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Final Crisis

Review

Final Crisis

written by Grant Morrison illustrated by J. G. Jones and Carlos Pacheco

Do you need to issue a spoiler alert for an event that’s given away on a book’s cover? Just in case, I’ll tell you to skip to the next paragraph now if you want to avoid knowing, well, that Batman “dies” in this massive collection from DC. It’s a gruesome event, mostly because his flesh is seared from his bones (again, see the cover), and ultimately fruitless, because you know Batman will be back. Whether it’s a short death or a long one, Batman will be back, as evidenced by the other major event of this series: the return of Barry Allen (the Flash), who had “died” more than two decades ago in DC’s original groundbreaking, epic series that changed everything, for a while anyway, in the comic company’s universe. But the big question is, how much does it matter when anything that happens can be easily overturned at any time? That’s the eternal problem with comics in general, and why they often don’t get the respect they deserve. If they don’t take themselves seriously, why should readers? A quick answer is that it doesn’t matter if the story is good.

So is the story good? It very well might be if it weren’t so confusing, and therein lies a problem of many bound books that collect several issues of a standard comic book (FINAL CRISIS originally appeared as a seven-issue miniseries beginning in late 2008). A longer introduction to the book, or some other material that filled in the blanks for new readers (giving explanations of certain characters and their storylines so far), would really help those who don’t follow the DC universe regularly jump onboard the storyline.

The plot focuses on the ultimate battle between good and evil between the demonic Darkseid and the entire populace of Earth. Darkseid is part of the legendary Fourth World created by Jack Kirby when he ventured to DC in the early 1970s. His series of comic books introduced the New Gods: the good ones of the planet New Genesis and the bad ones of Apokolips. In FINAL CRISIS, one of the good gods has died, leading to an investigation of celestial proportions and heralding the victory of Darkseid’s enslaving anti-life equation. (I’ve always found the New Gods to be the vaguest of comics concepts; that is, they are a great idea in Kirby’s original telling, but once incorporated into the vast DC universe, they make little if any sense. They’re basically just superheroes --- they even have costumes --- and don’t perform any godlike duties at all.)

After that, the action is fast and furious, with battle after battle unfolding for the salvation of the planet. The broad swath of heroes collected here makes it a worthwhile event (and seeing heroic favorites turn into the brainwashed zombies of Darkseid is a fun treat). The key three DC heroes (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) are fully in their glory as they face the ultimate battle for the entire human race, exactly the kind of scale epic comics events like this are made for.

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Reviewed by John Hogan on October 18, 2011

Final Crisis
written by Grant Morrison illustrated by J. G. Jones and Carlos Pacheco

  • Publication Date: June 16, 2009
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • ISBN-10: 1401222811
  • ISBN-13: 9781401222819