Ray Fawkes, Beni Lobel
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This is the issue of the series that I wanted from day one. It’s finally going to be something that we can actually look forward to, rather than dread on a monthly basis. It took Ray Fawkes quite a while to find his footing with this series (and its title character), but I believe he’s finally arrived where he needs to be. For the first time in almost a year now, John Constantine is finally being written not only correctly, but in an interesting way. It’s like the good old Vertigo version all over again. He’s the epitome of the anti-hero and this story embraces this and has many highlights along the way. It’s just too bad that they decided to take the Forever Evil stamp off the cover of this issue. Of all of the Forever Evil: Blight crossovers that have been coming out recently, this is probably one of the strongest in terms of story and plot advancement. It was also an excellent change of pace, even if it’s temporary, with the guest artwork of Beni Lobel.
The story of this issue takes place almost entirely inside (or rather, just outsides the gates of) Heaven. We get a really cool battle between the new Justice League Dark (Constantine, Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, Pandora, Deadman trapped inside the Crime Syndicate’s Sea King’s body, and the Phantom Stranger) and the Spectre and Zauriel at the gates of Heaven. The “voice of God” is an adorable little yapper of a dog, which is an idea carried onto the page from the works of J. M. DeMatteis (currently writing both Justice League Dark and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger). But perhaps the coolest aspect of this “unofficial” crossover issue is the fact that DC’s version of the Almighty tells each and every teammate what he or she needs to hear in lieu of just smiting them with the Spectre’s hand. Much to his dismay. He tells the teammates their own version of a pep talk and starts to sort of put Constantine in his place, when he very rudely turns his back on him. Literally. But now they have what they need to destroy Blight once and for all: Not only a new teammate in Zauriel, but also a newly-discovered sense of purpose and willpower.
I’m not going to lie: This is not only my pick of the week (which is a very welcome surprise to me as a reader and reluctant fan of this series), but also a vast improvement over the last several issues. It’s starting to actually be a good read. I really hope Fawkes can keep up the momentum that he just found. Because if he continues to write Constantine in a way that actually makes me simultaneously love and hate the character, he’s really doing his job. And if he does so for a long time, I will happily retract my previous comments on Forever Evil: Blight coverage about taking all of the “magic” or “dark” titles of the DC Universe and absorbing them into just one monthly title. Keep proving me wrong, Fawkes. I’m all for as many well-written and different titles as possible. Especially when they’re coming from DC.
My Rating: 4.5/5
I’m genuinely shocked that mainstream comic publishers are still willing to use god and heaven and hell stories in our ever PC culture. I love how well the “Dark” and “Blight” lines are blending that mythology with super heroics, especially in this issue. I’m also really surprised to see you say this is the first time this title or character has been good, because I’m reading some of these for the first time in New 52 and my first impression is that they rock! I’m just getting into my DC books but this will probably my pick of the week from them too.
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