Thursday, July 10, 2008

Final Crisis: Requiem #1 Review

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

Typically, whenever there is a death of a major comic book character, there's the guaranteed cash-in / follow up on it by the company in hopes of selling a few more books at the expense of the death. They almost always have little to no story and are quickly rushed out for the time sensitive aftermath. Captain America: Fallen Son is one such example of this phenomenon.

Final Crisis: Requiem, however, is not one of these cash-in books. Requiem is, by far, one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. It expands on the throwaway, one panel death of the Martian Manhunter in Final Crisis #1, showing off how powerful J'onn really is as he single handedly hands most of the villains' their collective asses even with a flaming spear in his chest, fleshes out the funeral for him, which, again, was a simple one or two panel throwaway follow up in Final Crisis #2, and pays homage and tribute to one of the greatest characters in the DC pantheon.

Requiem is, by far, one of the best books I've read in a long, long time.  
I was never a fan of Martian Manhunter. I didn't hate him, but I didn't care if he showed up or not. Sure, his choco obsession was funny and there were some decent scenes with him every once in a while, but he was mostly a background and supporting character used to fill space by most writers that was conveniently taken out of action due to how extremely overpowered this character, who's easily more powerful than Superman, really is.

This issue was so good, though, that I honestly feel an emotional connection with J'onn and am sad to see him gone. Few comics have done that for me and I can't believe how effective Tomasi and Mahnke were at sucking me into this comic and boiling down what makes the Manhunter such a great character and still managing to make this comic better than the first two issues of Final Crisis combined. And I liked the first two issues of Final Crisis!

The only complaint I have with the book is that it starts to drag a little when they switch over from the death and funeral sections and start the pseudo flashback / homage part. It was handled well, but when a character has 60+ years of backage, it's hard to sum up his history in so few pages and the pace of the story started to drag with the wall of text we were treated to for this history lesson.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and am glad they put that part in, as it does serve a purpose to this book's goal of paying tribute to J'onn, but I felt I needed to mention that one small snag in the story.

Verdict - Absolute Must Read. Seriously, you have to read this book. You will literally care about the Martian Manhunter after reading it and probably wonder what was going through DC's head when they killed him off. My only worry is they'll have a rushed resurrection shortly after to nullify the impact of this amazing issue, but that's just me being a bit overly cynical.

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