Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 – Well-Worn Territory

Bane is invading Gotham City, and the Arkhamites are too crazy to unite against him.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

 

There’s a war coming.

Even with the Crime Syndicate taking charge of the world, the Justice League dead, and darkness – literal darkness – covering the Earth, a war in Gotham still brews. Who are the opposing players for this war? Bane. Having returned from his South American exile, the world’s most pissed off luchador is on a quest to rule Gotham. Standing on the other side of this battle is Scarecrow, who is using this war in order to hatch a more nefarious plot, one he hinted at during Villains Month.

Writer Peter J. Tomasi has his work cut out for him. On its face, Forever Evil: Arkham War doesn’t make any sense. If the villains of the world were to unite and take over, they’d be battling each other for total domination, not sticking to some little corner of their hometown. I also don’t see the point in this. Forever Evil has stacked the deck high enough; this Arkham War seems like another series to buy that gives villains outside the main series something to do.

Arkham War #1 sets the stage for what’s to come. Gotham City is in disarray. The city has been split into sections, all under the rule of Mayor Penguin. The police are helpless to stop it, so Gotham City citizens live in a dark fear. Bane arrives at Blackgate Penitentiary and sets all the prisoners free. Meanwhile, Scarecrow is trying to get everyone on board his team to go against Bane. In between, we get lots of brutality. Professor Pyg stitches a man’s foot to his arm, Bane crushes the skull of a man with kids – the senseless violence is at an epic scale here.

This brings me to why I don’t find Arkham War very interesting. As Forever Evil wages on, the lack of comeuppance is starting to wear thin. Comics center on bad men doing bad things and heroes fighting to stop them. Week in and week out of brutality, murder, and chaos gets boring without a counter story. In the main Forever Evil book, it could be acceptable because you know the heroes will rise at some point. With books like Arkham War, it’s very easy to become incredibly bored with the whole undertaking. Tomasi is a great writer, but this is well-worn territory that seems like an afterthought. Arkham War is a story you wait for the trade to read, not something worth a monthly purchase.

Scot Eaton’s artwork is passable, but nothing spectacular. He pencils comics in a very factory-like way.  Nothing jumps off the page, the panel layout is pretty standard, but it tells the story. Eaton has solid line work, and some decent shading. His Bane is a little too ridiculous, but other than that, it’s an acceptable job for what the issue is.

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(2 Story, 2 Art)