Justice League 24
Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Geoff Johns continues to spread evil across the DC Universe, continuing right where he left off in the pages of the main Forever Evil miniseries. But just because the Justice League is dead (for now) and gone (for now), doesn’t mean the title cannot continue. And Johns, joined here by frequent collaborator, artist Ivan Reis, is at the top of his game. The brilliant dialogue shows us just how great the Crime Syndicate (and Ultraman specifically) truly are. And by great, of course, I mean horrific and diabolical. The concept of a backwards Earth where heroes are villains and villains are heroes seems absurd at first (and usually was, even when they would try every so often to do a modern retelling or appearance of such characters), but somehow, Johns and Reis (and Finch on the main event title) have succeeded where countless other creators of the past have failed. They are no longer ridiculous. And even though it seems that they had a nearly impossible task to complete, they handle it quite gracefully. Color me impressed.
The issue, entirely narrated by Ultraman (or Kal-Il, as he’s dubbed), starts with the destruction of Krypton, by a mysterious entity, and Kal’s landing in the middle of the Smallville, Kansas, instructing Jon and Martha Kent that they will be his parents now. We then see young “Clark” killing his parents when they outlive their usefulness, the birth of the coward Power Ring, the creation of Lois Lane as Superwoman, and the inevitable destruction of the Crime Syndicate’s Earth at the hands of, you guessed it, the same mysterious force that blew up Krypton. Flash forward to present times, where the Justice League is dead and evil has inherited the Earth, our Earth, with various members of the Syndicate and the Secret Society squashing any form of rebellion that may rear its heroic head. We then see Ultraman confront (quite brutally) the staff of the Daily Planet, nearly killing Jimmy Olsen and threatening to do to Lois what he’s wanted to do to his own version for years, when suddenly, out of the blue, they are saved by… Black Adam? Now, this might have seemed like it was out of nowhere to some readers, but readers of Villains Month (or the regular Justice League title before Forever Evil began) will be pleasantly surprised at this “villain’s” quite heroic entrance. The fact that he and Ultraman will be going toe-to-toe is going to prove just how complicated the villains of the DC Universe can be. I can’t wait.
There’s no question in my mind this week. Justice League is by far the best book on the stands right now. Johns and Reis are superstars and they’re proving it by not only using characters long-thought lame or cheesy, but spotlighting and legitimizing them. Ultraman is now one of my favorite characters, and I can’t wait to see more about Owlman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick, Atomica, Grid, Deathstorm, and the rest of the team. Not to mention find out more details involving the “baby daddy drama” going on between the evil “trinity” of heroes. And, of course, the inevitable revelation (and no doubt appearance) of the “Big Bad” who destroyed the previous two planets Kal-Il called home. Could it be Darkseid? Or something worse? If that’s even possible. I have my theories… But I’m not going to share. Yet.
My Rating: 5/5