking for in most villains these days. Relic is exactly what his name states he is, a fossil from another time and he’s only trying to save us from making the same mistakes his kind did long ago. Despite what the cover shows, this book doesn’t necessarily feature any Green Lanterns and is pretty much just a prelude to LIGHTS OUT, so if you’re hyped for that event than this comic is a must-buy. Needless to say, some of these pages in the book by Rag Morales are absolutely stunning and I really enjoyed this book despite not staying on current events.
Earth 2 15.1 – Desaad
Man, there are some times where I wish I was kept up with a book or its events so I knew what was going on, but even with an event like “Villain’s Month”, I still couldn’t like this book mainly because I’m not an Earth-2 fan and I found this villain generic. I don’t know any of the characters in this book and I don’t know this character’s motive so it was really hard for me to just jump on and understand like I did in some other books that I haven’t been keeping up with yet. Keep in mind that I’m not saying this book is bad; I’m just saying that it’s a terrible jumping on point for any readers because it doesn’t really define who many of these people are or their importance to the story. Desaad’s design is cool as hell, though.
Batman 23.1 - The Joker
Now, this book is noteworthy to me because I don’t like it at all and thought it was a mess and not a very Joker-like book, but it seems to be very positively reviewed around town. I honestly don’t know why this was THE book to promote Villain’s Month. Maybe because it has The Joker and he’s a famous villain, but honestly, I really hated this book. Why? Mainly because Snyder got rid of The Joker for a while and that left the author very minimal freedom and the disability to tie it into Forever Evil. Or maybe it’s the fact that it makes no sense in terms of continuity or the bigger picture in Batman and Joker’s feud. I did enjoy the emphasis on The Joker’s origins but I also felt that most of that should be kept a mystery as it always has been (anything before the ol’ Red Hood accident) and the book had spectacular art. I don’t know where this went wrong for me, but Joker raising an ape as a son just didn’t do it for me especially as the ending sort-of came out of nowhere. If you’re a fan of Joker, you may want to pick up this book but I didn’t enjoy it myself. Even if its plot is silly, it’s still written well with good dialogue, I just don’t think this book was meant for The Joker at all. Just my take.
Superman 23.1 – Bizarro
I honestly don’t like calling a book bad. I’ve avoided being negative about books that I don’t understand but unfortunately that’s not the case here because Bizarro is one of my favorite Superman characters and they turned that character and his origins into a joke in this issue. Not only does he look like an absolute freak on the cover, but this book really isn’t about “Bizarro”, it’s about Lex Luthor and his plan to stop Superman. It’s narrated by Luthor and the book is from Luthor’s point of view. And honestly, they destroyed the character of Bizarro. My favorite part of Bizarro is that he’s a Superman clone gone-wrong, but he doesn’t know that until it’s too late and he just wants to do the right thing. He’s a tragic character and while this story tries to add in a sense of tragedy, this isn’t Bizarro at all. This story features Lex Luthor injecting a human with some Kryptonian DNA and it goes wrong and that character blows up and dies. There’s no indication of the name Bizarro and he doesn’t even fight Superman or think he’s Superman in the slightest. I hope that one day the New 52 can reinvent Bizarro in a GREAT way, but that doesn’t seem at all likely (despite at tease at the end saying Luthor will perfect the Kryptonian formula). If you’re a fan of Bizarro, it’s best that you NOT pick up this book, unfortunately.
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