Comix: Final Crisis #2

Final Crisis #2So I eagerly picked up FC #2 yesterday trying to see if my slight dissapointment with the first issue could be alleviated.

Well, after devouring it from cover to cover all I can say is that I have mixed feelings, and not for the better.

Again, like issue number 1, the first few pages just seem like they came from left field.  We are introduced to a Japanese nightclub filled with numerous 20-something old powered patrons shown dancing and drinking and taking in the nightlife.  There is a brief altercation between a reknown popular superpowered sumo fighter and a mecha- suited guy looking to make a name for himself via a challenge.  So after 6 pages or so of this set up and build…..cut…new scene: DC heros mourning Martian Manhunter.

Um….okay?  What was that all about?  Why introduce all these Japanese characters in a nightclub scene?  It actually made me think about more questions such as: Why has DC never really focused on this segment before…that is supposedly established groups or even established metahuman cultures in other countries?  Yeah, there’s been some exposure to Soviet and even Chinese hero’s, but this just came across as way too casual.  See, when Superman flies by, even though he’s an established character, he still inspires awe and wonderment from the citizens of Metropolis or the world over….like ‘seeing’ a superhero is a ‘big deal’.  Apparently not so in Japan….it’s part of the ‘norm’?

Is it me or does Libra just not yet inspire grandeur of being a main player?  I still look at Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage as power players, and Libra just comes across as a costumed B-lister.  I don’t think Grant Morrison has done a well enough job yet in defining Libra’s motivations or powers.  After 2 issues (of the scheduled 7), I just don’t “get” Libra.

The rest of the DC Universe is investigating the murder of Martian Manhunter and Batman finds himself in a confrontation with an Alpha Lantern who seems to be shutting him down at every turn.  Hal Jordan also faces his ring being shut down by the Alpha Lanterns as he is to be arrested and investigated as well for his supposed ‘role’ in the Manhunters murder.  This upsets Superman.  But these sequence of events aren’t explored enough in detail to make logical sense.  I mean, how does an Alpha Lantern shut of Hal’s ring?  This is the same Hal whose ring as Parallex was virtually unstop-able…leading me to wonder why then if OA and the Lanterns have the ‘ability’ to shut off a ring at will…..then why the hell didn’t they do that eons ago when Hal was on a rampage?  And Batman being bested in his general approach to things and then captured via a Boom Tube by this rogue Alpha with ulterior motives…I dunno.

I have a suspicious feeling the way the Lantern Corps and OA are involved so far that Final Crisis is really no more than a pilot to get the next big DC arc of the ground…The Blackest Night…which would do the whole Final Crisis resolution a big disservice.

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Comix: Final Crisis ….or is it?

Final Crisis 1 I suppose you can call this my inaugural post.  I spent the last few days wondering how I really wanted to breakout to the world and it just so happens there are a few major ‘events’ in spandex universes that are synonymous with summer.

Between the major two, Marvel and DC, we have the requisite universe spanning crossovers that are supposed to affect the majority of their respective titles and continuity for decades to come.  At least they always say that in Wizard, but you know how these go.  They’ll shake it up for a few months, maybe even a year or two, and then its back to the status quo.

Anyway for Marvel, their follow-up to last years Civil War and Initiative events, they have the Skrull Invasion.  A nice side mini-series that goes with it (but not mandatory reading) is the time traveling ‘Secret Invaders’ which brings back Captain America to life (dead in current era?) in a time-travelling yarn.  But I’ll leave all that for another post.

Today, I bring you Final Crisis #1, by DC.  It all started over two decades ago with the masterful ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ which was supposed to tighten the reigns on the DC multiverse into one cohesive universe where there would only be one Batman, one Superman, one Wonder Woman, and one history.  The reason being was at the time, those over at DC had a plethora of multiple main characters and parallel histories which often made the casual reader confused on which ‘history’ or ‘origin’ was the correct one.  When you have 50+ versions of Earth, each with its own brands of metahumans, including multiple Supermen and the like, you can see that eventually chaos reigns.

Anyway, the original Crisis, at least in my opinion, did a great job in condensing all the multiple histories and characters into one large DC universe.  Sure, there was some growing pains, some disgruntled readers and the like, but in the decade to come readers accepted this and all seemed right.

Fast forward to 2004 when DC decides to give writer Brad Metzler the green light to launch ‘Identity Crisis’, a 7 issue series that would lay the foundation for bringing back the multiverse to DC after almost 20 years.  Brad’s tale (along with Rags Morales on art duties) crafted yet another wonderful tale in which former B-list and even C-list villains raise there way to the top and make a name for themselves.  You see they discover some of the secret identities of the super heroes and begin to target their families, resulting in the death of Robin’s (Tim Drake) dad, the murder of Sue Dibny (wife of Elongated Man), the stabbing and eventual death of Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), just to name a few.  In these 7 issues, the DC universe as we had been now been accustomed to began to change….and it was good.

These events then led to other events such as Countdown, The OMAC project, Villains United, and 2005’s ‘Infinite Crisis’ (7 issue series by Geoff Johns).  It’s here that some of the original heroes thought dead from the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” story, (Superboy Prime, Alex Luthor of Earth 3, Superman and Lois Lane from Earth 2) escape a pocket universe they have been living in and hatch a plan to restore the multiverse in which Lois Lane (Earth 2) will live once our Earth has been replaced by a more perfect Earth 2.  Superboy Prime reveals a disturbed side and begins to kill off even more heroes (Conner Kent, multiple Green Lanterns) and villains alike.  His psychotic nature leads him to the planet OA where he is captured by the Green Lantern Corps and imprisoned in a Sun-Eater.

While all this is happening, events begin to break down in the weekly published series 52 in which all the gloves come off.  It’s my opinion that 52 started pretty darn well and for the most part was a good weekly read, although some story elements seemed a little lack luster or used for filler material.  The best aspects that came out for myself was the emergence of an all powerful Black Adam and the World War III series.  After events of World War III, DC then begins its final push to by the new 52 week ‘Countdown to Final Crisis’ (May 2007) series which in fact now reveals that the multiverse is back in full swing with 52 varying versions of earth.  The Monitors are back and want to correct all the out of place ‘aberrations’ of both heroes and villains that have displaced over the years.  Of course Darkseid wants in on the action, some New Gods (Orion being one of them) end up dead by the hands of his father Darkseid, and Jimmy Olsen inherits some New God powers.  A Monitor visits the ‘Source Wall’ and learns of a looming ‘Great Disaster’ in which only our Atom (Ray Palmer) can stop, and oh, Superboy Prime has escaped and on the rampage once again to destroy all the sub-par earths in search of the perfect earth.  All the chaos once again brings us to ‘Final Crisis’ after other events suchs as Amazons Invade (Wonder Woman) and Death of the New Gods.  While Countdown had some entertaining moments, I found it to be sub-par as a lead into Final Crisis.  There were some silly moments, some confusing ones as well, and some loose ends that never were tied up…at least not yet. 

Suffice it to say, the saga of the multiverse is much, much more complex than I can espouse here is a simple post.  This post was supposed to to be about Final Crisis #1, so let me get into it…

Metron appears to give fire to the first boy of our Earth who defends his village against Vandal Savage, thus making the boy out to be the first superhero, if you will. 

Darkseid’s human avatar form Boss Dark Side reveals that he has given the anti-life equation to some recently abducted metahuman children.

The skies of earth turn red and OA send the Alpha Lanterns not only to investigate the death of Orion, but to put our Earth on lock down.

Meanwhile, Libra (I know…who?) calls together all the villians, both A-listers (Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage, Gorilla Grodd) to name a few, and some lower tier ones (Dr. Light, Mirror Master, Human Flame) and kills a captured and drugged Martian Manhunter in front of their eyes showing he means business.  To me the death of Martian Manhunter came across very weird, and I highly doubt he will remain ‘dead’ for any stretch of time.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even know how he was drugged, let alone captured.  supposedly this all happened during the events of Salvation Run.

The most mind-numbing portion of the story is the supposed trial of one of the Monitors for his role in the destruction of Earth 51.  It just seemed ill-thought out as it unfolded…the trial, that is.  Perhaps it will make more sense in upcoming issues, but so far other than Martian Manhunter being killed, and our Earth (with its red skies) on lockdown by the Alpha Lanterns of OA, I wasn’t to impressed with Final Crisis’s first offering.  Compared to the Skrull Invasion over at Marvel, I really think it fell short, with the only real meat so far provided by Libra and his newly resurrected Secret Society.