Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Final Crisis #3 Review

Apologies for the lack of reviews today. I bought a new computer last week and the parts came in this afternoon and I've been busy putting it together, testing it, overclocking it, testing it, loading up Vista and Ubuntu and all the other crap you have to do to make a new computer work.

However, there was one book I had to talk about and that was Final Crisis #3. Few times have books disappointed me on the level that this issue did. I'm stuck between anger over the treatment of certain characters to disbelief that a book with this kind of pedigree could turn out this way and disappointment over the completely nonsensical plot and story.

I've tried to put my thoughts into a coherent review, but I'm sure this veers off into fanboy nerd rage more often than not, but you can read the whole dirty details after the jump. I'll have the rest of the reviews up tomorrow to make up for today's lackluster updates.

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by J.G. Jones

Was the Anti-Life Equation unleashed and no one told me? Because that's the only reason I can think of to explain just how bad Final Crisis has gotten. Three issues in and nothing is explained, Grant continues to just jump around to different characters, seemingly at random, as he checks in on his pet characters before giving us the predictable timeskip ending to explain away the whole 'evil won' thing.

When, exactly, is this disaster of an event supposed to start coming together? I know they said it was going to take a few issues for it to start making sense and for things to be setup, but, with a two month layoff, I don't know how many people are going to actually care about this when they finally get around to putting it back on the stands again.

Where did everything go wrong in this issue? I don't even know where to begin, to be honest. We've got Mary Marvel, who you wouldn't even recognize if Wonder Woman hadn't told us who she is, sporting a bald with pink pigtails haircut and a gimp mask, a super-hero draft in the DCU, when everyone is on the JSA or JLA already and all they pretty much needed to do was just send out a general alert to everyone, retarded time travel to explain events that happened in the first issue, like Orion's death, the Anti-Life Equation being unleashed on the world by spamming people's email (Captain America was safe from this - he doesn't even know what MySpace is) and Oracle, Grand Poobah of the internet and hacker god of the DCU, having the bright idea to stop it by unplugging her computer and the list just goes on and on.

This went from your average Grant Morrison story - dense and filled with high concept insanity - to an unabridged disaster in the span of three issues. If the tie-ins weren't so insanely good, I'd be ready to throw in the towel on this event already.

Remember how Batman was captured last issue? No follow up on that. How about the return of Barry Allen? Nope, all we got was some hideous artwork of Jay crying over his disbelief at Barry being back with Iris as we find out Orion died from a bullet from the future shot back in time that Barry was trying to catch for some reason. Oh, and Barry and Wally ran to the future and Barry cries over his own existentialism. What about Dan Turpin and Dark Side? Question is looking for Turpin, but, no, he's not in this issue either. How about Superman and the 'death' of Lois Lane? Well, Superman spent the last day or so at her bedside crying over it. That's it. That is how Libra takes down Superman.

Oh yeah, did I mention Mary Marvel in a gimp mask with a pink pigtails adorned bald head? I did? Well, let me reiterate just how f--king retarded that is.  
As an aside, was that random character that came to see Superman a part of Final Crisis or just a tool to get Superman into Legion of 3 Worlds? She says she needs to take him away in order to save Lois, but there's no mention of the Legions or time travel or anything, so I was unsure if this would play out in FC or L3W.

Oh yeah, did I mention Mary Marvel in a gimp mask with a pink pigtails adorned bald head? I did? Well, let me reiterate just how f--king retarded that is. It was bad enough they took the innocent and idealistic Mary and turned her into the queen bitch of the universe in Countdown. Now they've walked up to the line between in good and in bad taste and took one running leap past it.

At least the Countdown version of Mary Marvel looked good and there was still some hope for redemption. With this version, who dismembers an Atomic Knight and curses like a sailor, it's pretty much impossible to redeem her, even if you take into account the Anti-Life Equation.

However, the biggest crime of this issue is by the penciller they have as the ghost artist for JG Jones. What, there wasn't a ghost artist drawing this issue for Jones? Seriously? He's responsible for this drastic drop in quality? This issue looked terrible and I couldn't even believe this was done by Jones when I saw the previews and just assumed it was a couple of bad pages or bad scans. When I bought the book and saw just how bad a job was done here, I fully understand and can't wait for Pacheco to "help" finish up the rest of the run.

The biggest crime of this issue is by the penciller they have as the ghost artist for JG Jones. What, there wasn't a ghost artist drawing this issue for Jones? Seriously?  
How bad was the art this issue? It's not Countdown or anything, god no, but this is a more drastic dip in quality than Bryan Hitch's Ultimates to Fantastic Four. The difference being Hitch is doing his work monthly while Jones has been at this for like 2 years and only put out 3 issues on his own. Such a drastic dip in quality after two issues is a slap in the face to those expecting Jones quality artwork for this event.

One random thing that pissed me off was during the Libra and Human Flame scene. Libra offers Human Flame an old school Battlestar Galactica Cylon helmet as a reward for his faith and Human Flame starts telling him he's a little concerned over how gay Libra is acting. Yes, you read that right. The Human Flame, from out of nowhere, ridicules Libra for acting gay. What did this add to the story? What was the point of it? Just to treat being gay as a derogatory remark? I know he's a villain, but this came out of leftfield and just brought me right out of what little story there was in this issue with some random gay bashing statement.

Another odd moment came with the exiled Monitor (does he even serve a freaking purpose other than to take up pages?) gets fired from Burger King or McDonalds or whatever. Using the word 'gravitron' is grounds for firing nowadays and is the freakiest thing a manager could ever hear, apparently.

The only thing that seemed remotely interesting was the introduction of a German Supergirl (she says she's Supergirl and that Heaven is bleeding and Hell has won. in German) . Is Grant actually going to use the Multiverse in this event or is this just another random scene? Is it even a different Supergirl or is it ours modified by the Anti-Life Equation?

Speaking of Supergirl, she had a new costume design scribbled onto her one scene in this issue that shows a lot of promise over the jailbait version of her current costume.

Regarding the Anti-Life Equation and its delivery system through email, how does that even work? Like 60 or 70% of the world's population that doesn't even own a computer, let alone have internet access. How can someone as well read, technology-wise, as Grant Morrison write something as badly as that? And that's not even taking into account his Oracle screaming for everyone to pull the plugs on the computers to stop it.

I'm honestly not sure how I'm supposed to take this series after this issue. Will it get better? Will any of these random series of events come together into some semblence of a plot? Will I even care in 2 months time when this event starts up again?

Verdict - Avoid It. Bad writing, bad art, a throw shit at the wall and hope something sticks attitude to storytelling, bastardization of characters and a cheap timeskip solution to 'evil winning'. Want an awesome Grant Morrison story featuring Darkside taking over? Ignore this nonsense and go pick up Rock of Ages from his JLA run.

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Eric said...

Two thing for now. 1)I completely disagree but I have read it again before I post more and 2) the Nazi Supergirl was actually sketched by Nix in the last issue so it probably has to do with something relating to his powers.

Hikerman said...

I agree with you on certain parts of it, Mary Marvel is very very weird looking now, and I don't know if I should be flattered or insulted with the Superhero Draft and its version of Marvel's Super Human Registration Act. I also agree that J.G. Jones' art is beginning to suffer, but not quite to the extent that you say it is.

I don't think it is an "Avoid It" BY an means necessary, but I really was expecting something really awesome to happen in this issue. The ending was nice, but I want more.

Ugh....I really want to love Final Crisis, but right now, I just can't seem to do it.

Captain Lameo said...

What? You didn't like the special guest appearance to tell Superman that he's supposed to be appearing in a tie-in series instead?

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this issue. The art was of mixed quality and there were some coloring errors/tics in some areas I found distracting. Over these three issues, I haven't seen anything to really recommend having gone with Jones for this (Reis/Van Sciver on Sinestro Corp War's art for the Green Lantern main title was far better IMO).

As for the story - I'm a big fan of the old Mary Marvel so you can guess how I feel about this current..uh...version. The rest? I still don't really care about Barry, and I was kinda "eh" about the rest.

I'd probably put it at a "check it" - it sets the stage for the battle for Earth and what not, but the path to that end has been very disappointing for the most part.

Reynolds said...

Wow. That's harsh.

But as reviews go I think you nailed it.

I agree 100%.

The problem is that many of the tie ins have also been ruined for me because of how badly this EVENT has turned out.

How are any of these random events supposed to tie the Crisis trilogy together? Actually I don't want to know because I don't care anymore.

Then again maybe I'll be more forgiving in two months.

quantum said...

As much as I like your site and respect your opinion, I'm gonna chalk this one up to nerd rage. I am at least grateful that i have not yet developed the necessary glands to get so worked up over a comic book yet, with the exception of the OMD ending. at least it was not as incoherent as robby reed over at dial b for blog and his bitch-fit over final crisis #1, so i'll give you that.

First, a friendly reminder that in all probability there is no "two-month layoff" as this issue was delayed until this week, instead of being released last week, meaning FC 3 came out in August instead of July, and FC 4 comes out in September, there is no layoff. (hmm, i think i improperly used them commas.)

J.G. Jones has NOT had two years to do this. Morrison had it generally plotted out when he was working on 52 and i believe had issue one in draft when they decided to go ahead with countdown. 52 had only just ended when they asked Jones to do Final Crisis. So I'd give Morrison a month or so to get the script finalized, hand it off to Jones, and get back to work on Batman or whatever with FC on the back burner. Jones has a lot to do since he is pencilling and inking the damn thing himself. one guy on newsarama estimated something like 2 months to finish the first issue (sounds exaggerated though). this is of course barring changes in script and last minute revisions (i'm sure there were plenty). then Jones has to sit around and wait for scripts.

I don't know why people claim to have a hard time following the story. All you have to do is PAY ATTENTION, it's not hard. Everything in the past 3 issues has made perfect sense to me. That was not some random character that came to Superman, Kirk. By the shape of her, it is Zillo Valla, the monitor that comforted the exiled monitor's girlfriend back in issue one. And I didn't even have to refer to the issue in question to recognize her (though i did for the name). Overgirl, for that is the name of the Nazi Supergirl, was alluded to in issue 2 through the sketches of the exiled monitor. The monitor stuff is obviously leading up to Superman Beyond! and Legion of 3 Worlds is probably afterwards.

and let me tell you, i didn't even notice the gay comment. and i'm someone who gets REALLY pissed at anything i think is intolerant or offensive (just ask my friends and family).

i honestly think you're letting the bile of internet commenters get to you. I will concede a couple of points to you. The superhero draft bit was dumb and i really don't think it was necessary. Also I cringed at Mary Marvel, but I think that was the point really.

and, honestly, "graviton" is the dirtiest word i know.

Ethereal said...

I'm so happy there isn't a comic-company monopoly. That'd suck.

I'll read it, drop it, move on. I didn't think something could get worse reviews than JLA and Trinity, but here it is.

Why don't they let Geoff Johns write these? Or like, anyone else?

Also, what the fuck is up with Morrison lately? Is he more insane than Warren Ellis (Who might make this series make sense!)?

-Angry DC Fan

Randallw said...

My friend and I both think of John Jones every time we see the covers. So you know what with being dead and all that might explain the reduction in art quality :)

I just assumed Uberfraulein (Who I have never seen before yet still guessed her name) was an JLAxis version of Supergirl from another Earth.

Salieri said...

Eh, to each his own. I loved it.

The Multiverse stuff is apparently happening. Anyone could be anyone else. Notice Huntress' reversion to an old costume in the scene where the heroes assemble before Alan Scott.

Salieri said...

It's still far better than Secret Invasion, not least because it's not boring. With SI, we've just been getting World War Hulk Except With Skrulls Not Hulk, where a bunch of random fight scenes are held together with no plot. Here, we have new, strange and frightening ideas being unleashed on our favourite characters...I especially liked the last page.

monitor. said...

i guess some books are too smart for some people. they should probably stick to JLA or whatever crap-in-tights filler is coming out this month.

SourceMole said...

some books are too "smart" for some readers? if using HEATVISION to get someones heart pumping is smart storytelling then yeah im as dumb as a doorknob. and proud of it

monitor. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
monitor. said...

the heat-vision/heart concept is intended to be past ridiculous and is supposed to be commentary on the idea of a "super-hero". the helplessness and inability shown by superman further strengthens the theme of time displacement in comics (silver-age character running into the future; war-time draft). the only thing that has changed in the past 40 years in comic books are the villains. isn't it about time the heroes lost?

mq1986 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mq1986 said...

I have to disagree with your assessment, Kirk. And I would also say that I find many of your remarks to be pretty much ranting and (I am sorry to say) superficial. However, I can still understand why people would not like Final Crisis. But here out my two cents:

I’m a writer, and in addition to writing almost every style of writing under the sun, I also read more than what is good for me. So I tend to approach comics from a writer’s point of view. What I look for in a comic book, and what will ultimately get me to buy one, is how strong the writing is. The writing can succeed in two ways: the subject matter itself could be intriguing, or the writer’s style of storytelling could be gripping. To me, Final Crisis succeeds on both counts.

Grant Morrison perceived Final Crisis as “The Lord of the Rings of the DCU,” which is a fairly lofty goal, but what else can you expect from Morrison? But remember what Lord of the Rings entailed: the plot of LOTOR was spun out of events and problems that took place long before the events of LOTOR did. Frodo did not go on a quest involving a ring and enemy that appeared out of nowhere; he went on his quest as a consequence of ages’ worth of conflict and events. Final Crisis essentially works the same way: the problems and conflicts encountered in Final Crisis are consequences of events that took place in 52, Seven Soldiers, and Countdown (however thin the connections to Countdown may be).

The conflicts of LOTOR threatened not only the hobbits, or the elves, but actually their entire world. And so throughout LOTOR, we see how all the different races and factions of Middle-Earth responded to the threat. Often the narrative jumped from one POV to another very quickly; occasionally plotlines were created which were then left on the wayside until much later when the consequences of those plotlines would reveal themselves (try to keep in mind how in “The Two Towers,” Frodo’s journey was virtually ignored for half the book!). All of these elements are typical for long-form works of literature. In a comic book however, we are working in a much more constrained medium, and so I can understand why some readers would find the jumping from POV to POV disconcerting and how the lack of resolutions for certain plotlines could be frustrating. Occasionally, these problems are resolved through comic book tie-ins, but not always.

I can’t stress this enough: I believe Morrison is attempting, through Final Crisis, to deliver a work that is literate as well as a story that involves fairly sophisticated (even, shall I say, ethereal) concepts. And, just like any kind of literature, readers will be divided on how much they appreciate and like the story and the storytelling. That’s just the nature of things. I am not saying that Morrison is trying to write a piece of literature; I think we’re all smarter than that. But I am saying that I think he is trying to create something more cerebral than the average comic book.

Secret Invasion and Final Crisis have essentially the same storylines: invading enemy that needs to be beaten. The momentum for both stories are the same: how will the heroes defeat this enemy despite overwhelming odds? The difference between S.I. and F.C. is that S.I. is interested in how the threat affects a couple groups of heroes whereas F.C. is attempting to portray how such a threat can affect everything—multiversally. F.C. has a much higher and admirable goal, but how well they accomplish it is, I suppose, left to the readers’ opinions.

I suppose I can’t argue about the quality of art. It has certainly dropped from the lush stuff we saw in the first issue. But to say that it’s horrible is way too big a stretch. I still enjoy the art immensely, and compared to the art we’ve been getting in Secret Invasion, I’d say it’s still a few steps above that, wouldn’t you?

I would like to address a few of your remarks. When Oracle called to “pull the plugs,” I believe she meant that in a colloquial way. I don’t think she intended for anybody to literally pull the plugs of their computers out. As far as sending the anti-life equation through the internet, it may not affect the percentage of the world that do not own computers, but it will affect the percentage of the world that do, and in my opinion, the people that do own computers are more likely and more capable to do more damage than the people who don’t.

And you really have an issue with Mary Marvel’s hair and costume? She’s been turned evil and perverted to the complete opposite of what she was! There’s no better way to portray that artistically than a complete change in image (think of The Beatles pre-Sgt. Pepper and post-Sgt. Pepper).

And the Superhuman Draft is different from a general alert in that all the gathered heroes would work under one general leadership as well as train and associate together rather than as individuals or separate teams.

As for as the Human Flame’s gay remark—I do not find it at all offensive. It’s the natural reaction of the average American male. Come on! Human Flame was a nobody who Libra suddenly took in and did a huge favor for, for no apparent reason—don’t tell me that the average American man won’t get suspicious that such a guy might be in love with him. Is it really that far outside the realm of possibility that you would get offended by it?

As for as the time travel explanation for Orion’s death—I am the first to say that it’s a weird-ass concept, but it’ll work for some people and be hated by others. I happen to really like the idea; it’s original—ingenious in a way.

Overall, I disagree with your assessment of the issue (and of Final Crisis in general) in every way. I honestly think that your remarks sound as if they resulted from a close-minded and predisposed negativity towards Morrison and to Final Crisis. And if that’s the case, then it’s small wonder why you thoroughly hated it. But that’s okay—we are all allowed to dislike stuff. For example, people wonder why I despise cantaloupe so much…I can’t really explain—I just do!

Salieri said...

@mq1986: Will you be my friend? You just said everything I wanted to say, except twice as informed and eloquent.

mq1986 said...

@salieri: Awww...I'd be your friend for free...I mean, depending on how nice and cool you are. And hopefully on the foundation that you're not a midget killer clown with a hairy back. ^_^

JonHend said...

I agree completely with your review. My jaw hit the floor when the guy over at IGN Comics gave the issue 9.5 out of 10. He must have taken an overdose of happy pills before writing his review!

The art wasn't as bad as you make out but the storytelling was awful. As I read through the issue, I was asking myself "Aren't things meant to start happening this issue?"

I am usually a fan of Grant Morrison’s work but Final Crisis is a convoluted mess of a comic. If you want a proper summer mega comic, buy Secret Invasion!

Matthew said...

Honestly, monitor., I think you're reaching a bit there.

J Ray said...

i think the fact that the issue has elicited such strong responses both ways (positively and negatively) speaks to its quality. at the very least, it's better than everyone saying "meh" and forgetting it!

*personally i liked it, but mq1986 has pretty much got the "pro" side of the issue covered haha*

andrewsaltz said...

Good post. "High Concept" does not always equal "good". If someone says "you're just not smart enough to get it", odds are it's not very good.

What makes me angrier is how they ripped off everyone who bought Countdown by pretending it didn't happen.

Nathan Aaron said...

I loved me some Crisis On Infinite Earths; and Grant Morrision can write some great stuff (Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, New X-Men, We3, etc.) But he's begun to lose me with his most recent works (uh, Seven Soldiers, wha??)

I feel what's happening to Final Crisis is exactly what I was afraid of when they announced Grant would be the writer. He's making the book impenetrable. And that won't make for massive "general audience" sales. But perhaps that isn't DC's goal?

I mean, I've read all three issues, and I'm like "what the heck is an anti-life equation?!" Did I miss something? (Yes, I'm sure I really did, I'll go back and re-read the issues again.) But really, it's like his current Batman R.I.P. arc. Again, I finish most issues going "Huh?!" He's a great writer, but I don't think mainstream works do him justice, and vice versa.

As for the gay comment from Human Flame? Like he has any room to talk. His name is The Human Flame, COME on! Perhaps HE'S the one in love with Libra. LOL

Andrenn said...

I don't want to sound like a cynical jerk, but I'm not too surprised this is falling apart. For one, I was tempted to pick this up at my LCS today...flipped through it, put it back in a German second.

Hmm....IGN gave it a 9.5...yeah...I'm gonna go with your review and avoid it.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Other than the gay looking mary marvel and the dip in art, everything is starting to come together. Nix drew the uniform of that Supergirl. The flashes tried to stop Orion's murder. Libra is connected to the anti-life equation. One of the girl monitors confronts Superman. Mister Miracle and sonny sumo's plane explodes and they are introduced to Super Young team. I think this issue was way less confusing than the other two

Matthew said...

Really great way to advertise your blog there, nbs-totg.

Rich said...

Grant continues to just jump around to different characters, seemingly at random, as he checks in on his pet characters before giving us the predictable timeskip ending to explain away the whole 'evil won' thing.

Along with the mixed quality of the art, the above was probably my least favorite thing about the issue. Too few transitions and little effort to introduce characters or situations. The first half of the book felt like a poorly edited film. It probably doesn't help that I haven't read Seven Soldiers and couldn't identify the characters other than Renee Montoya on the first several pages (Frankenstein's monster? Doing what? Why?).

My reaction to the draft was similar. They throw in this splash page, and it's really just the JLA and JSA with a couple additions. Wouldn't they have all teamed up anyway? By the way, did Alan Scott personally activate this Article X draft or what? I don't really see the government involved here.

I would probably say to check the issue rather than avoid it, but because of importance rather than quality.

monitor. said...

Well that Countdown/Final Crisis was more fault on DC's side than Morrison's but I agree with you there. And i can see how some people can be turned off by the book, but I'm a Lit major, so maybe I just have different perspectives when approaching this book. As for the Anti-Life equation, I think it plays more with the idea of how battles are won and lost. The majority of people I've talked to about this kept imagining this huge all-out brawl between Evil Gods and the Trinity, and as much as I tried, I couldn't see Morrison do that. To me, the Anti-Life equation was left ambivalent intentionally to elicit a more metaphorical approach to it's effect. Basically, I think it just represents loss of Hope. The better victory is the one where you never have to throw a punch.It was interesting to see how Wonder Woman was among the three characters in the end. She has always been an outlier in all of her incarnations in regards to her ideology and moral code.(In OMAC, she killed Maxwell Lord; her extreme counter part in All-Star Batman; etc). Either way, not everyone is going to be 100% satisfied with this. Something as "high-concept" as this can be polarizing and a bit artsy (and I, too, thought Seven Soldiers was a bit pretentious, not bad, though, but I still haven't read all of it), but as mq1986 stated, it's all there if you're willing to pay attention to it. I think everyone should go and get #1 and read it for themselves instead of being instantly turned off by a handful of people not willing to make that effort.
And to the person who said SI was the true summer event: I have been following Bendis since Alias and Daredevil and have every issue of New and Mighty Avengers. So far, it has not been exciting or groundbreaking. The whole series (Secret Invasion, not his New/Mighty Avengers stuff, which is amazing) so far was three explosions and 60 pages of conversation. Im' not blaming Bendis (his DD run is my all-time favorite series, and the rest of his stuff isn't far behind+), but I'm still waiting to be completely knocked out (like I am with Final Crisis). I'm sure it will turn out pretty good, but from what I have seen so far, FC is the better book. Morrison throws more into 9 panels than Bendis has had in all four issues.
P.S. With Morrison, a lot is intimated and purposely left off-panel. The Flash/Bullet thing could have drawn out into an issue on it's own, taking up more room as opposed to the two or three panels given. With Morrison, he doesn't waste time. Every piece of information is (although not initially understood) relevant to the story. In New X-Men, a lot of what happened in the story was told in the first-page "Previously in..." section, which saved a good deal of space and kept the story moving without having to stop and show step by step how something happens saving their time and ours.

Kevin D. said...

@moniter - "Some books are just too smart for some people."

If your going to make a blatant statement like that please back it up with why you feel that this book is "too smart" for the average reader. Usually when someone attempts to label something as "too smart", they attempt to read more much more into the writing then what is actually there. Grant Morrison, no matter how good his new X-Men and JLA stories were, is not Socrates or Plato.

Anyways, I found the #3 to be entertaining, but in the same entertaining way that season 1 of lost was. Where you really do not have a clue as to what is going on and random elements are shown or alluded to, without any explanation or follow through. But before anyone dismisses Final Crisis, I feel Morrison deserves the benefit of the doubt after giving us some seminal work in his career and Final Crisis should be judged as a whole, not issue by issue (I'm by no means saying Final Crisis should not be reviewed issue by issue, just that readers who have picked up the first three issues should not drop the book because of the first three issues).

As for Mary Marvel, Beast has been a cat for god knows how many years now. I used to love Beast pre-morrison, now not so much.

Kelson @ Speed Force said...

I've got to agree with Quantum. I don't see what's so difficult to follow in this. With the exception of "What is the Anti-Life Equation," the things that have confused the most people are either there in the earlier issues (like Uberfraulein or the Monitor who recruits Superman), or the background isn't important to the story.

Having Frankenstein be the one to discover Darkseid's old host body doesn't require you to have read Seven Soldiers any more than having Cave Carson discover the petroglyph requires you to have read any Cave Carson stories. It's like when the Justice League cartoon neeeded a sniper for an episode, and decided to use Deadshot. You didn't need to know Deadshot's background -- just what he was doing in that story.

I will agree that Article X was silly, when they could have just sent out an all-hands alert.

DemonBoy said...

I usually agree with your reviews but I have to disagree here. I am loving Final Crisis for the simple fact that it makes you think and it is not all laid out in front of me like I'm a 6 year old.

Now, I may be really ticked if ti reaches the end and sucks but I am putting faith in Grant Morrison and I hope to keep enjoying it until the end.

As a comic writer and artist I thoroughly enjoy seeing someone do something that is not "mainstream friendly" with a story that is rewarding those of us who have been following DC Comics for most of our lives. Yeah, everything doesn't always make sense and link together perfectly, but I dare anyone out there to take a universe like DC and seamlessly link all of the past continuity together. The best way to accomplish such a thing would be to have a single writer doing everything. Now Geoff Johns is good, but he ain't that good :-)

I am enjoying Grant Morrison's Final Crisis work and his work on Batman (unless he just blows the endings, then I'll feel quite differently)

Rich said...

Having Frankenstein be the one to discover Darkseid's old host body doesn't require you to have read Seven Soldiers any more than having Cave Carson discover the petroglyph requires you to have read any Cave Carson stories.

Although... I'll note that I didn't know that was supposed to be Frankenstein's monster (does DC just call him Frankenstein?) until I read it somewhere online. Never even seen the character before that I'm aware, although the reminder brought to mind his use in Seven Soldiers.

dberes said...

There are a number of things I could respond to in this post, but for now I'm going to say that I gather that Final Crisis is going to be a sort of slow burn; most of your criticisms may be patched up in future issues (I doubt, for instance, that all we're going to get regarding the anti-life equation is the e-mail attack - if so, you're completely right that this is some crappy writing). Based on what I've read by Morrison, his events unfold very slowly and deliberately, but there is almost always proper closure and things *do* make sense in the end. He's one of my favorite writers, so I remain optimistic for Final Crisis. And as it happens, I enjoyed this issue a lot anyway, but I also don't feel any sort of personal connection to Mary Marvel, such that I feel personally assaulted when she's corrupted by the Evil Gods and turned into an S&M freak. :p

Also, I'm not really sure I understand what you're saying about the art, as I thought it was pretty solid, myself.

dberes said...

Also, what do you want Superman to be doing while the love of his life is dying in a hospital? Why wasn't exploding her a decent plan from Libra? How can you criticize the introduction of a new character in that sequence without having read the four issues that come after this one? Maybe you'll be right in the end, but now is definitely not the time to be bitching about that, in my opinion, nor about the Monitor segments or lack of Turpin. This was one part of a seven issue series. I think you're being unfair.

Kelson @ Speed Force said...

Although... I'll note that I didn't know that was supposed to be Frankenstein's monster (does DC just call him Frankenstein?) until I read it somewhere online.

Yeah, they made a point of the name in one of the Seven Soldiers issues. The Bride said something like, "So, I see you've taken our creator's name." I forget his reasoning.

On another note, based on this and other threads discussing the issue, I've formulated my Final Crisis Theory of Impenetrability (well, hypothesis, really), which states that increased knowledge of the DCU actually makes it harder to understand what's going on.

dberes said...

Kirk, if you're at all interested, I posted my own lengthy write-up of this issue on my blog. It references yours a little bit, and you can read it here:

J Ray said...

One of the more common complaints that I'm seeing is the "omg why even use article x 'cause the JLA and JSA would have pwned the evil godz anyways?!?"

I think everyone is missing the point-article x is the superhuman DRAFT. think of the draft for a second. when you get called to serve, do you have a choice? nope, you serve with Uncle Sam whether you want to or not.

SOO applying this to the heroes, yes the JLA, JSA Outsiders, Titans, Teen Titans, Checkmate, Birds of Prey, Freedom Fighters, AND Shadowpact *takes breath* would have fought against anything threatening the DC universe. However, they would have done so haphazardly and in a fractured manner. This way the biggest, strongest, most experienced heavy hitters along with some of the most promising young ones are all together under one chain of command (Alan Scott I assume). I'm assuming they'll be more effective this way, or at least the U.S. government (which alan scott works for as an agent of Checkmate) thinks so.

now this is all how it struck me as i read it and i could be totally wrong, but i think i'm pretty close...hope that makes a bit more sense as to why article x was even used in the first place haha

Rich said...

think of the draft for a second. when you get called to serve, do you have a choice? nope, you serve with Uncle Sam whether you want to or not.

I'm loving that Superman and Batman are now draft dodgers.

Tom said...

Just to pick up on a few of your criticisms:

- The Mary Marvel transformation is supposed to be ugly and disturbing and horrible and IMO entirely succeeds. Often when a superheroine is "corrupted" it just means a slightly skimpier costume (cf many a Claremont comic, or that John Byrne FF story with Malice and the Invisible Woman): Mary Marvel, on the other hand, has been basically turned inside out - it's meant to sicken the reader and it does. I think it's very effective. But yes, if I'd been a big Mary Marvel fan I'd be quite upset.

- The Human Flame "gay" line: this is well in keeping with Mike's character. He's very dim, and self-centred, and pathetically incapable of seeing any kind of bigger picture.

- My problem with the Superman thing isn't that the heat vision life support is dumb, it's that it requires really quite astonishing accuracy on Libra and Clayface's part to detonate a bomb so that Lois is *just injured enough* to keep Superman immobilised rather than either dead or hurt but within reach of human medecine, either of which would mean angry Superman instead of paralysed Superman.

One of the things I've been loving about Final Crisis is how Morrison is establishing character so economically rather than stopping for well-telegraphed "character beats": things like his portrayal of the Human Flame, or the quick way he's established the different personalities in the Shilo Norman New Gods Rescue Squad (who I'm loving - Super Young Team's airport rescue was the big "YAY!" moment for me this issue). It's another way in which this series is incredibly dense and compressed. That's not a style of storytelling that works for everyone, and the people who it doesn't work for aren't being dumb. But it certainly is working for me: I can't remember being this thrilled by an event.

J Ray said...

well if supes hasn't answered any emergency calls in 18 hours, i doubt he's checked his mail either.

and even if bats wasn't...otherwise occupied with the whole being-captured-and-tortured-and-who-knows-what-else deal, i have no doubt that he'd have dodged the draft anyways haha

Cat said...

Wow Kirk....I don't think you've generated such a response from a single review so far. Pretty cool to see opinions from each end of the spectrum. And for everyone who is bashing him for it (ie..."nerd rage", "Some books are too smart for some people"....remember that's what they are....opinions. You can agree with it or not. Your choice.

nu said...

im glad to see so much healthy discussion. im excited to see what the future has in store for final crisis

Anonymous said...

"the heat-vision/heart concept is intended to be past ridiculous and is supposed to be commentary on the idea of a "super-hero"."

Where did Morrison indicate this? 'Cause if he didn't, then you're full of crap.


Captain Lameo Redux said...

"the heat-vision/heart concept is intended to be past ridiculous and is supposed to be commentary on the idea of a "super-hero"."

Where did Morrison indicate this? 'Cause if he didn't, then you're full of crap.

I hadn't heard anything like that either.

Personally, I just took it as Clark telling himself that he was keeping her alive to feel useful rather than powerless, especially as he then says "I'd do anything to save you" or whatever. YMMV

Kristina Wright said...

My apologies if I repeat things other commenters said, I didn't slog through most of them (43, holy shnikes!).

I dislike how Batman was taken out--it seems to me that Superman was taken out through his true weakness, which struck really nicely with me. Wonder Woman was taken out in battle--and by a total cheater. Batman? Well, I would have much rather enjoyed an intellectual take-down of him.

One of the biggest problems I have with this series so far is how utterly condensed it feels. I feel like it'd be so much more effective as double-sized issues. So much has to happen off-panel because so much is happening and after giving it a lot of thought, I think this is where the downfall really happens.

I've been curious about the multiverse too, since we haven't seen anything yet.

The art was on a big downswing, I didn't find it hugely off-putting but that's just because you and I approach the art differently and I think you've a better eye for it.

As for the Libra/Human Flame comment--I'm pretty sensitive to gay issues, thanks to my moms, but I really did instantly take it as the Human Flame just demonstrating what an ignorant shit he is.

That said, I really like your nerd rage post--you have very good points about the downfalls of this series.

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