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Final Crisis #1
posted June 3, 2008


Creators: Grant Morrison, JG Jones, Alex Sinclair, Rob Lieght
Publishing Information: DC Comics, comic book, 40 pages, $3.99
Ordering Numbers:

I guess I'm supposed to launch into some pun-heavy rant about how awful this comic is, but the first issue of DC's latest mega-crossover Final Crisis doesn't really call for that kind of response. It doesn't call for anything, really. The latest effort from the team that gave us the interesting Marvel Boy years ago sort of just lies there, as if it were a collection of the secondary scenes around which some sort of major plotline took place and then was surgically removed. My guess from reading this first issue is that the crisis involves the death of the New Gods and the potential transformation of some of DC's secondary properties into the roles that Jack Kirby's good-guy characters used to bear, intertwined with one of those earth-wide instances that must make everyone on that planet a total basket base: a super-villain takeover led by Darkseid (maybe) and the old 1970s goofy-looking baddie Libra (definitely), the former in disguise and the latter goosed for modern times. That's only a guess, mind you. It was hard to muster the energy to make one. This is one boring comic book, and I don't care what happens.

The general feeling that I had in the midst of reading it is a strange one, and not something I've seen anyone else try to put into words. The whole work feels arbitrary in a way, if I can explain it like that. For something that comes out of a shared universe and the last four years of concentrated plot maneuverings made by the company entire, much of the plot in Final Crisis #1 feels strangely impressed on top of the book like an overlay. Libra commits a casually-presented evil deed, but everything else about him feels ordinary, rote, like he's the 50th guy to mouth such dialog and browbeat his fellow evil citizens. It's like finding out the season's Big Bad on some prime-time TV show is being played by Wayne Knight or Tony Geary. I'm also confused by the way some of the plot points are presented. I swear someone had been killing the New Gods already in one of the DC titles, but the death of Kirby's Orion is presented as if it's the first event of its kind. I'll have to take Superman's word that a few of the Justice Leaguers haven't heard of the New Gods -- weren't Orion and Lightray actually in the Justice League at one point? That seems sort of like having to explain what a UCLA Bruin is to the Los Angeles Lakers because some aren't aware Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used to be on the squad in the 1980s. I guess it's a conversation that could take place, but it's not one I'd expect to see.

It could be that Morrison is having a go at a Paul Verhoeven-style ribbing of the "crisis" genre itself; he's a smart guy, and that sounds like the kind of thing he might do. He could also be working in a very minor key, suggesting that in the midst of this otherwise normal-seeming set of adventures that at first glance is like so many others over the last five years lies the sequence of events when things went past the point they'd never return -- the banal creep of evil, which we see briefly flash in the eyes of the children possessed by the anti-life equation or in the faces of the crowd during the money shot of the comic's snuff film moment. A lot depends on what's to come. Right now, for a Final Crisis, this collection of dull plot-points, bit actors playing big roles and strident proclamations doesn't feel very Crisis-y. Nice to see Kamandi, though. Too bad about the Martian Manhunter.