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Final Crisis #4 Final Crisis #4

Final Crisis #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 22, 2008

Cover date: November 2008

"Darkseid Says"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
Inker: Alex Sinclair
Cover Art: JG Jones/Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

It was a month ago when Darkseid's minions used Earth-tech to broadcast the anti-life equation world-wide. More than a billion were infected with the first wave. Darkseid's Justifiers enforce (dis)order.

The Ray penetrates the Hall of Justice with the Tattooed Man who says he's bringing a message from Black Lightning. They join the already present Green Arrow, Black Canary, Oracle, Joan Garrick, Linda Park and hers and Wally's two super-kids.

There are six Watchtowers all over the Earth. In Superman's Fortress of Solitude, there's a printing press that continues to print The Daily Planet.

Bludhaven lies in ruins. Mr. Bones, head of the DEO, the Atomic Knights, and Negative Woman, among others, lie unconscious or dead amidst the death and decay.

At the Evil Factory, Kalibak has been recreated for the 5th World as a tiger-creature. Dan Turpin is strapped down trying to hold something back.

Back at the Hall of Justice, Oracle explains that she shut down the internet as quickly as she could but she heard enough to realize the anti-life equation is a mathematical proof that Darkseid is the master of everything in the universe.

The Ray uses the "Unternet", a secret internet for the bad guys that's been abandoned, to create a video link-up with the other Watchtower sites. Mr. Terrific is at Checkmate's global headquarters with Alan Scott (Golden Age GL), Renee Montoya, and Amanda Waller. Hawkgirl and others are outside Checkmate holding back the Justifiers.

Supergirl is in charge of the group at the Fortress of Solitude. Another group, including the International Ultramarine Corps, is losing the battle at their headquarters in Superbia. Another group is in Africa - perhaps Gorilla City. And a final group is in China led by the Great Ten.

Meanwhile, Captain Marvel/Shazam pleads with Black Adam to rejoin the Marvel Family and fight alongside him. Adam watches the broadcast from Alan Scott - Scott is calling for all superheroes to assemble for a last stand in Bludhaven.

At the Hall of Justice, Tattooed Man explains that Black Lightning gave him a tattoo that spreads over him - suddenly he looks like Metron.

An enslaved Black Lightning breaks through into the Hall of Justice.

Barry Allen and Wally West, a pair of Flashes, discuss what's going on. Wally realizes amidst the chaos that his uncle really is back and they hug. They are being hunted by the Furies: transformed heroines and villainesses - Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Giganta, Batwoman, and others. The Flashes escape.

The Ray manages to teleport the heroes in the Hall of Justice to the JLA Satellite. Green Arrow remains behind to hold the fort at the Hall. The Justifiers with an anti-life affected Black Lightning attack and over-power GA. They put an anti-life helmet on his head.

Turpin continues to fight what's being done to him as his body and mind continue to evolve. Meanwhile, the heroes battle outside Checkmate's castle. GL tells Hawkgirl they have to protect the castle until the "Omega Offensive" is ready. The skies begin to rain blood.

Mary Marvel brings Darkseid's helmet and places it on Turpin's head. G. Gordon Godfrey asks Darkseid for a sign: thumbs up meaning the human spirit of Dan Turpin has triumphed; or thumbs down meaning Darkseid is master of all.

Iris West Allen, wife/widow of Barry Allen, walks through the streets to her apartment. Turning on the TV, she's affected by anti-life. Barry kisses her and she reverts to normal.

Mr. Miracle and his Japanese team break into the Checkmate castle. Mr. Miracle tells them not to shoot, that they can save the world. Suddenly, a bullet fires into Mr. Miracle's heart. The spirit of freedom dies with him. Turpin gives up choice and gives in - to Darkseid. Now transformed into the ultimate God of Evil, Darkseid gives the sign: thumbs down.

To be continued...

3Story - 3: Like the previous two issues, the book requires at least two reads to really take in the big picture of the world Grant Morrison is trying to create. Like the previous two issues, on that bigger scale, Morrison succeeds. His big picture is "Evil Wins" and he delivers. While he's certainly amp-ed up the New Gods, I still have no sense of why they are gods (with the exception of Metron who appeared to take a direct role in the evolution of the human race by giving Anthro fire in the first issue) other than the fact that they say so. Evil, yes. Villainous, yes. But godly? I guess that ultimately depends on how you define god in the DCU, which we already know is a pretty expansive concept.

Morrison arrives at his big picture at the loss of some interesting untold details. The biggest and most glaring? How did Iris West Allen get separated from the Flash family when they were all together last issue at the time the virus took hold? Not to mention how all the heroes got to the five established Watchtowers, particularly the non-metas. And with Clark off-world and Lois presumably subject to anti-life in the hospital, who's publishing the Daily Planet? Jimmy and Kara? Jimmy Olsen on the "Final Crisis": "Golly gee we're screwed." Where is the information coming from to fill the Daily Planet? The heroes had no way of establishing contact with the outside world. Even a line or two of dialogue about Kara using her super senses would have helped.

Also, if the story is truly going to stand on its own in a collected trade someday, there absolutely needed to be one panel of Black Lightning and the Tattooed Man together. Those details are covered in "Final Crisis: Submit" but, years from now, it'll be a confusing scene when the Ray brings in Tattooed Man.

Finally, any Superman fan who's ever been mocked for buying into the "super-kiss" at the end of "Superman II" is sure to feel vindicated by Barry Allen's sure-fire lip-lock antidote to the anti-life equation. Maybe the Silver Age Flash ought to super-speed around the world and kiss everybody. Problem solved.

3Art - 3: The art on the book is very good given there are three artists on one story. There isn't a moment in the book where the art style changes so drastically that I'm taken out of the story. Nonetheless, it's the beginning of the end of J.G. Jones's "Final Crisis".

Jones is sharing art chores this issue with Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino. By the seventh and final issue, Jones will be gone and Doug Mahnke will be the principal artist. Come on, DC. The least we can expect of an event you're going to call a "Crisis" is a consistent artist and look to the series. It's only seven friggin' issues - with a built-in catch-up period for the artist with the one month break between this issue and the previous issue. "Final Crisis" shouldn't have been solicited unless and until Dan Didio, Paul Levitz, and the editors of the series were 110% sure the artist had finished enough work that he'd be able to get to the seventh issue.

2Cover Art (Silver Cover) - 2: OK, OK, so I believe that DC is intentionally slowly bleeding the printing on the "Final Crisis" cover logos for each "FC"-related book. I still don't like it any better than when I was convinced it was a printing error. Whether intentional or not, it just looks sloppy to me. And the brick-colored background to the logo still takes up too much cover space for these covers to hold any real interest or heighten any tension.

3Cover Art (Darkseid) - 3: Darkseid reborn with Omega signs on his hands. Big whoop. It's a wonderfully drawn picture of Darkseid but for one thing: we were promised a new Fifth World. Other than his new pink Omegas, he looks the same as he always has.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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