Forever Evil: Blight Review

Forever Evil: Blight is a 2013 DC Comics superhero graphic novel written by J. M. DeMatteis and Ray Fawkes.  After a battle between the three Justice Leagues, the heroes of the DC Universe have all gone missing. With unspeakable evil called Blight unleashed on the world, it’s up to the Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing, Pandora and the Phantom Stranger to try and stop them from destroying everything around them.


Positives:

  • Great art style
  • Good writing
  • Great dialogue
  • Great antagonists
  • Good story
  • Cool characters

Negatives:

  • Ending sucked

Plot:   There are two main stories with John Constantine’s search for Zatanna being at the core of both  The story is pretty straight forward at first with the new Justice League Dark who are waging war against the physical manifestation of the darkness in humanity’s conscious named Blight.  There is an intensity as Blight’s influence and powers grow, making the story a pretty intense page turner as new league’s efforts are thwarted at every turn.  One thing I can say is that it does feel redundant sometimes because there are cycles that repeat: good guys fight Blight and are defeated, then they try again and are defeated, then they try again but are defeated.  However, I can forgive this as this is basically war and most wars aren’t finished in one confrontation (try watching anime).

The story shifts gears when it comes to the second half where Constantine and the crew must stop Project Thaumaton, where Felix Faust and Nick Necro are experimenting on the world’s most powerful magic users, turning them into living bombs under the instructions of the Crime Syndicate.  The story is pretty deep and has some interesting points, and the action just keeps coming as the stakes rise ever higher.  There is an interesting bit of character development for the characters, especially Pandora and Phantom Stranger. I did not like the ending, because it is so out of left field.  John Constantine goes through all of this for Zatanna and basically abandons her.  Why? (3 out of 5)

Characters: The main protagonist is John Constantine, and I love this character as the story shows just how flawed of a character he is.  Zatanna is a personal favorite of mine and I like the relationship between them and how it effects and drives him forward. Constantine can be an awesome guy, putting everything on the line to save others but he does have these moments where he is straight up detestable.  Nightmare Nurse is one of those good characters that’s fun, but has that mischievous aura about her.  Love the back and forth between her and Constantine. Never really liked Swamp Thing but he is actually pretty awesome and shows a surprising amount of personality.  The group are joined by Phantom Stranger and Pandora (unfortunately the Question decided not to help) who I think brought a bit more depth to the cast, as they are wrestling with their own eternal demons.  I like that each of these characters have their own moments.

The main antagonist of the first two-thirds of the story is this evil presence known as Blight, the dark swimming in the overall conscious of the human race.  In terms of being a badass, Blight is a really cool villain.  When it comes to actual depth, not really. Felix Faust is actually pretty damn badass.  Not only is her powerful but there is a certain conviction to the character that makes him almost admirable despite him killing people.  Yeah, he’s a badguy but he truly wants to save the world.  Nick Necro shows a bit more depth, especially when it comes to his rivalry with Constantine and Zatanna.  It’s interesting with him because for people who haven’t read up on the Constantine comics, it’s difficult to actually know if his hatred for them springs from him simply being malicious or actual love/hurt. (4 out of 5)

Art Style:  The character designs are done really well with enough detail to make them standout without feeling overly descriptive.  Love how the artist thought to differentiate the different voices in different colors; definitely helped to keep up with the different characters.  The color themes are utilized really well adding depth to the presentation.  Transitions and paneling feel smooth, well-placed, and not distracting. The action is easy enough to follow yet has a feeling of intensity.  I really enjoyed Blight’s physical design and the presentation of its non-corporeal form.  It’s got that armored skeleton look but its other form is that of a giant shadowy snake. (4 out of 5)

Writing:  One of the most impressive aspects of the writing is the psychology behind it.  I like how J. M. DeMatteis’ approach to philosophical ideals gives the writing an out-of-this-world feeling but Ray Fawkes does manage to keep DeMatteis from straying too far out there. Many of the characters show a deeper meaning to what makes us human, our flaws and motivations.  I like how the story actually cycles through the different points of view.  I was particularly interested in Pandora, Phantom Stranger, and Zatanna’s perspectives and how their view evolved over the course of the story.  I liked the psychology behind Blight’s origins and the idea of a unifying conscious among human kind.

I haven’t read many comics and realize that this is a crossover event and although I’ve read some pretty down opinions about the execution, I honestly found little fault with them.  Characters I had no knowledge of had their own moments to shine and standout especially Nightmare Nurse, Pandora, and Phantom Stranger.  There is even a badass side to Swamp Thing (who I’ve never really liked). The action sequences are intense and violent and pull no punches.  There is some references and influences to the Bible and Christianity which I think helped with the philosophical aspects. There are pacing issues but they didn’t really bother me.  However, I will say that I hated the direction that the ending took and thought it was pretty poor writing. (3 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Forever Evil: Blight is definitely a good read and I highly recommend DC fans take a look at it.  It explores the magical aspect of the DC Universe in a way that I haven’t really seen since 2016’s Doctor Strange method of exploring it in the MCU.  Yeah, there are some pacing issues here and there and the ending is terrible.  However, there are heroes we can root for, good writing, great action, great art style, and some pretty cool antagonists.  Forever Evil: Blight gets 4 out of 5.

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