Review Roundup: ‘Final Crisis’ Hardcover
"Final Crisis" was the biggest event in the DC Universe in the last year, and supposedly, literally, the Crisis to end all Crises. Some people loved it. Some people hated it. In both of those groups, very few people claimed to completely understand it, and those who did were probably wrong.
But it was, without a doubt, one of the most densely ambitious and head-spinnning comic book stories in recent memory, and a work worth examining and dissecting, particularly with the "Final Crisis" hardcover due out next week. Fortunately for us, some of the best comics critics on the web have already done the heavy lifting...Graeme McMillan of io9 offers his review:
"Like the majority of Morrison's superhero work, this isn't a story that will satisfy fans of the literal; it's very much an allegorical, lyrical story (Literally, on that last point, by the time you reach Darkseid's final confrontation with Superman), with narrative clarity sacrificed on occasion for artistic effect - It's very much a story you feel as much as anything, and because of that, re-reading it becomes a strange celebration of the successful moments with an increasing awareness of its faults; you notice the plots that disappear, or moments that defy sense more clearly, but throughout the entire thing, there's something so ambitious and self-aware about its own superhero comic nature that you can't help but be won over at times nonetheless."
Although he calls the full work "deeply flawed" (with no less than 28 "deeply"s added), Jog the Blog describes the insanity that drew the final issue together:
"Final Crisis... has functioned primarily as oscillating series of thematic prompts that sort of look like a story when you stand back and watch them all swinging in a web of trails, but don't particularly connect as one when examined closer.... Accident or frantic effort or whatever, the cacophonic style of this issue does a disarming job of touching something deep and strange inside the Event comic. Stripped of detailed motivations, rammed together, the hundreds of superhero properties of the DCU -- armors and leotards and monsters and angels -- form a surreal picture of what a Crisis should mean in tossing all this clashy shit together. It's barking insanity, but the power of its odd being resonates strangely with Morrison's insistence on the joys of diversity of stories."
Super-critic Douglas Wolk (who composed EXTENSIVE and indispensable annotations for the series) called it "problematic" but added:
"I really did enjoy it enormously--as much as I've liked any superhero comic in the last few years... Final Crisis tosses an amazing number of fun ideas out into the idea-space of the DCU; you know, if Lord Eye only gets two panels, so what? Somebody else can play with that later. Frankenstein on a motorcycle with a sword in one hand and a gun in the other, quoting Milton as he kills Justifiers, is my idea of quality entertainment."
And finally, In the intro to the hardcover up now at the DC Blog The Source, "Arthur" mag editor Jay Babcock describes his reaction to the series:
"...that kind of involuntary-response joy/wonder/glee at first awed, disbelieving encounter with an over-the-top-and-beyond your idea/image in a comic book-something so WEIRD and GREAT and TRUE that you can't believe it actually got published... Of course, that's the way it's always been with DC Universe comic books: you don't always know everything about everyone, and sometimes you miss stuff, and sometimes you only suss out later what something was really all about. (Same is true for life in the real world, actually...) "
What say YOU?