Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wednesday Is A DC Finale For All I Care #24

Final Crisis #6-7
Final Crisis Secret Files #1
Legion of Super-Heroes #49-50

Final Crisis #6-7 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
I'm here to talk about a Grant Morrison story about the theoretical end of the world, heavily seasoned with Kirby New Gods. Black Lightning will be given a prominent role, only to fail epically and be replaced by a dismissible Grant Morrison-originated character. Another such Morrison creation will come out of nowhere for a major moment where they are more impactful on the story than nearly any other character, without any real in-story set-up or merit. The Ray will pop up in a surprising spotlight appearance. Zauriel and the Pax Dei will help save the day. Another Morrison creation will give their life for the same purpose. A marquee hero will know he's in a story. Lex Luthor will be compromised by the Big Bad, only to escape spectacularly. Batman will have a major cool moment where he talks shade and takes down a major villain all clever-clever like. A classic DC hero with mythological origins will lead an army of mostly new super-humans in an assault.

I am of course talking about the final chapter of his JLA run, "World War III."

No wait, I'm talking about the polyphonic spree that was "Final Crisis," advertised as "the day evil won." If by that you mean the event that irreversibly diminished my interest in the DC Universe, as Tom DeFalco's editorship of Marvel did in the '90s, spot-on. Look, I have in the past and will likely continue to enjoy some of Morrison's work, but the guy isn't always a decent writer. I've come to the conclusion that he's a pop artist, and as such he spends most of his day with his head wedged in his own asshole, too busy creating conceptual pieces to craft a proper tale. Here, he seems to be reflecting on how awful DC Comics have been at times, especially lately, and inflicts his views upon the universe itself. Not to mention us poor readers, who got mugged to the tune of $28 for a supposed seven-issue, self-contained series that relies on hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of other comics to follow.

I hated so much about this series:
  • Supergirl fighting an exaggerated version of her current bimbo status in the form of Mary Marvel, forever tainted by a connection to DeSaad (and since when could he fistfight?)
  • Creating a "5th World," as if that will fix the problems of Kirby's Fourth World Saga, and isn't it now more of a 51st World besides?
  • Inflicting the worst new "ethnic" super-heroes on the DCU since Vibe's day, then wondering why no one's lining up for a "Shilo Norman & the Super Young Team" ongoing series.
  • Blatantly ripping off Marvel Comics' Watchers, and anyway, wasn't the big deal about the Monitor and Anti-Monitor that they were one-of-a-kind beings in a multiverse?
  • How do you comment on the darkening of comics while having Tawky Tawny disembowel Kalibak on-panel without looking like a tool?
  • Isn't it bad enough Renee Montoya finished Denny O'Neil's progressive erasing of all things Rorschach from the DC Question without then turning the concept itself into some weird Nick Fury: Director of Checkmate thing?
  • You're going to make Darkseid & company cool by having the dark lord sit around for the entire series as a topless middle-aged man and have his son killed by a talking animal? And Darkseid is now a cackling, shit-talking sadist, like every other villain these days?
  • Hasn't the analogue thing been beaten to death already?
  • Frankenstein? Not only do I have to read his mini-series, but accept that a literary lift is one of the most effective heroes ever? And since he's technically "alive," could you offer a better reason why the Morticoccus didn't effect him like everyone else?
  • Wonder Woman's one page "moment," after proving nothing much as either a hero or villain throughout the series?
  • Are the Hawks dead? I missed that until someone pointed it out to me. And Aquaman is alive without explanation? Unless you're writing the follow-up, Grant, way to fuck other writers out of an opportunity to tell a proper resurrection story of their own.
  • Once again, anything important in the DCU must revolve around Superman and/or Batman, as all other heroes are comparatively impotent.
  • Supersinging? The Miracle Machine? Directly referencing "Lolita" as a character name? The Daily Planet Building incorporated into the Watchtower? The other main villain introduced elsewhere, and only appearing for a few pages here to be killed off? The unexplained, pointless "death" of "Batman?" Get the fuck out of here!

There were a few things I liked: The satire of Overman's "Nein!" Obamaman. A prominent role for, of all characters, the monolingual Mexican Iman from a Superman Annual years back. That despite multiple artists, the series mostly looked great and worked visually. Still, a book that started off with promise ended up another awful rip-off crossover. I wonder if Grant rests easy knowing that he himself, through this series, embodies the same "old, ossified ideas that have lasted way past their time and won’t let go of the future" he has attributed to Darkseid?

Final Crisis Secret Files #1 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
Except for Swamp Thing, for whatever reason, I never had much to do with writer Len Wein. Based on his script here, I'm sorry about that. Wein tells a better, more complete story in this origin for the villainous Libra than Morrison ultimately managed in the series that it satellites. I hope to God that, if these bastards are going to try asking $4 for individual comics across the board, they'll offer more satisfying done-in-ones along the lines of what I found here. See, you can set up one story without neglecting the audience that paid for one in this instance!

Legion of Super-Heroes #49-50 (DC, 2009, $2.99)
Jim Shooter's latest run on Legion, and the volume itself, comes to an end. It appears his final script was hacked to pieces by editorial, failed to resolve multiple subplots, and dismissed others with slapdash expository dialogue-- all while being run credited under the pseudonym "Justin Thyme." Even regular artist Francis Manapul pulled out, leaving a rush job for Ramon Bachs and his old inker John Livesay. Even still, it was more professional, comprehensible, and enjoyable than "Final Crisis." DC Comics, welcome to my shit list.

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