May 30, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 461: Final Crisis #1, July 2008

http://www.comics.org/issue/528855/

First, an admission - according to the reading order that I linked to the other day, DC Universe 0 takes place before this issue. It's penned by Morrison, amongst others, and does tie directly in to the events of Final Crisis, but it's also one of those comics that functions far more as advertisement than intrinsic story moment. And since I'm reading Final Crisis through the lens of Batman, and he's not, as far as I recall, in DCU0, I'm going to skip it. Maybe when I get around to reading the FC graphic novel one day, I'll read that comic first.

My favourite image in this issue is the second one, a double-page splash of Metron and Anthro. It has a real Fingerprints of the Gods kind of feel to it, something at once ludicrous and sacred - which, if you really think about it, is an excellent way of describing most religious beliefs. (That is not a denigration, btw. As I tell my students, critiquing something does not mean you don't love it, just that you don't accept its infallibility.)

So what do we do with this initial chapter? Vast, dark, terrible things happen, but it's almost subtle, understated somehow. The Gods have fallen to Earth and one has been murdered, replaying an archetype as old as religious belief. The Guardians have dispatched Alpha Lanterns (one day we'll read through the Geoff Johns Green Lantern run, one of the few places I feel he's really shone as a writer - the Alpha Lanterns are trouble), the Justice League is on the case, and Dan "Terrible" Turpin has wandered into something he's not even remotely prepared for. Though, in some ways, he's being prepared for something far more awful.

Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" saga has its ups and downs. It's not always great, but sometimes it's transcendent. I've never quite understood Darkseid's end goal, but leave it to Grant Morrison to show us. The ad rhetoric surrounding this series was that it was the final part of a trilogy. Looking back, though, I have a hard time placing Infinite Crisis on the same level as the first or the Final. The convoluted storylines made it hard to understand what was at stake, but with this series, and the first Crisis, it was clear: everything. Everything is at stake. And, though we know it's going to work out in the end, like watching a Shakespearean play, adapted from earlier texts, it's how things get to the end, how the story is told, that is important, that resonates.

Onward.

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