Comic: "Final Crisis #6-7"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Grant Morrison
Artist: JG Jones and lots of others
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: Plot: Hey, Hey, Hey, SPOILER ALERT! Batman escapes Darkseid’s machines and makes a one-time exception to his ‘no guns’ policy by blowing a hole in Darkseid with the very God killer bullet Darky used to kill Orion. But not before Darkseid has unleashed the Omega sanction, a death beam no one can escape, killing Batman. Silver Age Flash Barry Allen, back from the dead just ‘cause, and Wally West outrun The Black Racer (death) who ends up running down (presumably killing again or finishing killing) Darkseid, who isn’t dead yet but lets assume was mortally wounded even though it isn’t all that clear and besides, he’s identified himself with the anti-life equation which now possesses the bulk of humanity, so he doesn’t care that the body he’s in is dying.
Meanwhile Superman comes back from the future with the plans to build the Miracle Machine, a Legion of Superheroes ultimate doo-dad from back when I was a kid. While The Man of Steel builds the machine that can do anything, Supermen from multiple parallel earths team up with the Green Lantern Corps and the Zoo Crew (I shit you not, I saw it with my own eyes) to kill Mandraak, some kind of evil Monitor, who has either been behind it all, or took advantage of it all, or something. Superman powers up the Miracle Machine, a device that can rewrite physics, but this version only works once, so Supes makes a wish. We don’t know exactly what he wished for, but he’s a boy scout, so it probably wasn’t a pony. The Monitors fade out of existence (I think), Somebody wakes up that must be important but I couldn’t tell who, and then way back in time, an elderly Anthro (Chronologically, the DC Universes first hero, a caveman, thank you) who now gots the ‘Freedom from restriction’ ANTI anti-life glyph tattooed on his face, dies of old age, and somebody who certainly looks like Batman lays what certainly looks like a utility belt on Anthro’s corpse and starts drawing a bat on the wall of the cave. THE END!
I really want to like this story. I think I kind of do. But I totally don’t get it, and I’m not sure I like that because I’m not sure where Grant Morrison’s intentions lie.
Thrashing my way through creating that synopsis of the last two issues, I realized what I really need to do (and will at some point) is write a very long “Hey Dork” column about Morrison’s work in general, why I trust him as a writer even when I don’t get him, and why I think he hasn’t jumped the shark like lots of other once great comic writers I could mention.
I’ll say this much here. I’m a little disappointed and a little irritated in exactly the same way I was with Morrison’s “Seven Soldiers” project, which this grows directly out of.
I’m left feeling that big things have happened, massive themes generally outside the scope of comic book writing have been evoked and a statement has been made about the whole nature of graphic storytelling and particularly superhero books and I don’t get it.
And I should. At least more than I do. Not because I’m a genius, but because as guy who has been reading and loving hero comics for four decades, whose well versed in the history of comics, who fully believes in their potential as tools of storytelling, I’m pretty much an ideal audience for whatever it is Grant Morrison is getting at. And I don’t get it.
There are many, many moments in these books that stand on there own brilliantly as moments, some a few pages long, some just a few panels, and that’s pretty amazing all by itself. Compare that to Marvel’s epic yearlong Skrull clutserfuck and I think you can see a real difference. Marvel made a decision NOT to be iconic and legendary and mythological. No problem. Marvels deal has always been ‘What if this was real, what would that be like”. So they went for an action movie full of huge, epic, universe shattering moments, ideas and changes, and for me? Every single one of them fell flat. DC yanked out all the stops for a shot at serious fiction. The parts that Morrison wrote rang true, they had resonance, but they relied way too heavily on other nowhere near as skilled writers to carry off all sorts of supporting shit. In the end, you couldn’t understand anything beyond the grand emotional pitch of Morrison’s writing.
If I’d bought every damn DC book for the last two years, every cross over and tie in, and read them meticulously, dorkishly if you will… would I get it? Would I understand how the whole crime bible arc and the reincarnation of Caine relates to Darkseid’s almost successful attempt to make Earth into Apokolypse (Or however the hell Kirby spelled it). Would I have an idea of what Checkmates ‘Black Gambit’ is, what Lord Eye is, and what the hell it had to do with Rene Montoya, the new Question who is not only Hispanic but also a lesbian? Would I understand where Ray Palmer fits into all this, or how Barry Allen came back from the dead? Did the JSA’s whole Kingdom Come prequel with Gog have anything to do with all of this? Or is it just coincidence that Gog seems to be a surviving Old God from the Third World before the New Gods Fourth world, and does all that mean now we’re in the Fifth world? Do I even have my Kirby God Worlds numbered right?
And if a guy like me has no clue about any of that stuff, how does the DC staff pick up and move on? Is Batman dead, or just back at the dawn of human civilization, waiting for a time bubble? How did Barry Allen get alive again, and how did he know what to do once he was? Just like twenty some odd years ago after “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, lots of writers with various levels of skills are going to come in and try to make sense of things, or ignore them. That didn’t work well, and “Crisis” made a whole lot more sense than “Final Crisis”. I don’t think that made it better, and it was damn complicated enough, but you could sort of kind of get what happened.
I like final crisis. But I don’t get it. I feel like the first time I saw 2001, when I was a wee tyke. I kinda sorta got the general idea, but couldn’t explain it and wasn’t sure I was right. That’s fine and dandy for an art film. I think it’s very ballsy to try, but I’m not sure how well it works as a central piece of continuity for a pop culture universe.
What the hell did you all make of it?
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
Immortal Iron Fist is probably the best superhero book being published at the moment, by any company. Daredevil and Captain America are highly worth reading as well.
I haven't read Iron Fist though, I try avoid comic books that seem doomed, so I don't have to experience the sadness of random cancellation, I'll have to pick it up now that I've got your recommendation.
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