Saturday, December 13, 2008

Final Crisis #5 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Ruby, and Jesus Merino

Story - Final Crisis: Into Oblivion

After about a month and a half wait we finally have the the fifth issue of Morrison's big event Final Crisis. After such a long wait I have to give credit to Morrison for finally delivered a very good issue of Final Crisis were he kicks the story into the next gear.

This issue moves at a much more faster pace than all the previous issues and doesn't have as much of the awkward scene transitions that have plague the past four issues of this series. Now Morrison still seems to have a hard time figuring out how to transition from one scene to the next, which has become a fixture in most of his current work in the past year, but it is less noticeable here. It is because of this that this is the first issue that really feels, as a reader, that what you are reading is an epic story were when things look like they can't get worse for our heroes but they do.

My favorite part of this whole issue was the first scene with Hal being prosecuted for a crime he did not commit. This beginning scene informed the reader that while on Earth it has been a month since Darkseid attack Earth with the Anti-Life Equation that in the rest of the universe it has really been a couple days since Darkseid's attack. It was an interesting development that the Anti-Life Equation is actually changing the space and time on Earth.

Also it was nice to see the Guardians finally presented in a much more positive light in this issue. In both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps the Guardians are presented as authoritarian figures that are only looking out for themselves and the power they have over the Green Lanterns and the Universe. Here Morrison shows that the Guardians actually care what goes on in the universe and not just the power they have. It also gives more credence that Darkseid is a threat to the whole universe that even the immortal Guardians are afraid of his power. And it was awesome seeing Hal lead the charge with the rest of the Green Lanterns to save Earth only to find the Earth split into the 52 Earths in the multiverse.

As I said in my opening paragraph the plot in Final Crisis finally kicks into gear but it really takes more than one read to catch all the developments that happen in this issue. Outside of the Green Lantern scene you find out Checkmate has created their own super-soldiers, the Japanese heroes arrive at Checkmate, Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman) is alive, the heroes take the fight to Bluehaven, the Batmen psycho-soldiers were killed by Batman, Mary Marvel is revealed to be possessed by Desaad, Libra finds out the mole in the villains to be the Calculator, and Darkseid plan is stepped into the final stages. I might be missing something but, still, this is a lot of plot development and it is done in a much more well done manner than the previous issues.

All these plot developments help the reader forget that this is all going down without the big five around: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hal, and Flash(s). Outside of Hal's appearance at the beginning of the issue, which was on Oa, and Wonder Woman short appearance as one of the furies the presence of these five is felt throughout the issue. Morrison shows how bad things get when these five aren't around to gather the rest of the heroes in their darkest hour. And while Earth may have thousands of heroes to help that the big five are the only ones that can stop Darkseid and his forces which is why Darkseid took them down first. This should make the last two issues of this series must reads.

What helps Morrison a lot in this issue is the artwork by Jones and Pacheco which was the true star of this issue. Their artwork gives this book the big event feel it should have. I especially like the scene were Hal and the other Green Lanterns arrive onto the scene only to see Earth split into the multiple Earths. It was just a great visual.

With all this praise this issue still has its problems. As I said earlier this issue is still plagued with the typical awkward scene transitions Morrison has been notorious for in both Final Crisis and Batman. This problem is mostly due to Morrison trying to juggle such a huge cast of characters since he is trying to involve the entire DC Universe and not just a section of it. The biggest example of this is were Supergirl and Mary Marvel finally face off. This battle was one of the big battles DC has been promoting since Final Crisis was announced and to only get a panel of their battle was not worth all the build up it was getting. Again this is just a case were Morrison is just juggling such a huge cast that many scenes are not giving enough time to develop to care enough for what is going on in all the various location for many readers.

Another problem with this issue is that while the tie-ins to Final Crisis have been really fun and entertaining Morrison seems to be ignoring a lot that has gone on in those mini-series. So if you are reading all the tie-ins may be disappointed to find that Morrison is largely ignoring those events to tell his story. But that has been the case with most major events for both DC and Marvel so it is nothing new for the tie-ins not to be to integral to the actual main event book.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 - While Morrison continues to have the same problems that have plagued his most recent work it is less noticeable in this issue which made this issue a much better read than the past four issue of this series.
Art: 8.7/10 - Jones and Pacheco turn in some great artwork that gives this story the big event feel it should have.
Overall: 8.35/10 - Final Crisis #5 was the best issue so far in this series. It finally feels that all the characters are doing something more than just standing/flying around and talking to one another about everything that is going on around them.