REVIEW: Justice League #23.4
The mysteries of Earth-3 are slowly being revealed in DC’s New 52, and this issue clears up some of them.
Explains some mysteries while setting up others.
Fills in some of the blanks in the Forever Evil event.
You need to read the previous Forever Evil offerings to get the most out of it.
This one is NOT for the kiddies!
Previously in JUSTICE LEAGUE: An army of super villains has been built throughout The New 52 during 2013 – but for what purpose? Learn about the villains that have paved the way for the world of FOREVER EVIL.
WHO KNEW ALFRED COULD BE SUCH AN EVIL MASTERMIND?
It was revealed in Forever Evil #1 that the Outsider was indeed Alfred Pennyworth, even if it was the version from Earth-3.
Back in the 1960s, it appeared that Alfred had died. His body was buried, and fans grieved at the loss. Not long after that, Batman was plagued by a new villain, the Outsider, who had skin that was white and was covered in small protrusions. It was later revealed that Alfred was indeed the character, and this transformation was the result of an attempt to bring the famous butler back to life.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Alfred be the Outsider again. If you had read those long-ago comics, you knew Mr. Pennyworth had the capacity for great good or evil in him.
Now in The New 52, Alfred came through a temporary portal from Earth-3 to “our” Earth. He began learning all he could about the planet, and set up the Secret Society of Super-Villains, another name familiar to long-time DC fans.
I particularly enjoyed the opening segment when Owlman takes on the Joker of his universe for the last time. I also liked seeing some mysteries resolved this early in the process, including:
1. Why is Alfred’s skin so pale? He received an injection of Joker venom, which made his skin become Joker-white.
2. Why was Nightwing captured? Turns out the Dick Grayson of Earth-3 was Talon (an allusion to the Court of Owls’ assassins, something the teen was being groomed for originally). He was killed by the Joker (a reference to the “Death in the Family” storyline in which Jason Todd was murdered). The Outsider is concerned about Owlman’s sudden appearance of guilt regarding Talon, so he felt he should have killed Dick when he was first kidnapped.
3. Is Owlman having a romance with Superwoman? Yes, Owlman was “occupied” by her, allowing the Joker to kill Talon. This harkens back to Grant Morrison’s Earth-3 story.
Also, I’m intrigued by Amazo and Copperhead being in the Secret Society, among others. Could be some interesting super-battles ahead!
However, the Outsider refers to some other secrets not revealed, including why he’s so devoted to Owlman. THAT I want to know!
THE PACING IS STRONG AND SOME OTHER HINTS INTRIGUE ME
The script is a powerful one, showing us that Earth-3 is REALLY a dark place, with Owlman and Joker much more similar to each other than Batman and the Joker are on Earth-1. Joker presents Talon’s dismembered body to Owlman “gift-wrapped,” as it were. Then Owlman sends Joker to a grisly death by way of helicopter blades. Yikes!
I found the dialogue particularly good, as well as everything being told from Alfred’s perspective. I can’t help but wonder if the Outsider will remain on Earth-1 after this event is concluded.
THE SHADOWY ART FITS THE STORY WELL
The art particularly matches the “darker” Earth-3 feel, which makes use of silhouettes and shadows. It fits the “alternate” reality and even the characters from that universe while on “our” Earth.
Interestingly, the Alfred on Earth-3 reminded me a lot of the Alfred on Cartoon Network’s Beyond the Batman. However, once he’s received the Joker venom, his body seems to change to resemble “our” Alfred. I found his comment to Owlman particularly troubling – “You shouldn’t trust anyone.” Even him?
BOTTOM LINE: THIS ISSUE MAY PROVE IMPORTANT AS ‘FOREVER EVIL’ PROGRESSES
I’m enjoying the villains’ issues this month, including the fact that not every “baddie” is with the Crime Syndicate. This book in particular is tied into Forever Evil very strongly, so you’ll want to pick this one up as the event unfolds.
I often don’t care much for mega-events (or even regular events), but this one is proving to be a good one in that we’re getting a diverse take on the bad guys and gals. This book is one I highly recommend to “get” what’s going on in particular! Rating: Five out of five stars.