“Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.” #1 stumbles over itself before it even has a chance to get rolling. Originally solicited with Matt Kindt onboard as writer and Manuel Garcia on the art chores, the Brett Booth-covered comic book instead boasts a creative team that includes Sterling Gates as the writer and a half-dozen artists tag-teaming the story.
The biggest problem with the book is the patchwork appearance created by three very distinct comic book artists in Philip Tan, Neil Edwards and Javier Pina. I’m not sure what purpose Tan’s work serves in this comic. There really isn’t enough of it to carry any weight, and the work from Edwards and Pina would be more cohesive without Tan providing the visual endcaps. Tan gets pieces of the big moments but doesn’t handle all of the setup, which deflates and disconnects those spots. I’d rather see Tan get more of the story or have the art left to Edwards and Pina, whose styles are more similar than either’s is to Tan’s. Edwards delivers journeyman’s work on the intermittent present-day scenes while Javier Pina makes a ridiculously strong case to take over the art chores completely. The trio of artists is joined by a pair of inkers and a trio of colorists to help ensure this book is void of any visual cohesiveness. Like an anthology comic, there is good art and bad art represented in the pages of “Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.” #1, but unlike anthologies, this issue tells one story: the origins of A.R.G.U.S. framed by the impact “Forever Evil” is having upon the Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans.
Sterling Gates delivers a by-the-numbers story, but manages to steer clear of becoming completely predictable and boring. As an A.R.G.U.S. adventure, this comic lacks the spirit and roster of the organization, but as a Steve Trevor comic, Gates does a great job. However, so much of the story here is simply other stories from a different angle that this feels like the comic book equivalent of a re-run. The moments that add to the comic are a sitrep updating Trevor on a handful of foes and the Pina-drawn Wonder Woman flashback scenes.
“Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.” #1 succeeds in the spots where it doesn’t focus on the acronym, the organization or the crossover with “Forever Evil.” Essentially, if this comic were called “The Adventures of Steve Trevor,” it would be a lot more on-target. The cover makes this seem as though it is a book about a team of warriors, but the story inside narrows the focus to Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, with a few cyphers dropped in for padding. This isn’t the greatest tie-in story ever, but it’s also not the worst.