If you've been following the announcements and press about "Forever Evil," everything goes pretty much as you'd expect in this issue. Thanks to Grid taking over global communications, the Crime Syndicate announces to the watching world that it has destroyed the Justice League, presenting Aquaman's trident, Superman's cape, and Wonder Woman's lasso as proof. It does so from the downed Watchtower, where it has gathered the world's supervillains, declaring them inheritors of the Earth. To warn off any super-hero thinking of challenging the Syndicate's rule, Superwoman exposes Nightwing's identity and Ultraman vows to murder everyone close to Dick to back up the threat. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor watches these events from Metropolis, wondering where Superman is.
Johns does an effective job setting up the mystery here. We don't know where the Justice League is, although it's likely that they're not dead. It's also unclear why Ultraman gathered the world's super-villains. Does he view them as footsoldiers in the Syndicate's war, implementing a plan, or will he simply turn over the world to them, relishing the chaos? It's only at the end of the issue that Johns hit an emotional note, as we (and Lex) watch Ultraman push the Moon in front of the Sun, since he draws his powers from kryptonite and loses them from sunlight. It's a remarkably powerful moment, stressing the scope of the events depicted in this issue. Moreover, the metaphor of Ultraman plunging the world into darkness shouldn't have been lost on anyone, particularly not Lex.