SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for "Justice League" #23, releasing August 28.
Although many have assumed that the villains behind DC Comics' "Forever Evil" plot to take over the world from the heroes of the DCU, the event's head writer and chief architect Geoff Johns today revealed a different source that has been manipulating the Justice League, pulling the strings from behind the scenes. In an interview with IGN, Johns confirmed that the Crime Syndicate will start their bid for domination of the Justice League's world starting at the end of "Justice League" #23. The issue marks the first appearance of the Crime Syndicate in the New 52.
"Evil is relative - and what I mean by that, is that our villains are as complex, as deep and as compelling as any of our heroes. Every antagonist in the DC Universe has a unique darkness, desire and drive. And the reason for being of Forever Evil is to explore that darkness," Johns told IGN. "We start literally, in the first issue, when the whole world goes dark; communication and power are gone. And as our Earth is plunged into darkness, the Crime Syndicate begins their plan for conquest.
"[They] make themselves known and they enact their mission to take over. They will lead an army of super villains, but not every villain sees things the way they do," Johns continued. "Every villain in the DC Universe wants something different and not all of them want to rule the world. Or at least, not all of them want to rule the world in the way the Crime Syndicate do."
The appearance of the Crime Syndicate was previously hinted at in the "Forever Evil" teaser for "Teen Titans," which featured what appears to be the feet of Ultraman and Superwoman, the evil Superman and Wonder Woman of Earth-3. Redesigned by David Finch for the New 52, Ultraman and Superwoman are joined by Owlman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring and new member Deathstorm (the Syndicate's Firestorm analogue) -- and the team's bid for power will be challenged by an unlikely source: Lex Luthor, who will form his own super-team to take them out.
"From Sinestro to Black Adam to Captain Cold to Catwoman, we've never seen these villains team-up like this before. And for what some might say the right reasons. But they go about trying to 'save' the world in a very, very different way than our heroes might," Johns said. "They don't have laws they follow. Their moral codes are all on a sliding scale. And their sense of justice isn't going to be a jail cell. Or even something as simple as death. In the end, they too have their own reasons for doing what they do, and ultimately this story will change them as much as it changes the heroes."
"Justice League" #23 goes on sale August 28.