Tag Archives: Crime Syndicate

Current Events – Review: DC’s Forever Evil

Forever Evil LogoIt took 9 long months, but it finally happened. Forever Evil #7 hit comic shops last week signifying the bitter end of DC’s latest universe-wide event, and although the epic was full of great moment after great moment, a clunky start and one very untimely delay did a whole lot to derail this otherwise exciting roller-coaster ride of a blockbuster event.

The Beginning

Although Forever Evil #1 was released on September 4th, 2013, you have to go way back The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1to Free Comic Book Day 2012 and DC’s The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1 to get to the real start of this ambitious series of events. That’s right, Forever Evil was nothing more than a single part of a much larger plan for DC Comics, a plan that we’re still currently seeing DC implement. In this FCBD issue we get new insights into Pandora, The Phantom Stranger, and The Question’s punishments before the Council of Eternity, as well as a foreshadowing of DC’s Trinity War, an event that promised a lot, but only delivered one thing: Another event.

Trinity War

Trinity WarI know a lot of people who had a huge problem with Trinity War, and not really because of what it was, but because of what they assumed it would be, and people just hate being wrong. While I like to think of it more as a surprise, many assumed that the “Trinity” in Trinity War was a reference to Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, or the new Trinity of Sin characters Pandora, The Phantom Stranger, and The Question, while still others assumed it referred to the three distinct Justice League teams of the DCU, The Justice League, The Justice League of America, and The Justice League Dark, with the latter being the most popular of the assumptions, probably due in great part to DC’s solicits for the event suggesting as much. This turned out to be a huge misdirection tactic, and despite the various Justice Leagues fighting over Pandora’s Box, the “Trinity” of the Trinity War shockingly referred to The Outsider’s plan to use Pandora’s Box to simultaneously hamstring all three Justice Leagues while bringing the Earth-3 incarnation of the Justice League into the New 52. “Trinity” always referred to the three of Earth-3, and never really had anything to do with the Trinity of Sin, Bats, Supes, and WW, or the 3 Leagues, and the misdirection meant to surprise was missed by many readers who simply couldn’t get over the fact that they had made a wrong guess. Admittedly, Trinity War was not the most interesting read ever written, but that page reveal of the Crime Syndicate standing in the DCU-proper was awesome, and made everything that came after it an exciting proposal. Well, almost everything.

Villain’s Month

With the release of Forever Evil #1 on September 4th, 2013, DC Comics also started a Villains Month Jokerpromotional campaign that seems to be turning into a DC Comics trend. During this premiere month for the event, DC halted their regular publishing line and released 52 comics starring the best and worst of DC’s villains. 3-D lenticular covers and fan-favorite villainous characters helped push this promotional stunt to success, and while most of the issues had absolutely nothing to do with the Forever Evil event overall, it was a new and different approach to selling and publishing comics, and the buzz that came along with the month-long endeavor helped to solidify the event as something special. Although this wasn’t enough to make Forever Evil anything more than some cool elements and even cooler moments wrapped up in a less than perfect event, as a single block in a bigger foundation, Forever Evil has changed the status quo in the DCU for the foreseeable future.

The Good

TCrime Syndicatehere were some really fun things going on within the pages of Forever Evil, as well as in the tie-ins surrounding the event. The members of the Crime Syndicate itself were wonderfully depicted, and from Ultraman’s Kryptonite addiction, Grid’s quest for emotions, Johny Quick and Atomica’s Bonnie & Clyde-esque relationship, Power Ring’s problems with his…well, Power Ring, and Superwoman’s love quadrangle and baby-daddy issues did a great job of making these carbon-copy character knockoffs more than simply carbon-copy character knockoffs. The kidnapping and outing to the world of Nightwing as Dick Grayson did a great job of establishing the Crime Syndicate as villains that were willing to go above and beyond what DC’s usual batch of badguys were willing to do. The mystery of the hooded man was an interesting element of the event, albeit a telegraphed aspect of the end of the series, and seeing long-time Lex Luthor cohorts Otis and Bizzaro was fun. Although Cyborg’s destruction at the beginning of the event left me bewildered at the repairs and upgrades he receives later on, the whole Firestorm Matrix prison that entrapped the Justice League was an ingenious plot device, but seemed a bit drawn-out as the overarching story-element of the Justice League of America tie-in arc. BizzaroDespite the awesomeness that surrounded Lex’s Injustice League team of Captain Cold, Bizzaro, Black Manta, Black Adam, and Lex himself, the happenstance that lead to each members’ joining the team seemed forced. Batman with a Yellow Lantern Ring, Sinestro making an appearance, Lex and Bats team-up, Dick’s death and resurrection, Captain Cold putting it to Johnny Quick, the reveal of the hooded man as Alexander Luthor as the power stealing Mazahs, and the fun moments and universe-redefining end of issue #7 of Forever Evil were quite enjoyable, but the changes to the status quo felt lost on a single character, Lex Luthor, and a single title, Justice League, than found to be universe-changing.

The Bad

While Forever Evil excels when it comes to interesting moments that make for blockbuster comic book events, the overarching plot devices that defined the actual story Hooded Manof Forever Evil were telegraphed from the beginning of the event, leaving readers wanting by the end. With the first issue reveal of a hooded man and the suggestion that he holds a certain amount of power over the Crime Syndicate let the cat out of the bag early in this event, and it wasn’t hard to guess that Lex Luthor would be at the center of overthrowing the Syndicate by the end of it all. Additionally, there were plenty of unexplained WTF moments in this series that left readers scratching their heads. Despite Cyborg being held together by nothing more than the green hue of a Green Lantern’s ring, Batman and Catwoman seem to have no problem taking Victor’s lifeless, useless, Cyborg-free body to the Red Room for repairs. It was very-well established that Victor dies without his cyborg implants, and as much sense as using Green Lantern’s power to keep him alive makes, him staying alive long enough for Batman to get him to the shop for repairs makes absolutely none. Then we have the convenient meetup of the Injustice League, with Lex and Bizzaro in the perfect location to see Black Adam get beat up by Ultraman without Ultraman seeing them, Black Manta in the perfect position to drag Black Adam out of the ocean, and Captain Cold just happening to get away from a fight he had no business getting away from way too close to Lex and Bizarro to make any damned sense at all. The biggest hurdle tripping up this event, however, had nothing to do with the story, and everything to do with boring tie-ins and untimely delays. Although the Justice League tie-ins starring the individual members of the Crime Syndicate were the shining stars of the tie-ins, the separate stories being told in Justice League of America the Dark family of DC titles, and just about every other DC comic fell flat on several levels. Justice League of America dealt with the Firestorm matrix prison that entrapped most of the JL members, and although the tie-in had some great elements, Martian Manhunter and Stargirl’s adventure was confusing, felt unimportant, and dragged for at least 3 issues too many than it should have. I understand why the story was part of the overall event, I’m just not sure it should have been. That same unimportant tone was heard in the Dark tie-in story known as Blight, and although it explored interesting details of how the Syndicate dealt with magic-using characters of the DCU, the 18-part, 4-title-spanning epic within an epic was way too unwieldy and uneventful to be anywhere close to entertaining. Although the Arkham War 1Arkham War and Suicide Squad tie-ins were way better than the others, by the end of the Forever Evil event itself they felt worthless and horribly useless in light of the new status quo established by the supported event. Furthermore, the almost two month delay of the release of the last issue, which in turn caused delays for most of the tie-in books, was an inexcusable circumstance when it comes to comic book events. Any steam that had been building to the climactic ending of Forever Evil escaped during this two month hiatus, and the ultimate end of the series that did nothing but setup yet another event was intriguing, but only for what may come after Forever Evil, and did nothing to remedy the mediocrity of the event as a whole.

The Verdict

When one judges Forever Evil based on its standing as a comic book event it loses much of its appeal due to underlying plot holes, bad tie-ins, and the use of gimmicky character moments that were the only driving force of the series from issue to issue. But Forever Evil isn’t just a single event. It’s only a small portion of something much bigger going on at DC, and we’ve been seeing that something bigger in the form of DC’s weekly event Futures End. Without Trinity War there is no Forever Evil, and without Forever Evil there Futures Endsimply is no Futures End. While we have yet to know for sure just how good Futures End will end up being, the very fact that DC is taking a chance with something so epic and all-encompassing is a great approach for a publisher that has been losing to Marvel when it comes to big events. Septembers are another piece of evidence that points to a categorical change to the way DC handles events, and while September 2013 saw DC make waves with Villain’s Month, September 2014 sees a similar month-long event with a series of one-shot issues featuring 3-D lenticular covers. Do you see the same trend I’m seeing? After the entire plan DC has implemented comes to fruition it may be a different story for Forever Evil, but, until that day comes, I have to score it as it is now, and wait for any future context to build itself. Perhaps, someday, Forever Evil will seem better than it was, but that day is not today.

Story: 2 Out of 5
Art: 3 Out of 5
Overall: 2.5 Out of 5

 

 

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Opinion: DC’s Forever Evil and How to Ruin a Great Event

Forever_Evil_1It 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 Good

The lead up to Forever Evil, if you remember, was another event called Trinity War, and Forever Evil 7while 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. Arkham War 1

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?

The Bad

“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 Forever Evil Teaserissue 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.

The Verdict

I’m not saying the last issue of Forever Evil is going to be a stinker. I want it to be good, ForeverEvil_Teaser_Ads_ALL.inddand 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.

Geeks’ Picks for New Comics: March 5th, 2014

outright-geekery profile-largeNew Comics Wednesday is upon us again, and some of us here at Outright Geekery are running down our top pick on comic stacks for this week.

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Jules: New Warriors #2

Really think this title is gonna be solid. The first issue was just exactly what the doctor ordered. Classic Chris Yost, a team spread out with very different ideals will somehow make their way to one another for a common goal they cannot foresee. I love how random the cast of characters are for the most part. Really can’t wait ’til this team is pulled together. I’m dying to see just where exactly the New Warriors fit in the Avengers World, this new dawn of Mutants, this Inhuman age… Where will this team fit?

New Warriors 2

NEW WARRIORS #2
CHRISTOPHER YOST (W) • MARCUS TO (A)
Cover by RAMON PEREZ
VARIANT Cover by Mark Bagley
• The Evolutionaries are on the war path! If it’s not human, it DIES.
• What does the High Evolutionary want with Nova?
• All across the world, the New Warriors come together… SEE! Sun Girl and Haechi deal with Morlocks! WITNESS! Justice and Speedball fight to save magic! CRINGE! As Scarlet Spider refuses to play well with others.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

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Gaumer:  Forever Evil #6

The penultimate chapter in Geoff Johns and David Finch’s amazingly entertaining event, Forever Evil, is finally upon us, if not a week or so late. The final fate of Nightwing, more escapades of Lex Luthor’s new Justice League, and more Crime Syndicate dysfunction is on the menu, and, going by what we’ve been given thus far, I have a ton of faith that the last build-up to the finality of this event is going to something people talk about for years. Don’t miss this!

Forver Evil 6

FOREVER EVIL #6
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
Cover by DAVID FINCH
1:25 Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:50 Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:100 Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale FEBRUARY 19 • 32 pg, 6 OF 7, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The final fate of Nightwing! The most unlikely of allies have set the Crime Syndicate in their sights — and they’re playing for keeps while the life of a hero hangs in the balance! Plus, the identity of the mysterious man in the hood is finally revealed!

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Taylor: She-Hulk #2

Fresh off of a strong showing from Issue #1, Soule and Pulido return with their next installment in the adventures of Jen Walters. This series is shaping up to be a lot of fun, and a refreshing change of pace from usual super-heroic fair, as it looks to blend Shulkies superhero and lawyer identities together. I’m anxious to see if they can keep up the good work.

She-Hulk 2

SHE-HULK #2
CHARLES SOULE (W)
JAVIER PULIDO (A)
Cover by KEVIN WADA
VARIANT by AMANDA CONNER
• Jennifer opens her own practice, but things aren’t going as smoothly as she’d like.
• A new client rides into town…but is he hero or villain?
• Guest-starring Patsy Walker, Hellcat!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

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J. Jonah Jesse: The Saviors #3

A sort of quirky Lizard Aliens taking over the earth, and our protagonist, the unlikely stoner, caught up in the middle of it! James Robinson got out of DC and is making serious waves in new Indie titles and Marvel books. This is a gem of a comic. Artist J. Bone is creating a snapping black and white world with a stylized feel right out of a ’70s cartoon. This is certainly at the top of my pull list this week.

Saviors #3

SAVIORS #3
story JAMES ROBINSON
art / cover J. BONE
FEBRUARY 26 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $2.99
Tomas Ramirez is now in the small Mexican coastal town of La Calma, where other new freedom fighters allies intend to test a device to end the threat of the aliens forever. But the aliens have a counterattack plan of their own, so this certainly will be the Day of the Dead.

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Those are our picks, what’s on the top of your stack in comic shops this Wednesday?

Comix City Too!This post brought to you by Comix City Too! in Madison Tennessee, Outright Geekery’s local comic shop of choice. Check out everything coming out this week in stores here, and be sure to get out to your local comic shop.

Review: Justice League Issue #26

Justice League #26

JUSTICE LEAGUE #26
Writter: GEOFF JOHNS
Art: IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale DECEMBER 24
32 pg
$3.99 US
RATED T

If you keep up with my reviews at all you know I’ve been paying a whole lot of attention to the whole Forever Evil event going on over at DC Comics, and for good reason. The story of the Crime Syndicate coming to the New 52 and bringing down the entire Justice League in the porcess of taking over the world is a pretty cool premise. And, for the most part, the story has been just as compelling as that premise, and the Justice League tie-ins to the event have been no different. The premise of these JL tie-ins to Forever Evil has been a spotlight on the individual members of the Crime Syndicate itself, offering readers fascinating insight into who these characters are in this New 52 era. Issue #26, however, while keeping to this basic idea, was somewhat of a departure from this recipe, and although that departure was a necessary change of direction as the Forever Evil event begins to reach its end, the change did impact the overall appeal of that premise, one that made the Forever Evil era of Justice League enjoyable to begin with.

The Good

Reis and Prado on art is a joy to behold. The work is consistent throughout the issue, and the detail in the pencils and colors is the kind of quality readers have come to expect from the premiere team book at DC Comics, while doing a great job of pushing along the story in the book. The overall appeal of the JL books that have been part of Forever Evil has been seeing the Crime Syndicate’s backstory, and Johns keeps to that trend in this title, albeit in a more slimmed down fashion. Power Ring and Johnny Quick and Atomica’s origins were quite intriguing, but seeing what the A.I. Grid’s agenda is all about is a brilliant addition to the Syndicate’s inherent dysfunction. The stuff about Cyborg was good, but I wasn’t really ready to see that part of the Forever Evil story move into other titles. But I guess the event can’t last Forever.

The Bad

Although I liked what I saw about the Crime Syndicate in this ish, I wanted more. Previous JL issues dedicated an entire issue to a single Syndicate member, and #26 gave us three. That’s just way too many awesome characters to fit in a single issue, and seeing more of them would have been better than this single crammed book. Additionally, Justice League has remained part of Forever Evil, but kept a bit of separation from the actual events of Forever Evil, and although that method was really working well, this issue, sadly, moved away from all that. I understand that the title has to work with the end of the event, but the departure did hurt the book.

The Verdict

Although issue #26 of Justice League suffered a bit from the event that made it possible in the first place, it was still a pretty good ish. It’s nowhere near as good as the JL issues that preceded it, and felt like a watered down version of those books, but getting backstory on these very interesting Crime Syndicate members has been quite enjoyable. Now, surely that is all coming to an end, and that IS sad, but hopefully the title changing direction doesn’t hurt it any more than the damage seen in this latest installment. Go pick this up, but don’t expect the same sort of fun you’ve had in recent JL comics. Still a fun trip, but the ride feels like it’s slowing down.

Review: Justice League Issue #24

JL 24
JUSTICE LEAGUE #24
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale: OCTOBER 16
Pages: 32 pg
Cover Price: $3.99 US
RATED T

When DC Comics first announced Forever Evil, the company’s first universe-wide event since the New 52 reboot, I was excited, but more than a bit worried. It wasn’t that I didn’t think DC could pull off finishing the story they began in Forever Evil #1. The epic of the Crime Syndicate’s journey from Earth 3 to the New 52 Earth (I’m not sure what the official name for that is…Earth 0?) and the fall of the heroes we all know and love had enough on its own to make for a great story. No, my worry came from how DC was going to fill the pages of the enormous amount of tie-in titles Forever Evil includes. No less than three separate new titles and everything from Constantine to Pandora to all three Justice League books will be stamped with the Forever Evil moniker for months to come. That is a whole lot of pages to fill with Forever Evil goodness, and the main Forever Evil title may suffer because of it. We may have a long way to go before Forever Evil and its multitudes of tie-ins gives us the ultimate verdict on how DC balanced all this, but Justice League issue #24, an early Forever Evil tie-in, did not fail to impress.

The Good

The book benefits greatly from the fact that issue #24 is written by Geoff Johns, the same scribe of the Forever Evil title itself, assuring that the writer at least understands the overall story being told. And, boy, does Johns get it! The plot has nice elements that push the overall Forever Evil story along quite nicely, but that isn’t the main focus of the issue. Johns inherently understands that the truly intriguing aspect of the entire Forever Evil story-line up to this very early point is the Crime Syndicate itself, and the writer finds a perfect balance between giving us that backstory and guiding the current one. The book opens up on a doomed planet and a couple hoping to save their infant son from imminent doom. A familiar story, right? Yeah, except this is not the Superman origin story, it’s the twisted tale of the Crime Syndicate’s own version of Supes, Ultraman, and his similar, yet much more sinister, origin, and it’s all so uniquely compelling. While we get to see the earliest moments of Ultraman’s life; wonderfully showing how the character was destined for evilness from the cradle; his later years; portraying duplicate, and not nearly as nice, versions of Ma and Pa Kent; further cement the disturbing nature of the character, and Ultraman’s brutal treatment of “Earth 0’s” Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane leave no doubts that we are dealing with a megalomaniacal psychopath with the power of JL 1Superman. This culminates nicely as The New 52’s resident megalomaniacal psychopath, Black Adam, shows up to teach Ultraman a lesson in cruelty. The issue ends as Black Adam, not Ultraman, may be the one getting the lesson. The art is simply amazing, and penciler Ivan Reis does not disappoint as his consistent artwork brilliantly captures the emotions of each and every character, from the confident look of an infant Ultraman to the rage of a Black Adam determined to rid his world of interlopers, and everything in between. The cover, hearkening back to Justice League issue 1, was not only brilliantly drawn, but acted as a really fun complement to the overall story.

The Bad

First, let me get this out of the way: I wish I had something negative to say about the art, but I don’t. It’s just spectacular work from the first panel, remains consistently brilliant throughout, and shines in the beautiful, yet sporadic, epic full-page spreads. The art is almost TOO good, but that’s more of a complaint on every other book, not Justice League #24. While the characters that make up the Crime Syndicate are very interesting, and I want to know more about them, I’m not sure if JL can keep up the pace of giving us individual tidbits of Crime Syndicate members’ backstories without getting bogged down in the Forever Evil event title itself. The timing and pace of one or the other may suffer because of this reliance on giving readers what they want: More of the Crime Syndicate. That certainly takes nothing away from this single issue, but it is a worthwhile concern as the title moves forward with the main event book. Another problem I had with the issue occurred in only a single panel showing a scene very reminiscent of Madame Zanadu’s vision way back in the beginning or Trinity War. Madame Z’s vision starred the trinity we all know – Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – not these Injustice League rejects from Earth 3. Confused much? Yes! Yes I am!

The Verdict

This may come as a surprise, but if you are reading Forever Evil you do not necessarily want to read this title. There are a few points in the issue that directly relate to things going on in Forever Evil, but it is definitely not “required reading” needed to enjoy the event, and barely adds anything meaningful to Forever Evil. This issue is definitely for anyone interested in the individual members of the Crime Syndicate themselves, and, if the book keeps to the trend of issue 24, JL should continue to give us some great insight into not only what these characters are up to as part of the overall Forever Evil event, but also the sordid past of these evil beings. Justice League issue #24 does not fail to meet the expectations of fans of the Forever Evil event, but doesn’t really hang its hat on the event either. There’s plenty there for everyone, that “plenty” is very well told, and the promise of this book in the future of the overall event makes this issue well worth picking up. If you’re not sold on the whole Forever Evil deal don’t give this a second look. If you’re even the least bit interested in the event, however, Justice League #24 may still not be worth getting as it doesn’t seem very integral to the event. If you are a huge fan of the Crime Syndicate, however, make sure to leave enough room for Justice League #24 in your weekly stack.

Review: Justice League of America Issue #8

JusticeLeagueofAmerica8

Justice League of America #8
Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Doug Mahnke
32 Pages
Cover Price: $3.99

If you haven’t been keeping up with the happenings of the current DC Comics Universe-wide mega-event Forever Evil, you’ve missed way too much to cover in any sort of depth in this review. Basically, The Crime Syndicate has taken over the earth and, as far as any of us were led to believe, The Justice League, save at least one or two, were *gulp* DEAD! Of course, no one in their right mind actually thought DC would kill off a huge chunk of A-list heroes, at least not in one fail swoop, but this did, however, continually beg the question among fanboys: Where the hell is The Justice League? Well, JLA issue 8 begins to paint the intriguing answer to that question, while raising a few more of its own.

The Good

Before I get into the meat of the matter I have to give some credit to Doug Mahnke’s art in this issue. While the art was generally consistent throughout, stunning panels sporadically leap from the pages with every other flip of the book as different members of The Justice League are seen emotionally distraught to the point of relative paralysis. This terrific work on pencils drives an equally interesting story as we discover, via the unlikely team-up of Martian Manhunter, Stargirl and the Jason Rusch half of Firestorm, other members of The Justice League trapped in a prison that preys on each of their greatest qualities in the context of their weakest moment. Wonder Woman struggles against her own honor and mortal/immortal duality; Captain Marvel is set loose in a playground of destruction without consequences that only a super-powered child could fully appreciate; Flash sits motionless as the thought of being fast enough to do ALL things hinders his ability to do anything else; Superman seeks justice for a murder he himself committed as he is consumed by his enormous guilt. This prison is yet another example of just how sinister the Crime Syndicate truly is, and I can’t think of any worse sort of jail than one that causes a constant mind$%^& for those inside. The issue tried to answer a few more questions, but I’m wishing writer Matt Kindt plays the same sort of mind$%^& with his audience, and hoping these “answers” are anything but. There’s definitely room for plenty of cerebral twists and turns in this story, I just hope it doesn’t end up being the same straight line this issue ended up being.

The Bad

Although we got some “okay” answers to some pretty important questions, that’s just about all we got: Straight-line story from end to end, no twist, no hooks, just revelation. Such an important question that surrounds a huge moment in the overall event (i.e. The Justice League’s surmised death) deserves something better than “Oh, Martian Manhunter and Stargirl aren’t affected by the prison.” Maybe there’s more to it than that, and I certainly hope there is, but as of this issue there are big and obvious holes in an otherwise perfect and insidious plan carried out by the Syndicate. My gut tells me this is too big of a ball for DC to drop, but it’s an observation worth mentioning and worth worrying about. Those holes, which may in fact not be holes at all, are still not wide enough to ruin an otherwise fascinating story surrounding a fascinating way to subdue The Justice League. While I don’t particularly care for the way Doug Mahnke draws Martian Manhunter, and his quality tends to waver a bit depending on the angle of the characters he’s drawing, these are minor nitpicks at best and do nothing to take away from the overall enjoyment of the issue.

The Verdict

If you are reading or thinking about reading DC Comics’ Forever Evil event this is a worthwhile grab. While it may not pan out to be everything it could potentially be, it has the potential of being THE book for seeing The Justice League get their stuff back together and move toward taking the fight back to the Crime Syndicate. If you’re not reading Forever Evil, however, this book is going to be a major waste of time and money. There’s nothing here that isn’t inherently Forever Evil, and someone looking for a good, run-of-the-mill Justice League story is going to be very disappointed. It’s a really good event tie-in issue, answers some questions, brings up some others, has a ton of potential and does exactly what a book like this is supposed to do: Get me to buy the next issue. Which I will, without a doubt, be doing.

-Gaumer