Geoff Johns, you are an evil genius.
How many Wayne origin stories can Geoff Johns come up with? Answer…as many as he damn well pleases. He’s already done it superbly with Flashpoint Batman and Earth One; now we get another unique look at the alternate Wayne lineage. Justice League #25 is a Forever Evil tie-in that isn’t vital to the event but there’s no reason to skip this book. What’s been great about the issues of Justice League going on during Forever Evil is how they feel like the same intricate stories we got during the Sinestro Corps one shots.
Last month we saw the origin of Ultraman with all its brutality and cleverness, this month Owlman takes center stage, mostly. The beginning of the issue reads like an evil Elseworld’s earth-3 Batman story that doesn’t end well for Bruce. In the back half of the issue we finally learn some of the secret plans the Crime Syndicate has and about Owlman’s obsession with our Nightwing. Johns writes an issue that’s tragic Scorsese character events with a hint of Melrose Place drama. As weird of a combination as that sounds, it just flat out works.
Notable by his absence on this book is regular series artist Ivan Reis. Taking art duties on the book is former John’s Green Lantern penciler Doug Mankhe. While he doesn’t have the flashiest style for a book with so many lead characters; it does however lend itself to Owlman’s gritty and depressing origin story. Doug’s line work is heavy and distinctly dark, which makes it perfect for this particular issue.
Overall Justice League #25 is not only one of the best tie-ins of Forever Evil, it’s also one of the best single issues of Justice League ever. If you’re reading Forever Evil you have no excuse not to read this.