‘Justice League: Forever Heroes’: See Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke sketches

Sept. 08, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.
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The Crime Syndicate is seen in cover art for "Justice League" No. 24 penciled by Ivan Reis, with inks by Joe Prado. The illustration is based on Jim Lee's cover for "Justice League" No. 1, and has the heroes' evil counterparts coming from the opposite direction. (DC Entertainment)

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"Justice League Vol. 5: Forever Heroes," out Wednesday, features cover art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis. (DC Entertainment)

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Nightwing is battered in the foreground, with Ultraman in the background, in Ivan Reis and Joe Prado's cover art for "Justice League" No. 25. (DC Entertainment)

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Power Ring is at the center of Ivan Reis and Joe Prado's cover art for "Justice League" No. 26. (DC Entertainment)

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Cyborg and Crime Syndicate members are seen on Ivan Reis and Joe Prado's cover art for "Justice League" No. 27. (DC Entertainment)

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The Metal Men grace the cover art for "Justice League" No. 28, with pencils by Ivan Reis and inks by Joe Prado. (DC Entertainment)

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Cyborg battles Grid on the cover art for "Justice League" No. 29, penciled by Ivan Reis with inks by Joe Prado. (DC Entertainment)

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Penciled pages from "Justice League." The top two are by Ivan Reis, the bottom two by Doug Mahnke. (DC Entertainment)

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Rough layouts for the "Justice League" No. 25 Owlman variant cover by Aaron Kuder. (DC Entertainment)

With most of the Justice League missing — presumed dead by the world – and the Crime Syndicate in cataclysmic control, the pressure is on Cyborg.

Or what’s left of him.

In “Justice League Vol. 5: Forever Heroes,” a new hardcover volume out Wednesday, Victor Stone is badly injured, rended from the robotic part of Cyborg. It’s being inhabited by the computer virus and Crime Syndicate member called Grid, whose group of alternate-reality deranged Justice League doubles is at work cementing its control over the Earth it has invaded.

Collecting “Justice League” Nos. 24-29, written by Geoff Johns with pencils by, variously, Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke, the book also provides looks into the Syndicate members’ pasts in their universe, and ties into the major DC story line “Forever Evil.” Hero Complex readers can get an early look at bonus pages from the hardcover showing penciled pages and cover layouts by Reis and Mahnke in the gallery above or via the links below.

“Justice League” penciled, inked cover art: 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29; mixed penciled pages; Cyborg

The two artists have long histories with bestselling writer Johns, who is DC’s chief creative officer. Reis, who recently drew the first issue of Grant Morrison’s “The Multiversity,” had a popular run on “Green Lantern” with Johns, and they collaborated on the event miniseries “Blackest Night” and “Brightest Day.” Mahnke also teamed with Johns on “Green Lantern,” and separately worked on “Final Crisis.”

Cyborg and Crime Syndicate members are seen on Ivan Reis and Joe Prado's cover art for "Justice League" No. 27. (DC Entertainment)

Cyborg, front, and Crime Syndicate members are seen on Ivan Reis and Joe Prado’s cover art for “Justice League” No. 27. (DC Entertainment)

Before the start of the pre-“Forever Evil,” multiple-Justice-League story line “Trinity War,” Reis told Hero Complex of his artistic approach, “My major concern is to keep the scenes clean and comprehensible to everyone. I always keep in mind that each book I’m doing is someone’s first comic ever.”

In the same “Trinity War” preview, Mahnke said of working with Johns, “I love Geoff”s knowledge, control and twists and turns he can bring to a story. Geoff has a great passion for the medium, and he can infect you with it.  He knows how to write so a story is worth reading and remembering.”

Cyborg’s story in “Forever Heroes” begins with him hurt, but in good and capable hands – if they’re willing to help him. The madcap Metal Men also figure in, and there’s a nice nod to Cyborg and Johns’ hometown.

The writer also weaves in back stories for the Crime Syndicate – Grid, Ultraman (in place of Superman), Superwoman (Wonder Woman), Owlman (Batman), Power Ring (Green Lantern), Deathstorm (Firestorm) and the murderous couple of Johnny Quick (the Flash) and Atomica – to show how they came to be so wicked.

When the “Forever Evil” event began, Johns told Hero Complex of the Syndicate supervillains, “I think all these characters are really fascinating because they’re such twisted fun-house mirrors to our world’s greatest superheroes…. It’s not as simple as just, hey, this universe is evil, things are backward — it’s things are different but they operate on a different law of nature, a different law of evolution, a different law of culture that has created these twisted, bizarre versions of our heroes.”

[FOR THE RECORD: Doug Mahnke’s first name was misspelled in the headline of an earlier version of this post.]

Blake Hennon | Google+ | @LATHeroComplex

RECENT AND RELATED:

Gail Simone lets Catman loose in a New 52 ‘Secret Six’

‘Multiversity’: Grant Morrison maps other Earths for DC event series

‘Forever Evil’: Geoff JOhns, David Finch conspire on Crime Syndicate

 

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