With Villains Month taking over DC during the month of September, readers get an issue focusing on their favorite villains. With one of the greatest villains of all time, a spotlight issue seems like a no-brainer, fantastic issue. Unfortunately, this issue falls a tad bit flat. Although Joker is presumably dead at the moment, this is comics so we can assume he’s alive. That being said, this would have been a perfect opportunity to spotlight his time spent building up an army, or plotting his next plan against Batman, or causing chaos in some other unsuspecting city. Instead, we get a story about him raising a gorilla, which, while somewhat entertaining, is completely irrelevant to anything and ultimately forgettable. Couple that with the fact that the entire story takes place years ago and you’ve got an issue that doesn’t live up to the title character’s illustrious history. 2/5
Forever Evil launches DC’s first major event that spans across the entire DC Universe. Geoff Johns actually does a good job of setting up the story and introducing most of the major players. Having not read Trinity War, this issue does a great job of introducing the current story without heavily relying on the events of that story. The issue wasn’t without flaws, what with Nightwing swinging from Chicago to Gotham while carrying Zsaz, or the multiple prison breaks portrayed, though the most annoying of these is when exactly this takes place. If you take Batman, for example, come October there will be two series featuring him taking place approximately six years ago, three or four more taking place in the present, while this series has him presumed dead, some time in the near future. While all the titles won’t be having this issue, the fact that this event will have ramifications company wide and takes place sometime in the future, will leave many titles that are in the middle of a story awkwardly trying to catch up. 4/5
While the individual creators were likely not included in the decision to have a Villains Month, Jeff Lemire embraces this event to the fullest. His spotlight this issue on Vertigo was a great way of approaching this event, because it was used to further his ongoing story. This issue essentially gave readers an origin story about Vertigo, which is an essential part of developing new characters. This issue really does a great job of fleshing out the character and showing the readers why he is the way he is. Andrea Sorrentino’s art continues to impress. While there are certain minor instances when his graphic approach is difficult to decipher, for the most part his art is wonderfully paired with Lemire’s story. 4/5
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