But first, let’s take a look at some of DC’s Forever Evil titles (click the title to see a full review!):
BATMAN #23.1 (DC)
This issue helps kick off DC’s universe wide story arc “Forever Evil“. Each series is getting a deeper look at some origins and backstories of the best villains, in this case, the Joker. Here we learn a bit about the Joker’s childhood. It’s something that, in a way, makes me feel sorry for the guy. Not that it justifies his incredible, horrific nature but clearly… it didn’t help things. The issue focuses on the Joker’s relationship with a primate friend of his and how we might imagine the Joker would be as a father… scary thought. The illustrations are interesting and paired with the story. You can tell it’s not a Scott Snyder issue but it’s still a fun, dark way to get a look inside the mind of Batman’s great nemesis, the Joker. -Derreck Mayer
GREEN ARROW #23.1 (DC)
The common singularity that struck me about almost all of the villain’s month issues (or at least the ones with origins, which seemed to be most of them) dealt with childhoods that were particularly abusive and/or ruined. Not even the Count Vertigo #1/Green Arrow #23.1 gets away from this. Part of it is set in the present but for the most part it is set in the past. We deal with Werner’s undesirable childhood of being forced from his birthright and taken away by doctors to be experimented on. It certainly has pathos, with Lemire brutalizing and beating down on Vertigo at every turn only to build him up to something stronger than he was before. Particularly great is the sequence where he goes to take his castle (and homeland) back from the rebels who forced him out when he was a child. It turns him from a sad, downtrodden child to a piece of angry royalty. What deviates this origin from the typical abusive childhood is that it incorporates elements of his past characterizations and it doesn’t make him particularly sympathetic. Sure we feel pity for him at some points, but never is he humanized enough to where he loses his character. Count Vertigo is still very much a depressed psychopath who tries to get rid of all attachments to his past and rebirth himself as something and powerful. Sorrentino does wonders with the art, creating various types of oscillating frequency and vertigo-based effects. There’s also a sequence done entirely in first person (where we also get a look at how Vertigo sees things – check the thin panels) and the coloring is dark and gritty without being overtly depressing. The environments and facial expressions are also rendered very well. Sorrentino has truly realized his potential here. -Julien Loeper
GREEN LANTERN #23.1 (DC)
This unique Green Lantern issue is part of the universe wide story arc “Forever Evil” where the Crime Syndicate has taken over Earth, defeated the Justice League. Now, we get a closer look at some of the greatest villains in the DC universe. This issue focuses on Relic, a mysterious being from a universe before our own. Relic is hellbent on destroying all of the Lanterns across the entire emotional spectrum. In this issue, we learn where Relic came from, what his universe was like and why he has so much hatred for the people called Lightsmiths (what we call Lanterns). The issue is very interesting and Relic is a stellar character to get a whole issue to explore. In fact, I wish there was more time to learn about his universe and what the Lightsmiths were all about. Venditti does a good job continuing his existing story arc by expanding on the primary character and this issue leads well into the upcoming story arc “Lights Out“. -Derreck Mayer
JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.1 (DC)
The Justice League has many enemies and Darkseid is one of the worst. Darkseid is a villain that not just any hero can take down which is why he is perfect for a spotlight issue during “Forever Evil“. “Forever Evil” is the DC universe wide story arc focusing on the greatest villains in each series. This issue brings us to the origins of Darkseid. We learn that he wasn’t always such a powerful god-like creature and maybe, just maybe, wasn’t always so evil. We learn about his journey to power and how he came upon Superman and the rest of the Justice League. It’s a fascinating issue that I wish was longer and included more detail. I feel like this story is a bit rushed, which is a shame because it has a lot of potential. If you’re curious about where Darkseid came from, this is the issue for you! -Derreck Mayer
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.1 (DC)
I’m still a tad upset and extremely disappointed over the loss of Ales Kot on Suicide Squad. His writing style gave the book a unique voice that will be sorely missed in the future. That being said, his replacement Matt Kindt is both an excellent artist and writer (check out Mind MGMT if you haven’t yet) and he should have a good run on the book. What does any of this have to do with a book labeled Justice League of America though? Well because it’s not really a JLA book in the slightest. It’s more of the prelude to Kindt’s Suicide Squad run next month. It serves its purpose well, and works as a great character study for Deadshot, the title star of the book. What Kindt does with Deadshot is he gets behind the psychological and economical motivations for why Deadshot is the way he is (a villain) and the events that led him to his present day situation. Deadshot gets a tragic origin in the form of growing up poor and having the rest of his family shot up, a sharp contrast to his original origins. What this does is set Deadshot on a path to find the killers and reverse the situation back on them. Eventually, he starts taking any job for cash. It’s a great way to get behind the idea that Deadshot can be a man of cruel vengeance and a man of monetary desires. Deadshot’s current motivation at this point is money, the true root of all evil. It works as a spectacularly solid issue coupled with average looking art that’s hardly worth mentioning I’d say come and stay for the story and the psychological explorations of Deadshot if you can get past the admittedly mediocre art. -Julien Loeper
DARK SHADOWS: YEAR ONE #5 (Dynamite)
The penultimate issue has us on the road to either redemption or eternal damnation. Naturally we all know what way we’re going to end up going but seeing how things unfolded has been very interesting and entertaining. Joshua Collins works endlessly to find a way to save his son’s soul and, with the help of Ben Harper, might have out one: to end a witch’s curse you must employ a witch! It almost works as Angelique is called out and is just barely able to defeat the hired witch. But not without some unintentional help. But this isn’t the only drama impacting the Collins Clan, Cousin Millicent is slowly being poisoned by her ‘loving’ husband Nathan who hopes that in her passing he will inherit a lot of money and, with that, power. He is truly a lowlife and I hope he gets what’s coming to him before this series wraps up.
I had some doubt that Dark Shadows needed another series to go along with the main one but if the stories are told in a miniseries format I think we should have more! I’d love to have some stories about the other members of our cast including Quinton Collins. An origin story for him would be most entertaining. Dark Shadows: Year One has proven itself to be a most welcome addition to the Dark Shadows line! -Skott Jimenez
HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #5 (DC)
First off the cover… it’s a horrible tease! She-Ra does NOT appear in this book but I think we’re certainly heading in that direction! Despara begins to learn the story of her life has all been a lie and she finds this information in the most interesting of way: by telling Teela the story of Hordak, the entity she has known as her father. She further learns of the truth behind her childhood and the roles played by Skeletor and the Sorceress. It’s all very interesting but even more so when she begins to realize her whole life has been a lie and she rebels against Hordak. She’s beginning to change sides and I can’t help but be giddy to think that this new bad-ass version of Adora/She-Ra might become close friends to an equally bad-ass Teela and the thought of the damage these two chicks can do to Hordak or anyone else for that matter puts a HUGE smile on my face! One things I’ve always wanted to see is a more bad-ass She-Ra.
This series is really picking up. I like how they are using the Horde’s invasion as a way to drop several clues about the origins of He-Man and She-Ra, it’s being told in a great way and the battle scenes between the Masters and the Horde give plenty of chances for some cool cameos that fans of this franchise will be all giggly over! It’s hard to imagine that I was originally planning on this issue being the last one I picked up, I’ve since decided that I will be sticking with this run for the long haul! If there is anything that might be a problem with this series and this new take on these classic characters, it would be trying to divorce this line from the previous stories. Writer Keith Giffen has done a really good job of borrowing certain points from the original series and the 2002 relaunch but has added so much new material that it might be hard for some people to understand what’s going on because a lot of these characters are not acting the way most people are familiar with. I like it, though! -Skott Jimenez
SATELLITE SAM #3 (Image)
The third issue in this 1950′s Noir style series showcases Michael in the continued journey to discover why his father died and who might have killed him. We follow Michael as he uncovers more dark secrets about his father’s past of drugs, sex and women. Michael and his father both worked for the Satellite Sam television show. The late Mr. White was the star and now his son must continue on. Satellite Sam is a unique series from a visual perspective. The illustrations are all in black and white, save the cover. This representation helps create the classic Noir feel that Fraction and Chaykin intend. The series is intended for adults due to language and sexual content, though no nudity through the first three issues. If Noir is your thing, check out this series. -Derreck Mayer
THE STAR WARS #1 (Dark Horse)
The initial issue for this short run series kicks off an epic journey. The Star Wars brings to comic book life George Lucas’ original rough draft screenplay for the first Star Wars film. This issue sets up the characters and political tones of the series which differ, in some ways, greatly from the franchise we’ve all grown to love. While some names are the same, these are not the same heroes. This universe and its characters are darker, grittier and more desperate than ever before. The Empire has almost complete control of the galaxy and the last remaining Jedi-Bendu are the only ones left who can stop the Emperor. If you want to see what George Lucas’ original vision was, this is a must read comic book series and being the first issue, jump on board now! -Derreck Mayer
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #17 (Marvel NOW!)
Okay I will admit it, I really missed Miguel O’Hara. He is a great future Peter Parker. Before you jump down my throat I realize that Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hara couldn’t be more different but when you see someone the likes of Otto Octavius behind the mask of Spider-Man you realize Miguel was more like Parker than we realized. Spider-Man 2099 has a special guest appearance in Superior Spider-Man and like all of Dan Slott’s work it fit like clockwork. Is Little Osborn Dan Slott creating the next Spidey villain? Are all Osborns destined to do battle with Spider-Man? Slott doesn’t have to do a big shake up even the little shake-ups seem to have massive reactions that don’t even come up until years later, but Slott has turned the game on itself yet again. Green Goblin is planning something big. Spider-Man is at an all time high with the public even after executing a man in public. Hobgoblin has been outed. The entire world knows Phil Urich is Hobgoblin. And now Liz Allan owns all of Peter Parker’s inventions, vaccines, and gadgets. To make matters worse Tiberius Stone is with her! But this is no average Parker that Tiberius is messing with, this is the Superior Spider-Man! He knows no limits. He never rests, he has no problem with killing. Something tells me more people are gonna die at the hands of Spider-Man in the very near future, but not if Miguel O’Hara has anything to say about it! As Spider-Man 2099 meets the Superior Spider-Man we have to wait till…NEXT ISSUE! DAMMIT! -Nick Furious
That’s it for this week. As always you can check out our site for a full range of great reviews on recent comics, including even more of DC’s Forever Evil titles!