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Comicbook: Forever Evil
Evil is relative.

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 the three Justice 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 invades the material world. The story is told in Justice League Dark, Hellblazer, 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.
  • And I Must Scream: Grid's ultimate fate in Justice League 29: Cyborg traps him in his metal body, unable to interact not only with the digital universe, but also with the outside world in general. This finally makes him Not So Stoic and absolutely terrified.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • 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 and 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 of Earth 3 steals powers from other super beings, excluding those who gain their powers from technology like Sinestro or Cyborg. His acquisitions always involve the death of the victim, but it is unknown if he needs to do so, or simply wants to.
  • Always Night: Invoked at the end of issue 1 when Ultraman creates a solar eclipse over where he is to counter his weakness to sunlight. Sinestro and Black Adam move it back.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Johnny Quick loses his leg after Cold freezes it and kicks it off.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The story starts off with Lex Luthor attempting one of these with a competitor, Thomas Kord of Kord Industries.
    • As a Book End, Thomas' son, Ted, shows up and prepares to sell Kord Industries, but Luthor convinces him to keep it, citing that he has the smarts to do great things.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Almost all the villains under Lex's team fall under this, most notably Captain Cold and Black Adam. A major exception is Deathstroke, who's Only in It for the Money.
    • The Rogues in their own tie-in series are also a team of Anti Villains.
    • Also, in the Crime Syndicate, 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.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: A staple of the entire Injustice League, including the reasons some of the members join, is that they can fix the problems the Justice League made. In Issue 6, Luthor even lampshades this.
  • Badass Boast: Captain Cold claiming to be the man who mastered absolute zero and then backing it up.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final battle between Grid and Cyborg.
  • Be Yourself: The ultimate lesson of Cyborg's arc in Justice League's tie-ins. He learns that he doesn't have to reject his identity as part machine, but instead embrace both the human world and cyberspace, which belongs to him.
  • Become a Real Boy: The Grid longs to feel something.
    Grid: I will destroy this entire world if it will make me feel something. That is why I agreed to join those that are attempting to conquer it.
    • In Justice League 29, he does. Fear. Courtesy of Cyborg cutting him off from the digital flow of data he controls, trapping him in his mechanical body.
  • Being Good Sucks: The opening narration, provided courtesy of Lex Luthor, takes this tone. Of course, this changes by the end of the issue when the Crime Syndicate takes charge.
  • Berserk Button: Comparing the Crime Syndicate to the Justice League is a really good way to get on their bad side. An even worse thing to do is to confuse the two.
    • Monocle gets vaporized by Ultraman for declaring that the Syndicate is the Justice League in different costumes.
    • Owlman immediately drops a man off a build after the man accidentally pledges his loyalty to Batman.
    • Though he survives, Weather Wizard gets Johnny Quick's undivided attention by calling the evil speedster a "half-assed Flash".
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Crime Syndicate: an evil version of the Justice League from another universe. Its members are Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Grid, Johnny Quick, and Atomica. They claim to have killed the Justice Leagues and round up super-villains to Take Over the World.
  • 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.
  • Bigger Bad: The one who destroyed the Crime Syndicate's world was the Anti-Monitor.
  • Birds of a Feather: By the end of the series, Kahndaq and Korugar are deemed very similar by their leaders, and thus Black Adam and Sinestro become friends over this.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The crisis is over, but Element Woman and Vibe are missing, Owlman escaped, Dick is still exposed, the world will still be recovering, and the world trusts the Justice League a little less.
  • Body Horror:
    • 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 was 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.
  • Boom, Headshot: How Deathstroke kills Copperhead.
  • 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.
    • Deathstroke as well: what did you expect?
  • Break the Haughty: Luthor does this to Ultraman at the end. He was already taken off-guard by Superwoman's betrayal, but Sinestro and Black Adam moving the sun starts to weaken him, then Luthor approaches him and gives him "The Reason You Suck" Speech, which leaves him a sobbing mess.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Deathstorm depowers Captain Cold by separating the DNA that his cold powers come from. Ends up being Brought Down to Badass, as he had trained separately anyway.
  • 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, among other things. After the Man-Bat's blow makes him land far off in an impound lot, he laments his poor luck.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Alexander Luthor activates his powers by yelling "Mazahs!" as soon as he's ungagged.
  • Canon Immigrant: Otis finally makes his appearance in the comics. He doesn't last long.
  • Catch Phrase: Grid, the Crime Syndicate's Evil Counterpart of Cyborg, tends to say "have a nice day" after following orders.
  • Central Theme:
  • Character Focus:
    • 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.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • During Nightwing and Batgirl's conversation in Forever Evil #1, Batgirl references the recent Death Of The Family crossover and the Bat Family's currently strained relationship with Bruce.
    • Also in reference to Death Of The Family, Penguin is seen talking to Bane about The Joker and paying him back for what happened.
    • 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 shows her to still be in said coma. Until the final issue, when she wakes up and comes back to lead them.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Batman just happens to help the two trapped Justice Leagues in Firestorm out of him at the same time as Black Adam and Sinestro bring back the sunlight. However, Tropes Are Not Bad, as it works well for the Rule of Symbolism.
  • Cowardly Lion: Power Ring is an enormous wuss that seems fearful of everything. However, he wields a Ring of Power that runs on his own fear which makes him as powerful as the rest of the Crime Syndicate. Sinestro puts him down with ease, since his own power, including that of Parallax, runs on the fears of others facing him, making him even more powerful when faced with the most cowardly person in another universe.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • So you've taken Captain Cold's gun? He doesn't need to touch it. It's voice activated.
    • Also, Batman's contingency plans for the Justice League:
      • A Kryptonite Ring for Superman (obviously).
      • A Sinestro Corps ring (recovered after they attacked Earth) with little charge remaining for Green Lantern.
      • A lightning rod from the future that could slow the Flash down.
      • 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, but only because Batman believes Superman is the only one powerful enough to stop Wonder Woman if she goes rogue. So basically, Superman is the anti-Wonder Woman contingency.
  • 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.
  • Cue the Sun: A Justified Trope. Sinestro and Black Adam push the moon back into its proper alignment to restore order, and to depower Ultraman. Simultaneously, and for completely different reasons, Batman manages to release the Justice League and the Justice League of America from Firestorm and avert his detonation.
    "And with the sun come the heroes."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • 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.
    • A version of the Doom Patrol, comprised of members of the less popular versions of the old teams, gets killed off by Johnny Quick & Atomica.
    • 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.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Hilariously, the Trope Namer himself gives the option at the end of the series to the Injustice League, saying the members would likely get presidential pardons for saving the world. Black Adam and Sinestro fly away laughing, Black Manta pulls a Stealth Hi/Bye, and Catwoman rejects it due to Batman rejecting her advances again.
  • Cyberspace: The second half of the duel between Grid and Cyborg happens here, where Grid claims he was first born from Cyborg's first thoughts as a cyborg: "I don't belong here." Cyborg takes control of it from Grid, claiming it as his own along with his identity as a mix of human and machine.
  • Dies Wide Open:
    • Issue 5: Power Ring.
    • Issue 6: Outsider and Johnny Quick.
  • 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.
  • Dynamic Entry: Sinestro enters into Forever Evil Issue 4 by blasting Power Ring in the back.
  • Easily Conquered World: Prime Earth appears to have more or less been conquered immediately after the Trinity War. A Justified Trope by the Unexpected Characters known as the Crime Syndicate and the previously assembled Secret Society of Super-Villains, plus the Syndicate taking out power and communications worldwide.
  • Egopolis: In Earth 3, Ultraman named his Metropolis "Ultrapolis", as revealed in Justice League 23.4.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Lex and his Injustice League fighting back against the larger, more encompassing threat the Crime Syndicate poses.
      • The Injustice League actually forms due to each member, barring Captain Cold, tracking down Ultraman in some way.
    • Batman and Catwoman do this with the Injustice League.
  • Enfant Terrible:
    • Flashbacks reveal Ultraman was just as dangerous as a baby. His first words to his "adoptive" parents?
      Baby Ultraman: You two. You will be my parents now.
    • In the present, Superwoman's baby is prophesied to rule. This is a very bad thing.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Villains on both the side of the Crime Syndicate and the Injustice League have this as their motivation.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The whole premise of the main series.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Crime Syndicate is perplexed by the idea of justice.
    • 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.
  • Evil Counterpart: On top of the Crime Syndicate, we have Mazahs, which is the magical identity of Earth 3's Alexander Luthor. He's Eviler than Thou, and gets locked into a three-way fight with the Injustice League and the Crime Syndicate in the final issue.
  • Evil Is One Big Happy Family: Averted. Not everyone wants to take over, nor does everyone have the same darkness, desire, and drive. This causes confrontations; even amongst the Crime Syndicate.
  • Evil Feels Good: Johnny Quick and Atomica love doing evil things for the fun of it. They're easily the most monstrous of the entire group and have the most on-panel kills.
  • Evil vs. Evil/Cool Versus Awesome:
    • Lex Luthor's Injustice League against the Crime Syndicate.
    • In Gotham, the inmates of Arkham Asylum fighting the Blackgate Prison inmates, and Bane's army.
    • In the Gem Cities, the Rogues against Grodd, the Crime Syndicate, and anyone looking to take up the Syndicate's bounty on them.
      • The third issue of the Rogues' Rebellion series has the Rogues wind up in the middle of the Arkham/Blackgate war in Gotham.
    • The finale begins what seems to be shaping up to be a battle between the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid.
    • Since Earth-3 was a world where good didn't exist, even on a conceptual level, all conflict on that world tends to be from rivals struggling for dominance, rather than any genuine heroes.
  • Fan Disservice: When Bizarro is released from his pod, he's wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. However, this is offset by his mottled gray skin.
  • Faux Action Girl: Once the Injustice League turns up, Catwoman pretty much stops doing anything useful tot he plot and mostly hangs around as a Deadpan Snarker to Batman.
  • Fiery Redhead: Alexander Luthor.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Even amongst the Crime Syndicate, Power Ring/Harold Jordan is treated with absolutely no respect whatsoever, and is explicitly only as useful as his ring, and not as he himself is. Superwoman's reaction to his death is simply "that idiot", and Ultraman immediately goes to look for where the ring went to find a replacement.
  • From Bad to Worse: Power Ring's death released a signal that apparently caught the Anti-Monitor's attention.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Invoked by John Constantine. With all of the terrible things happening, he asks out loud why no one is helping when The Phantom Stranger pulls the Justice League Dark to the gates of heaven during the loosely-connected "Blight Arc" that occurs at the same time as Forever Evil at large.
  • Good Feels Good: At the end, Lex Luthor has a Heel Realization and realizes there are bigger things in life than trying to kill Superman. Like whatever destroyed Earth 3. Either way, Luthor certainly calms down enough to be charitable.
  • 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 Door Slam: At the end, Luthor reveals that the group of villains that saved the Earth is getting a full presidential pardon for their actions if they keep their noses clean. Sinestro and Black Adam laugh it off and fly away, Black Manta disappeared, but spared a person in his escape so he can give back Aquaman his trident, and, despite Batman's best intentions, Catwoman refuses to turn away from stealing things.
  • 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.
    • Apparently, Luthor and Captain Cold at the end.
  • He's Back:
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Heatwave seemingly does this, staying behind to fight a large mob of Gotham's villains, allowing the rest of the Rogues time enough to escape.
    • The Metal Men after their initial creation months ago to stop their old foe Chemo, but their Responsometers survive.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Dr. Magnus believes this, and it's why he creates the Metal Men. They prove him wrong.
  • Iconic Item: To prove that the Justice Leagues are gone, the Crime Syndicate presents their audience with Aquaman's trident, Superman's cape, and Wonder Woman's lasso of truth.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: When Grid tries to give Ultraman his opinion, Ultraman tells him that his powers are useful, not his opinion.
  • Informed Attribute: The reader is told, and it is hinted, that Alexander Luthor was Earth 3's sole near-heroic figure, yet we never see any of this actually in his characterization before his death. In all likelihood, he was just stronger and more evil than the Crime Syndicate, and believed himself to be a hero.
  • Irony:
    • Lex Luthor watches as the Crime Syndicate takes over Earth and utters one like you'd never expect him to say.
    Lex Luthor: This looks like a job for Superman. So, where the hell is he?
    • Lex Luthor's Injustice League, which would otherwise be a classic Legion of Doom, having to save the day.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • In Issue 6, Black Manta kills Outsider this way.
    • In Issue 7, Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 dies of this kind of wound.
  • Killed Off for Real: Several, but the first major player to bite it was Power Ring.
    • Outsider is stabbed to death by Black Manta, and Atomica seems to have been killed off along with Johnny Quick by Alexander Luthor. While she actually did survive, she was later stepped on while shrunken by Lex Luthor, killing her.
    • 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.
    • Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 is killed by the "lightning rod from the future" and Lex Luthor's use of his own Mazahs against him.
    • Martin Stein of Earth 3, a.k.a. Deathstorm, is "fed" to Alexander Luthor by Superwoman.
    • In one case, subverted. Bizarro gets his internal organs smashed in by Alexander Luthor. But as soon as Lex Luthor returns home, he fires up the Uterine Replicator and begins the lengthy process of creating a Replacement Goldfish.
  • 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 main event series follows Lex Luthor's newly minted Injustice League, but Steve Trevor, the Rogues, Cyborg and the Metal Men as well as Stargirl and Martian Manhunter are also out fighting the good fight.
  • 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.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Power Ring's ring acts like a Green Lantern Ring, but it is taking over his body and when it runs low on power, it opens a portal to an Eldritch Abomination and Power Ring's fear recharges it. In Forever Evil #5, Johnny Quick refers to the ring as a curse.
  • 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 (counterparts to Captain Cold and Heat Wave, respectively) deciding that they would wait until they 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 in every regard except morality. 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, is a homeless vagrant instead of a wealthy entrepreneur, and has long hair and a full beard instead of being bald. However, he's just as ruthless as the normal Lex Luthor, if not more so, murdering anyone who has superpowers, and calling anyone without superpowers useless.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • 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 it as Bizarro.
    • When Martian Manhunter finds Superman inside his Tailor-Made Prison, Superman laments how he wishes he could turn back time by flying at the speed of light.
    • 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.
    • Deathstorm's comment to the rest of the Crime Syndicate to see what is wrong in Issue 5 is the classic Superman "Look, up in the sky!"
    • The voice activated command of Captain Cold's cold gun is "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells", Joker's first lines in Batman: The Animated Series.
    • The Anti-Monitor's armor harkens back to how he originally looked rather than his more iconic second armor.
    • The Earth-3 Alexander Luthor and Lois Lane having a child together was Pre Crisis canon, and in Johns's own Infinite Crisis that child did indeed usher in some serious darkness.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • 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.
    • Quite literally, villains Captain Cold and Black Manta free Alexander Luthor, the Crime Syndicate's greatest foe.
  • No Sell:
    • Black Adam fights Ultraman with a classic lightning attack. He shrugs it off with a smile. Subverted in that shortly after that, he realizes he's bleeding, and goes to make sure that isn't a problem again.
    • Atomica can't get inside of Black Manta's outfit to do her usual thing since the suit is sealed down to a microscopic level.
    • In the finale, Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 is completely unaffected by the white lightning of Shazam, unlike the dark lightning of Mazahs.
  • Not Me This Time: A meta version in Issue 7. Superman thinks Darkseid destroyed Earth 3. It was actually the Anti-Monitor.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Black Adam gets one when he attacks Ultraman in Metropolis and tries to rip off his arm. Then he realizes the Kryptonian is invulnerable...
    • Likewise, Ultraman gets one when he realizes Black Adam made him bleed.
    • Atomica when she finds out they've taken off Alexander Luthor's gag.
  • Off Model:
    • In Forever Evil #1
      • 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 Insignia on 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.
  • The Oldest Profession: Justice League 23.4 makes reference to the Earth 3 version of Leslie Thompkins' Clinic: Thompkins' Brothels.
  • 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.
  • Origins Episode:
    • Several of the Villains' Month tie-ins are this.
    • Justice League #24-26 focus on the origins of the Crime Syndicate.
  • Outlaw Couple: Johnny Quick and Atomica are explicitly built up to follow this archetype, being described by Geoff Johns as the "Bonnie and Clyde" of the series.
  • Plastic Surgery: Lex Luthor is missing his notable facial scarring in the first issue. His Villains Month tie-in issue reveals he had facial plastic surgery after getting out of prison.
  • Pregnant Badass: Superwoman. She's not showing yet, but Ultraman can hear the baby's heartbeat. It's Alexander Luthor's.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Crime Syndicate to the Justice League. Also, Luthor's Injustice League to the Crime Syndicate; though less directly.
  • The Quiet One: Prior to issue 4, Bizarro just grunted instead of saying anything. He says his first words in issue 4.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Metal Men, who were deemed failures by the government.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • 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.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Lex Luthor wants to be part of the Justice League because he sees that they aren't the greatest threat out there (and partly for his ego) and even built a new Watchtower for them, but they aren't willing to take his help after his history or even trust him.
  • The Reveal: The Syndicate's hooded captive is Alexander Luthor aka Mazahs.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The Metal Men came out like this, much to the surprise of their creator.
  • 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.
  • Sealed Good Inside A Person Shaped Can: The Justice Leagues are trapped in Firestorm's matrix.
  • Second Law My Ass: Mercury of the Metal Men is kind of a Jerk right out of the gate and halfheartedly tries to revolt against their creator.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In Earth-3, Thomas Wayne Junior arranged for his butler to kill his parents. His brother, Bruce, was in on it, but decided against doing so, and was killed for it by Thomas as well.
  • Sequel Hook: Several in issue 7.
    • The Injustice League, especially Lex Luthor, has gained high public approval and might in some cases get pardons.
    • The Anti-Monitor is gearing up to consume another universe to fight Darkseid.
    • Crazy Survivalist Jessica Cruz is chosen by the Ring of Volthoom following the death of Harold Jordan as Power Ring.
  • Serial Killer: Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 appears to be this, as he concentrates his efforts on his You Kill It, You Bought It powers to steal power from other super beings.
  • Shock and Awe: Alexander Luthor by way of the magic of Mazahs. It's voice activated, though, so it can be used against him by Lex.
  • Slasher Smile: Johnny Quick's default expression, it would seem.
  • 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, and revives Dick with a shot of adrenaline.
  • Superpower Lottery: Alexander Luthor has the power of Mazahs (implying magic fuelled Flying Brick powers) and can steal the powers of others.
  • 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).
  • Title Drop: Ultraman concludes his speech to his villainous crowd by saying "Aeternus Malum. Forever Evil."
  • 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.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • 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 the Anti-Monitor's arrival, though Superman thinks it's actually Darkseid.
  • Unexpected Character: Nobody expected the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3 to show up.
  • The Unmasking: Nightwing is publicly revealed to be Dick Grayson, in a show of force by the Crime Syndicate.
  • Villain Issue:
    • September 2013 was when Forever Evil debuted and was also Villains Month; in which all the heroic ongoing series were replaced with one-shot issues featuring various villains. While many were about the origins of the villains (Darkseid, Relic, etc.), some were tie-ins to Forever Evil (Black Manta, Two-Face), and some were both (Deadshot, Harley Quinn).
    • 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.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • 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.
  • Weakened by the Light: Ultraman, unlike the solar powered Superman.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • 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 will be able to survive whatever destroyed their home world.
    • 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.
  • Wham Issue:
    • 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.
    • Issue 4: Sinestro returns to save Batman from Power Ring, after seemingly leaving the universe to its fate after Wrath Of The First Lantern.
    • Issue 5: Sinestro kills Power Ring, leaving his ring to seek out others. The now-freed Ring of Volthoom sends out a multiversal pulse to bring in the entity that destroyed Earth 3 to Prime Earth.
    • Issue 6: The man with the hood is Earth 3's Lex Luthor, who calls upon the powers of Mazahs and is set on destroying both sides of the conflict to become Prime Earth's greatest hero.
    • Issue 7: Luthor's team saves the Justice League and kills the Earth 3 Luthor, Superwoman's child is revealed to be that of Earth 3 Luthor's and Bizarro ends up dying fighting the Earth 3 Luthor. At the end, Vibe and Elemental Woman disappear, Luthor and Captain Cold accept a presidential pardon for their crimes for their actions, Luthor realizes Bruce Wayne is Batman... oh, and while Superman thinks that Darkseid is the one who destroyed Earth 3, it isn't — it's the Anti-Monitor and he's gunning for Darkseid once he's strong enough!
  • Wham Line:
    • In Issue 6 of the main series:
    • In the very last panel of Issue 7 (combined with Wham Shot):
      ...but I will find you another universe to consume, Anti-Monitor.
  • With Us or Against Us: The Crime Syndicate deals with any dissenters with extreme prejudice. They claim to have done this to Earth 3. They didn't; it was the Anti-Monitor.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Lampshaded in Arkham War Issue 2, regarding Gotham City.
    Jim Gordon: I've lived through the end of the world 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.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • 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.
    • Alexander Luthor lists "Will Baston" among the Crime Syndicate members he's killed, implying that he originally obtained the Mazahs powers by killing the Earth-3 version of Billy Batson.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: How Alexander Luthor gets powers. Including, but possibly not limited to, Will Baston, Hawkwing, Johnny Quick, Deathstorm, and Bizarro. However, this only extends to inborn powers, and not those powered by equipment.
    "I call upon the strength of those I've slain."
  • 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? Alexander Luthor.
  • 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.

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