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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Crisis Time! - Final Crisis #1 and Final Crisis: Requiem

It seems like this is the year of Grant Morrison, isn’t it? I looked at most of his run on Batman, All-Star Superman, and some of his stuff from Action Comics. Well, it’s time to dip back in the weirdness as I jump into the event known as Final Crisis. I’d be correct in saying that this was a weird event. It didn’t tie into a lot of books like events of the time did. It had a prelude (Countdown to Final Crisis), but that 52-issue weekly series is rarely mentioned in the event itself. There’s also the fact that Countdown apparently sucked. Just look at Linkara’s review of the series.52 done right?” I don’t think so.

I remember some of the tie-ins sort of tied into the event while others really didn’t. Why did Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds (something I’ll look at in the future) get included with that anyway? It really didn’t tie into that story. Anyway, I did get the first issue to Final Crisis when it was released, but that was it for me since I was on a college budget (food, clothes, and gas).  I kept up with the event via Internet. I actually ended up reading the whole event (main series and a couple of tie-ins) through a hardcover at the library in Pulaski. I acquired the paperback a while back on Amazon.

My plan is to go through each issue and some tie-ins this month. Today’s issues are Final Crisis #1 and Final Crisis: Requiem. Grant Morrison is the writer the first issue as well as the whole event. J.G. Jones does the art for #1 and for most of the event. He has mostly done covers and some interior work. He’s most known for Wanted, a Mark Millar penned series. For Requiem, Peter J. Tomasi writes the issue. Doug Mahnke pencils the issue and Christian Almany inks the issue. The covers for Final Crisis #1 were both done by Jones. While the one with Green Lantern is okay, the variant is actually the better of the two.

Final Crisis #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: J.G. Jones
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh

We literally start out at the dawn of man. Metron from the New Gods gives Anthro, the first boy, the invention of fire. Anthro puts his new tool to good use as he fends off attackers at his village. We then fast forward to present day where Private Investigator Dan Turpin is searching for missing children. He comes upon an alley where Orion, a New God and “a number one, cosmic hard-ass,” is disheveled and dying. Orion tells Turpin some words and dies from his injuries. Above them, the Black Racer hovers in the air.

You know it’s going to be weird when a black guy is sporting skis. Thank Jack Kirby for creating something that is truly impossible!

Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan are warned by their rings about Orion’s death. They investigate the crime scene and contact the Justice League and the Guardians. The Guardians send in the Alpha Lanterns, officers who were merged with their Lantern or something. It’s pretty weird. Elsewhere, Turpin gets a lead on where the missing children are from Renee Montoya, the new Question and another ex-cop. They were metahumans and they may be held at a club called “The Dark Side Club.” It sounds pretty ominous, doesn’t it?

Elsewhere, Doctor Light (the evil, creepy one) and Mirror Master defeat some heroes in a landfill. They then find what they were looking for: Metron’s Mobius Chair. They take the chair to a hideout in Central where Libra (an old-school villain) has gathered a lot of villains. Lex Luthor and the others are wondering if Libra does actually have a plan. Libra takes them to task and has a couple of other villains drag out a drugged Martain Manhunter. Apparently, the Human Flame (an old villain) wanted J’onn to die. Libra then uses his spear to kill J’onn.

In Gotham (it’s never made clear),  the Tattooed Man leads Turpin to the Dark Side Club. He meets with the owner: Boss Dark Side. Dark Side (feels weird writing that) straight-up tells Turpin that he has the children. The kids come out from behind a curtain under the influence of the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid tells the children to show Turpin how it works as Turpin passes out. Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, the JLA meets to talk about Orion’s death. They wonder who has the power to kill a god. The Alpha Lanterns have also made it to Earth in order to secure it.

Oh man! Not another creepy, old, white guy who abducts kids!

Elsewhere (I’m saying that a lot, ain’t I), we run into the Monitors who watch over the Multiverse. They’re putting one of their own, Nix Uotan, on trial. His Earth (Earth-51) was destroyed during Countdown maxi-series. They find him guilty and exile him. He swears to his lover that he’ll make it back. His lover, Weeja Dell, mourns for the first time in her life. Another Monitor, Zillo Valla, tells her to get hold of herself. It’s revealed that she and the rest of the Monitors are basically being molded by what they see on Earth. It’s pretty weird. We also see another Monitor tell someone hidden that it’s time to put their plan into action.

Back in the past, Anthro is painting a symbol when he suddenly ends up in the far future with Kamandi, the last boy on Earth. Kamandi tells Anthro to give him the weapon that Metron gave him. Anthro is teleported back to the past. We then see him with Metron’s symbol painted on his face. The issue ends as a young man wakes up in a room. The TV is playing and the superhero community is mourning the death of J’onn Jonnz.

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This was a pretty good issue. It’s mostly an issue of setup with little action. Different pieces are lined up for the whole event. It also covers a lot in about 30 pages. We move from the dawn of man to the center of the multiverse in all of that time. We get an interesting mystery involving the death of a New God. The heroes only show up for a couple of pages. Don’t worry; you’ll see more of them in the overall event.

I hadn’t been exposed to J.G. Jones before this event. While I’m not a fan of the artist, I can say that it all looks good for the most part. He makes the realistic features mesh with the overly weird features. The inks and colors are also well done. While a couple of images look a little wonky, it’s all good. I have no major complaints with the art in this issue

While I like the issue, there are times where it’s either confusing or a bit rushed. I think the major thing is the reveal of Darkseid or Boss Dark Side. This version actually appeared in another Morrison-penned book called The Seven Soldiers. If you haven’t read that, you may not know what’s going on with that. I still haven’t read it and I’m still kind of confused on how this happened. I guess I’ll find out as I read this story again. Another thing is J’onn Jonzz’s death. It feels rushed and you’d think a founding member of the Justice League of America would get a decent outing. Luckily, that is what Final Crisis: Requiem is for. In the end, this was a nice beginning.


Final Crisis: Requiem
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy and Rodney Ramos
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Letters: John J. Hill
Editor: Eddie Berganza

We start out on Mars with the funeral of J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. Every hero is there and in mourning. We then go back to his final moments. He was drugged by Dr. Light and some other flame-based villain. They drag him into the room where Libra is having his meeting with the villains. Libra stabs J’onn but our hero puts up a fight. He uses his telepathy to distract the others. Unfortunately, Libra’s spear does too much damage. After some parting words on how evil won’t win, the villains kill J’onn J’onnz.

His death somehow reaches Superman, Batman, GL Hal Jordan, Black Canary, and a lesser know hero named Gypsy telepathically. The villains had left J’onn’s body someplace where everyone could see him. Nightwing was the first to find him. His body is taken somewhere for safe keeping. Hal and Green Arrow watch over it and lament over his death. Later, the heroes that felt J’onn’s death come under a telepathic trance. They basically speak and record the Manhunter’s whole life.

Some time passes as everyone prepares for the funeral. The Earth-based Green Lanterns do something in moving J’onn’s Martian home from Earth back to Mars. They then gather the heroes and J’onn’s coffin. Superman does the eulogy as all of the heroes mourn for their fallen friend. After the funeral, the heroes who felt J’onn death meet and place a journal of J’onn’s life on his coffin. The issue ends with Batman placing something else on the coffin as well: a cookie.
 Now if that doesn’t make you think that Batman has a heart, I can't help you!

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This was a nice issue. I like that we got to see an extension of his final fight. While I liked the first issue to Final Crisis, this is one scene that I wish had been longer there. The death and what happens afterwards is just tragic. I also like the how the heroes mourned for their fallen friend. The one who looked like he took it the hardest was Hal and Ollie. It was J’onn’s and another’s death that eventually led Hal and Ollie to create another League later on. Unfortunately, that storyline also sucked, so not a lot of good came from those deaths. I also loved Bruce’s gesture at the end. If anyone was going to do something so heartrending, it might as well be him.

I also enjoyed the artwork. Mahnke had everyone look good. His action scenes and quiet scenes were also pretty good. The inks and colors were also quite nice. This actually won’t be the last time we see Mahnke involved with this event. Overall, this was a nice part of the story. While he isn’t one of my favorite heroes, The Martian Manhunter is cool to me. In a lot of ways, he’s more of an alien immigrant that Superman could ever be. He lived a lifetime on Mars before he came to Earth. He’s also a cool member of the Justice League. It just doesn’t feel right without him in the League. Even though he came back, this still was a good issue.

Well, that’s that. So far, it looks like this event is off to a good start. Next time, I’ll be looking at the next issue in the event. Peace, God Bless, and watch out for those “Super muk-muks.”

NEXT TIME: MYSTERY, JAPANESE SUPERHEROES, AND MORE WEIRDNESS!

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