SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains massive spoilers for “Forever Evil” #7, “Justice League” #30 and “Justice League of America” #14.
The end of “Forever Evil” is more than just the final chapter of DC Comics‘ latest crossover event — it’s a turning point for the DC Universe. In “Forever Evil” #7, “Justice League” #30 and “Justice League of America” #14, Geoff Johns, Matt Kindt, David Finch, Ivan Reis, Eddy Barrows, Tom Derenick and Diogenes Neves present readers with plenty of material to digest, setting the DCU on a path into uncharted territories. Whether it’s the fall of the Crime Syndicate or the fate of characters both old and new, it’s clear the DCU has a lot to explore on the road to upcoming weekly series “World’s End” and currently ongoing weekly “Futures End.”
CBR took a look at the biggest plot points to arise from the conclusion of “Forever Evil,” including a big change in one of the DCU’s flagship villains, the effect the Crime Syndicate has on Earth-1 moving forward, the tease of a classic superhero team’s return and more.
THE NEW 52 DEBUT OF TED KORD
In the opening act of “Forever Evil,” readers were teased with Lex Luthor’s plans to take over Kord Industries — something that looked pretty likely when a helicopter crash ended up taking CEO Thomas Kord’s life. By the end of the event, things have come full circle, with the introduction of the new — and noticeably young — owner of Kord Industries, Ted Kord, making his New 52 debut appearance, as Johns teased earlier this year. Yes, the other half of Blue and Gold has been in the New 52 DCU this entire time, just waiting to make his presence known. And if the insignia on his t-shirt is any indication, the stage is set for Ted to make his Blue Beetle debut sometime in the near future.
And this scene pulls double duty, only does setting the stage for Ted Kord’s re-integration into the DCU. It also demonstrates a marked change in another character following the events of “Forever Evil” —
LEX LUTHOR, CHANGED MAN
Yes, Lex has changed — and apparently, it’s for real this time! While he’s still an egomaniac, his interaction with Ted Kord indicates he’s had a change of heart about taking over Kord Industries, and about family as a whole. Is he completely on the side of the angels? Probably not — this is, after all, Lex Luthor — but if Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth interrogation in “Justice League” #30 is any indication, he’s an egomaniac that realizes he needs to put aside his petty feud with Superman and the Justice League in order to help save the world from a far bigger threat.
Plus, he loves the attention from saving the world — and unlike Norman Osborn during Marvel’s “Dark Reign,” Luthor isn’t insane. That said, only time can tell whether he’s actually changed, but his actions in the issue — from his mourning of Bizarro’s death to not going public immediately with Batman’s secret identity (That’s right — Lex has figured out who Bruce Wayne really is!) and the tease of him being a key part of the Justice League — seem to indicate a huge turn for the character that may just stick for longer than a 4-issue storyline.
THE TATTERED REMAINS OF THE CRIME SYNDICATE
The biggest addition to the DC Universe at the beginning of “Forever Evil” was the Crime Syndicate of Earth 3, and with the event now concluded, they’re still here — but completely decimated. Johnny Quick, Deathstorm, Power Ring, Grid and Atomica all died during the final battle; Ultraman is powerless with the return of Earth’s sun; Superwoman is imprisoned and pregnant with Alexander Luthor’s child; Owlman is still at large; and Power Ring’s power ring has found a new host through which is plans to destroy the planet.
“Forever Evil” may have seen the fall of the Crime Syndicate, but they’re far from gone — and it’s clear that something bigger is being set up by keeping most of the major pieces of Earth-3 on the table.
Rumors ran rampant during the lead-up to “Forever Evil” that Nightwing would die during the event. And, well, technically he did, if only for a short while. Now, one thing is certain — Nightwing is off the table, even though Dick Grayson is still around. With his secret identity compromised, Dick is headed off to his own brand-new series in “Grayson,” and with the close of “Forever Evil,” we’re given the reason why. With a new mission from Batman (“the most dangerous thing I’ve ever asked you to do”), it’s a big turn of the corner for the character — especially with Owlman’s comments that he hasn’t given up on the two of them being a team.
MISSING IN ACTION, NEW FACES EMERGE
What happened to Vibe and Element Woman? Nobody knows. It’s a huge mystery, not only to readers, but to the DCU as well. But with Cisco Ramon showing up as a supporting character in the CW’s “The Flash,” there’s a good chance DC’s got plans prepared for Vibe down the road. As for Element Woman, a silhouetted panel in “Justice League” #30 hints at the possibility she’ll be appearing as part of the new Doom Patrol.
Meanwhile, Shazam is finally integrated into the ranks of the League (thanks to Lex Luthor), while Green Arrow attempts to pick up the pieces of the Justice League of America — though, more on that can be seen in Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone’s “Justice League United.” Plus, the Metal Men are still out there, waiting to return to the pages of the DCU. “Forever Evil” unlocked a lot of potential for further integration of new faces into the DC Universe three years out from the launch of the New 52, and it’ll be interesting to see where those characters show up in the future — or should that be “Futures End?”
ANTI-MONITOR VERSUS DARKSEID
Speaking of DC’s latest weekly mega-series, the biggest reveal at the end of “Forever Evil” was of infamous “Crisis on Infinite Earths” antagonist the Anti-Monitor. And while it’s pretty obvious that he’s after Darkseid, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to team with the heroes. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It wasn’t Darkseid who decimated Earth-3 — it was the Anti-Monitor, and for some reason, he needs to drain more energy from more universes before taking on the Lord of Apokalips.
Given the role that the Anti-Monitor has had in past DC Comics events, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll be part of the “Futures End” narrative, and even more likely that we’ll see him in “World’s End.” The bottom line is, the heroes are operating on an incredibly faulty assumption at the moment: It’s the Anti-Monitor, not Darkseid, that presents the biggest threat to their universe — and every other one.