Forever Evil #2

After the detour through Villains Month, "Forever Evil" #2 brings the Crime Syndicate back into the spotlight in a timeshare with Lex Luthor, courtesy of Geoff Johns and David Finch. The Syndicate reacts to the uprisings resisting their assault on the planet while Lex Luthor begins to set in motion his own Hail Mary play.

Johns juggles over a dozen characters in this book between Luthor, the Crime Syndicate and the Teen Titans. The Titans, under direction of Red Robin are spurred into action to attempt to deflect or shut down the dominoes starting to fall with the revelation that Nightwing is Dick Grayson. Needless to say, they don't fare as well as the Justice League, even though the true fate of the Justice League remains unknown at this point. Johns drags the members of the Crime Syndicate, particularly Deathstorm, Atomica and Johnny Quick to bone-chilling levels of nastiness and juxtaposes those with Luthor's apparent duty to God and country. By comparison, Luthor almost appears noble, despite the fact that there is not one noble action during his appearance in "Forever Evil" #2.

Heavily shadowed through the work of Richard Friend, David Finch's artwork is significantly detailed. Some of his figures and faces lack consistency throughout the issue, but for the most part the story is dynamically framed and loaded with particulars. Some faces shift and blur together, like Power Ring sharing very similar features to Red Robin, but context thankfully helps keep those crossing identities straight. Sonia Oback's coloring is splotchy in spots, appearing almost wet on some of the figures faces. That's an interesting contrast to the heavy darks that permeate the pages, choking out all white space from the pages of this issue.

"Forever Evil" #2 moves the pieces across the board a bit, but these are the movements of pawns. Johns slides the spotlight around enough to generate interest in many of the characters present in this issue, but doesn't give any one character too much time to claim this comic book as his or her own. Clearly, Lex Luthor has designs on the power plays here and Johns does a fine job of propelling Superman's nemesis to a starring role that develops in the wings. Luthor isn't ready to shine here, but he's well on the path to achieving a significant role in the series. "Forever Evil" #2 is filled with cool little moments that play nicely in a collection, but the story itself needs to get some traction soon or this series might simply be a collection of cool little moments without any strong significance.

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