Friday, January 23, 2009

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 2

Wow. I'm sure everybody knows by now that
Final Crisis has been plagued by delays. Lots of delays. It's almost cliche to mention it now. With that out of the way, let's have a look at the second issue of Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, possibly one of the best tie-ins, ever. Here's the review for the first issue, which includes a bonus essay on hyperlink-writing. Okay, let's get started.

Ultraman has read the infinite book and realizes that the Dark Monitor, Mandrakk, is coming to destroy everything, I think. The denizens of Limbo raise arms and Superman has a good talk with Captain Adam (or Doc Manhattan, if you will) who then understands "quantum super-position as used defensively" which means he duplicates himself and smashes Ultraman and Superman together, causing the end of everything. Superman awakes as a composite in the land that's "more profound". Supes is a thought-robot, an ultimate weapon, a body of pure thought. Then, Superman fights Mandrakk, and realizes that he's always going to win, because he is written to win. It's not destiny, it's fiction. Mandrakk is killed/forgotten, and Superman inscribes his own tombstone. Once back in his own world, Superman gives Lois the Bleed that he kept in his mouth, and she awakens. What did he write on his tombstone, the last page asks? To Be Continued.

Morrison and metafiction, eh? Those two go hand in hand, always. This series hearkens back to his run on
Animal Man, for sure. In that run, everything was a story, and everything in the Multiverse was a product of a writer, forgotten or memorialized. In Superman Beyond, the writer is taken out of the equation. Only the story remains supreme.

I absolutely adored this comic except for the 3D bits which gave me a headache, no word of a lie. I hated the 3D effects. They were distracting and added nothing to the story.

I tend to think of stories about stories as existing in a vacuum, even though those stories try to encompass everything story there is. I imagine that the story about a story is the final word, but I forget, and thanks to Tim Callahan, I remember, that I'm reading this story. The act of me, an individual, reading this story places it in a physical world, grounds it in reality, taking away from the universe-spanning scope. I forget that.

This says to me that the writer is doing a fantastic job of taking me to a whole new world. The writer has done his duty in helping me escape reality if only for fifteen minutes.

It also helps that Mahnke's pencils are tremendous. It takes a good artist to be able to keep up with Morrison, and Mahnke manages with flair. This is a well-drawn issue that's clear on the action, while still being detailed and pleasing to the eye.

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 2 is a spectacular conclusion to a spectacular mini-series and I would recommend it to anybody, even if they're not following the main storyline.

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