Saturday, February 14, 2009

Final Crisis #7 Review

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by JG Jones, Doug Mahnke, Carlos Pacheco & More

As I said in my Final Crisis #6 review, I'm reviewing this issue with the gift of hindsight, which is odd, as my reviews are usually littered with day one gut reactions that leave little room to sit on or re-read an issue or series.

I do recall my initial reaction to Final Crisis #7, though, and it was far from pleasant. I think I went through several different emotions as I went through the issue and more than once threw the comic down in disgust and wondered how the hell this made it to print before picking it back up and continuing on.

I've spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the series and I think I can honestly say, when it's all said and done, that I actually enjoyed it. Unlike many fans, I don't think this was difficult to understand or that people are 'dumb' for not getting it or anything as ridiculous that. I believe people have come to expect certain things from these universe spanning, linewide summer events and, unlike Marvel, who catered to the fickle mob, Morrison simply wrote his story for himself first, which is what all good writers should do.

Comic fans, however, are quite resistent to change and anything different is instantly rejected by many of us, myself included. I don't think Final Crisis was ever written to be read in a monthly format and many of us bag, board and never see the comic again for years. While many of us believe ourselves infalliable and could never fathom not remembering previous issues, the series actually reads so much better on the second or third go around, moreso if you take the time to explore the innumerable minute details.

While I've almost taken on a macro Final Crisis series review so far, this all applies to Final Crisis #7 moreso than any other issue in the series. In fact, I have more notes in my annotations about this issue than the other six issues and I ended up trimming some excess fat while I was editing. Many of the problems I, myself, had with the initial read are actually rendered moot after realizing the actual timings of certain events.

One such "error" that annoyed me was Wonder Woman's mask in the trophy room, set in the present, when she smashes it later in the issue during a flashback. There's no indication of the change, but the panels showing her smashing the mask were actually set in the present, after everyone was frozen, and she actually took the mask from the case after the fact. I wasn't complaining that the issue was bad simply because of this misunderstanding on my part, but many small self-thought inconsistencies like this all added up to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Add in the fact people don't like feeling stupid and have grown accustomed to simply reading the comic, bagging and boxing it and never having to really think about it and I believe much of the initial knee jerk reactions are based on not stupidity, but simple ignorance and resistance to the fact they didn't get what they were promised or expected from this series, which is a blessing and a curse for the story.

Verdict - Must Re-Read. Is this the greatest comic ever written? No. Will re-reading the series make you like it more? Debatable. But I imagine many will have a newfound appreciation for the craft and what Morrison was trying to accomplish with it afterwards, regardless of whether they end up liking it more or not.

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