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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crisis Time! - Final Crisis: Submit and Final Crisis #4

After some universe-traveling hijinks with Superman in his Yellow Submarine, it’s time to get back to Earth and its “little” predicament. At the end of Final Crisis #3, Barry Allen and Wally West went ahead a few weeks in the future. They find their home looking pretty bleak. Some tie-ins like Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge and Final Crisis: Revelations looked at what happened during that time. Another book, written by Morrison, was Final Crisis: Submit. Since it was included in the trade, I’ll be looking at that as well as the fourth issue of Final Crisis.

Final Crisis #4 is still being written by Morrison. J.G. Jones is not the only artist this time around. He’s joined by Jesus Merino and Carlos Pacheco for those duties. Alex Sinclair still provides the coloring for the issue. The covers to the fourth issue are pretty cool this time around. One shows Darkseid and another shows some heroes taking on Darkseid’s forces. The main cover wins with Darkseid looking pretty cool in his new design.  As for Submit, it was penciled by Matthew Clark and inked by a few inkers. It came with two covers with the cover featuring Black Lightning being my favorite of the two.

Final Crisis: Submit
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Matthew Clark
Inks and Finishes: Norm Rapmund, Rob Hunter, and Don Ho
Colors: Richard and Tanya Horie
Letters: Steve Wands

"Submit"
It takes place in Washington DC. As we see a young girl and her mother send out an SOS message on a computer, Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) is being overrun by Darksied’s forces, the Justifiers. Mark Richards, aka ‘The Tattooed Man,’ and his son are out and reluctantly help Pierce back to a school where the mother and girl are hiding. It’s revealed that they are Richards’ family. Richards doesn’t want to keep Pierce there because he’ll be trouble for them. Pierce wakes up and tells them that he was on his way to the Hall of Justice when he received an SOS message.

... Yeah, I have nothing to say. Nice intro.

Since their hideout is compromised, Pierce wants them to leave with him. All are on board except for Richards who really doesn’t like superheroes. When word of his wife’s SOS comes up, he realizes they need to get out of there. They commander a school bus and head out as Justifiers take over the school. They do their best to fend them off when they make it to a tunnel. Pierce tells the family to run to end of the tunnel where they’ll find a SHADE helicopter waiting for them.
You know, they could use a better slogan. I thought Darkseid took Marketing on Apokalips.

The Tattooed Man stays with Pierce to help out but they get into another argument. Since they’re out of time, Pierce tells Richards to memorize a symbol called “The Circuit” which may be used to save everybody. When his family finds that they’re supposedly fighting, his son accidentally shoots Pierce. Richards leaves with his son as Pierce is overwhelmed by Justifiers. He’s then made into a Justifier. When Richards get back to the helicopter, he tells his family that he’s going to go finish the mission Black Lightning started. The issue ends with his family relaying this info to one of Black Lightning’s daughters.

………………………………………………………

This was an okay read. I like that we get to see what’s been up on Earth during this time. I also like the fact that it revolves around a lesser known hero like Black Lightning. Even though I’m not a big fan of his, the character has a cool power set. Besides, there aren’t many brothers out in the DCU. Even if he was a bit of a prick, I also like that we get to see more of the Tattooed Man since he was briefly introduced in Final Crisis #1. It was also cool that the hero and criminal bicker over things.

The artwork was okay in the issue. I’m not a big fan of Clark’s but his stuff is good here. It was action-packed and it flowed pretty well. You may have had some wonky art here and there with the inking, but it was a deal breaker. Another thing I kind of don’t like about the issue is that some of the dialogue is a little off. Other than that, this was a fine tie-in to the event. It’s definitely one that can’t be skipped since what happens here plays a role in the event.

Final Crisis #4
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: J.G. Jones, Jesus Merino, and Carlos Pacheco
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh

“Darkseid Says”
We start the issue by seeing the email that held the Anti-Life Equation get broadcasted around the world. Anyone who heard or saw it got immediately taken over by the Anti-Life Equation. We skip to a few weeks later where the last remnants of humanity are trying to fight Darksied’s forces. It’s not going so well. In Washington D.C., The Ray (a superhero) passes through the shields of the Hall of Justice. His trip brought an unwanted guest: The Tattooed Man. Green Arrow chides out the criminal who came here on the behalf of Black Lightning. We then see that there are other folk at the Hall like Black Canary, The Oracle, Wally West’s family, and Jay Garrick’s wife. It turns out that the Hall is but one of six Watchtowers around the world that houses superheroes and others not touched by the Anti-Life Equation. The Ray has basically been a messenger between the bases.

We then get caught up with Bludhaven which has seen better days. A battle took place and heroes like the Doom Patrol didn’t win this one. In Command D, we find the minions of Darkseid waiting for their master to return in the body of Dan Turpin.  This was why he was so weird after the first issue.  Turpin’s been strapped down with equipment and is transforming into the New God. He does his best to fight Darkseid’s influence. The minions’ bodies are also beginning to break down since their human shells can’t hold the New Gods’ essence for a long period of time. We find out that Kalibak has had a new body made for him and he uses it to eviscerate a Green Lantern officer.
Man, Turpin's seen better days.

At the Hall, The Ray accesses a hidden network called the Unthernet in order to link up all of the Watchtowers. Green Lantern Alan Scott gives a speech to all the Watchtowers that they need to stand firm and keep fighting. We see that all of the Watchtowers are being attacked by Justifiers in one way or another. The heroes have 24 hours to assemble a final assault in Bludhaven and stop Darkseid’s world from taking their own. Captain Marvel recruits Black Adam to fight for the heroes.

At the Hall, the Tattooed Man shows them the symbol that Black Lightning had him memorize. He somehow takes on Metron’s likeness with his powers. The survivors know that their base will get compromised especially when Justified Black Lightning shows up and uses his powers to weaken the shields. In order to save everyone, The Ray will use his powers to power up the Hall’s transporters and teleport the survivors to The Watchtower in space. Green Arrow stays behind to make sure the Justifiers don’t follow his Black Canary and the others. They’re able to escape as Green Arrow makes a hopeless effort to fight off the Justifiers. He then gets made into a Justifier.

In Central City, Wally and Barry recollect themselves. Before they can do any more talking, they see Wonder Woman and the others try to attack them. Barry and Wally are able to distract the Furies and get out of there. They then head to Iris’s apartment. They find her taken over by the Anti-Life Equation. Barry is able to free her from its influence by kissing her. I guess Huey Lewis was right about the “Power of Love.”
Not only does "The Power of Love" make one weak or sing, but it also removes influences from evil gods.

At Checkmate Castle, Alan Scott and Hawkgirl fend off Justifiers when they notice that the sky starts to rain blood. In the castle, Mr. Terriffic and other SHADE operatives are trying to hold everything together when Mr. Miracle and the Super Young Team teleport into the room. Mr. Miracle tries to tell them that he has the Circuit but a stray bullet hits him in the chest. At Command D, Darkseid’s minions test Turpin to see if Darkseid has fully taken control. After Evil Mary Marvel brings him his helmet, we find out that Darkseid has taken complete control of Turpin by giving one thumb down for the human spirit.
I should use this pic for a dislike image or something. 

…………………………………………………………….

It’s just getting worse for Earth, ain’t it? Folk are enslaved, their last outposts are constantly being attacked, and Darkseid is officially back. All we need now are cats and dogs living together. Even if it’s all going down the crapper, this was a pretty good issue. It’s more action-oriented than the previous three. I can say that the action is going to get more plentiful from here, folks. We see humanity on its last legs here. With all of the big heroes missing or turned into Justifiers, It’s looking pretty bleak. I liked that we get to see other heroes get the spotlight. It truly feels like everything is at stake.

The artwork is as good as ever. With three artists on board, you’d think the artwork would seem inconsistent. Luckily, that isn’t the case here. Jones, Pacheco, and Merino all put in a good effort to make things look consistent and good in general. The coloring definitely helped in making things look steady. While it sucks that Jones couldn’t get all of the artwork done in the issue (and the rest of the event for that matter), at least the other artists are good. I’m not that big of a fan of his anyway.

There’s not much to dislike about the issue in general. I do have one question: where’s Superman in all of this? In the story, he’s listed as missing, but his adventure in the Multiverse didn’t take long at all time-wise. He was back at the hospital with the cure in what would have been seconds to Lois. While I know he’s in the future with the Legion of Superheroes (FC: Legion of Three Worlds), you’d think Morrison would have at least thrown something in here about it. Another niggle is about what happened in those weeks the Flashes missed. It would have been cool to see humanity set up their bases, gain allies, and lose friends to the Justifiers. Also, how did Barry free Iris from the Anti-Life Equation? I guess “The Power of Love” can apply there, so never mind.

While I have a couple gripes about the issue, I still liked it. The situation has definitely changed and it looks like it’s beginning to head towards something big. Well, I’m outta here. Peace, God Bless, and don’t get too cold up there in New York!

NEXT TIME: FIGHTS, MORE DARKSEID, THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS, AND MORE MONITOR WEIRDNESS!

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