Friday, January 16, 2009

Final Crisis 6


The final Crisis is upon us. Issue 6 of the larger than life mini-series has arrived, only a couple months behind schedule. The last issue was pretty good, so let's move on and take a look at
Final Crisis 6 as written by Grant Morrison and drawn by the entire DC artist talent-pool.

We open with Superman back from his adventure in 3D (the finale of which I have yet to see released) talking with Brainiac 5. It's the Miracle Machine or something like that which is being shown to Supes, and apparently, this is a reference to some 70's-era Kirby story. Sweet. I guess. We switch gears to show Tawny and the Marvel family taking on Kalibak. Some intestines are shown and Marvel Jr uses an old trick to depower Mary Marvel. Back with Checkmate and the Japanese New Gods, Mister Terrific is given a lesson on how to counterprogram against the Anti-Life equation. This is all very important exposition. Finally, we get the fight between Batman and Darkseid that everybdy's been talking about.

Spoilers, of course.

Batman gets "killed" by the Omega Sanction, which was set up in Morrison's
Mister Miracle series from Seven Soldiers. Darkseid is murdered by the time-bullet that Batman so carefully concealed. Yes, he goes against his oath and murders Darkseid via projectile weapon. It's pretty cool.

Now, I didn't review
Batman RIP, but I did read it and I liked it well enough. It's a zany Morrison-style adventure, and it's not the final statement on Batman that everybody wants it to be. It's just a fun adventure. Final Crisis 6 gives us the intended ending to this story, and it's a bit of a doozy.

It's a shame that a rather large back door is built into this death. I guess Morrison is trying to make some grand statement about the impermeability of comic book death, with bringing back Barry Allen and then killing Batman all in the same series.

In comparison to
Infinite Crisis, this series has some serious teeth. In the former series, a Superman is killed, but not the Superman. In the latter series, the Batman is killed. That's ballsy.

A lot of criticisms of character deaths in events are about the lack of emotional impact. When you have a cast of hundreds, it's hard to care about one death. Well, Morrison circumvents this criticism by having an entire arc in the character's title to increase the emotional impact. There you go. That's a great idea.

I'd love to say that the art in this issue is terrific. I'd love to say that. Unfortunately, the reality is that only about six pages are worth mentioning, and most of those are the amazing scenes of Superman going crazy as drawn by Doug Mahnke. I look forward to an entire issue drawn by him if this is what we're going to get. Excellent.

The dialogue is obtuse and great, just like you'd expect from Morrison, so it's not worth judging based on that. What we can judge is the weird attention Morrison puts on the Marvel family. I don't find the evil Mary Marvel all that interesting or frankly well-written. We already have an evil Marvel, Black Adam, who is brilliantly shaded thanks to
52 and his recent mini-series. There's no need for a slutty punk nihilist with a short skirt that shows off her panties. Unless Mary Marvel is Morrison's comment on "evil female characters show their evil by showing their sexuality" trope, which I highly doubt it is.

The scatterbrain plot, which worked so well in the beginning, when Morrison was forging a constant dread oozing from every character, has fallen apart, just like the logo has on the cover. The scene on the JLA satellite is inconsequential and uninteresting. The Tattooed Man was given a decent story in that one-shot, but he's been fumbled with in this scene. I can't quite place my finger on why this scene doesn't work for me. Maybe it's just because the circuit concept was just explained to me in the Checkmate scene previously. Perhaps switching the order would mean I would feel the desire to learn how The Tattooed Man did it. I'd probably still complain.

On the whole, I'm enjoying this event. It's big, it's cosmic, a ton of shit has happened. There's ample plot, probably enough plot to last twelve issue (but I couldn't wait three years to read it all), and the art's been mostly great. I'm intrigued with the ending of
Final Crisis, but I'm not desperate to read the ending.

Judging by Morrison's usual endings to big arcs, it's probably going to be an anti-climax, a sense of deflation, and a whole horde of fanboys and bloggers going "that's it?" and throwing their hands in the air. Morrison prefers the quieter endings, a better sense of denouement, rather than the good guy hitting the bad guy, a punch-'em-up ending. The climax is in
Final Crisis 6, with Batman shooting Darkseid. It's a mistake to think that Morrison will do anything so big with the last issue. He might have Superman go nuts and kick the crap out of everybody, but that's not the whole issue (I'm looking at you, Secret Invasion).

So, with that being said, I hope I'm pleasantly surprised by a twist, or a spectacular ending that takes the DC universe to a new level, a new fertile ground for stories, to be mismanaged and poorly harvested by Judd Winick and Geoff Johns. I liked
Final Crisis 6, and I look forward to the next issue.

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