Forever Evil #7
w. Geoff Johns
a. David Finch
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why:? Because, despite the delay, I’ve been dying for this event to finish! Not only was it a perfect sequel to the Trinity War Justice League crossover of last year, it re-established the Crime Syndicate as major players in the New 52. Gone were the silly copies of the Justice League, bumbling around in our universe, committing goofy crimes and being round up 1.. 2 ..3 .. by the League. Now a force to be reckoned with, the Crime Syndicate fled their dying world, barely escaping the mysterious being who destroyed it, and have come to ours to conquer all.
And they succeeded.
The Leagues (Dark, of America, & Regular) are missing and presumed dead, supervillains and criminals set free from prisons across the globe, cities fallen, and the sun, now permanently eclipsed by the moon, sheds no light on a defeated earth.
All hope lies in Lex Luthor, who along with a handful of other villains( Black Adam, Captain Col, Bizarro, Sinestro and Black Manta ) who refused to join the Crime Syndicate’s Secret Society, to fight back against the Syndicate…with a little help from Batman and Catwoman….
Last issue’s reveal of the hooded prisoner (brought to our Earth by the Syndicate) as Earth 3’s Alexander Luthor, was a bit obvious giving DC’s history of the character. Alexander possessing the power of Mazahs (read it backwards folks) and being able to summon his powers through it’s dark lightning, was a bit of shock! Just as much of one was watching Lex Luthor kill Nightwing right in front of Batman’s eyes! (granted had to stop a large explosive device connected to Nightwing’s heart beat, and there was more to his plan than that… which leads to a great moment between Batman and Lex). Now can this half of the team save the Leagues, who the Crime Syndicate has bonded the members to the Firestorm Matrix and rigged the unwilling hero to go to critical mass, destroying all the Leagues, and half a continent along with it.
Whew.. thank god the recently reconstituted Cyborg has a plan… and it involves Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth…and a whole lot of faith in Batman.
As the truth behind the father of Superwoman’s unborn child is revealed, Mazahs is unleashed, killing both members of the Crime Syndicate and villains from our Earth, including pulling Bizarro’s heart out…. an action that has unexpected emotional reactions in Lex Luthor.
Lex hatches a plan, utilizing Sinestro, Black Adam and Batman’s lightning rod from the future to channel Black Adams lightning against Mazahs, but it proves futile, and puts Lex on Mazahs’ radar. But our Lex proves, you don’t have to be the most powerful Luthor in the multiverse to win, you just need to be the smartest, as he utterly defeats Mazahs… with one single word! And that’s not all our newest hero is responsible for, he crushes another syndicate member (literally) and reduces another to a whimpering mess. And what’s the final step in Luthor’s rise to hero-dom…. why saving Superman’s life of course!! You have to see it to believe it!
Forever Evil has drawn to an epic conclusion, the reign of the Crime Syndicate is over, but the future of the DCU is just beginning. Plenty of easter eggs were dropped; a certain young scientist makes an appearance for the first time in the New 52, Lex’s surprising turning of a leaf, and his revelation about Batman, Owlman free on our earth, Batman’s plan for Nightwing, now that his identity is exposed, and finally the return of the most powerful villain in ANY DC universe (hint #1) …. and its NOT Darkseid!!!! (hint #2)
Forever Evil can now be added to list of awesome event mini series put out by DC since Crisis (and that might be hint #3!) and Geoff Johns and David Finch have done a fantastic job of taking old DC ideas and breathing fresh new life into them. It was well worth the wait guys! ( but don’t let it happen again! )
Justice League #30
a. Ivan Reis & Doug Mahnke
4 out 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because the opening splash page has a flash forward to 4 days after the end of Forever Evil, with the remnants of the Secret Society (villains gathered by the Crime Syndicate to do their bidding during Forever Evil ), being confronted by the new Justice League. Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Shazam are present… but so are Captain Cold and Lex Luthor!??!? And Lex seems to be leading them??? What is going on?!!
The scene shifts back to the present, where the world is celebrating Lex Luthor as its greatest hero and blaming the Justice League, who were M.IA. for most of the Crime Syndicate’s rise to power. Not believing Luthor’s new found benevolence is all it seems to be, the League has been searching for his whereabouts for three days, with no luck. They have a few questions for Mr. Luthor about what actually went down and his involvement in it. Suddenly, the League receives an invitation from the former villain… an invitation to the new Watchtower!!!
Lex Luthor lays out all the reasons why he should be a member, all of which kinda make sense. He even brings Shazam along with him as a potential member. With the Justice League still not convinced of his new found heroic qualities, Luthor does the unexpected and submits to Wonder Woman’s lasso! What he says even convinced me he should be a member, but there is too much history between Lex and Superman and he is vehemently denied membership.
So what does the new Lex do in exchange for their effrontery? He gives them the new Watchtower! Yes, Lex Luthor GIVES the Justice League a new headquarters. Maybe he has change? (nahhhhhh……right?) The League discuses the looming threats it faces, the powerful being that destroyed Earth 3, the death of the Earth 3’s Hal Jordan left a vacancy in the Power Ring department, and the sentient evil ring found it’s new member, a new Doom Patrol lies waiting in the shadows,and when Luthor shows up at Wayne manor, its not Bruce he asks Alfred to speak to!!!
A good start to the Justice League’s post Forever Evil era, and a superb piece of work by industry greats Johns, Reis and Mahnke.
Original Sin #2
w. Jason Aaron
a. Mike Deodato
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because this creative team can do a book about Mother Teresa and Ghandi knitting in an empty room and it would be more exciting then most books put out today. Luckily for us, Original Sin is Marvel’s lastest event mini-series, and this team destroys it. The Watcher is dead, assassinated in the Blue Area of the Moon, his eyes stolen from his corpse, and his base destroyed, with various weapons and artifacts missing or destroyed.
Now, pulled from retirement by Captain America, Nick Fury leads an investigation into the Watcher’s death, with a large team of Avengers and X-Men backing him up. First up, what’s the link between the now mind-full, Mindless ones appearing around NYC on senseless rampages and the Watcher being killed? Nick Fury is about to find out, and all it will cost him is one of his favorite flying cars. With a now highly intelligent Mindless one in custody, Fury leaves it up to the super-geniuses (Tony Stark and Bruce Banner) to figure out a way to track them, while Reed Richards confirms that is was the Utlimate Nullifier the last Mindless One was running around with, stolen from the Watcher’s headquarters, proving the link.
Meanwhile, two teams put together by the Mysterious Man In Shadows conduct their own investigations. The Black Panther, White Queen and Ant-man search through a massive subterranean grave yard, filed with the remains of assorted monsters, populated by fearful Moloids, looking for the source of a strange radiation found near the Watcher’s remains. Meanwhile, the unlikely duo of Doctor Strange and the Punisher walk the twisted planes of the Realm of Man-Eating Shadows, and Frank Castle proves his worth in the investigation by finding a giant cosmic bullet, nestled in the brain cavity of a murdered Beast King of the Ancient world. (it’s ideas like these that make Aaron a force to be reckoned with!)
Nick Fury and his X-Avengers Police Force have tracked the Mindless Ones to the base of the hooded villain who killed the Watcher. But he’s not working alone, a weakened Doctor Midas and his daughter Oubliette (last seen in the 2000 Marvel Boy Mini-Series by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones) are begrudgingly working with the cosmic killer and they are ready for Fury and his forces. Oubliette leads an army of Mindless Ones against them, while the hooded man and her father try to escape. With a team consisting of members like Thor, Hulk, The Thing, Nova Storm, Luke Cage, Iron Man, the Black widow, the Falcon, Kitty Pryde, Daredevil, Magik, Wolverine, Spiderman and Captain America, the Mindless Ones never stood a chance, and Oubliette quickly subjugated, the hooded villain stands revealed (if you thought Oubilette and Doctor Midas were c-listy…wait until you see this guy!!! You might be familiar with him if you’ve been following Aaron’s Marvel career from the beginning…) and in his possession … the Eye of the Watcher. The Marvel Universe will never be the same again!
Marvel made the right move bringing Aaron and Deodato together for an epic event book, Deodato’s art is just as bright and beautiful as Aaron’s writing, an both their skills at handling large casts in various locations make this mini-series a remarkable example of the Comic Book Company Event Series:
w. Mark Millar
a. Duncan Fegredo
Why?: Because I love watching Millar play with familiar comic book tropes and genres. His deconstruction and rebuilding of old time favorites like Spiderman (Kick-Ass), Shazam (Superior), Batman (Nemesis), and Flash Gordon (Starlight) have always been top-notch interesting reads, so I figured his take on Speedsters will be pretty intense as well, especially with his familiarity with the subject (Millar co-wrote an acclaimed run on DC’s Flash with Grant Morrison).
In 1986 (lots of reasons for that right???) the world’s first and only super-powered being appeared. Mr. Springfield, a speedster, fueled by a drug of some sort called MPH, lost control on his initial outing and cause severe damage across several states, before being captured and sedated by the US Army.
Mr. Springfield, nor MPH was ever seen again since.
In 2014, low-level criminal Roscoe, is trying to get by on the streets of Detroit doing small jobs for the town drug dealer, Samuria Hal. But Roscoe has dreams of getting out of Detroit and starting a Real Estate business with his out-of-his-league girlfriend Rosa, and if delivering a few kilos of coke to a music producer will help him cross some things off his vision board, he’s gonna do it. For the big picture.
When things go wrong, and the producer turns out to be an undercover cop, Roscoe finds all his grand plans slamming to a halt.
But even prison won’t keep his big ideas down, and Roscoe stays on the straight and narrow, being an exemplary prisoner, hoping for an early release to get back to his girl and his dream. When word gets to him that Samurai Hal set him up, knowing the deal was hot, and only sent him on it to get him separated from Rosa, so Hal can make a move on her, Roscoe loses it. A fight with a fellow inmate sends him to solitary, and having the prison drug dealer, Cedric as best friend leads to a giant change in Roscoe’s life.
Roscoe caves to Cedric’s repeated offers of smuggled and homemade drugs while at his lowest, and Cedric gives him a pill to “take you out of this place”, a pill from a bottle marked MPH.
Millar handles Roscoe’s sudden inheritance of super-speed smartly, and it’s amazingly drawn by Duncan Fegredo, who deftly captures both speed and stillness in the same panel and gives the characters personalities beyond their word bubbles. This was a good first issue, with a nice Millar-esque cliff hanger ending, that will definitely get you to buy issue 2.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because Valiant’s blockbuster summer event Armor Hunters begins soon, and this is the perfect jump on book to get on board. A quick, one page origin story by Venditti and Jones brings you up to date with X-O, while a short chapter by Venditti and Hitch gives you a peak inside the mind and soul of the barbarian king in the alien armor. And then the main story by Venditti and Bernard, gives us much more info on the group of Armor Hunters traveling the galaxies, killing sentient armors similar to the X-O Armor. They aren’t just some rag-tag mercenaries on the hunt just for the thrill. They are a para-military force, following orders from an entity known as Control, and complete their missions with military precision and lethal practice, with little regard for a planet’s civilian population. Now they are heading to Earth, with X-O in their sights!
To see more of this book’s covers check out my preview article, complete with art samples and variant covers: X-O Manowar #25 – Blockbuster Anniversary Issue has it all!!!
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Simply because it was too kitchy to pass up: A sequel to the classic “Where no man has gone before ” episode from the original t.v. series, fan-favorite and industry vet john Byrne has painstakingly assembled a photo-novel starring the cast of the original series once again confronting former crew member Gary Mitchell, who wields god like powers after being altered by passing through the galactic barrier.
Via photo-shop and various other digital blending techniques (he explains the process himself in the opening pages), Byrne used actual images from the series, especially the very episode it is a sequel to and carefully crafted a great Star Trek story that captures the flavor of the original run, and reads like an episode of the show, down to the special effects, sets and locations.
It was definitely worth the hefty $8.00 price tag, and not being a real big fan of Byrne’s more recent stuff (or his attitude in general), I only took a gamble after flipping through it and grinning like an idiot… plus i had a little extra cash on me for a change and indulged.
Check this work of art out:
I was just informed (like 5 mins ago) by my loving fiancee (who also happens to be a comic shop employee) Diane, that this was a re-order I grabbed off the shelf and that a new issue has come out (which she has just re-ordered for me) a sequel to the also classic “Mirror, Mirror” episode:
See Ya Next Week Folks…. now to beam myself to bed….oh Scotttttty