It can’t be an easy thing to do a big crossover comic book event. There’s the epic story that needs to be told, the crossover and tie-in stories have to be laid out, and then there’s the promotion. But once all these aspects have been applied to the event, and that ball of success starts rolling, it’s hard to slow it down and nearly impossible to stop it. DC’s latest and still current event, Forever Evil had just about everything going for it, but that success has been all but ruined by one aspect of events that DC missed: The schedule.
The lead up to Forever Evil, if you remember, was another event called Trinity War, and while that lead up event was a really big bait and switch, the end reveal of the Crime Syndicate making their way to the DCU was a fantastic way to promote the Forever Evil event. The Crime Syndicate is just that damn cool, and the way they were introduced, along with the new status quo that came along with them, was a refreshing take to a DC event. The solicits that followed showed off a Lex Luthor led Justice League, a Justice League Dark “must-read” tie-in, the debut of the Metal Men, and some great crossovers like Arkham War and Rogues Rebellion. And a lot of that has been fun, if not a bit of a letdown overall.
The delivery of the event was great at the beginning, and the pace and individual stories being told around the event were fun and different. The Rogues and goings on at Arkham were neat, all three Justice League books were fun in their own unique ways despite Justice League Dark being part of an enormous crossover, and the Forever Evil book proper was exciting from ish to ish. There was also a great use of just about every character involved, and the Crime Syndicate themselves are just plain old evil fun. So where did everything go so wrong?
“When the unthinkable happens!” It’s an appropriate tagline, as is the word “Forever” in Forever Evil. The book has been coming out since September, and while the traditional 1 issue per month release has worked in the past, it’s too old-fashioned for the modern day reader. Sales slipped from month to month, and I think a lot of that had to do with the staggered release dates.
As though that wasn’t enough, issue 7, the last of the series, has been pushed back at least twice, forcing many of the tie-ins to also put off their release dates or risk spoiling the entire thing. This schedule screw up has all but derailed the entire event, and not only did Batgirl #30 spoil at least a part of the event, but now DC’s own solicits are doing so with the announcement of a new book starring Dick Grayson. Everything in Forever Evil started so very well, and now I, and many comic readers I’ve spoken with, just don’t really care anymore.
I’m not saying the last issue of Forever Evil is going to be a stinker. I want it to be good, and Geoff Johns usually delivers. Events are big money makers for comic book publishers; If they weren’t they wouldn’t do them; and any hiccup in the process not only hurts sales for the event in progress, but hurts the reputation of the publisher, which certainly impacts sales of the any future events. While it’s definitely an arguable point, Marvel events over the past few years have just been better than DC’s, and Forever Evil showed some great promise of narrowing that divide. And it’s really hard to root for a publisher that throws a Batarang at their own event.