Forever Evil

Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1

by Alan Rapp on September 22, 2013

in Comics

Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1The latest Bat-Family Forever Evil tie-in issue gives us a look at the leader the League of Assassins whose presence in the New 52 has been only (strongly) suggested up until this point. Although the .1 issue doesn’t deal with the man’s origins from the language used it appears Mike Barr‘s Birth of the Demon remains largely intact.

Instead, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1 examines the man’s rise to power and the creation of the League of Assassins, his battles with Batman, and his goal to reform the world in his own image in the form of the myth retold as Ra’s al Ghul is sought out by a messenger of the Secret Society of Super-Villains hoping to bend The Demon’s Head to their will.

Writer James Tynion IV and Jeremy Haun deliver a solid retelling of the various aspects behind the character even if he’s decidedly lacking in the kind of crazed evil malice that has defined Ra’s al Ghul since his creation. It’s far from a great Ra’s al Ghul story, but for those needing a primer on the character it’s sufficient. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Two-Face #1

by Alan Rapp on September 12, 2013

in Comics

Two-Face #1Another Forever Evil .1 tie-in issue offers us a look at Two-Face accepting the role of Gotham’s protector (and dispenser of his own brutal form of justice) all at the flip of a coin. True to the character, Batman and Robin #23.1 certainly doesn’t skimp on the bloodshed as the villain becomes judge, jury, and executioner for all who get in his way.

Although the comic gets the character right, there is obviously something missing (besides anything resembling fun). The absence of Batman (or really any member of the Bat-Family) to oppose him, really hurts Two-Face as a character who only flourishes when he has a rival to go up against. The choice to make some of the lesser villains angry at his vigilante rampage to try and force that kind of conflict doesn’t really work.

By the end of the episode the luck of Gotham City (which is far less covered in vegetation that the Poison Ivy comic would suggest) has finally run out as the flip of the coin leads Two-Face back to his more destructive ways. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Grodd #1

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2013

in Comics

Grodd #1The basic premise of these Forever Evil .1 tie-in issues is to show fans what the bigger name villians get up to when the heroes of the DCU disappear. This is problematic for the obvious reason that you’re buying a comic to see the hero’s adventures and with The Flash #23.1 it’s also an issue as the New 52 version of Grodd is fare less interesting than the original.

What made Grodd originally interesting (and ridiculous) was the character’s great intellect shoved into a gorilla’s body. Here we’re left with a brutal warrior without the cunning or charm of the original.

On the eve of a peaceful Gorilla City officially becoming a neighbor of Central City (so much for the invisible African home) a Speed-Force-infused Grodd shows up to take control of his former warriors leading to bloodshed. Yeah, it’s Planet of the Apes.

It’s not a bad issue and its competently told, but without the Flash, regular co-writer and artist Francis Manapaul, or a willingness to embrace the absurdity of the hero’s Rogues it does feel a bit flat. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Poison Ivy #1

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2013

in Comics

Poison Ivy #1As part of Forever Evil (DC’s new event that I’m not now, or planning on ever, reading) villains take over various titles in the coming weeks as the DC heroes have all gone missing. Here Detective Comics turns over Gotham to Poison Ivy who wastes little time in transforming the entire city from a concrete jungle into a far more natural one.

Given the absence of Batman (or any other member of the Bat-Family to stop her) it doesn’t take long before the eco-terrorist turned super-villain has recreated the entire city in her image. Writer Derek Fridolfs and artist Jason Fabok also take the opportunity to flush out Ivy’s New 52 origins a little more fully (which include unnecessarily tying her research to Wayne Enterprises and a backstory involving her abusive father).

Detective Comics #23.1 isn’t a great issue by any means, but I was able to easily follow the story without being forced to seek out Forever Evil. I could have done without the usual New 52 tweaks to Pamela Isley’s origins but the core of the character seems largely intact. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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