Friday, January 30, 2009

Buy Pile Report

So, "Final Crisis" has now come and gone. Am I the only one left unfulfilled?

Frankly, I don't know where to begin with this final issue, Final Crisis #7. I'll have a more wide-spanning look at the even as a whole tomorrow, but for now, we're going to try and evaluate this final issue on its own. Just like the rest of the series, though, this issue a chock full of contradictions. (And Spoilers are coming...)

For one, I loved the narrative advice of using Lois Lane to jump around in time -- but frankly, I was left wondering if all of creation is being threatened here, who, exactly, is she hoping will find that final issue of the Daily Planet? And how the heck did they assemble the Fortress of Solitude, where they printed the paper, onto the satellite? And if all of creation was being unmade, how was Earth 51 OK for Mr. Terrific to go to? And is Mr. Terrific still there living with the New Gods?

OK, I am bring a little negative, let's get back to the good: Superman did get to confront Darkseid. Unfortunately, the Flashes' attack on Darkseid was pretty darned predictable, and the big baddie was dying anyway. Speaking of which, was anyone intimidated by Darkseid at any point? All he did was put the Anti-Life equation out there, then sat on his ass inhabiting Dan Turpin. Big Deal! Oh, and why was Arthur of Atlantis randomly placed into that final scene with Darkseid?

Positive again, here we go: You have to love Lex Luthor's involvement in the resolution, even if that too was predictable. But, in that same scene, what the heck was up with Wonder Woman? She was really under Darkseid's spell all this time? What a rip-off.

And yes, the assembling of so many Supermen was cool. That doesn't change the fact that I have questions aplenty here too. For one, why did The Question have to be with them? Given her involvement with "Revelations," it would have made more sense for her to be absent from these scenes. Speaking of which, why are Radiant and Spectre at Mandrakk's feet? Didn't DC editorial discuss the endings to these two events and swap notes?

But I guess that belittles the bigger annoyance of, Where the hell does Mandrakk pop up from anyway?!? Nice that he didn't appear in "Final Crisis" proper up to this point. Good thing Captain Carrot was there to stop him, though. We really needed Captain Carrot, Grant. Really. We needed him. Captain Carrot. Thank You.

I'm sorry, I tried to stay positive with this issue, I really did -- especially since I do have a new perspective on the series as a whole which I will share with you tomorrow -- but this issue was nothing more than a collection of decent scenes wrapped in a VERY THIN THREAD. And don't even get me started on the lack of a resolution.

All that said, Final Crisis: Revelations #5 was a brilliant ending to one of the best tie-in series you will ever read. To be perfectly honest, I've never cared for The Spectre. I've also never been much for the ground-level style Greg Rucka is known for. But after this series, I will read anything Rucka writes in the future, especially if it features The Question or The Spectre. Up against a wall of Cain-led Anti-Life, it's down to The Question to come up with some way to save the day at the last minute -- and boy does she find an unorthodox way to get the job done. Along the way, as predicted, Crispis Allen does grow into his role as The Spectre, and it's handled in such a way that I have 100% more appreciation for the character's place in the DC Universe. This is the sort of comic series that proves the genre should be considered true literature.

Keeping up with that theme of Former writers of "52" (sorry, I read nothing from Mark Waid this week), Justice Society of America #23 is a pleasant return to the Geoff Johns-penned team that really gained steam before Kingdom Come Superman popped back up, even if the issue is nothing spectacular. A good portion of this issue handles the aftermath of the recent Gog-filled events, as Jay, Allan and Ted debate who should stay and who should go. While this is only logical given the recent events, I do find it odd that Johns would shake the roster like this right before handing the team off to a new writing duo who will likely have their own ideas.

The second half of the issue sets the stage for the rest of this Black Adam-centric arc, showing how Teth Adam recovered Isis and how he and Isis usurped Billy Batson off the Rock of Eternity, which all led to a fantastic final couple of scenes in young Billy's Kitchen. That said, I do have to wonder about Johns' handling of Isis' character here. I don't know if it is just me, but she seems much too severe, given her former merciful nature. Oh well, I do trust Johns here.

The only issue really worth mentioning from Marvel this week is Captain America #46, which continued Ed Brubaker's subtle examination of Bucky Barnes' current life. I've said it before, I'll say it again, this is a series EVERYONE should be reading. I don't know what was better in this particular issue, Bucky's interaction with old friend Namor, the Black Widow's discovery of Bucky's past, or the strange experiments Bucky's friend Professor Chin is up to. A good amount of this issue is simply laying the groundwork for more explosive issues coming up, it's true, but the quiet character work done on Bucky is just as sharp as ever, as Brubaker has quickly made him the most interesting character in the Marvel Universe.

That's it for me, but on Friday I will have a deep look at "Final Crisis" as a whole, so tune in then!

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