Forever Evil #1: Nightfall
Lights in major cities turn black, and the Earth’s moon orbits faster, blocking out the sun. Darkness spreads, and DC comic’s villains rise under the command of the Crime Syndicate in the wake of the heroe’s disappearance. Readers might be reminded of Marvel comic’s Dark Reign story arc, where super villains from all the corners of Marvel comic’s universe seized control of S.H.E.I.L.D, including the peace keeping organisation’s documents and files. The Crime Syndicate has access to all the information of the Justice League thanks to a polite artificial intelligence calling itself “The Grid”. Now, they want an army. After that, control of the Earth’s wealth.
(This review includes some spoilers for Issue #1 of DC Comics’ Forever Evil)
Sound effect are sometimes stretched to the size of buildings, giving readers a good idea of the comic book’s intended volume. In a wide angle image, which spans four pages, villains from accross the DC universe are gathered, listening to the oration of the Crime Syndicate. Black shades are abundant, and considering the comic book concerns the triumph of villainous characters. An obvious choice of colour palette, which serves to set a brooding tone. Most of the villains dress in dark colours, however, and telling apart several men in grey suits is near impossible when they are crowded together.
Lex Luthor acts as narrator, but he is more like a witness. He watches the events of the comic book unfold without participating. Some insights are given into other DC comics characters. We see Black Manta’s ceaseless desire for revenge on Aquaman, and Parasite’s addiction to fighting Superman. A key member of the Crime Syndicate is Superwoman. She has several moments where she is vindictive, using her gold, barbed-wire lasso to catch Nightwing. Her body language is powerful as she casually tosses aside the twelve foot high steel doors of Arkham Asylum. It is Superwoman herself who unmasks Nightwing, revealing his identity as Dick Grayson to the DC universe. The absence of the Joker is noted, and several villains seem reluctant to join the Crime Syndicate, fearing The Batman will return.
Themes, Ethics, Values.
Nightwing’s secret identity, and his personal information, is made public by the Crime Syndicate. Invasion of privacy by a draconian and powerful force is the key theme here. Who can keep their personal details hidden when the Crime Syndicate has The Grid stealing personal information? The ethical statement here is that villains are those who invade caches of private information.
Natural selection, in therms of the survival of the fittest, appears twice during the comic book. Lex Luthor and Ultraman both believe that the strongest and smartest creatures survive in their environments. Victorian capitalist Herbert Spencer coined the phrase – described by Steven Shapin for the New Yoker – in the belief accumulating wealth was a signal that a capitalist is best equipped to survive in a business based society. Luthor drops Spencer’s name as he talks expansively about his own accumulated wealth, and threatens businessman Thomas Kord (Father of Ted Kord). The message? According to Forever Evil, it is the combination of wealth and greed alongside threats and abuse that makes up a villain. Moreover, the absence of mercy makes a villain capable of leadership.
A bit more on Forever Evil #1
An interesting step in the new DC universe, where suspense and intrigue are built. How will the DC Universe react and change as the world order is supplanted, and the Crime Syndicate seizes control? Which side will the villains take? Will they fight for themselves, or against the Crime Syndicate‘s command?