Everyone’s a Critic

Final Crisis #1

Posted by jadecanary on June 1, 2008

(Welcome to BENDING STEEL REVIEW. This blog is a spin-off of my BENDING STEEL blog. You can check it out by clicking that fabulous picture of Superman at the top of the the right column.)

 D.O.A.: The God of War! by Grant Morrison (w) and JG Jones (a)

“…Heaven…cracked and broken… THEY DID NOT DIE! HE IS IN YOU ALL…”

The Countdown is over, the wait has ended, The Final Crisis is upon us. Morrison’s epic promises to take us from Heaven to Hell, across the 52 Earths, to a point where, in the end, evil wins. Let’s be honest, with the exception of three out of every four episodes of WWE Raw, when does evil ever win? Let’s take this review on a case-by-case basis, visiting each of our stars.

Anthro, the Caveboy

The book starts at the beginning with Anthro. Anthro is one of those sci-fi silver age comic stars that Morrison picks out of his comic book boxes and says, “Hey, let’s bring you back into mainstream!” The first page is done in a letterbox format, drawing your attention to Anthro, about to kick someone’s ass. A voice calling out to him, “Man…” It is Metron, the intellectual ass of the Fourth World New Gods. What I find striking about Metron is that his colors are inverted, the white glows while his classic blue accentuates the white. His Mobius Chair is now white and blue, where previously it was green. This tells me that Metron, killed in “Death of the New Gods” #7 is a new man, reborn from The Source, and may be our first look at a Fifth Worlder. The white infers to me that Metron is doing The Source’s work here. And that work? He gave Anthro “knowledge”. He sets a tree on fire. That’s great, Metron, piss off the prehistoric Green Peace!

After that, we find that a neanderthal, presumably the immortal Vandal Savage (isn’t it amazing that all the immortal characters have run into the legendary time-period characters) kicking the crap out of some other cave-and-hut dwellers. The following is the dialogue from pages 8-9 of Final Crisis #1…

“!”, “!!”, “!”, “(incomprehensible)”, “!”, “?”, “!”, “?”, “?”, “?”, “?”

Damn, that was great writing, Morrison, somebody give him a award.

That is where JG Jones steps in. Jones is famous for his streak of 52 consecutive weekly covers, delivered on time. And, as we’ve seen lately from DC, 52 weeks of on time art is heroic. Jones’ art takes over here, telling the story of Anthro bringing the fire to his enemies, and saving the girl. Yaa Anthro! Then again, if you ask Dan Turpin, formerly of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, “Fire was our first big mistake. Like everything else the sad, stinkin’ human race ever thought of, we take a good idea, and we use it to kill ourselves.”

Dan Turpin

Dan Turpin is the latest Jack Kirby creation to get some focus in recent months. It seems that DC is falling all over themselves to bring back everything they own that has a “Created by Jack Kirby” tag on it. (I don’t know, guys, Since Kirby left the New Gods, the only thing you could think of to evolve the Kirby characters was to kill them, what makes you think you can do anything with any of his other characters?) Back to Turpin. He’s investigating the disappearance of six children, all “smart and poor”. But all he finds is Orion, son of Darkseid, Champion of New Genesis, and he’s just about dead. Last we saw of Orion, he had just killed his father, fulfilling the prophesy of The Source. He tells Turpin that “they” didn’t die, and “he” is in you. Love those cryptic gods. As Orion keels over, in the distance, we see the Black Racer (yes, a black man on skis that takes dead gods to the other side. Kirby was weird.

Later, Dan meets with Renee Montoya, who nowadays calls herself The Question. Her and Dan chit-chat for a moment, then Renee gives Dan a (I can only guess) coaster from the Dark Side Club.

Turpin, over the course of nine pages, finds a way to get from Metropolis to New York City. He drops by a barin time to see the rantings of The Rev G. Godfrey in Bludhaven on the TV. Turpin is then intercepted by the third incarnation of the Tattooed Man. He escorts Turpin to The Dark Side Club. Turpin is introduced to “Boss Dark Side” (theory: I think that this Boss Dark Side might actually be Darkseid in some sort of mortal form). The last we see of Turpin in this issue is Dark Side unleashing all the children his elite have been acquiring, “We taught them how to say the Equation.”

John Stewart and Hal Jordan

You’d think with Hal Jordan being on the cover, he’d be the first Green Lantern we’d see. John Stewart gets a message from his ring while at work. After ducking into a broom closet, the ring notifies him of a Code 1011. John has the crime scene bubbled off by the time Hal Jordan shows up.

 John: “You ever hear about 1011, Hal? Apparently it doesn’t happen too often.”

Hal: “1011? Deicide?”

John: “Somebody just murdered a god on our watch.”

You idiots! The New Gods and Darkseid’s Elite have been dying all around you. Lightray, Grayven, Knockout, Big Barda, and Power Boy (that’s all i could think of) all died ON EARTH! Where the hell were you? Anyway, Hal calls the Guardians and John goes to let the JLA know.

The Guardians dispatch Alpha Lanterns Green Man, Boodikka and Varix to keep investigate the death of Orion (again, he’s died, what 3 times now?). The JLA meet and seem totally oblivious that “The Death of the New Gods” ever happened, despite Superman actually being there to watch it happen. Superman puts the team on “Condition Amber” (skipping right over “Condition Burgundy”).

The Secret Society of Super-Villains

It always seems like a good idea that is always doomed to failure. A bunch of bad guys get together, put aside their differences and work to a common goal. The American Way, right? But someone’s just gotta stab another in the back and it all falls apart. Well, here we go again. This story starts out with what should of been the most obvious villain team-up, Dr. Light annd Mirror Master. The Light/Mirror team is dispatched to pick up Metron’s chair, and they run into (get ready for this one) “The League of Titans”! (Isn’t that a team in City of Heroes?) It doesn’t really matter who these dweebs are (of course, Morrison will make these guys the heroes of the Final Crisis),they get their asses royally handed to them. Then Doc Light and Mirror Master discuss cocaine and penis-enhancing vitamins for pleasuring Giganta (Hey Morrison, I never want to read about Doc Light’s sex life ever again. Brad Metzler has made sure nobody wants to know anything else about Doc Light).

Meanwhile, at the seedy strip bar in Central City, Libra is still trying to convince the big name baddies that he’s the man to follow. Ego trips are taken by Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage and Mike, “The Human Flame” has to defend his right to be in this group. To give the villains some sort of inspiration, he has Effegy and Doc Light bring in the semi-unconscious J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. Then Libra skewers J’onn.

The Monitors

Y’see, there are these 52 guys who are uber-powerful and they are all the same guy. And they each have an Earth to keep an eye on. And then those Earths change. Why wouldn’t the Monitors change too?

There was this Monitor named Solomon. He wanted to be the only Monitor, like it was in the old days. He cut a deal with Darkseid. That deal fell through. Now, faced with the fact of his failure, he puts all of his problems on Earth-51. Nix Uotan, the Monitor of Earth-51 watched helplessly as his Earth was destroyed in the Monitors/Monarch/Superman-Prime fiasco. But Young Uotan, ever the survivor, found the building blocks of life still existed in his universe. So he went about rebuilding it. Then Solomon sent the Challengers From Beyond there. One of the Challengers, Karate Kid, was infected with a disease from the 31st Century. The disease spread, mutating life on not only Earth-51, but in it’s entire universe.

The Monitors go about stabilizing the Orrery of the Multiverse. When they are finished doing that, they put Nix Uotan on trial for screwing up. Despite protest from another Monitor, Weeja Dell, the sentence is carried out, “You will live out your days as a humble, mortal germ… and die to feed the Orrery.” Uotan is gone.

Weeja finds Monitor Zillo Valla and cries on her shoulder. But Zillo explains that Weeja must go back to Monitor. “Ogama fears we have become contaminated during contact with the obscure lifeforms that grow within the workings of The Orrery. Through them, time has entered our timeless world.”

On the last page of the book, Nix Uotan wakes up as a human on New Earth, with the TV in his apartment on. On the TV, Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow, is swearing vengeance for the death of The Martian Manhunter.

First Meets Last

We visit Anthro once again, and he has learned that a hot meal is better then salmonella poisoning. He’s taking some time before dinner to draw what he saw earlier this evening, the symbol on Metron’s chest. Suddenly, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth(51) appears with the busted down Statue of Liberty and torn up New York. He runs at Anthro and says, “Metron gave you a weapon against the gods! We need it now!”

Then Kamandi disappears. Anthro responds, “?”.

“?” indeed.

What a freaking jumpy book. All the pieces are in place, now Morrison needs to put this puzzle together. He has left just enough out there to get me looking for more and JG Jones is impressive on both pencils and inks. The only think driving me bonkers is the in-continuity. Did the gods ever die? Where is the Source in all this. How many times do you kill Orion before The Guardians of the Universe notice? Was Superman hopped up on Magic Kryptonite again, and imagine all his godly friends dying?

Then again, when a Crisis is designed to fix in-continuity, it tends only to cause more.



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