Forever Evil is a seven issue miniseries from the New 52 of The DCU that begins in September 2013. After the events of Trinity War, The Crime Syndicate has systematically taken over the world while claiming to have killed thethreeJustice Leagues. Uniting the world's most evil super-villains, they quickly lay siege to the Earth, causing small pockets of b-list heroes and a handful of villains alike to lead an outnumbered resistance. It is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by David Finch.Forever Evil will also have three 6-issue tie-in miniseries: Forever Evil: Arkham War, Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion, and Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.. There will also be tie-ins in Justice League, Justice League of America (2013), Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans.An 18-part Cross Through, Forever Evil: Blight, focuses on John Constantine gathering allies in locating Zatanna, Madame Xanadu & the rest of the Justice League Dark who have disappeared since the arrival of the Crime Syndicate. However, they soon realize that the Syndicate's arrival has done much more damage to the balance of magical nature and leads to the threat of Blight, the concentrated evil in the human subconscious, who takes a human form and invade the material world. The story is told in Justice League Dark, Constantine, Trinity of Sin: Pandora, and Trinity Of Sin: The Phantom Stranger.Not to be confused with the 1980s film of the same name.
Forever Evil contain examples of the following tropes:
Abusive Parents: Martha Wayne in Earth 3 was extremely abusive to her sons Thomas Jr. and Bruce, whipping them and calling them "brats". This ended up leading to them conspiring to kill her and their father, Thomas Sr., though Bruce went back on the idea before the deed was done, leading to his own death.
Accidental Misnaming: Owlman has two mobsters hanging from the side of a building and he's deciding which one would be his figurehead when he monopolizes organized crime in Chicago. The mobsters are trying convince him that they're the better qualified when one of them calls Owlman "Batman". Owlman drops him and declares the other mobster his figurehead.
The month that Forever Evil officially started, every issue was instead devoted to a villain, regardless of their involvement in the event. In some cases, such as Superman & Batman, this meant that there were 4 new issues of each comic normally starring out in the month in order to accommodate the numerous villains.
Forever Evil itself is, by Geoff Johns' own admission, a Lex Luthor story.
Forever Evil: ARGUS is one for Steve Trevor, and highlights his perspective on Wonder Woman.
And Show It to You: To gain more power, Ultraman tracks down Metallo and rips out his kryptonite heart to consume.
All There in the Manual: If you're only reading the main mini-series, then Black Manta's motive for going after the Syndicate seems simplistic and cliched. His Villain's Month one-shot adds more context for Manta's pursuit of revenge.
Likewise, if you're following on from Justice League #21, Black Adam's resurrection comes out of nowhere unless you read his Villains Month one-shot.
Among this includes the Rogues Rebellion miniseries, which adds newer layers to why the Rogues are fighting back. Effectively the main miniseries is relegated to Framing Device status for the most part.
All Your Powers Combined: Alexander Luthor implies that he can absorb the powers of others, stealing Johnny Quick and Atomica's.
Anti-Villain: Some members of the Crime Syndicate fit this, aside from many of the other villains. Ultraman is attempting to go according to what he learned from his father, Jor-Il, in order to save Prime Earth from Darkseid unlike Earth 3, which was already destroyed. Owlman does not aim to be evil, only to have control over the world and order, and has a Freudian Excuse in the form of his mother's abuse.
Arc Welding: While primarily a continuation of his Justice League run, Johns is also merging story threads from his tenures on Aquman and Green Lantern.
Armor-Piercing Question: Johnny Quick and Atomica skip a beat when the Rogues question if they would die for each other
Author Appeal: Many of the villains on Team Luthor are antagonists that event writer Geoff Johns has a history writing or revamping (Black Adam, Black Manta, Captain Cold, Sinestro, etc.), along with his penchant for writing villains in general.
In an interview, Johns actually named Luthor, Catwoman and Cold as his favorite villains.
Back from the Dead: Black Adam, a Shazam villain, was turned to dust in Justice League #21. In his Villains Month issue, a group of freedom fighters in Khandaq read an ancient scroll from the Book of the Dead to resurrect him so he can free them from oppression. After overthrowing Khandaq's leader, he gets word of the Crime Syndicate and goes to investigate.
Badass Boast: Captain Cold claiming to be the man who mastered absolute zero and then backing it up.
Big Blackout: The Crime Syndicate disrupt and destroy most electronic and wireless based systems upon arrival in order to gain control of global communication.
Big Damn Heroes: When Lex Luthor's team and Batman with Catwoman were ambushed by Power Ring and the Secret Society, Batman uses a Yellow Lantern ring against Power Ring. The yellow ring was low on charge at less than 1%, so it gave out quickly. But it was enough to attract Sinestro, former leader of the Yellow Lantern Corps to come to their rescue.
Weather Wizard came back to save Mirror Master and Trickster from Johnny Quick and Atomica. Pied Piper and Golden Glider do the same for the rest while going against Grodd.
Power Ring's Ring of Power is taking over his body. The ring seems to be growing into his finger and there are prominent green veins protruding from his arm to his neck. He is very concerned about this and wants to get the ring off as soon as possible.
His Origin Story in Justice League #26 shows that his predecessor, Abin Sur, had cancerous growths and tumors all over his upper body. When he gave his ring to Power Ring, he laughed in glee that he has finally free before dying. After Sinestro cuts Power Ring's arm off, he thanks Sinestro for freeing him from the ring. Sinestro says "you're welcome"... and then kills him.
The "A-Zero" prototype from the Bizarro Villains Month issue becomes an engorged mess of muscles and tumors.
Bounty Hunter: When the Rogues defy the Crime Syndicate's orders to destroy Central City, the Syndicate puts a bounty on their heads for any villain to collect. This gets bad for the Rogues when they end up in Metropolis and Gotham City, which are full of villains willing to take them in.
Brought Down to Normal: Deathstorm depowers Captain Cold by separating the DNA that his cold powers come from.
Butt Monkey: The Trickster, throughout Rogues Rebellion, he's been shot in the pinkie toe, backhanded by Parasite, had a Man-Bat smash him in the face with a staff, and pistol-whipped by a member of the Royal Flush Gang, amongst other things. After the Man-Bat's blow makes him land far off in an impound lot, he laments his poor luck.
Justice League #24-26 each center on one or more of the Starts of Darkness or otherwise gaining of superpowers for Ultraman (24), Owlman (25), and Power Ring, Johnny Quick, Atomica, and Deathstorm (26).
Justice League #27-29 center on Cyborg being rebuilt after Grid removed his cybernetics and reforming the Metal Men to take down Grid.
Chekhov's Gun: The "Flash" Gun mentioned by Lex Luthor in Forever Evil #2 as being powered by a solar battery is a text book example, after issue #1 made it clear that Ultraman's powers are drained by the sun.
Composite Character: Alexander Luthor of Earth-3 is also Mazahs, Earth-3's counterpart to Shazam.
The Syndicate holds its rally at the remains of the Watchtower, which crashed-landed in Happy Harbor during Justice League #20. Despero even acknowledges his role in crashing the space station.
Continuity Snarl: The double spread of the villains at the Crime Syndicate's meeting establishing the new world order now that the Justice League have been removed from the board. The Rogues are shown as being present, including Glider, who was in a coma after using her powers to pull Mirror Master back out of the Mirror World in the Rogues' villain issue. She doesn't have any focus, and indeed the rest of the story in Rogue's Rebellion show her to still be in said coma.
Cowardly Lion: Power Ring is an enormous wuss that seems fearful of everything. However, he wields a Ring of Power that runs on fear which makes him as powerful as the rest of the Crime Syndicate. Sinestro puts him down with ease.
A Mother Box for Cyborg, to counter his use of Father Box technology.
The anti-Aquaman contingency is unknown, as Batman said that since the Syndicate's Aquaman didn't survive the trip to their dimension, it was otherwise useless.
The Wonder Woman container was empty, implying Batman didn't have a plan for her yet.
Crowded Cast Shot: Issue #1 has a splash page that has the Crime Syndicate standing before a huge audience of around eighty super-villains. Readers familiar with the DC Universe can identify nearly all of them.
The Teen Titans try to take back the Watchtower, but are intercepted by Johnny Quick and Atomica. Johnny senses that Kid Flash's vibrational frequency is not from the present and vibrates him to the point that he creates a time vortex that sends the Titans to Kid Flash's original time period in the 31st century.
Sinestro against Power Ring: A master of fear whose power revolves around how much the victim fears him at nearly full power versus a man with dwindling energy whose power revolves around his own fear of others. The previous issue even lampshades how predictable the outcome is, as does one of the variant covers of the issue.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: To enhance his powers with kryptonite, Ultraman crushes, burns, and inhales the kryptonite vapors. He then boasts about how he's the strongest before flying off to find some more.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Earth 3 is an entire world where heroism, justice, and the basic good are considered foreign concepts. Johnny Quick doesn't even know what the word "karma" means, guessing that it's an object rather than an idea.
Fix Fic: A possible interpretation of Deathstorm stripping Captain Cold of his powers. Integrating the Rogues' weaponry into their DNA was one of the more controversial elements of the New 52. Given Johns' long history with the Flash and the Rogues, this could be seen as his attempt to return them to their classic status.
Good Is Not Nice: The various "heroes" of Earth-3, no matter how well their intentions, are still shown to have rather bleak dark sides.
An unnamed enemy of the Crime Syndicate is shown to have stooped to employing a pre-Deathstorm, but still evil, Earth-3 Martin Stein in a bid to save the world.
Alexander Luthor of Earth-3 plans on destroying all villains, whether part of the Injustice League or the Crime Syndicate.
Haunted Technology: Power Ring's Ring of Power not only is trying to take over his body, but it also speaks to him. It also seems to be a Deadpan Snarker; calling him an idiot while alerting him that its power level is getting low.
Heel-Face Turn: Deathstroke was working for the Secret Society of Supervillains, but during the battle with Lex Luthor's gang, Lex convinces him that if the Crime Syndicate takes over, there will be no work for mercinaries like him. Thus, Deathstroke betrays the Secret Society and joins Luthor in taking down the Syndicate. He makes it clear he wants a paycheck when it's over, though.
Outsider is stabbed to death by Manta, and Atomica seems to have been killed off along with Johnny Quick by Alexander Luthor.
Johnny Quick and Atomica kill the Doom Patrol (mostly offscreen with the exception of two members), and Deathstroke kills Copperhead by shooting him in the head.
Kryptonite Factor: Inverted with Ultraman. He gets stronger by consuming kryptonite. However, sunlight weakens him. To counter this, he creates a solar eclipse after being amped up on kryptonite.
La Résistance: With the Justice Leagues missing, pockets of remaining superheroes are trying to fight back. The Teen Titans are one group, with the main event series following Lex Luthor's newly minted Injustice League.
Legion of Doom: The Secret Society of Super-Villains, working under the Crime Syndicate.
Lesser of Two Evils: Owlman claims to be this compared to Ultraman when convincing Nightwing to help him.
The Load: Played straight with the Earth-3 Martian Manhunter, who was abandoned by the Crime Syndicate because with his blindness and missing arm, they felt he would be a burden. Subverted with Power Ring, who is a cowardly asshole in a state of constant physical and psychological horror but still wields a ring capable of creating powerful energy constructs.
Locked Out of the Fight: Captain Cold is separated from The Rogues, leaving both sides to find their way back home alone.
MacGyvering: Captain Cold's proposed solution to being depowered is to spend thirty-two minutes in an appliance store. (He explains that he spent the first few months he had his cold-gun taking it apart and putting it back together until he could do it with his eyes closed)
Man Child: Bizarro, due to not being fully developed, has a very child-like mind and doesn't speak. He looks up to his creator, Lex Luthor, and once gave him a flower as a gift. He also doesn't harm others unless they threaten him or Lex.
Meaningful Background Event: In Justice League #28, the Metal Men escape and their creator, Dr. Magnus, goes home to think of a plan. If you look around his home, you can see that the Metal Men are there disguised as furniture.
Metaphorically True: The Syndicate proudly claims in the first issue that they've killed the heroes and that the Justice League is dead. In the third issue, we learn that the Leaguers are imprisoned in Firestorm — and he'll eventually go critical because too many people are joined with the Firestorm Matrix. So, the Syndicate's technically telling the truth. The Leaguers are dead or rather they're as good as dead unless they get pulled out of the Matrix.
Mid-Season Upgrade: In Justice League #27, Cyborg's cybernetic body is rebuilt to be slimmer and more powerful than before.
Might Makes Right: The entire mindset of the Crime Syndicate revolves around this, as does Earth 3, where they came from. They honestly don't understand our world, where people go out of their way to help the weak.
Mirror Universe: Played around with Earth 3. While all of the heroes are villains, the villains are not quite as good either. It's more complex than a simple reversal of moralities in general. With any heroics only being attempted through "evil" means.
To explain, the Earth-3 Joker, a Well-Intentioned Extremist, killed Talon, cut his body up, and wrapped the severed limbs inside Christmas presents for Owlman to find. The Earth-3 versions of the Rogues were all police officers, with Len Snart and Mick Rory deciding that they would wait until the could find and arrest Johnny Allen's (Johnny Quick) girlfriend and bring her to jail so they could kill them together as revenge for how the murderous duo killed their partners on the force.
Alexander Luthor acts as a complete inversion of Lex Luthor. He relies on the magic of Mazahs instead of science, won the Superpower Lottery with his ability to absorb powers instead of being a Badass Normal, and is his world's greatest hero instead of its most prominent villain.
Lex Luthor's incomplete Superman clone has yet to be named Bizarro; he refers to him as "creature". However, his incubation pod was labeled subject B-zero. When Lex gives him a Superman outfit to wear, the clone puts the shirt on inside-out; giving him the backwards "S" Chest Insignia that Bizarro is known for. Later, he refers to himself as B-zero, but mispronounces is as Bizarro.
The Metal Men are created in forms close to their classical looks, before their Responsometers personalize their appearances.
Sinestro creates a construct to transport the Injustice League to the Crime Syndicate's base. It is shaped like the classic Legion of Doom HQ from Superfriends.
The voice activated command of Captain Cold's cold gun is "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells", Joker's first lines in Batman: The Animated Series.
Neck Snap: Mazahs does this to Johnny Quick before stealing his powers in Issue 6.
Never Trust a Trailer: When the event was first anounced, DC billed it as Lex Luthor allying the various villains of the DCU to systematically take down the Justice Leagues and every other costumed vigilante.
By moving the moon out of orbit, Ultraman creates havoc with Earth's oceans. The resulting flooding destroys the burial site of Black Manta's father. He's understandably a little pissed…
Owlman decides to eliminate the criminal mafias himself. In doing so, he ends up toppling barrels of chemicals onto one gangster. The gangster survives the chemical shower and it appears he'll seek revenge against the Crime Syndicate. The gangster's name? Eel O'Brian and this is apparently his origin into the superhero, Plastic Man.
Quite literally, villains Captain Cold and Black Manta free Alexander Luthor, the Crime Syndicate's greatest foe.
Nightwing is wearing a completely different costume to the one he was currently wearing in his on-going series, specifically the costume he hasn't worn since before Death Of The Family.
In the single panel Kid Flash appears in, he manages to have short blonde hair instead of brown Anime Hair; and the Flash's Chest Insigniaon his chest when he not only doesn't have the logo there, but the version on his costume is flipped.
In the Crowded Cast Shot: Harley Quinn has pink skin instead of chalk white, the Trickster's right arm is normal instead of an Artificial Limb, Grodd looks more like a Sasquatch than a gorilla, and Black Manta doesn't have his notable facial scars.
In the second issue, White Rabbit is depicted with blond hair instead of white hair.
In Issue #3, Bizzaro's costume keeps going back and forth between Kryptonian armor and the t-shirt design from Issue #2.
In Justice League #26, all throughout Johnny Quick and Atomica's origin, Atomica has white skin and black hair instead of her brown skin and brown hair like she's supposed to have.
Only in It for the Money: Deathstroke's reason for helping Luthor is that, in a world where the Syndicate rule, there will be no more need for mercenaries. That, and Lex is gonna pay him when everything settles.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: How Atomica and Johnny Quick feel about two of the Rogues that were cops in their universe. When one of them appeared to have been shot by the Royal Flush Gang and killed, Johnny Quick killed every member around until they were forcibly teleported away.
In issue 1, Ultraman pushes the moon into the sun to create a solar eclipse. In Black Manta's Villain's Month issue, Ultraman's act causes tides to go wild; flooding coastal areas. This includes demolishing the graveyard where Black Manta's father is buried and he's not happy about that.
Issue 2 has Grid talking about how moving the moon has caused flooding and earthquakes; keeping most of the remaining heroes and governments occupied saving lives across the globe.
The Reveal: The Syndicate's hooded captive is Alexander Luthor aka Mazahs.
Sadist: Superwoman. When your lasso looks like barbed wire, you're a sadist.
Sealed Badass in a Can: Bizarro, a Superman clone created by Lex Luthor, was supposed to be incubating in a pod for ten years. When the Crime Syndicate create a Big Blackout, Bizarro's pod can't sustain him and he will die before being fully developed. Therefore, Luthor has no choice but to release him five years premature.
The Social Darwinist: Ultraman doesn't believe in helping the weak and thinks that natural selection is the way to go.
Strapped to a Bomb: Dick Grayson is strapped to what's called the "Murder Machine", a bomb that only stops if Dick's heart stops beating. Lex stopped it by having him suffocated and Batman promptly flipped out. However, Lex says it's not too late, implying that he faked Dick's death.
Tailor-Made Prison: The Justice League Members who were "dead" ended up being in a prison built specifically for them. It's later revealed to be Firestorm's matrix. Only Batman, Catwoman, and Cyborg (well, his human half) manage not to get imprisioned and escape the Crime Syndicate.
Three Laws Compliant: Played With by The Metal Men. They have three laws, but they don't follow orders directly. Their laws are integrated into their personalities as rescuers and will save everyone they can (Rule #1) and neutralize the threat (Rule #2).
Those Two Bad Guys: Power Ring and Deathstorm are always seen together, but not necessarily because they like each other. Power Ring hopes that Deathstorm can get his ring off before it takes over his body and Deathstorm pretends to care because he finds Power Ring's condition fascinating.
Too Dumb to Live: One villain, Monocle, doesn't trust the Crime Syndicate and insults them to their face. Ultraman turns him into a smoldering mark on the ground for his troubles.
A few weeks before Forever Evil kicked off, DC announced that Trinity War would see the Crime Syndicate of Earth 3 removing the Justice Leagues from the picture and taking over the Earth, with Lex Luthor's alliance of villains fighting back. To DC's credit, the announcement didn't spoil that the Atom was actually allied with the Syndicate.
The April solicitations gave away that Lex Luthor & Captain Cold will be joining the Justice League following Forever Evil.
Training from Hell: The actual reason the Crime Syndicate, or at least Ultraman, is being so cruel. To prepare Prime Earth for defense against Darkseid's return.
Justice League is being treated as this for the Crime Syndicate. Issue 24 overviews Ultraman's origins and motives. Issue 25 goes over the origins of Owlman, and gives the first looks at his own motives.
Monocle as stated above, out of paranoia. More notably, though, is Lex Luthor whose fears about super-humans come to life with the Crime Syndicate, and leads to him calling out for Superman.
When Ultraman's fight with Black Adam leaves him with a nosebleed, he starts getting very serious and tries to find any kryptonite left, no matter how small, to gain more power. He even rails on Deathstorm for not being able to make it, unlike his counterpart Firestorm.
Villain Protagonist: The main series follows Lex Luthor and Catwoman among other notable arch-foes.
Villain World: When the Crime Syndicate took over, they took over.
According to Justice League Issue 24, Ultraman can technically be considered this. While he is definitely evil, it is because he considers himself Necessarily Evil to make sure that, unlike Earth 3, Prime Earth can survive Darkseid due to having a stronger populace.
As shown in Justice League Issue 25, Owlman also can be considered this to a degree, as he wishes to limit criminal activity by controlling it, and thus establishing order in orderless systems.
Alexander Luthor, who has been killing off members of the Crime Syndicate since before Earth 3 was destroyed in an attempt to finally destroy them.
Issue 1: The Justice Leagues are missing, the power grids in cities are down, The Crime Syndicate has freed and gathered all the super-villains to take over the world, and Nightwing's secret identity is publicly revealed.
Though it is more or less par for the course, Batman's exposure in Villains Month far outshines most others. In all of his ongoings taking place in the present day, he has four villain issues, making for a total of sixteen between Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, and Detective Comics, seventeen if Superman/Batman counts. The next highest amount is Superman at eight or nine following the same rules between Action Comics and Superman as his personal ongoings. The third member of the Big Three, Wonder Woman, has only two issues in her one ongoing, less than many of the other series going on. The Batman situation would not be so jarring but for the fact that some of the villains involved in it have no connection to Forever Evil (The Joker being highly publicized, but one of these), are very new to The DCU (the Court of Owls), are just being introduced at this time (Joker's Daughter) or are actually a rogue of another member of the Batfamily (Ventriloquist III). It can be explained, however, by the fact that many monthly series were skipped in the Villains Month, and their own villains got showcased in bigger, related titles that weren't skipped: a couple of Batman's Villains Month titles show bad guys whose main roles are not in said Batman titles, they're in related (even if loosely related) titles that were skipped for that month: Ventriloquist (Batgirl), League of Assassins (Red Hood and the Outlaws), Court of Owls (Talon) and Joker's Daughter (Catwoman) to name a few.
And that is not a Batman-exclusive case: we also have Cyborg Superman (Supergirl villain showcased in Action Comics), Dial E (villainous version of Dial H showcased in Justice League), Deadshot, Killer Frost and Black Adam (Suicide Squad, Firestorm and Shazam villains, respectively, showcased in Justice League of America), the Creeper (Katana villain showcased in Justice League Dark), among others.
The Justice League Dark-line Forever Evil tie-ins, Forever Evil: Blight, are this for Constantine.
World Half Empty: All of the world's greatest superheroes "disappear" (i.e. the three Justice League teams) and the Secret Society unites most of the supervillains due to the finale of Trinity War, and the entire planet immediately descends into anarchy and chaos. Looters and riots everywhere, villains wandering around murdering, framing, and torturing people at will with the goverment and police being completely unable to do anything about it. They exist only to die.
Jim Gordon: I've lived through the end of the word a lot in this town ... The Green taking over, earthquakes, plagues - Bullock and I would call it Apocalypse Wednesdays because it seemed like a weekly occurrence ... hell, it never seems to end around here.
Captain Cold has mutual respect for the Flash. He doesn't for Johnny Quick and thus makes it so he can never run again.
Given that Ultraman thought that he might be able to take on the creature that destroyed Earth 3, Alexander Luthor was this to him.
Would Hurt a Child: Johnny Quick and Atomica, especially Atomica. Kids are her favorite kind of victims. She singles out and kills the child member of the Doom Patrol.
Your Cheating Heart: Superwoman is cheating on Ultraman with Owlman. When she tells him she's pregnant, he vows to kill Ultraman to protect their baby. However, she does the same with Ultraman, so who is the baby's real father?.
Your Head A Splode: How Atomica kills one of the Police Officers in the Rogue's Rebellion. By growing inside of him until he went pop.