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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Crisis Time! - Final Crisis #7

Well, here it is. It’s the final issue of this pretty weird event. I have to say that it’s been interesting. It’s been cool going through this event with a more critical eye. I may need that eye for this issue.

The creative team has gone through some changes for this final issue. Morrison is still the writer while Doug Mahnke is penciling the whole issue. The issue also houses a lot of inkers and I mean a lot. I don’t even think I know most of these folk. The main cover has Superman flying toward us while the variant shows the Multiverse being destroyed. The covers are okay this time around with both feeling pretty lackluster for a final issue. Now, excuse me as I try to recap this loopy issue.

Final Crisis #7
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Doug Mahnke, and Walden Wong
Colors: Alex Sinclair, Tony Avina, and Pete Pantazis
Letters: Travis Lanham

"New Heaven, New Earth"
We start out on Earth-23 at the White House. President Calvin Ellis (not named by the way) is being told about the red skies and weirdness on Earth. When he gets to his room, he tells Brainiac to fill in for him for an hour while he goes to his other job as Superman. He heads to Themiscayra and talks to Nubia, this Earth’s Wonder Woman. As they’re trying to see what’s going on, the Ultima Thule comes out of the sky. In it are Renee Montoya and other Supermen from the Multiverse. Captain Marvel tells them that they need his help.
A legion of Supermen? Cool.

We get caught with the situation with Darkseid. Superman is naturally enraged about Batman’s death, but he can’t really do much to Darkseid when he realizes that’s he’s in Dan Turpin’s body.  Also, if Darkseid dies, then everyone under his influence dies. The people under the Equation start to attack Superman and Darkseid tries to shoot him with another god-killer bullet. In order to weaken Darkseid, the Flashes (Barry and Wally) get the Black Racer to race towards Darkseid since the bullet Batman used last issue is killing him slowly. Since the Black Racer is essentially “Death with No Style,” Darkseid gets messed up big time and Turpin starts to gain control.

Darkseid and the people under the Equation fall out. Unfortunately, Furies and Justifiers show up to face Superman. Luckily, Luthor and Sivana have control of the Justifiers and ally with Superman. Other heroes like Frankenstein, Supergirl, and Liberty Belle show up to kick some butt. The Furies are defeated and Frankenstein does something to make Wonder Woman come back to the good side.  She is able to free the civilians from Darkseid’s influence with her lasso.
Yay, Wonder Woman's back and it looks like she found Superman's race-changing machine.

We then get caught up on the situation with Checkmate. Remember that they were being attacked and trying to get survivors to another Earth. Heroes like Hawkman and Hawkgirl are trying their best to get folk to the other side. The Super Young Team are also doing their thing. Suddenly, the tunnel collapses and it’s actually hard to tell what happens here. I also have to say the same thing about the situation on the JLA Watchtower with Black Canary and the other survivors. I honestly don’t get it.
I really don't get this part.

Eventually, Earth-0 (the main Earth) becomes unlivable, so Superman creates a fortress in space. It’s here where Superman and the rest of the smart folk put together the Miracle Machine using Superman’s memory. Also, all of the civilians are shrunken down and frozen until all is fixed. Before this happens, Lois Lane puts together one final edition of the Daily Planet and documents everything that happened. The paper and a few other mementos are put into a rocket a lot like Superman’s rocket from the Silver Age and sent off into the unknown.

Superman is the only one left. As he puts the final bits on the machine, Darkseid’s dying spirit comes to Superman and tries to taunt him. Superman rebuffs him and then sings him to death with that loud voice of his. Yes, I just wrote that. Here’s the proof.
One wonders what song Superman sang to rid us of Darkseid. Knowing Darkseid’s hate for Genesis, it was probably “Invisible Touch” or something.

Superman’s singing leaves him very weak. He heads over to Metron’s chair and finds the last component for the machine: Element X, the fire of the gods. As he adds it to the machine, our favorite Monitor, Mandrakk, shows back up again. He’s along with Vampire Ultraman and they have Supergirl in tow. Mandrakk also defeated the Spectre and Raidient, servants of God. Mandrakk taunts Superman and says that the machine has no power. Superman retorts saying that he’ll be able to power it on his own since he’s a solar battery.

Suddenly, Superman gets help as Captain Marvel and the Supermen of the Multiverse finally arrive. They take quick care of Ultraman via heat vision. Then, Nix Uotan shows up and brings along the New Forever People (the Super Young Team), Angels, and Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew to join the fight… What the heck did I just write? Anyway, the Green Lantern Corps finally pop up on the scene. The Supermen turn their heat on Mandrakk and The Corps stake him with a big, green stake construct. Mandrakk is finally defeated and I’m almost done with this… Man.
Bye, Mandrakk! I won't miss you, buddy.

Things then start to set back to normal. Everyone is restored to normal size and head back to their lives. Barry heads home to his family and the dead are mourned. In the Monitors’ plane of existence, Nix Uotan tells them of what has transpired with the Multiverse and the Multiverse is fixed. The other Monitors re-induct him into the order. After Nix fixes Earth-51 and basically makes it New Genesis, he tells the Monitors that they’ve interfered with the Multiverse enough. He basically wishes the Monitors out of existence. He then spends his last moments with Weeja Dell. She asks him what Superman used the Miracle Machine for. He says Superman wished for a happy ending. The story ends with Nix waking up in his bed on Earth.

We then get an epilogue at the dawn of time. We find Antrho, the first boy, as an old man. In the distance, we see the rocket that was launched from Superman’s fortress. He heads back to his cave and dies from old age. We then see another figure in the cave. He lays down his belt at Anthro. The issue ends with Bruce Wayne beginning to draw a bat on the cave wall. Ooo... I’m shocked.
Of course Morrison wouldn't kill him! Batman's so powerful he can even beat death!

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So… I’ve gotten to this issue. Is the greatest thing ever in the history of comics or is it pure, unadulterated poo-doo? Well, I do like it for the most part. I don’t love it nor do I hate it. The issue brings everything to a conclusion: Darkseid’s plot and that whole thing with the Monitors. It does it in a way that is admittedly confusing. The issue is literally everywhere and I can see why folk won’t like it. I tried to recap it the best I could.

 It requires a lot of work to understand it. I’ve read this a few times and there are things I still don’t get. What happened with situation in Checkmate? Did the Hawks and Mr. Teriffic die? I know that’s not the case because they were still around in the DCU after this event. The whole event tends to show, not tell, and this issue is the the worst in that aspect.

There’s also the fact that Mandrakk and the stuff with the Monitors play a big role in the conclusion. If you had only stuck with the main series and not bothered with any of Superman Beyond, then you’d confused out of your mind. To be fair, that’s less this issue’s fault and more the fault of whoever thought that Superman Beyond shouldn’t have been part of the main series. I also didn’t like how that part was all wrapped in within a few pages. For the ultimate evil, Mandrakk was really lame. Then, there's the twist ending with Bruce Wayne. I don't hate it, but it does make Batman look even more superhuman than he should be.

While I have my qualms about the issue, there are things I really like. I liked how the heroes beat Darkseid. Instead of a drag-out fight, Darkseid gets taken out in some different ways. Batman shoots him, the Flashes get Death to hurt him, Wonder Woman does her thing, and Superman sings him to death. I really do like that. I also thought the ending involving Nix and the Monitors was okay. While the final battle with Mandrakk was really lackluster, I did like seeing all those Supermen show up. That was pretty cool.

The artwork is a bit of a mixed bag this time around. While Mahnke did the pencils pretty well, the inks and colors were all over the place at times. Sometimes they worked well. Other times, the colors and inks made the artwork look pretty weird. One place where the art look weird was on Superman’s Fortress. Another one who just looked off was Wonder Woman. It either looked like she got a big tan or someone got Nubia (Earth-23 Wonder Woman) mixed up with Diana. Overall, Mahnke’s work wasn’t the reason I don’t like the art that much. His work on the Superman Beyond tie-in and the Requiem tie-in were really good since he had inkers and colorists that made his style look good.

Overall, this issue is an okay ending to the event. As I said before, I don’t love it but I don’t hate it either. There are times where its non-traditional storytelling doesn’t work for me. Still, there is enough here for me to like it.
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In the end, this was a weird event. Unlike most Crisis events, not much changed. The only things that were definite were most of the deaths and the return of Barry Allen. There are things to like about it. The New Gods were used in pretty different ways. It really felt like a fight for our heroes. I also liked the many callbacks to Jack Kirby creations. It really was a weird love letter to his work at DC. It has its flaws though. It got too weird, there were some lame ideas, and it kind of feels like it should have been longer than it was.

Do I recommend it? Well, if you have a Bachelor’s Degree in DC History, like Grant Morrison’s weird work, or are looking for something different, try it out. Go for the trade if you are going to read it because it really has everything you need. It has the main issues, Superman Beyond, and Submit. It should’ve had those Batman tie-ins but we can’t get everything, can we? Well, I’m almost done with the word “Crisis.” Next time, I’m going to look at the four "Crisis" events and basically see which one is my favorite. Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there. There’s a lot of “Stupid” going on and I don’t like it.

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