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Final Crisis #1 Final Crisis #1

Final Crisis #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 28, 2008

Cover date: July 2008

"D.O.A.: The God of War!"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: JG Jones
Inker: Alex Sinclair
Cover Art: JG Jones

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

Anthro, the first boy in the DCU, meets Metron of the New Gods. Metron gives Anthro knowledge, then disappears into the sky as the first fire burns.

Some time later, Neanderthals battle chaotically. One is more savage than the rest - Vandal Savage. He grabs a raven-haired native. Anthro uses fire to scare off Savage and his tribe.

In the present, Dan Turpin, now a P.I., is searching for six missing children. Instead he finds Orion of the New Gods who uses his last dying breath to tell Turpin that "they" didn't die and that "he" is in all of us. His last word: "Fight." Above Turpin floats the Black Racer, a New God on skis.

The skies have turned red and the weather's gone wacky. John Stewart receives a message from the power ring alerting him to a "1011" - though he's unfamiliar with what that means.

Turpin realizes he's in super-hero territory and leaves the scene. He meets up with the new female Question (Renee Montoya) who, in her own way, tells Turpin that the six missing children may have the meta-gene and gives him an advertisement for the "Dark Side Club".

Hal and John secure the scene of Orion's death. Hal contacts the Guardians of the Universe while John alerts the Justice League. The Guardians are very concerned about the existence of power that can kill a God and tell Hal that they've dispatched a special operations Alpha Lantern unit to investigate.

While a large group of super-villains are congregating together to distract the super-heroes, Empress of the newly formed League of Titans leads her teammates Sparx and Mas y Menos to something from another reality that came to her in a vision - Metron's Mobius Chair. Dr. Light and Mirror Master team up to defeat the League of Titans and collect Metron's chair for Libra and the other villains.

Libra meets with Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage, Dr. Sivana, Grodd, Ocean Master and other villains. Lex and Vandal are skeptical of Libra's claims that he can "even the odds". Libra explains his goal is to end the age of super-heroes and give each villain their heart's desire. To prove it, he fulfills the heart's desire of the Human Flame and kills J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

Meanwhile, Dan Turpin meets up with the Tattooed Man in a bar who shows Turpin where the Dark Side Club is located. Turpin meets Boss Dark Side who reveals to him that the six missing children are now slaves to the anti-life equation.

The Justice League consider the threat level posed by Orion's death and raise their threat alert level to amber. Meanwhile, the Alpha Lanterns secure the crime scene - Earth.

Elsewhere, the Monitors watch over the Multiversal Orrery which seems to house the 52 Earths. The Monitors punish Uotan, the Monitor of Earth 51 (which was destroyed during the Countdown to Final Crisis and became the future world of Kamandi) by seemingly disintegrating him though not before he promises to find a way back. A female Monitor, Weeja Dell, mourns Uotan, crying for the very first time. Another Monitor secretly gloats that, with Uotan dead, his only obstacle is gone.

Back with Anthro, he uses a stick to draw Metron's symbol in the sand. Suddenly, a collapsed and damaged Statue of Liberty seemingly materializes behind him. Kamandi, the last boy, confronts Anthro, the first boy, and tells him they need the weapon that Metron gave him to use against the gods. The last image of Anthro shows that he now has Metron's symbol painted on his face.

A young African American man wakes up in bed as the news reports announce the JLA reaction to the Martian Manhunter's murder. He looks at his hands as if they belong to someone else.

To be continued...

3Story - 3: I'm giving Grant Morrison the benefit of the doubt with this first issue. I was torn between giving the story a 2 rating versus a 3 rating. It isn't that I don't like the story. In fact, I like it a lot and am jazzed to see what happens next. But Grant Morrison, like Geoff Johns, should be held to a higher standard. Morrison himself set the bar high with mega-runs on "Doom Patrol", "Animal Man", "JLA", and, most recently, "All-Star Superman" and the unfolding "Batman R.I.P." storyline.

In typical Morrison fashion, the story plays very fast and very loose with continuity in a way that may take some readers out of the story. For instance, there's the way Orion's death is handled. First, in both "Countdown to Final Crisis" and "Death of the New Gods", we see Orion's final battle with Darkseid. The battle took place in the presence of superheroes including Superman. In fact, Superman had just spent much of the "Death of the New Gods" miniseries fighting side-by-side with Orion. Yet Orion is disposed of like so much trash as if the heroes ignored the dying god on their streets.

More egregious is the fact that Orion is suddenly treated as if he's a virtual stranger to the Justice League. They speak of their dead former JLA teammate as if he was never a part of the League. This is particularly unsettling given Orion was part of the JLA penned by Morrison himself. I understand the desire for the shift - to elevate the New Gods to true deity status - but it could have been a less clunky exercise in Hypertime.

As a long-time Superman fan, I'm not keen on the idea that Terrible Turpin is now a private investigator rather than a Metropolis cop. His role is one that could easily have been played by Slam Bradley or Harvey Bullock. Yes, I know that Turpin has come to represent New Gods creator Jack Kirby in the DCU - on "Superman: The Animated Series", Darkseid killed Dan Turpin to reflect Kirby's real-life death in an episode dedicated to the King of Comics. For that reason, it's of course a logical decision to have Turpin smoke out Darkseid. I just wish it could have been done without Metropolis losing one more good cop. "Gotham Central" already stole Metropolis S.C.U.'s Maggie Sawyer. Superman is largely defined by his interaction with supporting characters and it's just natural there should be high-level law and order types in the Big Blue Boy Scout's camp. What's next? Inspector Henderson moving to Coast City?

Personally I think the issue that began with first boy Anthro should have ended with last boy Kamandi. Instead there's a slightly confusing cliffhanger involving what appears to be either a resurrection or reincarnation of some kind - is it Orion, the disintegrated Monitor, the Martian, or someone else entirely? It's a bit abstract for a cliffhanger and feels more like an epilogue to the issue's real cliffhanger - the apparent merging of Anthro's and Kamandi's worlds.

4Art - 4: After George Perez drew the first "Crisis on Infinite Earths" using his exaggerated realistic style, and Perez disciple Phil Jimenez drew the second "Infinite Crisis", I'd have preferred to have one of them draw the last chapter in the "Crisis" trilogy for consistency's sake. But that's probably a bit nitpicky.

The art is beautiful - just not super-spectacular. Shadows are used very effectively especially in the Vandal Savage sequence. The ominous red skies are so perfectly rendered I thought it was 1985 all over again. There are some really impressive little details like Mirror Master's crooked teeth.

One of my favorite pages barely has a costumed hero on it - the cityscape and shot of John Stewart in his office receiving the GL distress call. That entire page feels very real, almost three-dimensional. The art just pops off the page.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new versions of the New Gods. I like the new Silver Surfer-ish look given to the reborn Metron. Though, if you ask me, the light and dark colors on his old costume better reflected the ambiguity of the god's raison d'etre (Is he an observer or a participant? Is he - in the classic DC sense of the words - good or evil or simply beyond such classification?).

2Cover Art (Green Lantern) - 2: If the point of a cover is to help sell the issue inside, this cover fails in spades. The story so far has nothing directly to do with Hal Jordan. I can't help comparing this cover to the cover of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" #1. On that cover, George Perez had all the heroes and villains who'd been assembled by the Monitor amidst the chaos of exploding multiple Earths while Pariah stood by crying. That cover screamed "This is something special and different and you have to look inside." In fact, the action and high-drama was so off-the-charts that the cover was a wrap-around with DC foregoing the ad-space on the back cover. In contrast, the cover to "Final Crisis" #1 doesn't foretell anything. If anything, it's a bit insulting to John Stewart who is more involved in the issue than Jordan, not to mention that it mirrors Stewart's inclusion in the original "Crisis" #1.

3Cover Art (Cave Wall) - 3: A bit closer to the mark in terms of hinting at the story inside and the bigger picture of the DCU, but still a bit dull. It doesn't help either of the covers that the title and title background cover more than 2/3 of the cover space.

The cover that should have graced this issue seems so obvious to me: Anthro face to face with Kamandi. The first boy and the last boy.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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