Saturday, January 31, 2009

Final Crisis # 7 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Doug Mahnke and Walden Wong

Story - New Heaven, New Earth

This has probably been said already many times in reviews for this issue but I will say that Final Crisis #7 was a disappointing read for a series that prove to be all build and no real payoff. But before I go on with my review I found a couple good interviews with Dan Didio and Grant Morrison talking about this series and the DCU as well as an interview with Mike Marts talking about Batman that are interesting reads/video.

Dan Didio Video Interview: Part 1 and Part 2
Grant Morrison: Exit Interview
Mike Marts: Batman Interview

All these interview give an interesting insight of the future of the DCU and in the case of the Morrison interview gives some information of what actually happened in Final Crisis. Just as Morrison says in his interview Final Crisis is a "channel-surfing" event that takes us throughout the DCU Multiverse to see how big of an impact Darkseid and the evil vampire-Monitor. The problem with this "channel-surfing" type storytelling that Morrison used in Final Crisis is that it gave us, the readers, a very disjointed story that no matter how hard Morrison, Didio and others in DC may try and explain what happened this event is only proof that Morrison may be suffering a serious case of ADHD.

The blame for this disjointed story that we got does not solely have to be placed on Morrison or Didio's shoulders but also to everyone involved in Final Crisis. For the most part it feels that Morrison was given free reign over the series, and Final Crisis #7 is the perfect example, and none of the editors really told Morrison to change some things in his script in order to make it more friendly to the reader.

The one thing that both Final Crisis and Secret Invasion proved is that these big events need is two writers working on the events. I would love to sit down and talk to Morrison about all the ideas he has in his head. If nothing else this series proved that Morrison has some awesome ideas. But the problem he seems to have is putting all of his ideas down on paper and make it make sense.

The whole shifting from the future to the past to the present was just sloppy storytelling that had no flow from scene to scene. This whole "channel surfing" style of storytelling should never have been experimented on a "big event" book were so many old and new readers are going to be reading it only to be confused by it. If Morrison really wanted to change how storytelling within a comic is told he should first experiment by launching his own title under Vertigo or one of the other DC imprints were he can get criticism and work to make this type of storytelling better when the time came to write Final Crisis.

It is also clear, from Morrison's interview and just reading Final Crisis, that this series was meant to not only be an Elseworld story but also be at least 12 issues and not 7 issues. This issue specifically proves that Didio just forced Morrison to condense an already hugely detailed story into 7 issues in order to get to the end much quicker. There is just so much left out from this series that every time we got a big moment like the capture of Batman, Barry's return, Superman leaving and returning, people being taken over by the Anti-Life equation, Batman shooting Darkseid and getting hit by the Omega Sanction happened it did not carry the weight it should have since their is no real explanation for it to happen or it took to long to long that the plotline saw a long delay within the story.

If I have to go to an interview with the writer or editors in order to get all the details of the story than that is pretty sloppy storytelling since I should be able read a comic or a book and be able to make sense of what I read without someone having to explain what the hell I just read.

What makes it worse is that now that the series is finally over we are now told the official reading order of Final Crisis. So the reading order for Final Crisis looks like this:

Final Crisis #1-3
Superman Beyond #1-2
Final Crisis: Submit
Final Crisis #4-5
Batman #682-683
Final Crisis #6-7

Because we have been getting such a disjointed story all of the important storylines in Final Crisis were massively underdeveloped. And no plotline was more underdeveloped than that involving Barry, Wally, and the Black Racer. For all the build up of Barry's return by various people at DC Barry barely appeared in the series. And I didn't really see it necessary for Barry and Wally to have to outrun Black Racer since it seems that he was already after Darkseid's soul since he was the grim reaper of sorts for the New Gods. So it just seems that Barry was just forced into the story in order for Didio to get back what he thinks is the best Flash. I have no doubt that Geoff Johns will do a fantastic job dealing with the ramification of Barry's return in Flash: Rebirth but that does not excuse the fact that his official return to the DCU lacked the impact on the reader that his return should have had.

Also I do not get the point of having one panel of the return of the original Aquaman's return and that's it. Were in the fuck did that come from. For a character like Aquaman to be just randomly put in the issue just continues Morrison just putting in scenes that look cool but does nothing to add to the overall plot of Final Crisis.

I also do not see why the Japanese heroes were included into this series from the very beginning since all they were good for was standing around, just like half the characters in the series, in front of Checkmate headquarters only to all die once Darkseid broke all of reality.

Now while I did not like the majority of this issue the one thing I will give Morrison credit for is giving a Superman that is a total badass. He really presents Superman as this larger than life figure, similar to All-Star Superman, and his whole confrontation with Darkseid really made that moment feel larger than life. It only feels right that Superman be the center of the DCU, it is a nice call back to Crisis on Infinite Earths were we also saw all the various Supermen help in the final battle with the big bad guy.

The thing that I did not like about the supposed big bad guy is that we do not see him until this final issue within Final Crisis. This just puts more confusion within the reader since for 6 issues we have been told that Darkseid is the big bad guy but to suddenly get a vampire Monitor with his zombie Superman makes the whole ending anti-climatic since he appears for a handful of pages and then is gone along with his zombie Superman.

Also the whole Superman wishing for a happy ending just proves that the Miracle was just a deus ex machina that negates everything that has happened. And it does not make sense that in Superman's supposed happy ending that he would not bring back Bruce. Instead he leaves him in the ancient past were he seems to have aged and balding. Also in this happy ending world it is not clear that Black Canary, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and everyone else that died in this event came back. It only makes gives an excuse for writers to now say that characters have been dead for a long time were brought back in this new happy ending world.

While we finally only got one artist in this issue in the form of Doug Mahnke the art is still largely inconsistent due to inkers by committee Morrison and Didio set up. This whole issue screams of DC rushing the art in order to get it out on time in order to not further anger fans. And while delaying a title would only mean a short wait inconsistent art will last forever. So when I go back to read this series the delays wont be there but the inconsistent art will.

Issue Rating
Story: 3.2 - I continue my rant about this issues horrible pacing but in the end Morrison's experiment that he calls Final Crisis was a big failure. If this was any other writer fans would be calling for his/her head but since this is Morrison he gets a little pass due to the credit he has built up with fans.
Art: 6.1/10 - Even though we got one artist working on this issue the art was still rushed due to the the inker by committee Didio set up for this final issue.
Overall: 4.65/10 - Final Crisis would have been much better left of as the ultimate Elseworld story and not a DCU big event since for now the events of this book have little to no affect in the DCU other than the New Gods and Batman.