Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FanBoyWonder’s Review of Final Crisis #3

Once again we’re pressed for time as we’ve been busy at work and we were late in picking up books but before the review window closes shut we wanted to get our thoughts on Final Crisis #3 on the record even as we’re shooting from the hip…because we just know that the world is just DYING to know what FanBoyWonder thinks.

The Upshot From DC Comics: Batman missing in action! Superman immobilized! Green Lantern on trial for his life! A shadow is falling across Earth's super heroes — and now it's Wonder Woman's turn to face the Evil Gods!

What bizarre warning from beyond awaits Frankenstein, The Question and the agents of S.H.A.D.E. in the shadows of the Dark Side Club? What grim fate lies in store for The Human Flame? What happens when the Anti-Life Equation hits the internet? Can the Fastest Men Alive outrun The Black Racer — Death himself? And who are the Justifiers? The answers are all here as the unstoppable rise of evil continues in FINAL CRISIS #3 by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones

Well we suppose we could call it an improvement of sorts—the first two issues of this seven-issue mini-series “event” offended us. This month we were just bored.

That actually sounds harsher than we intended as FanBoyWonder actually liked Final Crisis #3 much better upon our second and third readings but our recurring thought was “this is what it looks like when ‘evil wins’ huh?”

If by “evil” they mean “manufactured drama” then okay—mission accomplished but when we compare Final Crisis “evil” to say… the evil of The Holocaust or the evil of the tax code—sorry but Morrison’s concept of “evil” seems rather feeble to us—at least what’s been revealed to us thus far.

There was definite, if incremental, improvement this issue. Morrison has dialed back some what his random jumping around the story allowing the reader to start to get a clue as to what is going on even as he advances the plot with the mandatory summon all the heroes into one place to debrief thing.

With Batman captured, Superman off the board tending to his critically ill wife Lois Lane and Wonder Woman (albeit later in the story) infected with the bad guy virus, it falls to Alan Scott the original/Golden Age Green Lantern to pick up the mantle of leadership and inspiration that normally falls to Superman.

Morrison scores points with us here. Especially as in the history of the post-CRISIS “New Earth” in the days of the Golden Age before Superman and the Justice League generation came on to the scene, The Green Lantern was the big guy powerhouse of his day so the heroes of the day looked to GL leadership and to set the example.

Whether by accident or by design, Morrison has honored the original GL and by extension the original JSA members so he’s earned some brownie points with us.

J.G. Jones art was also better upon the second read. His breakdowns are quite eye-catching but his pencils and inks look rushed in some key panels. Carlos Pacheao has been tapped as artistic back up starting next issue but we’re wary of this becoming Infinite Crisis all over again with a committee of artists.

More is the pity in that Jones’ art is adequate but we can see how it could have looked so much better.

One little thing that really annoyed us came in the splash page with the conference he heroes. Jones shows Alan Scott Green Lantern with his power ring on his right hand when it’s always on his left hand. Careless in small things, careless in all things.

A plot point that did seem rather unnecessary for Morrison to create out of whole cloth Article X to “draft” superheroes in times of crisis—a concept VERY similar to what Greg Rucka introduced in Checkmate a couple years back.

It seems even more unnecessary when we see on the splash page that bulk of those “drafted” are once or current members of either the Justice League, Justice Society and/or Teen Titans—folks who would have answered the call anyway. Yet “drafting” them implies something much more dramatic—in a manufactured sort of way.

Naturally, what we most cared about—the return of Barry Allen—was featured the least with Jay Garrick at the West house to tell Wally and Barry’s wife what has happened to their husbands. Ok….Jay recognizes Barry’s aura so it’s really him but Morrison cheats us out of a fulfilling reunion between Barry and Wally by stilted dialogue.

Libra—the signature bad guy of Final Crisis—continues to impress us not at all. With his peach colored cloak and his grape colored mask and shirt—this fruity little villain does not exactly radiate menace or convey a sense of danger. Face it, the guy is no Anti-Monitor.

We’re honest enough to admit that we’re never going to totally buy-into this “event.” This is not just due to the failings Morrison here but also Morrison is paying for the bumbling of DC management.

However, this issue shows us that some potential still exists to make it a decent, if not long remembered, mini-series.


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