"...You need to see what they've done to Nightwing."
“…You need to see what they’ve done to Nightwing.”

Forever Evil has been churning out a well-orchestrated villain-fueled plot since the start and this issue is without question the most absorbing one so far. While it’s been both entertaining and enlightening watching the gradual uprising of Lex Luthor to combat the oppressive force of the Crime Syndicate, one thing writer Geoff Johns has failed to address in the meantime is Nightwing, whose kidnapping and unmasking in the first issue has been the defining event of this miniseries. Forever Evil #6 rightly corrects this oversight by once again bringing Dick Greyson into the fold, shedding some light on the character since his capture and more importantly, his much-talked-about fate. Johns has a lot of narrative plates to spin as he also unveils a secret from under the hood of the Crime Syndicate’s shrouded captive and handles the highly anticipated clash between Luthor’s followers and the Syndicate themselves. Make sure to take a deep breath before reading because this issue doesn’t have time to slow down.

Naturally the battle between the two opposing forces remains the focal point of the issue, as it has been for the previous five, though the intriguing moments lie within Luthor’s camp and his unlikely partnership with Batman. Luthor and Batman share the most biting bits of dialogue as the two men quarrel at each turn with Luthor taking charge of the assault on the Crime Syndicate’s base of operations, blaming Batman and the rest of the Justice League for the evil that has usurped the world. It is once Nightwing is discovered that the altercation between Luthor and Batman is exasperated, and how Luthor handles the situation remains consistent with how Johns has been writing him:  a ruthless but intelligent strategist. Somehow, Luthor manages to come across as the least cruel though when compared to the aggression fellow teammates Black Manta and Captain Cold bring to their fight with the Crime Syndicate. Even in the chaos of such a large-scale battle, Johns finds voices and moments for all his villains, including a new one introduced late in the issue that immediately has me eagerly anticipating Forever Evil’s final chapter next month.

Artist David Finch squeezes more panels in Forever Evil #6 than ever before and fortunately this is also his best looking issue to date. His character close-ups convey the proper emotional tolls throughout the issue, with the reunion of Nightwing and Batman being a particular strong highlight. Finch also handles the brutality of the battle with a few creative flourishes including depicting the heinous stabbing of one character as simple silhouettes, making it all the more macabre. I’m still not a fan of Finch’s renderings of Ultraman and Sinestro—both characters look as though their faces are melting—but his detailed work on Deathstorm and Johnny Quick supersede those complaints. It’s as consistent as Finch has been this entire series, and it couldn’t come during a better issue.

Forever Evil #6 is a must-read from start to finish. In fact, I don’t see how a reader can begin this issue and put it down without reaching the end. It’s theoretically impossible given the engaging content that Johns and Finch deliver here.

GNN Comics Grade: MINT (9/10)

 

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