DC Comics goes Forever Evil and announces Super-villain Month. The comic book industry sure has changed since I first started buying comics many years ago–not only in the substance and style of the books, with the gritty anti-hero being more popular these days than the colorful, iconic hero of the past. Shock and shlock have often replaced wit and wonder, and before you say it, I am not complaining. I am a comic book fan; a true fan of the medium. I appreciate the existence of all artists and writers for their effort. They write the words and draw the pictures that bring a reaction from our hearts and minds. It is not an easy task to create emotion from paper, but these men and women do it every day, and I appreciate them. Hell, I envy their talent; I want to be them. Back to my point: the industry has changed. These are the days of the epic mini-series/crossover. Whatever a company decides to call it, it is all-encompassing. It envelops every hero and often even villains in its breadth, and nothing, no one, escapes unscathed. Whether it be Crisis on Infinite Earths from DC Comics, Secret Invasion from Marvel, or Harbinger Wars from Valiant, the result is the same: the universe grinds to a halt until the threat is defeated. This type of sensational event gets exponentially more difficult to improve on each time. How do you top a story that changes everything, how do you make it bigger, or badder? DC Comics think they have the answer with their summer offering, Forever Evil.
This time they decided to set aside our heroes, whether they be the gritty anti-hero, or the iconic-wonder and focus on the villains that make them so necessary. The month-long (plus some) event will start with the Forever Evil 7 issue series by Geoff Johns and David Finch. According to Johns, “Forever Evil is a chance for David and I to work on all the greatest villains in comic books. It’s literally everybody. I don’t even know if there’s anybody not in it. We’re really exploring what darkness means and the different kinds of darkness that are within these villains.” The fun will then continue into 52 individual issues of villainous replacements for the regular books. For example the Bat-Villains will be reigning terror in Batman 23.1: The Joker, 23.2: The Riddler, 23.3: The Penguin, and 23.4: Bane.
If that’s not enough Bats for you, there are four more titles spawning from Batman & Robin featuring Two-Face, The Court of Owls, Ra’s al Ghul, and Killer Croc. Still not enough? How about The Ventriloquist, Joker’s Daughter, Clayface, and Mr. Freeze in The Dark Knight. I’m still not done yet, because Detective Comics will feature Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn and Man-Bat.
I’m exhausted from listing all of those titles and that’s just the sixteen, yes I said sixteen, Batman offerings. Superman will offer nine titles including the likes of Doomsday, and Lex Luthor. The Justice League will have 10, Green Lantern 4, Flash 3, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Teen Titans each have 2, Green Arrow and Swamp Thing get 1 each, and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh, and even the alternate world of Earth 2 gets a pair of villain books.
I honestly didn’t list all of that because I needed to lose some skin off my fingers. I’m making a point. Depending on who you follow in the DC Universe, you are in for a bit of expense this fall. Personally, I will have to choose wisely because this is not an affordable event for me. I will buy the main Forever Evil series, because I’m just that curious. The rest I will have to play by ear. I am not sure yet if I should be “fanboy” thrilled at this divergence from the comic norm, or if I should be indignant at the blatant cash-grab. Honestly, I think I am feeling a little of both, maybe, more than a little.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention (not really, I saved it for dramatic effect) that the villainy doesn’t end there. Following the chaos of Super-Villain Month, DC Comics will launch three 5-issue tie-in series focused on Flash’s rogues in Forever Evil: Rogues, Batman’s nemeses in Forever Evil: Arkham War, and the government side of things in Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.. If October is going to be Super-Villain month, then maybe we should rename the next three months “Second Job Summer”. I wonder if my local comic shop is hiring, I might even get an employee discount! Oh crap, my wallet just made a run for it, I have to go! Seeya in the Funny Papers!