Friday, October 24, 2008

Final Crisis 4

I guess the big news this week is that J. G. Jones can't finish his work on
Final Crisis without terribly delaying the event. So Doug Mahnke has to do all of the interiors for the seventh issue. Which is fairly disappointing. What makes it even worse is that Jones managed to only complete 3 full issues before Carlos Pacheco was called in to help with issue 4! Now, I've tried to keep this blog free from histrionics and free from wallowing in geek-malaise, so I won't excoriate Jones from this particular pulpit. However, I will review Final Crisis 4, which came out this week.

It's been six months since I read Final Crisis 3 and I've almost forgotten what we're even reading about. Picking up a month after the Anti-Life Equation hits the world, we're shown what happens when the Justifiers and the superheroes get along. Oh, just kidding, there's a terrible fight, and the surviving heroes find a way to teleport themselves off world while leaving Ollie Queen behind to get Anti-Life Equation-ized. At the same time, Alan Scott sends a message to the five points on the globe that are still rebelling and gives them a moving speech on kicking ass and taking names. The Flashes meet with each other and narrowly escape Wonder Woman and her team of Justifiers. And finally, Dan Turpin makes his wholly terrifying metamorphosis into the great and evil Darkseid.

Yes, I can absolutely tell when one artist ends and another begins. Yes, Pacheco isn't as talented as Jones, but Pacheco is a couple cuts above the rest. And yes, this issue is fairly awesome.

With only three issues to go, it's time for Morrison to arrange all the pieces on the board for endgame, with numerous twists and surprises along the way. What we have here with
Final Crisis is a Morrison-style event that's just like any other event. Bad things happen, superheroes are momentarily defeated, they rally, they defeat and the world moves on. The formula is present, but Morrison does some exceptional things in it.

The big metaphor of this issue is that the greatest enemy we have is ourselves. The evil comes from within, which is exemplified literally in Turpin's case. The Anti-Life Equation, in Morrison's hands, seems to be about crushing the human spirit, crushing independence and free will. I suppose another metaphor running here is of hive mentality, group think, and how dangerous that is.

My complaints with the issue is this issue are small. Firstly, there's the unevenness of the art, but that's not Morrison's fault. Secondly, what happened to the humanized Monitor and Libra? Libra and his secret society were the most interesting aspect, and it seems to have been dropped.

These problems are small and slight and don't really take away from the overall issue. With four issues, I'm more impressed with
Final Crisis than any other event I've read in a long time. This is what comics are about.

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