[Comic Publication Date: 2/5/14]
Forever Evil #5 is another strong push forward in writer Geoff Johns’ compelling villian-centric event. Even with only two issues left to go, the miniseries is showing no signs of slowing down, so either the last two issues are going to be jam-packed with resolutions to the lingering plot threads seeded in the series so far or the villains will continue to be the focus of the DCU moving forward. As long as the villains continue to be as well-represented as they are in this issue of Forever Evil, the latter scenario would be a welcoming shake-up to the proceedings. Johns hasn’t shied away from depicting his villainous protagonists in their most heinous form–Sinestro does something particularly nasty in this issue–but their actions have been molded with a sense of purpose. Forever Evil has never been about saving the world; it’s about taking the world back from a group of villains that don’t deserve it and putting it into the hands of ones that know what they’re doing.
Although the crux of Forever Evil #5 is one long fight sequence between two opposing factions of villains (with Batman and Catwoman fighting on the side of the lesser evil), the action is managed in such a way to allow each of the characters a defining moment amidst all the calamity. It’s no surprise that Johns, previously a Green Lantern writer for a decade plus, is able to write such a powerful Sinestro who berates and belittles Power Ring and has his militaristic sensibilities piqued when Lex Luthor offers him a chance to run the world. Luthor himself has a great show of power as well when he stands up to Batman and pronounces himself the leader of their group. But for as much as Forever Evil has been a vehicle for Luthor and his collective of villains coming together to topple a greater evil, it’s been just as interesting to watch the Crime Syndicate go from taking charge in the first issue to being two steps behind (and a man down) at the end of this one. Their empire is crumbling down around them and with the threat of a revolution marching closer to their doorstep and another threat inbound from the skies, the state of the Crime Syndicate at the end of this Forever Evil event has to be in serious jeopardy.
David Finch’s art has been a point of contention for me since this series started and this fifth issue is more of the same mixed results. It’s unfortunate that Forever Evil #5’s first splash page, depicting the two sets of villains coming together in a “VS” screen moment, is marred with disproportionate bodies and strange poses (what exactly is Catwoman doing?). Finch does, however, fare far better with the rest of the issue, which has a lot of bombastic action sequences that capture the brutality of the close-quarters combat, especially when it comes to Power Ring and Sinestro. There are a good amount of panels packed into each page to keep the action manageable with so many bodies involved, though several pages have a weird layout that doesn’t quite utilize the full-page and leaves a lot of wasted black space. For a comic filled with such larger-than-life villains (and heroes), it’s disappointing to see the pages that are not quite filled to the brim.
Forever Evil continues to be the best event going in comics, due mainly to the fact that Geoff Johns has a firm handle on a troop of these compelling villains. It’s impressive that a book that barely features a hero can be so enjoyable, but Forever Evil #5 has a lot of great moments.
GNN Comics Grade: VERY GOOD (7.5/10)