Final FUCKING Crisis x 5!

December 13th, 2008

I feel like the Mindless Ones have been in on a secret. Since its inception, both beasts, Lord Nuneaton Savage, Bobsy and I have all been whispering amongst ourselves about how Final Crisis is actually good.

A few thoughts from Zom:

“I noticed that Brian Hibbs, amongst others, recently commented that Final Crisis lacks weight because of the way it seems divorced from continuity. That’s a criticism that I have some sympathy with – as a reader of ongoing comics how could I not? – but it is rooted in an understanding of the DCU that differs significantly from my own. Brian is positioning continuity as central to our relationship with the fictional space, whereas I tend to approach things from another angle. It seems to me that as fans we all have a much deeper connection with the DCU. I’m talking about our relationship with our private, idealized DCUs. We all know where Gotham and Metropolis are and what’s important about them, we’ve all been to Oa, we care about our favorite superheroes even when their continuities have taken a turn down shit alley. Especially then, perhaps.

Final Crisis is threatening those DCUs. Give a fuck about the one where “superpants punched bumhead so that couldn’t happen!”. Yeah, yeah none of it’s entirely separable- obviously! – but I tend to think that the world is best approached as an analogue rather than a binary experience. It’s not either/or, it’s just about turning down the continuity volume, and trust me it is possible – I do it all the time – and so do you, it’s just that you might not notice.

I’ll be giving you an example in my next post: FUCK YEAH!

Kick it out the door, Poodle!”

Back to me. Welcome.

Stop reading the interviews, ignore the hype, immerse yourself in some Kirby, trust the creative team, stick on some apocalyptic music and you’re ready to begin.

Just a little aside before we get into this. There’s plenty of sites out there featuring balanced reviews, there’s plenty of sites out there featuring scathing reviews, and there’s plenty of sites out there drooling like a muthafucker. This site, however, is all about celebrating what we like about the comic, with a healthy wodge of gushing, but hopefully in an intelligent, infectious way.

I could write the negative review. I could write the balanced review. I could go ‘I MARRY GRANT MORRISON LOVE WEDDING!!!!11123!YOU R BASE BELONG GRANT MORRISON!’

All this would bore the shit out of me. It’s like I’ve just heard a brilliant new tune and I want to enthuse about it, regardless if it’s a bit tatty round the edges and the breakdown’s a bit overlong.

 

Chris Carter – Clouds

 

PAGE 1

I don’t read Geoff’s comics anymore, so I don’t know how this has played out at his end, but I’d love to know what flimsy evidence the Guardians’ve been presented with supporting Hal’s guilt. We never really get a sense of it in Final Crisis. It’s not that important really, but it would be nice to have a bit of a grasp of whatever these trumped up charges are based on. What we do get, though, is a good line of specious reasoning:

‘Jordan, once so easily possessed by Parallax, plays host now to a murderous god of Apokalips!’

I mean, this is by no means evidence, but it is persuasive. Earth lanterns, it seems to me, play the part of the USA to the corps’ UN. Or at least the way the US, under Bush, liked to view itself: the daring loners. The mavericks. And, sure, there’s always hiccups, possessions and the like, but that’s only because real heroes – really, real human heroes – have passion, emotion – rough round the edges, honest to goodness cowboy-spunk. No-one trusts these guys, so easily inflamed by love, lust, anger and impetuosity, the poison of emotion, and, like young Skywalker, the Guardians are always fretting they’ll turn to the Dark Side.

But Son, these’re the boys who get shit done.

PAGE 2

Grant’s writing always gives me the impression he’s permanently stoned. I’m sure this isn’t the case, but his difficulty keeping his eye on the bigger picture – his frequently slapdash plotting, telling and not showing etc – is easily compensated for by his attention to the minutest, arguably more interesting, details. It’s like the deep focus you get under the influence of THC, at the expense of a slightly muddled peripheral awareness. Check the way Guy refers to the guardians in the singular – ‘Jordan’s head is hiding an implant, prosecutor!’ – reminding us they’re a group mind.

‘one of their minds equals five of ours.’

Anyone remember that line from the Invisibles? I wonder how deep and how far the guardians see….

And Kraken has one last burst on the bullshit pipe before…

PAGE 3

…just giving in to ranting villain glee, prancing around the room and tossing luminous green, carnivorous flesh eating millipedes about. You can feel her riding the crest of a wave of giddy, evil euphoria:

‘We’re going to eat your braiaaaaains, tra la la la laaaAA!’

I think Guy’s response sums him up perfectly, don’t you? The dude’s not big on imagination, so projecting a massive image of himself crushing the things with its bare hands works quite quite nicely. In fact, the idea of an imaginary Guy attacking imaginary monsters makes for a more interesting image than the inevitable, obvious, emerald machine guns or bug spray lesser writers might conjure. And check out the speed of his response! Pacheco really sells the velocity of the action: Granny’s beasties are both scattered and intercepted in one panel. It’s a little hard to figure out at first ’cause this is an altogether new kind of combat: Lantern-Fu.

PAGE 4

‘Imagine it. Darkseid’s unstoppable will in command of all this power’

And now we get to the meat of it. Granny’s mission is to grant her dark master access to the power battery itself. It’s a perfect match. Darkseid = Nietzche’s will to power, but componentless, pointless, as an end in itself. He really would be the ultimate Black Lantern. Like a dreadful reverse Midas, the battery would char and turn to coal at his touch.

The Krona Protocol? I don’t read enough comics… Ah, but looking it up I like it. Krona’s story’s like one of the creation myths in the Invisibles. Especially the one about the atom bomb being the spell responsible for the biblical fall. (Excuse me: DIE GUARDIAN! DIE!!!) Kronas’s interrogations into the nature of reality cause the universe to emerge as it did – him, his actions, with it. Strange non-local events ripple across the surface of being itself! Behold! All that Jazz. It’s infinitely recursive, fractal, as above-so-below shit isn’t it? You’d certainly want to guard the universe’s most powerful weapon from ur-quakes like that, wouldn’t you.

And speaking of which:

‘Is this the ultimate technology Metron pointed them towards?’

You know, I suspect the the plasma’s original condition is a perfectly polished, silver, fractal ecto-fluid….

If you know what I mean.

Anyway, the green goo probably isn’t the ‘weapon’. Also, the secret of fire is that it’s a technology – it’s not strictly offensive at all – and it’s a new technology that’ll save the world. Bloody dark god’s, always viewing things in terms of their hit-point potential. Idiots.

Also: can’t you hear the dark god’s voice rising to a shrill cackle straight out of some horrible fairytale; the one that gave you nightmares and made you want to cover your Nan’s mouth with your little hand?

‘It belongs to Granny now!’

PAGE 5

See! Poncey bastards waffling on about ‘will’ and all that shit, when all the situation requires is a good one-two in the jaw!

The art nicely conveys the Alpha Lantern’s, ahem, arming up.

I’ve always been fascinated by the silver orbed lantern with the bendy arms and power-ring floating in his mouth. I like it when he’s drawn all realistic-like. Looks totally alien. There always needs to be at least one fucking weird lantern in the room with all those humanoids, just to remind us the universe isn’t fundamentally skewed in favour of bipeds with proper faces. The fifth panel gives you such a clear impression of the gracefulness of his *legs*, like feelers, as they scan the surface of the floor; his steady, constant gliding motion.

Aaah, comics! When visuals are good….

PAGE 6

‘Spacetime around the Earth just crumpled like it was crushed by a fist. Weeks crushed into days.’

Grant Morrison loves black holes. Okay, I’m going to talk about these cosmic monsters in my forthcoming Imaginatrixce post, but there’s one thing we need to get clear: a black hole is just about the most awe-full thing I can imagine. Real holy terror shit – like a mushroom cloud only a million times worse. And Darkseid’s will is the horrendous gravity of the Midnight Sun. It knows nothing other than its own density, everything eventually plunging into terrible night and remade, fused, in his image: all is one under the pressure of that nightmarish singularity. Now we understand what his ultimate *goal* is. The form annihilation will take. His sign, the fist, represents this force. And of course he’s made of granite – the primal ur-stone under whose weight the multiverse itself buckles. Effortless symbolism, and I’m sure Grant’s aware of it.

Because, as usual, I haven’t read any other annotations for this issue, I don’t know if other commentators have picked up on the time acceleration stuff. Morrison’s been doing this since the last volume of the Invisibles. Almost as though, as events approach reality’s plughole, they fracture and condense like the panels in a comic. We are literally reading things at the speed they happen, or thereabouts. And everything’s as disjointed and discontinuous as the cavernous gutters between panels. The people inhabiting the page are just as confused as some of the readership. It takes a while to catch up. If anyone ever does, ’cause the days and hours are starting to heat up, fizz and boil.

‘The destructive emanations of Darkseid…’

This is why the dark gods all crave Darkseid’s favour. They want to return to him. They simply exist as his fingers: Godfrey’s his voice, Mokaari’s his intellect, Kalibak’s his body, Granny’s his… I dunno… Hey, this isn’t an exact science.

‘Word-weapons that can enslave souls.’

This is the kind of thing, which, if we didn’t already know about the anti-life equation, would have us scratching our heads, fantasising a future storyline where Morrison would explain away what it meant. It’s a lovely slant on the original idea – ‘..word weapons…’ Mmmm. Great.

Yeah, it’s a bit self-consciously pop, but I’m not cynical enough yet to remain unmoved by lines like ‘You have 24 hours to save the universe, lantern Jordan.’

PAGE 7

Are those scientists checking out the biology of a swarmtrooper? What happens to us when the helmet goes on?

‘I suggest you read up on the M-theory, higher dimensional branes and the Bulk.’

Grant hotlinking to the science inspiring his comics again.

I spent a whole day this week devouring Mark Evanier’s brilliant, loving biography of Jack Kirby and I have to say he and Grant have a lot in common. Everyone talks about Jack in hushed, reverential tones now, but back in the day – certainly by the time he was working on the Fourth World titles – some people absolutely couldn’t stand him. Much of the comics readership of the time found his work too weird and demented. It didn’t always tie together too well and it stretched the boundaries of sense almost to breaking point. All of which, as far as I’m concerned, is good, but my opinions are hardly an accurate barometer of comicdom’s attitudes generally. Yeah, I think Morrison and Kirby would find stuff to talk about. Final Crisis is Grant’s tribute to another of his great inspirations, the street rube from Brooklyn who dared to peek behind the stars.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the original Omac, mohican and all.

This is pure Kirby. The off-hand insanity of it. The supersoldier as vacuum packed, identikit, easy to assemble ultra-toy. Isn’t it great the way the effect is heightened by having his head positioned in that impossible position between his legs (directly referencing the build a friend-bot on the cover of Kirby’s first issue)? Its really kinda gross. A styrofoamed nightmare of a new-model, prepackaged humanity, designed to last only seven days. But seven days of total destruction. I’m also digging how Grant riffs, with such a light touch, invisibly, on pre-existing continuity, always making sense of its obtuse, incongruent edges: Kirby’s Omac comic is set in the ‘world that’s coming’, so it would stand to reason that Grant’s Biomacs represent the most recent developments in the technology – in actuality the mohawked dude isn’t retro at all, even if his design is less self-consciously *modern* than the model featured in Identity Crisis – and, given the events of the aforementioned IC, yeah, right, Checkmate’s ultimate purpose has to be as a bulkhead against super-war. I always felt the organisation didn’t have a proper raison d’etre. Superpowered-espionage just didn’t cut it.

PAGE 8

And now a quote from Zom (fresh from my in-box):

‘Those big dogs they all ride, it’s all about post-apocalyptic imagery, innit? At the end of the world dog packs will take back the streets, scavengers, stuff like that. Can’t believe I haven’t seen that discussed anywhere else. Instead, predictably, what we get is commentaries on whether big dogs are really much of a threat – ‘fact file thinking’ (new coinage=mine).’

The coinage might be yours, Zom, but you took your cue from my Anal retention and the comic’s fan post I wrote many moons ago. The one which made everyone hate us, but happily gave us a new alley in Neonsnake.

*waves*

Yeah, factfile thinking. Autist-crit. Everything’s literal, measurable and categorizable. The dark gods aren’t the only people keen on hit point potential.

Except for massive, red-eyed, hunter seeker-bloodhounds, steeds of Apokalips!

Zom is so on the money.

The scene outside the bunker really does defy categorization: Conan, fucking Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Superhero comics, Fourth World stuff, 911…

Here I go again: this is what alien invasion really would look like. It’s scary and weird, which in my book makes it doubly scary. Fandom! Stop insisting everything looks stereotypically and one-dimensionally evil! It’s so boring! Arrgh!

You can hear the slow pounding of war-drums as Wonder Woman and Batwoman suit up for battle.

Look at Mokkari, Godfrey and Simyan, flattened, on their knees, in orbit around the night-lord’s flaming shadowstar, desperate to crawl back inside.

Pervs.

PAGE 9

Wonderwoman takes a moment out to regard her helmet. Is that meaningful? Can you ever keep a good amazon down?

‘…You have…acccomplished only as I will it..’

Of course, there is no division in Darkseid, His agents cannot act outwith his desires. There’s no point boasting and groveling, guys…

I like the idea Darkseid’s new body’s having difficulty adjusting to the impossible gravitas and ultra sub bass-tone’s of his voice. Each word carries the weight of an imploding world within it. And those eyes… Those bloody eyes that look like they’re brimming with red tears. A grave stone weeping. I don’t know if Grant or the colourist intended this – I suspect they didn’t – but who gives a shit?

‘The hour of Apokolips is upon us’

Apokalips isn’t a place. It is an eternal event.

The Furies’ steeds look a bit soppy in the final panel. It reminds me of pre-hunt footage I’ve seen, where the dogs lope around all cuddly-like, causing one to forget for a moment the savage, rending monsters that, in the eyes of the fox as it’s getting torn to shreds, they’re soon to become. Hunting dogs are far scarier than vampires, guys. Just ask Basil Brush.

PAGE 10

FIGHTING!

‘Life, on the other hand…IS ALL STRUGGLE!’

Why is it no-one else in superhero comics can write dialogue like this; stuff that just sings and puts you right there behind Hawkman’s mask as he pummels the justifiers out of the sky? Real air punching dialogue. Maybe it’s because in the space of one sentence it tells you all you need to know about the brutal, Darwinian, red in tooth and claw Thanagarian philosophy (so it keeps the geek in me happy), whilst simultaneously remaining so incredibly true and life affirming on it’s own terms. Because damn right, it is all struggle. Anti-life’s for fucking wimps and losers.

And while we’re on this subject, I just want to have a quick spunk over the sequence in FC #4 – the one with all the ‘watchtowers’. All that ‘Watchtower 3! Holding!‘ business was pure, exploding GOLD! This is why I prefer Morrison to Moore. Moore doesn’t make me feel super, but Morrison, for all his faults, does. I guess I’m just shallow that way. Lactus always did tell me I just liked ‘action music.’

People love baddies, but Grant makes you love goodies more. If these guys were action figures, while I’d definitely infect my Mum with anti-life if that was the only way I could obtain a Darkseid one, I’d crave the Super Young Team, Frankenstein, Flash and Tawky Tawny dolls more.

PAGE 11

Speaking of Super Young Team…

Shame about the car.

The soldier wittering on about how he ‘didn’t mean to do it’? I suppose he’s under the influence of Evil then. I love that. ‘No, your Honour, it wasn’t the drugs. I was under the influence of Evil…’

‘Motherboxxx is more than just a machine. If Gods made I-Pods that were alive? Way beyond that.’

It’s been said before, and by Grant himself, but this is a neat nod to Kirby’s total, pop art aesthetic. There needs to be examples of Fourth World machinery in the design museum, basically. Motherboxxx as the ultimate accessory: with 5D sound, fully immersive VR that feels just like life itself, reality record and playback option and boom tube generator as standard.

Ping! Ping!

PiiinnnnNnnGGGgGGGGBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

PAGES 12 & 13

…But Evil done gone fucked it up. I knew Grant’d deal with that right away, ’cause this is the issue where the tide turns.

Peel those discs out the air, boy!

‘She survived a cosmic war… but she’s not alone.’

Hey, who thinks Most Excellent Superbat and co. are prime vessels for a certain gang of cosmic hippy kids? Eh?

‘Radar says the Swiss border just…just got further away…’

Black holes: terrifying.

‘A fallen devil-god…’

Yet again Grant spins the idea of demons/Satan/scary supernatural shit through his glorious sci-fi superhero conceptual mill. Darkseid as Lucifer for the 21st century. Hell as the interior of the singularity. Okay, Event Horizon got there first, but Tartarus just looked so pedestrian and hellraiser-y. Darkseid’s all about the total desolation. Much nastier than flesh hooks.

I think.

Don’t test me on that one.

‘You see this pattern we all painted on our faces? Tell your people to do the same.’

This was the year they immanentized the eschaton, etc…. Mystics throughout the ages have sought to draw Heaven down to Earth, and now Darkseid goes and makes it easy for them. Apokalips is only the first manifestation of this transformative energy. The angels and humanity are about to collide. Shilo knows all about this. The Super Young Team feel it, like pure, concentrated adventure coursing through their veins. The symbol they draw on their faces is the doorway for a new, improved space-face to peek out. This is kozmische-make up. Ziggy Dior-deluxe.

Mr Miracle and Mr Terrific team up to save the world:

SUPERBEST!

PAGES 13, 14, 15 & 16

This scene is just full of Peter Jackson goodness, isn’t it? Everything that was exhilarating about the LOTR films without the weeping hobbits cuddling each other: Tigertroopers riding out into the DC equivalent of Mordor (see how the local architecture’s become infected with dingy, concretized kirby-tech?) to face their foe. Fucking feline Uruk-hai. Wind rising, papers scattering in their wake.

‘Their Soldiers COME!

The Battle of Bludhaven is on!

Fraaaaaaaaankensteeeeeeeiiiiin!!!

There should be more heroes (I count 18 + metal men doing their Autobot thang) but maybe that’s the point. This is the last of them.

Anyway: if this shit isn’t working for you, you should give up on this comic. No harm in that. Just put it down. That’s it.

Good.

PAGE 17

‘Give in! Anti-Life makes it easy!’

‘Anti-Life: the choice that’s made for you!’

Shades of Doom Patrol… You remember how the enemies all spoke in anagrams, nonsense verse and cut-up? Here the justifiers speak pure ad-jingle. A comment on the vacuity of consumer culture, perhaps? The void in the centre of the ultimate product? Ubik in negative. Perhaps the abyss is at the root of what we’re being sold: our own emptiness, reflected back at us via…things…goods. Darkseid’s boys just go to the source, so to speak. They want to dump us all on the production line to nothing.

Look, Grant, if you want to make sexybaby with Frankenstein so much, you should helm an ongoing (not sure it’s quite that easy – ED).

And, you’ve convinced me, I’m going to read Paradise Lost. I’m actually going to buy it today.

One gripe: it’s a shame we don’t really get to see Kalibak’s boys or the Furies in action this ish – there’s a lot of build without any real pay off – but I guess Grant’s saving it all for 6.

I like fighting.

PAGE 18

This little scene reminded me of Zenith. A sadistic, gleefully murderous bad guy zoning in on her prey, only to take an absolute fucking total caning just as she’s moving in for the kill. KRAKOOOOM! There. That wiped that bloody smug grin off your face, didn’t it?

Don’ tes’

PAGE 19

In Zenith, happily, the Superheroes just rammed their bark fists and blasted their laser beams through the faces of their Lloigor possessed friends, and that’s pretty much what you want Adam to do to Mary here. Just finish her. And, no, this isn’t woman hatred. I want Batman to do the same thing to Mokkari (not that he’s gonna get the chance). The comic, however, is on slightly shakier ground. The ‘Leering old man in her eyes’ is probably, well, what the fuck? I don’t know the names of all Darkseid’s crew, do I? But we’re back to the old possession as rape analogy, aren’t we? If women experience violence, it’s so often sexualised… Hoom. So, yeah, Mary = dodgy. But this is the METAAAAAAAAAAL! cover version of the superhero narrative, so I guess this is all par for the course. It’s not as though Morrison’s comics are choca with the rapey-times.

Alan Moore: for shame, mate.

Anyway, did anyone else experience a creepy Lost Highway inspired spine-tingle when you were making your way through this page? I know I did. Pretty ladies should not be the repository for manky old, killer male, death urges.

Eh, comicdom?

PAGE 20

So, Mary, what is your ‘dirty magic word’?

Is it ‘Fanny’ (British version)?

‘Cause in panel 2 it bloody well looks like it.

Hooray! Quantum blunderbuss’s ahoy to rescue us from all the nasty sex.

Whoops. Maybe not.

I want Tawny to duff that dark god prick right up next time.

PAGEs 21 & 22

The disabled dude’s probably Metron. The hairy guy?

?

The first drawing – Metron’s symbol. The Quaballah of the New God’s. Their super-sigil. Try O-facing over that later, but you’ll have to dispose of the thing by boiling it in Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, and that’s always a tad difficult. Spirit costs an arm and a leg these days.

hNH.

It makes sense that the Monitors are the sigilizers supreme. All of them artists, summoning the comic into and off the page. Until they get caught up in all that icky, viral story stuff.

Awww, how cute! His magic word was always his girlfriends name.

And only Grant Morrison comics could contain the line:

‘She’s a drawing. A girl from another universe I dream about…’

Maybe all of this, Darkseid falling, everything, is just a teen-god’s broken hearted love letter to his estranged g/f somewhere in the oververse. The Monitors make the world, don’t they? And now everything’s gone to shit.

Nix Oatan is also us, isn’t he? We too dream the universe into being. We get caught up in all the doom and gloom and it feels hopeless because the superheroes can’t save us. We have to think outside the box

PAGE 23

Or should I say CUBE?

The inverse of that horrible puzzle in Hellraiser, summoning a new heaven rather than a hell. It’s like Robert Anton Wilson’s John Dillinger conundrum: How do you escape a room with no doors and no windows? How do you solve the cube in an impossible amount of moves? Rotate it through the 5th dimension. Only a god could do that, or something approaching one.

PING!

Is Motherboxxx-prime a higher-dimensional hyper-cube technology? Is this its cross-section?

PAGE 24

‘If you show willing, I might even let you be first in line with Supergirl…’

Poor Luthor. I’m sure he’s got something up his sleeve, though. Something Libra won’t walk away from. Real villains have class. They don’t need to sexually violate the enemy.

PAGE 25

‘….The Batman psycho-merge killed the clone army these fools tried to build!’

Damn, I wish I had that comic in my hands now.

Mokkari and friends return home to Darkseid. First those closest to him, and then all flesh. The singularity increases in density.

‘They have only ever faced the idea of a god before…’

I like the notion that all prior conflicts with the New Gods were conducted in the mythic realm – the eternal realm of ideas. Apokalips and New Genesis as occult, secret hyper-worlds chafing on the fringes of the third dimension. Final Crisis is about these ideas intruding, clothing themselves in time-suits. How awesome they would be.

But reality can’t take the stress for long.

PAGE 26

WOOHOO! It’s the Supergirl/Mary Marvel mega-WAR kicks off. What a lovely balance of fantastic ideas and out and out akshhheeeean this comic is.

PAGE 27

‘We’re falling into some kind of hell where everything is Darkseid!’

Now we understand the secret message embedded in the statement ‘Darkseid is’.

The Dark Lord folded in on himself, forever and ever, enveloping everything. And those justifiers – the way they rise up towards stewart like weird, flat cut-outs. A swarm of bugs. Infestation. I find the first panel sort of nauseating to be honest.

The falling lanterns reminds me of those just-on-the-side-of-good scary dreams you get sometimes, where you know you could drift off into something vast and annihilating, but you can feel another force, just as strong, tethering you to the solid, the real, and you’re safe. What should be soul-numbingly frightening becomes thrilling. But I suppose these guys are used to it.

Are those the 52 multiverse earths being pulled into Darkseid’s orbit?

PAGE 28

It’s the end of the World.

‘I. AM. THE. NEW. GOD.’

Brilliant. Utterly, utterly terrifying.

You know how Grant’s baddies get so nasty and outright bloodthirsty it becomes comedy?

This isn’t one of those times.

This is the thing emerging from the pit. The thing with glowing eyes. We all know it well. When it tells you to surrender it doesn’t mean put down your arms. It means put down your soul.

PAGES 29 & 30

It could be a problem with the art, because the first time I read this sequence I had no sense of where Darkseid was positioned in relation to all the other action. But that’s not a problem from me now. The pit is everywhere; and he’s rising up everywhere, all at once. Obsidian cobra ascending our souls.

Frankly I don’t want to even bother trying to talk about this bit. It is just too good. I believe in the threat wholeheartedly. This is the end.

That isn’t lightning. It’s the universe shattering.

PAGE 31

Dark Monitor! Come on!

It’s not only bastard devil lords who can fall. There are things above them.

Imagine the endlessly reflective SUPER-FIRMAMENT, the master monitor, turning inwards, collapsing, dividing, becoming many. Imagine each of these splinters hypnotised by the play of images upon their surface. Imagine one of them lost in the story.

Imagine him waking up.

All of reality accessible through his omni-screen.

Remix.

Edit.

Cut.

P.S. Fresh from the Botswana Beast, real annotations:

“the monkey handed man in the sciencell is probably Himon (poss. mixed w/ Detective Chimp,) Mary Marvel is likely possessed by Desaad (you know this, the bad psychiatrist out of 7S: Mister Miracle) and Nix at the end, in my fave page this year, if you see the shape of that blue-TV-etherhelmet, looks like he’s rocking Vykin the Black.”

40 Responses to “Final FUCKING Crisis x 5!”

  1. amypoodle Says:

    As usual, heartfelt apologies for scattiness, etc., but it’s been a looooooooooooong day in front of the computer screen.

    I’m now going to join real life friends. See you on the other side of the singularity!

    xxx

  2. amypoodle Says:

    Oh, and I fucked the page count. Maybe Zom can sort that out. I definitely can’t be arsed.

  3. amypoodle Says:

    And links. There probably needs to be links. Though, y’know, if you want to find out more about something, there’s always this freaky thing called the internet.

    To the bath!

  4. Zom Says:

    Links are in, but I ain’t editing your page count.

    Fuck, as they say, that

  5. David Uzumeri Says:

    Nix Uotan really is us, and this really is a sort of metaphor for teenage depression, isn’t it? Time slows down, everyone turns against you, you won’t let anybody in or out as you face your Dark Side… it’s the universe-as-organism hitting puberty.

  6. David Uzumeri Says:

    And also, of course, fantastic job.

  7. Zom Says:

    it’s the universe-as-organism hitting puberty

    I was getting caught up in the teenage love story angle, and while I think that’s probably in there, and possibly quite important, I’m thinking that’s a better way of framing it

  8. captain trips Says:

    i thought it was more universe hitting orgasm

  9. Zom Says:

    It might be that by the end!

  10. Luis K Says:

    “It’s like I’ve just heard a brilliant new tune and I want to enthuse about it…”

    Yes. Yes, exactly. I am loving Final Crisis, and I love this celebration of issue #5.

    And I was going to go on about how the negative reviews basically infuriate me and how I cannot understand how anyone with a soul and any sort of interest in the grand pop mythology of comics could not appreciate this, and then I realized, thanks to your analogy — even people who all love music can’t all love the same music.

    But man, they are fucking missing out on some epic shit.

  11. amypoodle Says:

    I’m now at the party and I’m still checking in. To me, Luis, it’s all about the fucking rock: I hear Iggy and Todd Terry when I read Grant.

    But FC is pure mindflayer and lightning bolt.

    Hnh.

  12. Zip Says:

    Holy Kirby Crackles, that was pretty nifty. They brought a really fleshy feel to the notion of some titanic whirlwind clash against this cosmic sink. It felt quite cohesive in a huge-ass scale, with a sense of superhero poetry quite well fleshed out into gritty solidness. I don’t know if I’m on a more-receptive-for-capes-than-usual buzz today, if I finally clicked with the series, 1st reading vibe or what, but I really fucking liked this. I sort of understood what the appeal for events like these is now.

    Darkseid… really, you could feel that Kirby-ish steely sense of dreadful fiery urgency — pure tyranny just got a hold of seminal logos, words are spoken like dark seeds (words echoes like shadowy nothingness abyss that shines from a black sun) put into pure authoritative command in the universe’s keyboard/ voice-command (like, “shit, this guy saying “let there be darkness” seems really serious”). And the panel with that wonderfully colored cube and all these confetti of papers of many universes, as though rips in the air and in the fabric of that world amidst a carnival of apocalyptic clashes of universes as genres frontiers get soft into pure mercurial capital-S Story. That was fucking ace, man. The art and storytelling really up there.

    Tigers riding dogs and hitting gentleman-Jetpack-tiger (in cute suit!) in the head (was I the only one who thought one of the barbaric tigers would eventually say something in lolcat-speak in Orc/300-style?). Yes please. Even Mary’s scenes hit something good — it had this really amazingly solid sense of post-apocalyptic terror amidst all the Invisibles3-1-like chaotic bachanalia.

    Alan Moore spends too much time building you the bridge in justifications, Morrison – while it might alienate and sound not very well thought out – expects you to already be there ready to dance, to swift through different speeds and styles, even if irrationally (they really balance each other perfectly).

    Here’s for entering old territory of cross-sections, ripples and so on. Where red rain and lightning are cracks in the sky and bridges sent down (see issue#1), where papers are cracks through the soft frontiers of universes. That really good shit.

  13. Neon Snake Says:

    *waves back* Thanks guys!

    I so wanted a page showing hundreds upon hundreds of Batclones opening their eyes, one by one, emotionlessly stating their mission to wipe out the world of the crime of free will.
    “those.with.free.will.are.a.cowardly.superstitious.lot.
    “i.will.become.a.batslave. good.soldier.
    “my.parents.are.dead.”

    And then the leader opens his eyes in a close up and just goes “Hh.” and the rest all batarang themselves to death in sheer angst and grimness and gritty guilt. Cos, they, the clones, they never hunted down and ate all the fear and doubt inside themselves, did they?

    No. No, they didn’t.

    The Luthor scene, meanwhile, was quality. He looks absolutely horrified and sickened by what is going on, and he’s been caught with his pants down. Will this be the antithesis of irredeemably evil ASS-Lex? Will Luthor help save the day?
    Libra, admire your work, but don’t call me servant.

  14. Dave Says:

    Final Crisis is getting better, that’s for damned sure. There were some minor glitches here and there, but the story is an engaging revisit to some old ideas that kind of got short shrift the last few dozen times Darkseid invaded the Earth.

    At the risk of sounding like a hit-point counting minion of Dorkness, one thing really bugged me: Grant gets the effects of a gravitational singularity wrong. It actually works the other way around — time moves slower relative to an outside observer near a gravitational singularity. Similarly, the border to Switzerland should come closer as space and time is crushed together.

    Not that that actually matters or anything. The emotional impact is there all the same.

  15. Andrew Hickey Says:

    FUCK YES!
    I was beginning to think I was the only one who just loved everything about Final Crisis. It’s everything I ever wanted in a superhero comic…

  16. He’s Known As Bruce Wayne By Day, Wealthy Socialite… « Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! Says:

    [...] we start, I just want to echo amypoodle’s post on Final Crisis. I think these comics are *great*, some of the best superhero comics ever [...]

  17. pillock Says:

    Waiting for trade.

    But I LOVE the idea of Nix Uotan serving as entry-point for Vykin-The-Black-ness…’cause I like comic-book names, see? “Nix Uotan”: end of the line for Odin and the Old Gods, no more track. Something new’s coming in. New transportation, for human beings.

    Very Kirby, that bit.

    So maybe I’ll go get some of the floppies anyway…

    On Morrison not bothering to teach you how to dance, I agree. “Whay, did you never see this before? Oh, sure you did, now don’t be so lazy, keep UP…!” It’s why I liked Farscape.

    Grant does get the physics unnecessarily wrong about half the time, though. Mind you, the other half of the time he gets it necessarily wrong, and that makes up for it!

  18. Zom Says:

    It would be better if Switzerland got nearer, now that I come to think of it… things condensing, crushed within the fist of Darkseid

  19. pillock Says:

    Oh man, I didn’t realize…the snow speeds up.

    That is so cool.

  20. David Uzumeri Says:

    pillock, the best part about the Nix Uotan name is that it actually debuted in Countdown, forcing basically all of us to think that the character was Countdown-specific. The fact that his name meant “No Gods” was, we thought, supposed to represent the population of his Earth, the “perfect Earth” of Ray Palmer (Earth-51). We just figured it was Countdown not making any sense and nobody putting thought into name creation until Final Crisis itself hit and it turned out it was just another stupid stripmined story point.

    Speaking of Nix, I just bought the last page of this issue, so nyah nyah etc etc etc.

  21. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    You durty fucker… nah, I don’t buy comic art, I imagine it’s much too expensive for my blood, but christ I love that page.

    Was Milton’s 400th b’day on Monday – serendipi-TEE.

  22. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    One other thing I haven’t seen discussed anywhere – among Nix’s pics, possibly on the last page, but definitely in the pages leading up there’s one character unseen thus far in either FC or Superman Beyond, which appears to be Etrigan the Demon, but with what looks like a stylised Superman ‘S’ shield, looks a bit like a 5 actually. A curious find, anyway.

  23. captain trips Says:

    ‘one of their minds equals five of ours.’

    I thought this had to do with the idea that Grant Morrison is writing the comic, so the five characters in that story are all aspects of his personality. Put the five characters together, they equal Morrison.

  24. Thrilltone Says:

    Yes! I saw that as well, but as I’d recognised the other images, I assumed it was maybe something from one of the spinoffs, which I haven’t read? I’ve only really been able to afford the Morrison stuff, so I have no idea if I’m missing out on some good times?

    FC5, though, was excellent. My FC reading strategy is “drunkenly read issue on bus, absorb the raw emotion. Read it properly while hungover, appreciate details. Read for a third time next day, HELL YES, GOOD COMICS “. It has worked well, so far.

    And yeah, first time I’ve ever liked Hal Jordan (other than New Frontier) was when Guy and Kyle appear suddenly, throw out some reasons for Hal’s innocence, and Hal grins in the background, vindicated.

    Good stuff.

  25. Thrilltone Says:

    sorry, that in reply to Bots’wana Beast, regarding Etrigan.

  26. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Um, actually, yeah – I think in Superman Beyond, Ultraman was hitting the giant carrier with Etrigan and something — someone! — else. I just like the idea of a Superdemon, if that’s what it was.

    Re: Hal, I hate him but I suppose we’re stuck with him, and I hate that they caved to the most vocal and appalling fanmen* and I’m not so bothered about Barry Allen either, but both certainly seem likeable, proper superheroes here – the pitch angle, or what was worked into it, it seems (given the Speed Force and Lantern Plasma are evidently pretty anti-anti-life) is that these two are to be given a boost because there’s that whole ‘in lieu of the trinity’ thing again, and they’re prolly TM’s #4 and #5.

    *from the link: “The fans of Hal (all dozen of them) congealed into a shrieking mass of petulance called H.E.A.T. – Hal’s Emerald Attack Team. They spent months, years, a decade pestering and needling DC about Hal Jordan. They bought ads in Wizard and other magazines. They went to the cons en masse. They went to the 7-11 en masse. They wrote letters, sent emails, compsed love songs and crochetted afghans in honor of their hero, Hal.

    No concession was enough. DC redeemed Hal and gave him a hero’s death? No way. DC resurrected Hal and made him the Spectre? Nope. It was Green Lantern or nothing. DC, in true corporate style, eventually folded like a card table.”

  27. Thrilltone Says:

    Ocht aye, I remember that scene with Etrigan As Weapon. I’m always forgetting the details. Perhaps a full-on FC reread is in order.

    I don’t Hate Hal Jordan, I just find him utterly dull. Green Lantern is one of those DC characters I never found interesting, as a teen Marvel fan. It never helped that the band Mansun loved him, either. I do find the more literal FC ‘Space CSI’ take on them a lot more interesting than the generic superhero take I’ve read before. I don’t know if this is unique to Final Crisis, or just a sign of the limited amount of exposure I’ve had to Green Lantern.

    I remember the whole ‘H.E.A.T.’ nonsense, though, from my younger Marvel years where I’d buy Wizard to find out what was going on in the comics I couldn’t afford, and find out more than I ever needed to know about other comic fandom.

    Sometimes it is hard being a human being, sometimes other human beings let you down. Sometimes you’re not a good enough person for being let down to even be an issue.

    These were my teenage years.

  28. David Uzumeri Says:

    In Hal’s defense, who the shit really cared about Alan Scott before the Robinson/Goyer JSA relaunch, other than, like, Harlan Ellison and maybe Roy Thomas? I’d really argue that Jordan’s return, and the revival of the Corps, have been additive rather than subtractive regarding the Green Lantern status quo. In this very scene, Morrison reminded me of why Hal was brought back: He is just the single most cocksure motherfucker in the history of comics, and there’s something to be said for that.

    “RINGS. ONLY. WORK. IF. YOU. CAN. THINK!” Genius.

  29. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Weell, I think Guy Gardner is probably more cocksure, and more attractive for it because he’s – in my, admittedly limited experience, written as more of an outright bellend, a chump; the stuff I’ve read with Hal is a bit more low-level in its archetypical Republican… ness (I have graphs,) popping boners at teen Supergirl, making jokes about how he won’t let Tasmanian Devil under mindcontrol bum him, but still pointing at the core awfulness of the character.

  30. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    I liked Alan Scott in the precursor to the JSA revival, the original Crisis x 5, teaming up with Zauriel and shit.

  31. David Uzumeri Says:

    Guy Gardner is Lynyrd Skynyrd on max volume driving down the interstate in a pickup with truck-nuts cocksure; Hal Jordan is flying at mach 3 cranking Highway To The Danger Zone with aviators and a can of Miller High Life cocksure.

    (At least that’s how I always see it.)

  32. Zom Says:

    If I was writing Green Lantern (the Hal Jordan incarnation), I’d have Highway to the Danger Zone on repeat.

  33. Gunderic Mollusk Says:

    So, “rocket fall on Rocket Falls” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor came on my iTunes while I read this review. It’s what I hear in between the panels of the comic. The melancholy bombast.

    The arrival of all of the heroes on motorcycles was, for me, one of those fanwank moments of which I must confess of being a part. Through the barks of the sneering Hound-steeds comes the ingenious mechanical snarl and purr of countless crotch rockets and choppers peeling over the landscape, like a wild robot stampede. The scene reminded me of that chill I get from the first time Yamagata shows up on his bike in Akira, sending sparks into the air as he playfully drags his pipe behind him just before bashing some douchebag in the gut. Easy Rider forever echoes.

  34. Thoughts on Final Crisis # 5 | Comics and Videogames Says:

    [...] Mindless Ones [...]

  35. Triplets Says:

    “Those bloody eyes that look like they’re brimming with red tears. A grave stone weeping.”

    Great observation. The most horrific moment for me, in this series, so far, is Dan Turpin looking into the chair-mounted mirror last issue and seeing his own face has become Darkseid’s. Proper body horror.

    “And of course he’s made of granite – the primal ur-stone under whose weight the multiverse itself buckles.”

    Possibly elluding to the fact that Jesus is known, by some, as ‘the stone rejected’, which makes Darkseid the anti-stone: Crushing existence itself as he falls to his death.

    I’d really like it if the panels and gutters started to get suitably closer issue by issue until things start overlapping and merging with each other. Smashed together and becoming one… IN DARKSEID!

    There’s a brilliant moment in Scary Movie 3 or 4 where, during a Ring pisstake, the heroine books tickets for a boat journey then shits herself at the foghorn that comes in from the scene that follows.

    Grant said we’d see Most Excellent Superbat’s secret power this issue. Mozzerzoon sits on a throne of lies.

  36. Aron Says:

    Something to consider as far as the DCU being either an analogue or binary experience, is that of ALL experiences happening. GM mentioned in JLA about time being a multi faceted jewel where everything happens at once…simply extrapolate that to space-time and remember above all that it’s fiction and a writer may do whatever they please (they may lose readers, but this is the joy of fiction, total fiction in the untruth)

    Check the way Guy refers to the guardians in the singular – ‘Jordan’s head is hiding an implant, prosecutor!’ – reminding us they’re a group mind.
    Sure that’s not referring to Kraken rather than the Guardians? Im not sure I’d call them a group mind on the same level as the stepford cuckoos…nitpicking I know, but the Guardians, while psychically powered and omniscient due to their Maltusian heritage seem to operate independent of each other, sometimes bickering with each other, sometimes going absolutely crazy (remember the events leading up to GL mosaic?)

    Anti-life’s for fucking wimps and losers

    Not to be GL centric or anything but is it possible that sheer force of will is enough to jam the anti-life signal….it happened once before although I think GM had the wrong person do it, Kyle Raynor in JLA’s Rock of Ages storyline. He was more of an artist than someone of pure will power…Kilowog could do it sure, Kyle not so much.

    Perhaps the abyss is at the root of what we’re being sold: our own emptiness, reflected back at us via…things…goods

    This theme is also explored in Rock of Ages. Darkseid says he shall make the world in his image, look upon it and finally know what it is to tremble. Later as Batman gets rendered discorpeal by the Omega Beams he rephrases it saying that Darkseid has ruined the world but all he sees in it is his own ugly face. This could also be applied to anyone’s life who is unhappy with what it has become. Your life is of your making. We all start out at zero. Some have advantages and disadvantages, some have brains, or charm, or good looks, or are good with money, or have street smarts. And some despite this still find themselves in situations where they consider themselves failures (especially true given the worldwide economic state, plenty of good folks out of work), these people are those who are most looking for an escape, a refuge from the reality they create for themselves…Grant has a large portion of his demographic pegged, if not on a conscious level than certainly an unconscious one.

    I like the metal men as motorcycles it’s a nice allusion to the boy commandos and Superman at Earth’s End.

    If one finds Mary Marvel attractive it’s probably an evolutionary thing…the crazy one who takes whatever is thrown at her while still laughing through her bloody teeth is probably in the lead to survive childbirth if nothing else….she may kill and eat the baby, but she’ll live through it to be available for procreation again. Now there’s an AWESOME thought! A pregnant crazy Mary Marvel!

    I’ve already found myself using the word “blunderbuss” in my everyday life….it’s a great word. I described a person today as harboring a blunderbuss of disease (how bad has your life gotten when you have HIV and Guinea Worms?) Not that it really functions correctly, but to people who don’t know it basically means “cannon”, it sounds cool.

    Ever wonder if the hairy guy isn’t being controlled by Metron: Terry Schiavo edition on some level? Sure he’s a quadriplegic and as smart as a phenylketoneuric who mainlines phenylalanine but he’s also friggin’ Metron. A God like that’s brain can easily subconsciously ooze power across a room to Lancelot Link the Monastic Chimp

    ‘If you show willing, I might even let you be first in line with Supergirl…’

    Grant has oft stated that he writes for the smart 14 yr old…in the world we live in of 4chan, the absolute trash that mtv puts out in their reality tv arena and (of course), law and order SVU…theyre aware that bad people rape women. Heck Viagra ads and the presidential BJ scandal are both 10+ yrs old…todays comic readers are aware of sex in multiple forms. Thank the media in all its manifestations, if it sells adspace it’s news.

    Remember the nerds and villains are often the losers in many arenas of life, hungry for power and lusting after achieving it in that worst of ways, bodily violation. Alan Moore did it years ago in Mircaleman: Bullies who want to violate and let a victim know they don’t even have control over their own bodies because they desired that control for themselves and are taking it by force, only to be brutally murdered for trying. Everything about that line perfectly describes the Apokoliptian philosophy: Submission against one’s will and ruination of the flesh for the desires of others.

    I see this as a potential foreshadowing of a really nasty death for Libra. MM wins the fight vs. Supergirl, and being as twisted and sadistic as she is delivers to Libra as they have plans to ruin her in a manner befitting your average apokoliptian. Watch Supes come back just in time to break Libra and MaryMarvel-Desaad. My guess is they have elected the way of pain. So while MM wins the fight, she’ll lose the war, allowing a nobler portrayal of female heroes to come about. GM in New Xmen had men completely demeated for trying to remove Sooraya’s veil. It’s a precedent he’s set already…

    I’m getting the idea that Luthor isn’t happy with goings on. I would guess all the villains will revolt regardless of Luthor though. As Sivana put it, he rather likes his brain, and giving Darkseid control of it simply ruins one’s day. At their core, villains are people who go for themselves, and if that means teaming up with the heroes so that they avoid the anti-life equation so be it. There’ll be plenty of time for villainry once norms are reestablished.

    In the meantime, any bets on how long before womeninrefrigerators gets ahold of the supergirl rape line?

    I’d like to suggest listening to the album by Ministry:Psalm 69. All that war and religious imagery plus some really rocking sounds and lots of screaming.

    On a final note, imagine what Desaad has been doing with his new flesh suit in his spare time….that creepy bastard

    ‘….The Batman psycho-merge killed the clone army these fools tried to build!’

    Bloody hell…the real question is Did all the stuff from batman rip actually happen or was it all a construct of the lump?

    All flesh becomes Darkseid

    He’s the exact opposite of Jesus! God made flesh to save those who wish to be saved vs. Flesh made God enslaving and possessing all, completely subjugating the universe under his fist to what end? Assume Darkseid wins…what point will there be to his existence? What purpose will he have? Surely even a God gets bored once everything has reached perfection according to their vision. Puts a new spin of free will doesn’t it? Free will and Evil keep God from getting bored!

    P28
    Is calculator still alive, as in, are they leading him to or taking him down from the noose?

    P30
    Ever wonder where the Glimmer went off to after WWIII? Seems like someone who goes around saying and demonstrating “I AM POWER”, and also a GM creation should be showing up…I was reminded of this because Black Lighting tried to power up the Easter Island device before Flash got there with the Glimmer. The Glimmer only saved humanity last time, one wonders if he has a hand in saving the universe as well?

    Also…is that Dr. Manhattan in the paper shreds?

    You alluded to the Teenage Love Sory Analogy…remember Invisibles 1? ISSSALLLLLOVVEEEENOOOWWWW

    I cant decide if Libra is some modification of Prometheus. Super powered though he may seem. Maybe the anti-gods found him and made him an offer he could refuse. Maybe he’ll even save the day for evil as the opposite of batman. Of course now that the psycho merge has failed, one can only assume Batman’s out and mercilessly slaughtering and devouring the fear and doubt of anti-life itself; and that he would be waiting to chop off the hand of someone such as Prometheus as their finger lowered upon the destruct button. One hand and one bloody stump in a fight vs. Batman are not good odds.

  37. David Uzumeri Says:

    Hey, didn’t your evil bulldog-wielding empire of a country get your comic books yesterday? When can we expect thoughts on the pocket of brilliance that was the end of Morrison’s run on Batman?

  38. Zom Says:

    No, we won’t get them until Saturday

  39. David Uzumeri Says:

    Huh, weird, I read on a few message boards it was yesterday. Apologies, then.

  40. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    I got minez on Tuesday, Zom, maybe should’ve tolt youse. Most stores were given the deliveries then, but told not to sell til Weds.

    Dunno if there’s a great deal more to add on the Bat, but I’d love to read it myself, as always.

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