In an interview with Buzzfeed Monday morning, DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio officially revealed what we've known for months: the villains take over DC Comics in Septemeber 2013 for a special Villains Month.
What we didn't know, however were the details, and also what Villains Month, and the upcoming Justice League titles crossover story Trinity War , are actually leading up to: the first line-wide crossover mini-series at DC Comics in the New 52 era, Forever Evil.
Forever Evil will launch during Villains Month, DC Comics confirmed to us. Forever Evil #1 will come alongside the various villain re-titlings, which are listed as special "point one" issues of regular ongoing series (borrowing from the competition, as Marvel Comics has used the point one numbering significantly over the last few years). For example, Green Lantern #23.1 will also be Relic #1. The series will be a seven-issue mini-series, with "three series taking place simultaneously to help support" it, says DiDio, with the other mini-series, DC Comics tells Newsarama, launching in October 2013.
An additional interview with USAToday.com gave more information about the mini-series. Forever Evil will be written by Geoff Johns and drawn by David Finch (who provided the art seen in our header image). Johns says the book is "a chance for David and I to work on the greatest villains in comic books. It's literally everybody. I don't even know if there's anybody not in it. We're really exploring what darkness means and the different kinds of darkness that are within these villains."
The tie-in books, again launching in October, will be three five-issue mini-series, though Forever Evil will also reach into several DC Comics ongoing series with tie-in issues in Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, and more. Forever Evil: Rogues comes from Brian Buccellato and Patrick Zircher, and stars, of course, The Flash's Rogues, led by Captain Cold. Forever Evil: Arkham War by Peter Tomasi and Scot Eaton is "The biggest story with Bat-villains you've ever seen," promises Johns. Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. by Matt Kindt features the government agency coming under fire as Steve Trevor starts to find out they've been doing some less-than-heroic deeds. "If A.R.G.U.S. has a chance of rising above what it is right now and becoming a heroic force in the future, it's up to Steve Trevor," Johns teased.
Kindt also takes over for Johns on Justice League of America as writer of five issues of the series, which will focus on Martian Manhunter - with whom Kindt is familiar after recent back-ups starring the enigmatic character in the first few issues of the series. Johns confirmed he'll stay on Justice League, and that it will also tie-in to Forever Evil.
As for stars of the show? Well, Lex Luthor has something happen to him that will have "major repercussions through the DC Universe," according to Johns, with a "surprise" in the first issue. Catwoman, who appeared to die in JLA #4 , is promised a starring role, as well. "In my mind, she is unstoppable. Her longing for finding out answers about some things in her past that we've set up is key for her drive over the next big story."
DC's initial marketing for Trinity War led many fans to believe it would be a stand-alone mini-series, instead of taking place in the ongoing Justice League, Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark titles as wound up being the case (it also crosses over into a couple of ongoing solo series like Pandora, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine). The significance of a line-wide mini-series event is huge: it's the first one since 2011's summer event Flashpoint, which signaled the end of the old DC Universe and ended with the September 2011 launch of the New 52, a fresh start for DC's continuity with major changes for its heroes - and villains.
"When we launched the New 52 in September of 2011, we decided to do something different and daring each September to draw attention to our line and really focus on what our goals are for the year. What we did back in 2011 was relaunch our entire line," DiDio explained to Buzzfeed. "In 2012, we went back and looked at all our heroes with Zero Month and told some early stories and origins. This September we wanted to try something a little different and really explore our villain base, and show the challenges our heroes face with every story and every issue, because of the strength of the characters taking over their books in that month."
While there won't be any brand-new villains introduced in September, there will be "some new villains that haven't been introduced in the New 52," teased DiDio, such as Cyborg Superman, who has been recently teased on the DC blog. There will be 52 villain titles in September, despite some recent cancellations bringing the "New 52" below the 52 monthly total. DiDio also said, "We have fifty-two titles right now, and it's not a villain to match every title," meaning some Villain books could be stand-alone #1s - and also that enough new books are launching to bring the number back to 52.
While the co-publishers wouldn't reveal all the villains taking over (saving that for this month's solicitations, due most likely in about 2 weeks), they did show off several, also revealing that every Villain cover will be a 3D lenticular cover, the sort of hologram you can tilt to see a limited 5-10 frames of motion.
"It’s called a 3D motion cover and it’s essentially artwork that’s been separated onto different layers, so when you hold the cover, which is a premium stock cover, and you slightly rotate the comic book left or right or up and down, the images move a bit," Jim Lee explained. "They’re amazing covers. It’s an effect that you haven’t seen before, and like Dan said, it’s an entire cover. Any time in the past that they’ve done specialty covers, you would only get like a small trading card size image on the cover that was a hologram or lenticular bit of technology. This is the whole cover and it is amazing. The colors and the depth of field allows you to actually see the logo of the new book. Let’s say the Joker is taking over, it’ll be the Batman title in the background, and you’ll see the Joker title splattered on top of the Batman logo itself. It really sells the concept in a very visual way."
So what villains are coming? Well, Bizarro takes over Superman, Poison Ivy takes over Detective Comics, Grodd takes over The Flash, Cyborg Superman takes over Action Comics, Relic takes over Green Lantern, Ventriloquist takes over Batman: The Dark Knight (interesting since she's been showing up in Batgirl of late in what DiDio says "is a wonderful interpretation that recreates that character for a new generation"), Darkseid takes over Justice League, The Creeper takes over Justice League Dark, Desaad takes over Earth 2 (another interesting one - it shows former Earth 2'ers Power Girl and Huntress - stranded on the main DC New 52 world - on the cover), and Two-Face takes over Batman and Robin. Other villains mentioned for the month without cover reveals include Joker, Lex Luthor, Parasite, and Metallo, with Johns also name-dropping Killer Frost and Plastique as at least appearing in the main series, if not getting their own spotlights. One villain specifically mentioned as not making the cut was Bat-villain Hush, though DiDio said "we have such big plans" for him "down the line."
Artist David Finch's first Forever Evil cover featured tons more villains, including Bane, Man-Bat, Black Hand, Sinestro, White Rabbit, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn, Cheetah, Black Manta, Deadshot, Scarecrow, Riddler, Black Adam, and more, but that's no indication that they'll appear in solo one-shots, just that they're considered villains major enough to promote the crossover.
Stay tuned for much more on Villains month right here at Newsarama.