January 14, 2009

Review: Final Crisis #6

Category: Reviews — By @ 9:55 pm

Final Crisis #6

You know how sometimes, when an issue of a comic book has been delayed for a long time, it finally shows up and it’s absolutely worth the wait? The last few issues of Fray and Midnight Nation come to mind. Unfortunately, Final Crisis #6 does not fit into that category.

The first few issues were structured like a mystery, presenting various fragments that slowly piece themselves together into a coherent picture. But now that the whole picture has been put together, we’re still only seeing fragments. It’s kind of like watching Cloverfield, except the reason we’re only seeing bits and pieces isn’t because we’re following a single viewpoint, but because we’re following too many.

The weird thing is, as unsatisfying as it is to read (though it does improve the second time through), I’m half-convinced that the fragmentation is intentional. It fits with the disintegrating cover design, and it fits with the theory that theme is more important than plot in this book. And, in fact, it fits with Grant Morrison’s comments about paring a comic down to the bare essentials like dance music. Of course, not everyone likes dance music.

Some specifics, so watch out for spoilers:

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SPOILERS!

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This is the first time in the series that I’ll complain that something doesn’t make sense. For the most part, everything critical has either been shown within the pages of the book or presented as a mystery that will be explained later. But you know what? I don’t see the connection between the Superman scene at the beginning and the Superman scene at the end. There’s no through-line. And Lois? The last we saw she was at death’s door. What happened? Yes, it’s been a month, and we can infer that she’s received some sort of miracle treatment while the rest of the world has gone to hell, but it’s still jarring.

Flash:: We have some hints as to how Barry returned from the dead. I liked the idea of sending the kids to search the armory. If we actually get to see Barry and Wally against the Black Racer, that will be (and I rarely use this term these days, but it was the first thing that came to mind) awesome, but I was hoping to see all three Flashes in action together.

It’s interesting to see it suggested in canon that the Black Flash (the manifestation of death as it comes for speedsters, or of the deadly aspect of the speed force) and the Black Racer (the New God responsible for bringing death to the other New Gods) are one and the same. Now I wonder just how much input Grant Morrison had on the original Black Flash concept. As I recall, the plan was that he and Mark Millar were going to collaborate on twelve full issues of The Flash before Waid and Augustyn came back, but the last three issues — “The Black Flash” — were credited only to Millar. I wonder if it’s something the two of them were bandying about during their run on the book, but didn’t get to until Morrison left, or whether it’s something Millar came up with on his own.

There were a lot of scenes with couples or almost-couples, weren’t there? Barry and Iris. Green Arrow and Black Canary. Liberty Belle and Hourman. Hawkman and Hawkgirl. And the couples who were kept apart: Jay and Joan, Wally and Linda.

Mary Marvel: Good that she’s back to normal. I just hope that they can restore her powered form to normal during the post-Final Crisis fallout.

And finally…

Batman: I see a strong irony in him having to use a gun at the end of his life. I don’t really have anything to say about how it meshes with “Batman: RIP” because, well, I haven’t been reading it. As for him being dead permanently: In a world where Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern have all died and come back to life, I have no doubt Bruce Wayne will be back eventually.