Forever Evil #7

Almost two full months after it was supposed to hit the racks, "Forever Evil" #7 finally brings the conclusion to the event driven by Geoff Johns and David Finch -- and regardless of the delay, the final evaluation of the issue (and the event as a whole) simply boils down to deciding whether or not this is a good story that draws a solid conclusion over an 8-month period.

Geoff Johns tries his very best to pack "Forever Evil" #7 full of fan-friendly moments, like Firestorm exploding, Lex Luthor proving he just might be the smartest man on the planet, Sinestro and Black Adam teaming up against Superwoman and Alexander Luthor and Bizarro trying to give Lex Luthor a big hug. The writer delivers forty pages of story, wrapping up the Crime Syndicate plot, but not finishing it, restructuring the relationship between Batman and Lex Luthor and setting Luthor up for a spot in the DC Universe unlike any he's ever had -- and that includes his run as President from the early 2000s. Johns uses Luthor as the readers' point of view character, but he doesn't let Luthor run away with the book until the end of the story. Batman has a significant role to play in "Forever Evil" #7, as do Black Adam and Sinestro, two of Johns' favorite go-to characters. The writer also delivers plenty of information and characterization around the Crime Syndicate, making "Forever Evil" #7 really fill forty pages.

As is the case with David Finch, some characters and settings play better to his strengths, while others -- well, not so much. Atomica's brief appearance in "Forever Evil" #7 is one of the visual highlights, with Finch, inker Richard Friend, colorist Sonia Oback and letterer Rob Leigh all collaborating nicely to fill the scene with emotion and detail. Much of the rest of the issue, however, features Lex Luthor wrestling with his emotions and determination, furrowed brow working all the way through. Finch comes close to selling those moments, but there are simply too many of those spots for Luthor to come across as anything remotely resembling noble or good. Although the page has some significant flaws, the return of the Justice Leagues is a nice composition from Finch. All in all, Finch, Friend, Oback and Leigh fill up the pages serviceably. There aren't any scenes that anyone is going to rush out and get a tattoo of, but the art is acceptable overall and at least the artist remained on through the whole title, despite some significant delays.

That said, nothing in "Forever Evil" #7 is really worth the wait. Sure, there's a "big surprise" on the final splash page of the issue, but if readers know anything about their DC Universe history or Geoff Johns' gravitating towards certain favorite characters, that splash isn't shocking as much as it is intriguing for the future. In addition to that final page reveal, Johns does leave plenty of threads and subplots for years worth of stories yet to come. There is a big character introduction tied directly to the events of "Forever Evil" #1 certain to make more than a few fans lose their minds. The final fate of the Crime Syndicate weighs in as kind of a big deal, adding depth to the DC Universe and the Justice League has to figure out what they're going to do now. This isn't the greatest DC event, but "Forever Evil" #7 does give readers a satisfying amount of closure to the story that has been driving the line's flagship brand for almost two years now, tracking back to Free Comic Book Day 2012.

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