Jun 8, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 470: Final Crisis: Secret Files, February 2009

http://www.comics.org/issue/1011504/

There are two covers to most of the comics in the "Final Crisis" crossover. I really love the trade dress on these covers, the red bars slowly dissolving into black. But, having seen some of the other covers, which, like the cover of the Revelations hardcover, share the vertical titling but not the bars, I kind of wish I had those. Primarily, in the case of this cover, because the alternate would be a gorgeous portrait of FC villain Libra, rather than this godawful Jim Lee Wonder Woman. I don't actually remember where I read it, though it was likely Morrison somewhere, but a suggestion was made that Wonder Woman's costume doesn't really work when you strap it around a large bosom. The original H.G. Peter design was instead placed on a body that was slight up front, but featured the broad shoulders of someone who had spent her life in athletic training. A swimmer or weight lifter's body, rather than a supermodel's. Regardless, even if we account for the aesthetic shift of Western culture to privilege tiny waists and ample bosoms, there's no need for a picture of the greatest female superhero of all time to focus, literally front and center on both the cover and the picture, on her breasts. I would have bought the comic anyway.

(As an aside, Wonder Woman features in exactly none of this comic.)

Now, that said, it's not really a great comic. The lead feature is by Len Wein, whose name will forever be revered for his contribution to comics of the Swamp Thing. His story offers an origin for the mysterious Libra, one that, really, we probably could have done without. Mother dies, Father starts drinking, beats child, child grows up to become supervillain. Yawn. I think I'd have preferred not to know. Throughout this origin story, he seems somehow pathetic, rather than intimidating, as he is when we first meet him at the beginning of Final Crisis. And for all of his talk of balance, I don't see it played out through the story. I was close to only reading the Morrison and Rucka-penned sections of this issue, but then I remember that the larger project is reading comics, not just Grant Morrison comics.

Greg Rucka contributes a page from the Crime Bible to this issue, though I won't say much about it, as it's reprinted at the very beginning of today's graphic novel. Morrison gives us a short piece on the nature and history of the Anti-Life Equation, which is good, as over the course of its history, it's been a bit nebulous. Which, I suppose, is fitting for a god-weapon. We also get a sketch-book section from Morrison and J.G. Jones which doubles as a metatext of Nix Uotan's sketches, which we get a glimpse of in the early issues of the series when we follow the fallen Monitor into the real world(ish). Notable here, and actually in the Superman Beyond series, is that we get a glimpse of Doc Fate, mystic champion of Earth-20, and focal character in Morrison's later DCU epic Multiversity. I love seeing these things playing out over the course of decades. It speaks to the kind of creative vision that DC has been sorely lacking in the last few years. If you're going to set things up, you have to have some idea how you're going to knock them down before they simply crumble by themselves.

Tomorrow we'll move back into the story proper, and get a ground-level view of the end of the world.

To be continued.

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