fc_7_0002-cv

We’re back.

Round 2

Fight!

Round 1 can be found here

PAGE 16

AMY: Sometimes I think Morrison is kind to his readership. I’ll tell you what, if time and space were really to start shredding, nobody would be shouting about it, explaining what was going on. I know I can’t expect the guy to go all out – this is a mainstream event book afterall – but, frankly, if he loves writing superheroes, then I say write an out and out weird superhero book without the exposition. Oh, wait, I guess Grant already did that with Seven Soldiers

The Super Young Team are still playing at new Nu Gods via Young Heroes in Love. Even in the midst of reality shearing, it’s still all ‘I love you!’ ‘But I love you!. Ridiculous really, and very funny, because it seems so utterly inappropriate given the circumstances. It’s like, even when things get really bad, they’re still playing. Having an adventure – a soap opera. The end of the world reduced to teen-drama. Truly is it said that the Final Crisis reverberates across all realities… including the superhero version of Skins.

It pisses me off that Grant decided he’d let these guys go out with a whimper, ’cause ‘that’s the treatment I expect them to get when I’m finished on the book’, or whatever. What a horribly cynical and crappy metatextual fate for one of the series’ best creations (the man just needs to be patient; Give it 10 years – if we’re not all bone-clubbing each other to death for food by then, a whole new generation of writers will be dusting his old creations off and setting them loose on a brave new world of jetpacks and flying cars). The Super Young Team represent eternal play, romance, beauty, dreaming and imagination. Forever. They rock, and are a reminder that the future doesn’t always wear a scowl.

ZOM: I have to agree with my yappy friend, watching the Super Young Team fade into Limbo was absolutely no fun at all, and is perhaps one of the most egregious examples of Final Crisis failing to pay off. I’m simply left wondering what was the point of that then? Who cares whether no-one’s going to pick up these toys and run with them (except maybe us – run with them, I mean). Final Crisis has been largely self contained, so make them count here, on these scant few pages. Can Grant really be happy with making some sort of mundane and slightly bitter meta-fictional point about the fate of his inventions? Very head scratchy.

Other than that, this page is clearly being used to flag up the fact that there is some method at work here, that the incoherence is at least in part intentional. Our questions are the characters’ questions: “what year is this?”, “is this a test?”, “Time! Space! Shredding!”, “how the hell did we get here?”, “where are we?”, “what just happened to [insert scene, character, plot thread]“. The fractured imagery reflecting our inability to put the pieces together.

BOOM

Everything explodes and the fragments are rescued by motherbox and the universe/story begins to recohere around the heroes’ inevitable victory. Or at least, you know, that’s how I think it’s intended to read on a symbolic and to some extent literal level. This after all, “how it ends”.

Over on Dr K’s site the question was posed, what is the difference between fiction which wants the readership to do some work, which requires of them a little elbow grease and even a willingness to fill in some of the blanks, and work which is just badly plotted, constructed, just plain ill thought out? It’s a tough one to answer, but I put forward the hypothesis that intentionality might help us navigate these waters. If a work reveals to its readers, tacitly or otherwise, the ways in which it would like them to engage with it then we can feel safe in assuming there is a method in the madness and that a deeper engagement may well be rewarded*. Final Crisis certainly fits with that model – it knows that it’s hard to follow – whether that excuses it of its failed pay-offs and awkward plot holes is another question, but at least we have some grounds for asking it.

*I should add here that I’m not entirely happy with this argument – ostensibly shoddy texts, hammered out by writers who don’t give a shit about anything other than a paycheck can also be rewarding. Unintentional and interesting subtext can be revealed, etc… Death of the author, blah, blah

Bobsy: Oh wow, this page. Made me sweat. First – and men shall call him: Terrific. To have the smartest man left alive go down into confusion like that, still holding the line – in the same row of panels (where narrative time seems to be moving in at least three directions, by the way) where my fave new pinups strive and die and make embarrasing, last-minute cnfessions… Well, it had all my YES buttons flashing like that man in the park with the mucky raincoat. Epic, hectic hero fiction just like I like it. Thank you.

Then:

Edward Kord, thou art avenged! This ish does a lot of standy-talky, but, unlike say 7Soldiers 1, it also remembers to get a couple of really, really good licks in, and this is the first one. To summairse the final panel on this page then: It’s simple – the hermaphrodite, self-immolating avatar of phoenix-horus kills the murderer of the sun-scarab Khephra, bearer of the Sun of Renewal and the Black Sun of Set both, by punching his left hemisphere the fuck out. (Your fMRIs, hemodynamic maps and other clevernesses may have put paid to the strict accuracy of the split-brain hypothesis, but it’s still useful as a metaphor, and an important indicator to all us yattering blog-monkeys of how to read this book: right-brain, Clyde.) Fuck knows what all that means really, but as a take on post-Thelemic Egyptian mythology its pretty fucking dazzling, Kenneth Grant plays the genie in an ultraviolent dayglo panto.

(And the stuff about filling the gaps yourself, letting the reader do the work toget the best out of the comic? This issue is where that fell down for me – this isn’t The Wire, the best way to engage with it is not to follow the Burns/Simon demands to lean in – it’s the opposite, as in: sit back, let it wash over you, like music. Got to soak that shit up.)

PAGE 17

Bobsy: The really big questions left wide open on this page, that none of the many comments on Final Crisis have considered: Are Overman and Apollo checking each other out? Or is Overman staring at the first black bloke he’s ever seen?

PAGE 18

AMY: As BBeast points out above, Darkseid’s just shot himself. Don’t play with guns, Americans. But I think further to that, it’s worth reiterating Superman’s point that it was ‘suicide’. I told you, didn’t I? It’s the Zen bullet. Darkseid inevitably consumes himself. What we’ve been watching are the events that accrete around this truth. Its shadow in the third dimension.

I’m sure this idea factored into Grant’s decision to have Darkseid possess an old man. It would have been easy and obvious to have him tool himself up with a hard, superhuman frame, but it makes thematic sense, and is considerably more horrific, that he should opt for a body in decline. Darkseid, the death-god, shouldn’t stride around like a superman. No, in his moment of glory he should resemble a lumbering, wheezing corpse – anti-life triumphant. The sickliness is ten times nastier than some muscular demonic hardman could ever be, and far truer to the spirit of what he is.

ZOM: Yes! An evil, hateful, old dying man. How better to illustrate anti-life?

Bobsy: I’m interested to see what Morrison’s apparent recent Wonder Woman revelations are. I always figured the thing was, she gets tied up a lot, but it’s the point where she breaks free from those bonds, as she does in every issue, that formed the core of her superness. Here, the ‘Darkseid is peace’ bit is very creepy: Wonder Woman fulfilling her mission to end the wars of man by giving in and being the sub evil fanboys, whoever they are, have always wanted her to be.

PAGE 19

Bots’: Wonder Woman tells the worst bedtime stories…? A matter of opinion, surely – as a sensitive little boy, what the hardy, unrefined, Calvinist terminology of 1980′s NE Scotland might have called “a poof”… perhaps I would have squirmed at Frank’s ultraviolence. Perhaps I would have loved it, though; it’s like – one of the inviolable tenets of Batman is that – kids love Batman. Because his methods, his bloody origin, it’s all of secondary import to the fact: he’s a goodie, you – the child – like the thought of him protecting you (also, broadly, inceptually, a goodie) more than any of the rest. Frankenstein – he might draw a wry, concerned smile, some inner turmoil from the grownups thinking of his damnation, brutality and solitude – but he’s our guy. He kills only monsters. He’s brilliant.

As Zom points out, there is a birthing undercurrent runs through the ish (and, indeed, through a lot of Morrison’s oeuvre.) Having the ladies, mostly, narrate the story is maybe a bit gender-essentialist: mother and midwife archetypes – not all women want or can have children, not all midwives are female, but you know. Birth. It’s a pretty awesome, commonplace miracle, I advise giving it a go if you get the chance.

AMY: It’s a sci-fi conceit, I think, bedtime stories for the ‘children’, Whether or not they’re computer intelligences or kids in the freezer tray. And then there’s the other thing. I mentioned this in my ASS post: The MU could never be confused with a fairytale, but The DCU, well, that’s another story. As Zom argues, somewhere up there, there is no one, correct, reading of the DC verse. It hasn’t received, and perhaps would refuse to respond to, the same kind of streamlining its sister universe has undergone over the last decade. The Marvel Family just can’t be ultimatised, and as for characters like Superman…. Please. They’re too big, too mythic, too godlike. There’s something dreamy and fantastic about the Final Crisis at its heart, if you take out the decapitations and the genetic experimentation labs, that’s completely missing from events like Civil War. And the thing about the DCU, if it’s a fairytale, is this:

It’s going to have its happy ending, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Where did Frankenstein get ol’ Fenris there? Command D? Or did he, between issues, take a detour to Grandma’s house and pick up the big bad wolf? This is the fantasy fighting back like a motherfucker against the forces of grown-up seeking to destroy it, and Franky’s a hunter-killer antibody.

I don’t understand how Frankenstein can be so popular with readers – I mean, he is, isn’t he? – but still fail to capture the imagination of DC Editorial enough to have his own book. What’s going on here? Where’s my fucking Frankenstein comic?

Bobsy: More symmetries on this page, i.e. TELL? Meet SHOW. This is the other page in this issue where the punches ouch so hard you can feel them. I love how Luthor hasn’t freed the supervillains from their helmets, just taken them over for himself.

PAGE 20

AMY: ‘It all seems so long ago….’

‘What used to be time is slowing to a stop. What used to be meaningful and significant is losing importance…’

That’s great. Pure Morrison. It could’ve all been half an hour ago, but as the universe approaches a neverending instant, time dilates. Seconds become years, memory begins to fade and everything loses its charge. It’s almost like falling asleep, the tattered remains of a story falling around you. Mmmm.

Before the darkness.

BB: This is where the temporal spasming fucks me up. Okay, so you get your Women in Refrigerators joke in, okay the splashes are clearly taking place ‘then’ in the final battle in Blüdhaven but when or where – are they on Vanishing Point/the Watchtower/Last Redoubt freezing everyone, or just the survivors from the battle of Blüdhaven? How and when was the Watchtower composed – through Mister Miracle’s Boom Tube, probably? Or all the stations jamming anti-life frequencies composit…? It’s a cool visual and I wouldn’t let it irk me overmuch, but it’s the murkiest bit of storytelling and will prove a sticking point for a lot of readers.

PAGE 21

Bobsy: The Betty Page moment and the long, piercing look from Superman are the close of this section. Things start to shift again after this point into the crescendo and a final finale( or two), and for me the author’s  ‘opera techniques’ claim becomes credible. Try and pot how many scene sructures from this point to the end are adapted (nicked) from the musical stage: there’s narrator Nix’s final happily-ever- afters, ‘If we spirits have offended’ and into-the-sunset moments; whole chorus lines arriving in ever more absurd costumes… In fact, isn’t it also the case that one of Overman’s special powers is Eurovision?

PAGE 22

BB: This is the, ah-heh – I promise to stop doing this, keynote page of the issue and series for me. The inking on Superman is a bit craptacular, but it doesn’t ulitmately detract from the essence of the moment.

For me, anyway; other people’s mileage, oh it varied – the vitriol’s been a little surprising, even although I girded myself against such an inevitability. On a corporate level, which, really – give a fuck – the amount of focus and criticism is merited, because these are cash cows, or attempts at and I’ve read the prior four or five, oh no didn’t do ‘World War Hulk’, and found each singularly unsatisfying. Here – this was a messy comic, certainly – I do actually find the anger vented a bit sad and puzzling.

Anyway, a tonal moment – a horrible, neoned, bloody smear is talking to Superman, telling him he’s failed, it’s all fucked, nice one, it’s all his fault – and Superman sings three (four? I don’t read music – semitones, quavers?) golden notes at the bastard, game over. It’s a bit like the denouement of Jonathan Carroll’s From the Teeth of Angels, a bit Gaimanesque maybe therefore, but it’s just this fabulous bit of childlike daftness – completely, I have to say, unexpected. Fascination and beauty kick the arse off malevolence – “I showed the dirty beast a wee bit of culture; needless to say, he soon turned tail.”

AMY:  As we have noted, it’s hard to tell if Morrison’s being slipshod sometimes, or whether or not his habitually wheeled out line that he’s experimenting with new writing forms holds any water. I’d say it’s a little of both. God bless him, Grant needs a tough editor sometimes, but I think it’s fair to say FC is one comic that demonstrably and self-consciously does privilege symbolism over literalism and is quite prepared to eschew cause and effect plot-lines for poetic resonance. By the end of the last book, everything is operating in the mythic dimension, and the blackness everything’s descending into is just the moment of not-self before the fire of our imagination, Superman, explodes into a dream.

As the man Jog said, the ultimate Grant Morrison comic would just be heaped layers of MEANING.

Though I’m not sure he’s not already writing that comic.

I don’t know if anyone’s noticed how Grant’s sneaked the pre-Crisis Superman back under the radar, but super-memory, super-tunes and 4D-vision are not the sort of thing we expect the more pedestrian Supes of the 90′s to go in for. This is ASS all over again.

Darkseid shattered by blazing music has to be one of the coolest ‘fight scenes’ I’ve seen in recent years. I don’t know what more I can add. You can just hear this terrifying, celestial, beautiful noise. The sound the angels make when they sing.

ZOM: I must admit that this moment was somewhat undermined for me by the endless Darkseid death sequences.

We’ve already established that Superman is singing John William’s Superman theme. Imagine him actually doing that as he flies in to smack Brainiac in the face. Lulz.

Bobsy: Darkseid always hated music (except Nickelback) – how human. That’s to say, read with your ears, sensitive fans. Andrew has the best bit about what his song is, but I think he goes too far because he wanted to write (and do so well) about Americn Trilogy. He should have stopped with ‘If I Can Dream’ (he can redeem his soul and flyyy). By the way, be sure to take along your split-proof sides if you’re going to investigate the net for more on the identity of the Supersong.

PAGES 23 & 24

AMY: Metron’s always *present* at these catclysmic, plot reversing points, isn’t he? Like The ‘Fact’ scattered throughout time, helping the whole thing along.

And isn’t it nice to see the Worlogog again, the wish-engine? It would’ve been remiss of Morrison to leave it out.

And it’s fitting that in a story before bedtime, the monsters – and in FC they are monsters – turn up at midnight. Mandrakk actually makes the fairytale themes pretty explicit here, but ‘The end of all stories’? From a vampire? What? Someone should remind him he’s as guilty of narrative as anyone else, and that it can only end one way for him in this contest between mythologies. At this stage there’s such an inexorable, unstoppable momentum to the whole thing. It’s so predictable.

But that doesn’t stop what happens next being a completely SHO-RYUKEN! moment.

ZOM: Not really happy about Mandrakk turning up. I know that SMB is part of Final Crisis, but Mandrakk’s presence has been almost non-existent in the central story arc, and does that arc really need two villains (did SMB really need a villain other than Darkseid? I’m not sure it did)? Doesn’t Mandrakk feel a little superfluous to anyone else? I suppose there might be something going on with his vampire status beyond the whole sucking the life out of everything routine, and possibly Amy’s fairytale referencing – the idea of an evil that just won’t die (Superman gets to be continued, celebrity vampires are notoriously difficult to kill, and just won’t stay dead): we thought the horror went with Darkseid, but look! it keeps coming back isn’t it both horrible and ridiculous. Something like that. But it doesn’t work for me.

Mind you, I’ve yet to read FC in GM’s prescribed order.

Bobsy: The sparseness of the set here – there’s no pretense now on the emptied stage that this is occuring anywhere but in pure abstracted comic space. Say ‘Beckettian’, I dare you.

I’d say Mandrakk’s appearance (other methods of working late into the night are available) is necessary at this point. He’s the damage, the scar left by Darkseid, and requires treatment. He also works as a recapitulation of the themes of the story as it comes to a close, and as a preceding calm to contrast with the pitch of the coming fanfare.

PAGE 25, 26 & 27

‘Look up in the sky.’

AMY: And with those magic words the super-body of the Multiverse is summoned. The omni-dimensional S-shield.

ZOM: …To fight off those horrible, germ-like reality torpedoes.

And here’s a point I’ve been waiting to get to, the most satisfying way I have to make sense of the choices Morrison’s made in this book is built on the back of the words “super-body”, because it seems to me that if there is an existential crisis at work here it is the existential crisis of the story that is the DCU (which is in turn mirrored/within in/by the existential crisis of Morrison’s of the White Void). That’s why no particular character has been the focus or the narrative bridge, that’s why Morrison chose to build the book from the many and varied crises of communities of heroes – a huge stack of them, that’s why he chose to write in collage and eschew (some) plot.

The suicidal, dying form of Darkseid is swallowing the universe because the universe is depressed (or heartbroken, divorced from wonder – see Nix Uotan). Darkseid just embodies the black horror of it all. Batman? He’s the will, the reality of dealing with pain. Superman? Well he had to be gone because he’s hope, light, the wish for a happy ending and its possibility, he comes back when the darkness starts to fade. He’s the light just around the corner. He’s Grant Morrison’s optimism tied up in a great big red and blue bundle of fun. Where determinism (submit – all is one in Darkseid) is swapped for multiplicity and possibility.

At its best Final Crisis reads to me less like music, almost like a therapy session, where all the salient points pertaining to someone’s psychological process are detailed and worked through – a map of trauma and recovery (in much the same way that a film like Mulholland Drive maps the trauma points leading to and from murder). Do I think that the book entirely succeeds at this, do I think this sort of reading is entirely sustainable? No I don’t, I think the book fails in all sorts of ways, but I admire the effort, I admire the intent and the ambition. Writing about the pain of a fictional space is a daring, absurd, crazy thing to do, but so many of us have so much invested in the body of the DCU it makes sense that someone should make the effort.

And do you know what? I fucking admire DC for putting this book out, warts and all.

BB: Who says this isn’t the purply-prosed prismatic period of priapic protagonists, True Believers? Not me, anyway, because that is a page of entirely Supermans (+ one woman or ‘girl’, if you must.) All sorts – superbook of the year ’08 star Omega the Unknown, Ultiman from Big Bang comics, Red Son, Miracleman… A moan about production, though: almost every single double-page spread in this series has been cocked up a bit, in printing; several have replicated etail going in toward the spine, this just hasn’t been stapled very well and there’s some ugly edge of another page showing down the middle. It’s just. Annoying.

Bobsy: Why do Mandrakk’s henchblobs look like that? They look like aetheric parasites or something… Hang on, what the fuck am I talking about? How the fuck could I possibly know what an aetheric parasite looks like? OK try this: like vampire jellyfish, or rather sponges – emergent intelligence complexes. Contradictory and competitive ideas, things for de(con)struction and absorption.

PAGES 28 & 29

AMY: In all the noise, both good and bad, over this comic, I can’t believe no-one’s mentioned how awesome this sequence is. Mandrakk thinks he’s in a horror film, yes? So did Darkseid. But, no, this story’s much bigger than him. There are alladin’s lamps, magic animals, Angels, superheroes and Gods also. In fact having Captain Carrot, etc. show up first is the underlining of the mission statement. The wonderful possibilities. The silliness! It’s like watching the King of all Tears devoured by a pop-gun. One self regarding, pompous text, utterly consumed by another. Oh, the indignity of it! Poor Mandrakk. FC hearts the forgotten, lost, dumbassness beneath the realistic surface. It’s a championing of the discarded fantasies and outrageous concepts we’ve relegated to Limbo.

Pure Mindless Ones!

And right here’s where they take it all back.

It feels as though Morrison should’ve written this comic years ago.

BB: I have no idea if I like or loathe these pages – it’s nice to see Captain Carrot, star of the Oz-Wonderland War, make an appearance to redouble the case for childish things belonging, the power of nonsense… the tension is pretty much nonexistent after that, victory assured – Morrison makes a very unusual statement in his Newsarama exit interview:

Wonder Woman gets a ‘moment’ in Final Crisis #7 but by that time, Mandrakk has sucked all the life out of the story!

Said moment is back on p.21, I think! Where time and locale splinter.

Bobsy: Panel 2. That is not A Coincidence. That is A. Poodle.

Curtain calls, transmutations, resurrections, deifications, and putting the bastard to bed.

PAGE 32

BB: Metron doesn’t have his chair anymore. It has been all over this series, and is – probably – the key element. Because, look, it’s gone back to a rubbish heap to be found by the League of Titans; the whole story’s this recursive structure, going back as far as Mister Miracle #1 – two event horizons of a black hole, this inversion of what a black hole is… the turret of the zen bullet. I think – intertextually, obvs - Metron planned this, this final crisis. His fingerprints are all over the universe.

AMY: Alan Moore spent an entire episode of Top Ten making a plot twist out of something Morrison expects us to understand in one panel. The New Gods are eternal. Sometimes Ragnorok’s tearing heaven from the sky, sometimes they’re being born (in this case in the advent of a ‘new’ creation, Universe 51). It just depends which part of the myth you’re reading. And, of course, that means we haven’t seen the end of Darkseid, complete with a different iteration of his universe annhilating plans.

I hope, because I haven’t read much of the inter-commentary, everyone picked up on the Kamandi/Command D thing. We first saw the kid with all the tigerman down in the bunker, begging Turpin to help him, and now here he is on a reimagined universe 51, cobbled together with pieces of everywhere. This, for me, is Final Crisis greatest hour – a totally original origin story for that there map Nix is holding in his hands.

Oh yeah.

PAGE 33-35

BB: The narrator-before-last ends re-embedded, absorbed into the multiverse, which is now unbounded and free to crossfertilise – as soon as the Miracle Machine was introduced, the powering wish was inevitable. Multiplicity beats duality and singularity.

The conclusion brings Philip Pullman to mind twofold: firstly, one is inclined to wonder if Nix’ love is similarly situated in ‘her’ universe (I assume here that Nix is a) embedded in Earth-0 which was a conduit to his own Earth-51 and b) his father, Mandrakk, was the former monitor of Earth Designate Zero). So, not unlike His Dark Materials, conceivably, in that sense* but also, and I think this can’t be overstated, in his discussion or defence of the atheist reading of that trilogy Pullman had this to say:

you know I always mistrust people who tell us how we should understand something. They know better than we do what the book means or what this means and how we should read it and whether we should read it or not. I don’t think that’s democratic. I prefer to trust the reader. I prefer to trust what I call the democracy of reading. When everybody has the right to form their own opinion and read what they like and come to their own conclusion about it. So I trust the reader.

Which you can find at any number of mad-bastard religious sites, none of which I care to link to, fuck them. I think it’s integral to what’s being attempted here, though; multiplicity of events, of interpretations – living stories without fucking continuity cops.

*Also a set-up for the greatest ever Marvel/DC crossover that will never happen.

PAGE 36-37

BB: Bonus points – or not, I suppose – for recasting the legendarily arsey first chapter (“I wrote it to keep the scum out”) of Alan Moore’s Voice of the Fire; there was definitely one major element missing from all that, would’ve made it totally great, and here it – here he – is.

AMY: If I have one hope for the future it is this. Morrison, we’ve heard your retort to Modern comics, it was fun, but now I want you to deliver on all that promise. Now that he’s finished building a better batmobile I actually want to see what a new, fun, superheroic, futuristic Batman looks like.

And we can start here: The Dark Knight at the dawn of time.

And maybe see the storyline that leads to a certain enormous, stuffed, bone-rending beastie adorning his cave……

ZOM: BB sees Voice of the Fire, I see the The Road, or at least Cormac McCarthy’s allegorical “fire”: a bundle of concepts – hope, creativity and love, other nice stuff.

Bobsy: If the Darksheit should ever go down, one’s susceptibility to antilife can be estimated by gauging response to this closing word:

Batbeard.

Now, suspend that thought, shut that mouth and go and read Pillock’s astonishing post where he reviews, riffs on, and assesses the impact and worth of A COMIC HE HAS YET TO READ! Pure fucking essence of Mindless Ones!

83 Responses to “Final Crikeysis #7 – Black holes and plot holes (part 2 of 2)”

  1. Linkblogging for 06/02/09 « Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! Says:

    [...] Mindless Ones continue their group look at Final Crisis 7. Doctor K also has some thoughts on [...]

  2. Mark Cook Says:

    Credit where credit’s due: it’s not Morrison sneaking the Silver Age tropes back into Earth-0 (or whatever they’re calling it) Superman, it was Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns explicitly adding some of it (like Super-Memory) back on to Superman after Infinite Crisis.

  3. Zom Says:

    I think what Amy means is that Morrison’s bringing back some of the playfulness, the unbridled imagination to the character. But, yeah, Johns and Busiek have certainly played a role in that.

  4. Mark Cook Says:

    And of course Morrison spearheaded a lot of it with ASS over the past three years; let’s just not forget that others have cleared a path for Morrison to do these things with Superman in Final Crisis without his abilities becoming Yet Another point of contention.

  5. Zom Says:

    Hey, I wouldn’t dispute it

  6. captain trips Says:

    lalalala cant hear you batmans not dead lalalalala

  7. Final Crikeysis #7 - All foreground, all the time! (part 1 of 2) « Mindless Ones Says:

    [...] 2 can be found here Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Cape killer apokrifferReview: Final Crisis #6 – [...]

  8. Papers Says:

    Amy, just so you know: your much bemoaned Frankenstein comic’s in my head, child. It’s in my head.

    More later, obvs.

  9. Papers Says:

    Oh, the vampires. Mandrakk and his little homeboy Ultravamp. I like that there’s no way that Superman can save Supergirl in that scene — and we all wonder, idly, if we’re in for a reprise of THE DEATH OF SUPERGIRL — because if his touches his fangsome equal-but-opposite antimatter counterpart, kablooey (but, really, Superman: at that point, who cares?). But I could have done without the vampire gods from BEYOND. Save them for Blackest Night (with its inevitable Anti-Monitor redux, le yawn), you’re right, focus on Darkseid. Maybe everyone has to get together to make the big super-wish or whatever.

    Mandrakk felt like being kid playing with my action toys, big villain obliterated so I had to find some reason to introduce another villain or shoehorn a darkening into one of my other toys. Bah.

    And now, well, I’m at the point where I hope I never read any DCU-metafiction story. I want to see the new, freshly prismatic world with all kinds of weird stories. I don’t want to see my favourite lost cause characters being used to make points about fiction and business, I want to see them being used to tell stories! Fun stories! I want a Frankenstein comic and a Question comic and Nix Uotan comic!

  10. Neon Snake Says:

    I can deal with more meta-fiction in general, I think, but I’m not sure I’d like to see any more commentary on the state of the DCU itself. Over the last few years, I’ve read a good number of stories where I’ve thought “Oh, ok, that’s about how dark/stale the DCU had gotten, and it’s just..that..last..purge before we get to the new and fresh stuff.”…and we never have. We’ve just had more of the same, of course.

    It’s time, maybe, to stop the commentary, and start leading by example.

    And, in fairness, I think we’ve seen that in All-Star Superman. Hopefully, we’ll get it in all new Batman, in the summer too.

  11. Danoot Says:

    I want a Most Excellent Superbat comic.
    Or maybe, him, and his team of mostly cosmetic superfriends, should show up in some other comic, once a month, tv-crew on hand, to help out. Doesn’t matter where, Robin, the Atom, Hellblazer… It’d give me something to read on the regular.

    Also, yes, I did find the Mandrakk part to be kind of superfluous, most of the pages between 22 and A Boy and His Tigers seem a bit – well actually bit like I switched channels for a couple minutes for some reason and there happened to be a horror movie spoof of the movie I was already watching, on, I guess.

    On my latest re-reading, though, I think the Pax Dei are there to take out the black winged things behind Mandrakk which show up when he arrives and are never mentioned again. I mean, they don’t show the PD doing anything but floating around, kind of trying to get an air of holy menacement going, but I assume that after I switched back to the thing I was actually watching in the first place, they got their aerial fight on with some scary black shadow angel things.

  12. Papers Says:

    Kim Pine would have beaten up Mandrakk in about two seconds flat and then gone off to argue over the playlist for Sex Bob-Omb’s next show. Just sayin’, Superman and his Superfriends could have done better.

    Did anyone do anything in that section? Even seeing action like the emerald energy spike, it felt like Pontificating at High Noon.

  13. Papers Says:

    And you’re certainly correct about ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, but it had the safetysuit of its own continuity rather than being part of the greater, shivering, shuffling weirdbeast– I want to see them abandon that meta-commentary in the thing itself, I want it to breathe again. It’s become far too Borgesian, writing academic papers on comics that will never be real.

  14. MikeCr Says:

    I’ll second the call for a Most Excellent Superbat series. With random appearances by Frankenstein, Danny the Street, and Talky Tawny of course.

    And for the record: was I the only person who was disappointed by the end of Final Crisis because it became TOO conventional? I wanted the most incoherent, non-sensical, random, create your own story of disparate elements crazyness ever seen in comics. Instead I can’t escape the suspicion that Morrison had to limit his ambitions.

  15. Neon Snake Says:

    Maybe, then, there’s a better way of reading it, than as a “commentary on DCU”?

    And by better, I mean one which will be more satisfying to us. I can do balanced and sober judgement, but I’m not sure I can be bothered (and honestly, I thought it was pretty bloody brilliant anyway) and nitpicking it seems a bit pointless. Because, I mean, we’ve all already brought it. No-one here is going to make an informed purchasing decision based on anything I say, so fuck all that, and lets extract as much enjoyment from it as we can.

    So. I’m reading as a commentary on the state of the world, with Nix Uotan standing in for us as reader. And it’s a very easy way to read it, I’m only taking a couple of statements from Morrison anyway and extrapolating slightly.

    And maybe Uotan stands for reader who is looking for hope; it takes not a lot of effort to read Darkseid’s plan, and the anti-life equation, as a being a comment on the despair and hopelessness that a lot of us are feeling today; we are still, after all, in danger of Terror! Which can strike at any given moment! Monitor your neighbours! Report any suspicious behaviour! Work! Consume! Die! Judge others! Condemn the different!
    And the economy is fucked, and house prices and interest rates, and global warming, and environmental issues, and people are still dying of starvation.

    And then we look at what we’re saying to the children – the stories that we’re telling them are that there is no hope. And they’re worthless anyway, aren’t they, the kids? What’s that, you got straight A’s? Well, whoopie-doo, kiddo, your exams just aren’t as difficult as they were in my day, so your achievements are meaningless. And take your hood down, in case you mug someone. I know your type, you’re all the same.

    And then the statement from mouthpiece-for-humanity-Turpin in issue 7, after he gets Black Racered – “…in us…in ALL of us…” – because we’ve all felt it, we’ve all felt that sense of dread and anxiety at what the future might bring; all of us could, maybe, gratefully submit to the anti-life-equation if it brought with it a bit of certainty, a bit of purpose.

    And against that you’ve got the stories of hope and victory being told by Supergirl, Wonderwoman and Lois Lane, and also of Uotan. And yes, it is crucial that three of the narrators are women, and that the fourth, Uotan, is a teenager.

    And he’s been shown the world, as it is, by Metron (and therefore, so have we, in that spread where Metron sits on the other side of the comic to us, the other side of the world, and lays it all out before us) and he can’t co-ordinate it all, he can’t make it all make sense, and despite this, he chooses hope. He chooses, having been given “knowledge”, to be inspired by the tales of the superheroes.

    Not only by Superman, I like to think, but by Batman too. Because, really, I think of them both as equally inspiring – Batman is what we should aspire to be like, and Superman is what we should aspire to act like.

    And at the end, he is truly the “judge of all evil”, because, if it isn’t the children we leave our world to who are going to judge us, then who will?

  16. Gunderic Mollusk Says:

    Booyah, Neon Snake!

  17. Tucker Stone Says:

    Fabulous work here. I’m going to miss these write-ups, there’s such a beastly thing happening. God am i glad that Final Crisis responses didn’t turn into an echo chamber of slap-happy masturbation sounds. What a great experience it’s been seeing everybody (and by everybody I pretty much mean the ones who can tie their shoes without google) get their takes online so quickly.

  18. Zom Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed taking part in the (for lack of a better word) conversation, but by Christ I was happy to put Final Crisis away in my big special comic box, not to be read again for many a long year. The dark side of participating in the whole process has been the feeling that by joining in I’m on some fundamental level endorsing the spectacularly unpleasant feeling that has been directed towards Grant Morrison.

  19. Neon Snake Says:

    How so, Zom?

    This site has always seemed to me to be a million miles away from the “it’s shit because of the publishing schedule;I don’t want to have to think about what I’m reading and therefore it’s objectively rubbish;it didn’t play out the way I wanted it to what the hell are DiDio/DC/Morrison thinking sack them all” criticism which has made up the majority of the vitriol directed at Morrison.

  20. Chris Miller Says:

    Totally a tangent here, but apropos Amy’s last remark, it was always a *robot* dinosaur in the Batcave…

  21. Zom Says:

    Is true.

    Snake, I know that we’re a million miles away from that stuff, but by participating we were contributing to the noise around Final Crisis – drawing yet more attention not just to us and our site but also to the online furore.

    I’m being slightly irrational, I know.

  22. Neon Snake Says:

    From a totally personal perspective, Zom, there’s a reason why I love the Mindless Ones so much – you make my comics more enjoyable.

    I can read you chaps’ posts, and they tend to give me a fresh perspective, something new that I can then go back to the comic with, and get something more out of it – “yeah, they’re right, that bit was brilliant, and yes, that’s a great way of looking at what that issue was about.”

    When a large number of blogs seem intent on making them less enjoyable, it’s a pretty welcome relief. I’ve no interest in being told that something I’ve paid money for is less enjoyable than I think.
    If I already think that something is poorly written, then a corresponding viewpoint is redundant. If I don’t, but someone points out that this bit or that bit is, I dunno, “wrong”, then I don’t really want to know. It doesn’t exactly enrich my life, y’know?

    Especially when so much of the criticism surrounding Final Crisis is so very personal – AICN had a post on Final Crisis #6 where the guy’s dislike of it was based on his inability to keep up with the plot, because he reads 100+ comics per month, and had forgotten what happened in issue #5 by the time #6 came out. Which is fine, but I don’t read 100+ comics, and I remembered #5 very well. It’s an invalid criticism, except on a level applicable only to that individual reviewer.

    If you’re going to criticise, I think any negative points should be very carefully thought out and backed up (I don’t feel the same about praise, funnily enough. Give me the personal stuff!).

    But the enthusiasm in the Mindless One’s posts is infectious, and I think the “noise” around Final Crisis is all the better for having your contribution.

  23. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    it was always a *robot* dinosaur in the Batcave…

    A word, Chris – taxidermy.

  24. Danoot Says:

    Neon Snake: From a totally personal perspective, Zom, there’s a reason why I love the Mindless Ones so much – you make my comics more enjoyable.

    as they say on the internet: THIS

  25. Chris Miller Says:

    Nope, no taxidermy involved.

    Letting my geek flag fly here, but FWIW…

    … it was a malfunctioning robot T. Rex from a “Dinosaur Island” theme park, defeated by Batman and Robin originally in Batman #35 (1946), updated as of Batman Chronicles #19 (2000).

    Not that I would ever put it past Morrison to have had Batman fighting *real* dinosaur at some point (and hey, I’m sure it’s happened in some story somewhere), but *this* one’s accounted for. ;)

  26. Zom Says:

    Robot dinosaurs are pretty cool

  27. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    I knew there was an actual in-story reason, but, you know.

  28. Andy G Says:

    Thank you for this post and all the others. Jumbo fun and excitement. Essencial reading, and so far removed from the tiradetasctic sites and message boards. So much of the flak reads like sports blogs – sack the coach, fixture congestion, the reds suck, c’mon the blues, etc. instead of what it should be, i.e. why we like or dislike this story and what it says about us and our culture.

    I notice 3 Worlds came out last week, lovingly detailed fight scenes, exposition as dialogue, hardcore continuity porn. Fascinating to compare comments @ Mindless on FC #6, Braniac convincing the reader of his intelligence with behaviour, whereas Johns uses genius as author by proxy, the clever guy who can explain it all for you dumb bumbs – Captain Helmet Head saying “I don’t get it” (Luthor’s hair? What could it possibly be for?!!?) shows how much credit the reader’s being given.

  29. Thrilltone Says:

    “It pisses me off that Grant decided he’d let these guys go out with a whimper, ’cause ‘that’s the treatment I expect them to get when I’m finished on the book’, or whatever.”

    Indeed. Reminds me of his excuse for not finishing his Authority stuff, which was because “no-one seemed to like it” or whatever. I forget if he had an excuse for not doing more WildC.A.T.S. (writing it just as ‘Wildcats’ is anti-fun), which was a shame, as I was off my face on enjoying that single issue with needlessly-German Grifter bullshit and lots of purple. I dread to think how long ago that was now. If time is happening all at once, why does it feel like it’s passing, and why is that so depressing? Huh, Grant?

    (I always like how many people refer to Grant Morisson as just ‘Grant’. After all, isn’t he our friend, one storey up in our bodies, just above the Finefare of our hearts?)

    Is Legion of Three Worlds not worth tracking down, then? I thought it was the Geoff Johns (Just Geoff?) comic that people that don’t like him thought was, y’know, actually alright? I have teetered on the edge of purchase for some time. I know nothing about the Legion,however, think Superboy Prime has an ugly outfit, and have never read any Johns (aye) except for some Hawkman thing that was in Wizard once, around 2001. I perhaps think it is not for me, then.

    “Neon Snake: From a totally personal perspective, Zom, there’s a reason why I love the Mindless Ones so much – you make my comics more enjoyable.”

    I agree with this comment and also with Danoot’s agreement with it. I am looking forward to rereading Final Crisis with aw that in mind, on a no-doubt harrowing Megabus journey in my near future.

  30. Duncan Says:

    I nearly read Final Crisis on a harrowing Megabus journey in the not-so-distant past, thrillers – Lo3W is kind of okay if you like that sort of thing, pretty good even, latest ish a bit of a stramash. He has a bit of a feel for that gawky teen alienation, the author. The correct pronunciation of Geoff Johns is “GEOFF! JOHNS!”, btw.

  31. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Oh, while I’m here and still give one:-

    The Hawks die, rite??!! And then the Heavenly Host, the Pax Dei, show up – okay?? Out of nowhere. So, now, Hawkman is tacitly Zauriel; I’m glad we sorted that one out, Christ I thought it’d never happen, all his continuity problems are well behind him, phew, brilliant.

  32. Thrilltone Says:

    I totally never thought about the Hawkman/Zauriel thing in FC, which is just stupidity on my part, really. Ocht well. I’ve never really read or thought much about Hawkman, other than the aformentioned Wizard preview, and the thought “what sort of superhero’s gimmick is swooping down and hitting people with a mace?” (I quite like that aspect of him, in theory).

    I assume that when I next hit the comics shop (perhaps with a mace), I will continue to humm-and-haww over Legion of Three Worlds. I’ll probably end up buying it, just so I can help the shop owner pay his bills. Last thing I did this with was Hellblazer #250, but that’s a different story entirely.

  33. David Uzumeri Says:

    Fuck, good call on the Hawkman/Pax Dei thing, good call indeed. I’d totally forgotten about that.

    Joining in the chorus for Neon Snake here – I’d hate to see you guys ever refuse to comment on anything, because like he said, the reading experience of almost any comic I’m reading is enhanced by lively discussion and intelligent commentary, and that’s what this site is all about.

  34. Andy G Says:

    Mandrakk’s appearance is classic Morrison no? Braniac in Earth 2, Chimera trumping the Lloigor at the end of Zenith, Darkseid himself in Rock of Ages, Mageddon in World War III, the Candle Maker nixing Prof Caulder etc., the bigger bad guy turning up once the supposed villain of the piece has been dealt with/to deal with the supposed villain. He put most explicitly in the JLA story “IT” where Sandman deals with the Starro threat – “That’s the thing with bullies, there’s always someone bigger”. Ideas of scale and all that.

    And the title Final Crisis refers to the monitors doesn’t it? Obviously there will be infinite clusterf**ks every summer from now to infinity but FC reads like the final chapter for the Monitors, so Mandrakk has to turn up as the final villain to be defeated, the final dregs of the continuity police obliterated by the magical insanity of a super-rabbit. People (not here) have criticised that they just stand there, but isn’t that how you defeat vampires? Dazzle them with sunlight (the bright four colour diversity superhero comics) then make sure the corpse is gone for good with a stake to the heart.

    I wouldn’t describe 3 Worlds as bad, George Perez on art after all (tho not mad keen on the inking), just more pedestrian by comparison to FC, for example the approach to time is very linear, which seems at odds with the content, where people are leaping all over the timescape. I mean, I don’t ask myself where or when exactly the composite watchtower is in FC #7, or how long it takes to build the Miracle Machine, because the narrative makes me feel like events have transcended such limited perspectives, whereas 3 Worlds’ irritates with its paradoxes, laid out with the illusion of clarity.

  35. Marc Says:

    People (not here) have criticised that they just stand there, but isn’t that how you defeat vampires?

    Ah… no.

    Dazzle them with sunlight (the bright four colour diversity superhero comics) then make sure the corpse is gone for good with a stake to the heart

    Oh, you mean stand there _allegorically_?

    No.

    One of the most disappointing features of some the more effusive defenses of Final Crisis has been the widespread assumption that explaining the book’s allegorical or self-reflexive commentaries somehow justifies or excuses (or at least lets us ignore) its many failures of execution. This breaks down on a couple of levels, not the least of which is that no halfway competent reader missed the allegory the first time around; indeed, at that point Final Crisis is nothing but. The sudden “revelation” of the allegorical meaning doesn’t make the other problems vanish.

    I suspect that would hold true even if the allegory were something, anything, other than the same damn allegory comics writers have been telling to themselves for more than a decade. You know, the one where the personified forces responsible for all those mean nasty dark “mature” comics (boo hiss) get their asses handed to them by the forces of super happy fun comics and a new day is dawning.

    It was dawning in Judgment Day 12 years ago. Flex was 13.

    Somehow I doubt Final Crisis will be the last time we read this particular story. May it at least be the last time we pretend there’s anything novel or clever about it… or that anybody who isn’t dazzled simply didn’t get it.

  36. Marc Says:

    That said, I agree with Bobsy about the poodle.

  37. Edit: You don’t care any more « Mindless Ones Says:

    [...] Two. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Sorry, folks, we will get something Final Crisis related up, but it’s gon…Crisis, What Crisis? Posted by bobsy Filed in Uncategorized [...]

  38. bobsy Says:

    Can’t disagree with you about the plotline or canine knowledge Marc, but permit me to play a cheap trick on you:

    ‘One of the most disappointing features of some of the more negative dissections of Final Crisis has been the widespread assumption that explaining the book’s apparent failures of execution lets us ignore the overwhelming positive affect evoked in many readers.’

    Maybe the last word ‘readers’ there should say ‘desparate fanfilth slaves’ instead but

  39. pillock Says:

    Ah! It’s better the more edits it gets on it!

    More!

  40. Papers Says:

    Lo3W is really not that bad, even quite enjoyable. The linear approach to time is a bit annoying, perhaps, but I think it has something to do with the source material — the Legion has always been oddly linear about time-travel, and it feels like GEOFF!JOHNS! is continuing that tradition. It’d be nice to see a completely fresh take on the Legion, though, something that worked with the density of their universe and the weird exoticism of the future, as well as how bug-fuck regular time-travel would make one.

    Oh well, maybe one day I can do an ALL-STAR LEGION comic.

  41. Andy G Says:

    Marc, the allegory is what it is, and I wasn’t suggesting it dazzled anyone other than Mandrakk, nor was I trying to explain it’s supposed dazzle to a hypothetical reader who doesn’t “get it”. It all takes place over a couple of pages and several small sized panels, (deliberately?) undermining its impact, compared to say, a double page splash. I read it as the natural end of the original monitor, who appeared all those years ago in Infinite as the savoir of the DC Universe, decluttering the multiverse, only to be revealed as a narrative-sucking vampire and defeated by the diversity he sought to streamline and reduce. Hardly dazzling, as you say done before by Moore and others, but a fitting end nonetheless. The real ending comes afterward doesn’t it?, with the bumbling monitors acting like nothing’s happened, and Nix and Weejas true love sacrifice revealed? There’s your payoff, and is some of the criticism here not that the villain’s defeat is a tired retread, but that it’s not the final act?

    That all said, some of the light vs. dark stuff did make me think didn’t we have this argument a decade ago? I don’t have my issue to hand for a direct quote, but when Merryman says in SB#1 that he has an idea for a dark n gritty version of itself I thought it was an unnecessary pop at an out of date style of comics. A funnier line (in my humble opinion) would have been a Merryman revision in the style of Doom Patrol/Animal Man (please insert witty, depreciative Grant Morrison dialogue here).

  42. Marc Says:

    Or a Merryman revision in the style of Final Crisis, just to watch the snake completely devour its own tail? (Although I suppose that scene of MM hoisting the Big Gun was meant to be an ironic fulfillment of his proposed grim n gritty revision.) All fair points, Andy, though I don’t think saying the ending is deliberately underwhelming is much of a defense of Final Crisis (not when Morrison does it, either) any more than explaining the heavy-handed industry allegory is.

    Bobsy, not only is the trick cheap, it’s built around a false equivalence. “The overwhelming positive affect evoked in many readers” doesn’t really answer the failures of execution in the same way that the failures of execution have to be weighed against the book’s attempts at theme and commentary. Its commentary and its plotline (and character development, and structure and pacing, and all its other failures–and by the way, slipping in “apparent” is just special pleading at this point, isn’t it?) are both Morrison’s work. Swapping one of them out for the affect Final Crisis evokes in some readers is just enacting the affective fallacy and passing it off as criticism.

    Some readers will always like any given book, and some will always hate it. That’s not much of an argument for quality; Rob Liefeld inspired some overwhelming enthusiasm, too. Such reactions are as personal and as broadly inapplicable as that AICN reviewer Neon Snake mentioned a few days ago, the one whose reading was ruined by his own comic-buying habits.

  43. Andy G Says:

    Apologies if I wasn’t clear – “the ending is deliberately underwhelming” is less my point than “defeating the bad guy (purposely) isn’t the ending”.

    I understand you’ve clarified what you mean by FC’s various failures in your own blog, I don’t have access to it (tinternet at work only) but I wouldn’t agree with any statement that included character development as a failure in this work. Mainly because a) it features corporate superheroes in a gigantic event comic. Have you read any of them (I’m sure you have)? Did you find much character development? b) FC does a bloody good job of following a small number of characters from 1st issue to last as they navigate through an insane multiverse threatening event. Under the surface illusion of chaos we get clear abc progression for the main cast (Turpin, Question, Miracleman & SuperYoungTeam, Frankenstein, Tattooed Man, Green Arrow & Black Canary, The Flashes, Bats, Mr Terrific, Nix). I was dazzled by the way the juxtaposition of sparkling dialogue and fresh, challenging composition introduced me to such an exciting cast, a great mix of old favourites and new kids on the block. The dialogue in FC is top bloody notch, and I’d happily fight an angry bear to prove it and finally c) it’s the only Summer Superhero Jamboree I’ve ever read where I cared about the characters. Why? Because it features well drawn, believable characters.

  44. Marc Says:

    No, I agree that the real ending and the true “final crisis” is the end of the Monitors. I thought that scene was effective precisely because it had the legible, internally logical dramatic action, the emotional weight, the narrative breathing room that Mandrakk’s appearance lacked. But Mandrakk’s appearance and defeat are almost as irrelevant to that ending as the entire Monitor plotline is to the main action of Final Crisis; no allegorical code-key can fill that lack of narrative purpose.

    I weighed whether or not I should include character development in the list of failures and decided in favor, not so much because I disliked the few character moments we saw (Green Arrow is distilled down to his essence in one absolutely perfect word balloon) but because they tended to be truncated and purposeless, a series of promising pathways that turn out to lead nowhere. I loved the Super Young Team, but Morrison writes them clean out of the plot by his own admission.

    I think you’re also being a bit generous in what you count as “progression.” Most of the characters you list get moved through a plot, but can we really say they see any progress or development? Actually, now I’m being too generous–how many of them even get moved through a complete plot? What happens to Mister Miracle, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Turpin, Tattooed Man in the final issue? Why is Barry Allen even in the story at all, given that he is accompanied every step of the way by a character in an identical costume with identical powers who does all the same things? (Answers: a) allegory, and you know what I think of that; b) Dan Didio and Geoff Johns?)

    I’m starting to repeat my post, so I’ll ease off and direct you there if you’re interested. Suffice it to say I don’t see meaningful or even complete progressions for most of the characters you list.

  45. pillock Says:

    Love the unintentional “Monitor is the savoir of the DCU”…

    Sorry, I just seem to be lobbing stuff in over the fence, here…

  46. Andy G Says:

    Yeah spellcheck huh?

    I didn’t think the monitor plotline was irrelevant, I thought it was the main story, albeit one that was revealed slowly. Again, the clue is in the title, it’s their Final Crisis. If you picked out the monitor & Nix scenes in FC and both Beyond issues and read them in isolation there’s a clear story – lovers separated by Machiavellian plotting, a hero in exile, all of existence in peril, brave knights called into action to battle an ultimate evil, death and sacrifice, their society’s true nature revealed and at last the lovers reunited, only to discover the love that brought them back together, that saved them all, has brought about their end. I thought it was classic, beautiful stuff, played out in the context of people who watch stories becoming stories and creating stories, of how you can’t destroy a story once it’s written. All of which was pretty relevant to the experience of reading comics in a shared universe. If there’s a better way of acknowledge every comic that’s ever been written with a DC logo I’d like to read it.

    What happens to Green Arrow & co? You might as well ask what happens to Jaws and the wee lassie with the pigtails at the end of Moonraker. The Tattooed Man goes from villain to hero, saving the earth with a little help from The Ray. How much more characterisation do you want? (although I didn’t like Submit either, reminded me of the Boy episode in Invisibles). I’m not sure why you mentioned Turpin. His will becomes crushed by Darkseid, he gets the “He’s in all of us” line at the end. Classic tragedy.

    Miracleman & chums do get short shrift at the end, I’ll agree. I’ve read that end scene for them several times and compared it to the interviews where Morrison explains what happens and it’s the one bit where I felt he’s missed a couple of beats, sold them short (particularly Sonny Sumo, but then so did Kirby – create a supercool character then after 2 issues let him die off panel in ancient Japan and inspire the crappy series 2 Heroes plotline). They could have done with an extra page perhaps, and a bit of Kamandi.

    With Barry Allen, yes his story will continue with GEOFF JOHNS!!! but why is that a problem? You can’t really object to lead-ins into other titles (he even sneaks in a plug for his Flash TP with the Black Flash line) it’s the nature of the beast, and I like Morrison’s generosity in incorporating other titles ideas into his stories, it’s a shame its rarely reciprocated. When they take the trouble to do it right it’s what makes reading DC fun for me. Electric Blue Supes and the Diana/Hippolyta stuff in JLA are other fine example of this.

    Barry returns because he dies at the end of the first Crisis and his return brings it full circle, he illustrates the gun firing backwards (Time’s flexibility makes more sense when you run alongside Flash), and he’s the most symbolic representative of The Silver Age and all its cross dimensional wackiness. Wally doesn’t do much other than follow in Barry slipstream, but then he was set up as the new Flash at the end of the first Crisis, unable to travel past the speed of light, everything downplayed and more ‘realistic’, so it’s fitting he just gasps in awe at his uncle, back to save the day. I also loved that with every other character we’re jumping pretty big gutters between their appearances, but from Barry’s perspective Final Crisis lasts about five minutes.

    And he rescues Iris with a kiss, just like Clark does with Lois, or Black Canary does with Green Arrow (it’s a punch, I know). I wondered after reading why I felt the emotional impact of Nix and Weeja disappearing into nothing, and the line about her love being strong enough to make Nix remember his true self, and I think it’s because the theme of love, of the knight saving the maiden runs through the whole story, which you just don’t get usually in these mega shindigs. The epic viewed through the personal, the sense of danger heightened with the awareness of what’s at stake – love. It’s also there in Hawkman’s death wish, hoping for a new universe where he can be with his true love (a perfect distillation of the past ten years of character development for those two), the teenage soapy love triangle of the SuperYoungTeam, Liberty Belle & Hourman’s domestic superheroics, even Zillo Valla’s love for Mandrakk.

    That Morrison combines all these emotional notes, memorably and succinctly presented, drawing on decades of comic book history and fresh ideas to help him deliver Nix and Weeja’s emotional payoff fairly knocked my socks sideways, and I don’t ask for much more than that in a comic.

  47. Marc Says:

    Andy, obviously you had a powerful and positive reaction to the comic, and nothing I say is aimed at undoing that. But I think you need to acknowledge that I and plenty of others have just as good reasons for our powerful reactions of disappointment and dismay, and restating the plot at me won’t undo that either. I read the same comic you did, noticed the same themes you did–they were not exactly subtle–and it just didn’t work for me. (Bobsy, this is a perfect case study for why the affective fallacy is largely worthless as criticism.)

    Plenty of your comments still suggest (contrary to your own claims that you’re not doing this) that the series’ themes are going undetected by its critics and that Final Crisis can be redeemed by pointing out the “clues.” But there’s no mystery here. The title is no longer a “clue” when Nix Uotan flat-out says “The final crisis is ours.” Any halfway competent reader understands the title refers to them; for me, that doesn’t compensate for the general disconnect between that story and the Darkseid story that occupies most of the plot and prevents the dramatic and emotional build-up necessary for the Monitors’ ending, lovely as that scene is, to hold much meaning.

    You also keep stressing that Final Crisis is redeemed by its (quasi-) intellectual project of commentary on the history and writing of DC Comics; is this project even worth doing anymore? Does Final Crisis “acknowledge every comic that’s ever been written with a DC logo”? Sure. Great. Why bother?

    Does Barry Allen’s return bring things full circle with the first Crisis? Sure. To what end? Symbolically representing the Silver Age? That’s almost as cool as allegorically dazzling a vampire. Too much of Final Crisis works only on a symbolic level, but worse yet, it symbolizes ideas that aren’t really worth symbolizing. And that are already well understood to comics readers from a decade-plus of equally symbolic and self-conscious narratives that are always, only, about other comics.

    There are plenty of cases to be made for whatever personal appeal Final Crisis holds, but claims of unperceived thematic complexity and hidden, redemptive symbolism don’t address the serious criticisms. The predictable, pandering, ingrown comics-centric symbolism doesn’t justify the series for me; it’s one of the root problems.

  48. Neon Snake Says:

    But I think you need to acknowledge that I and plenty of others have just as good reasons for our powerful reactions of disappointment and dismay, and restating the plot at me won’t undo that either. I read the same comic you did, noticed the same themes you did–they were not exactly subtle–and it just didn’t work for me. (Bobsy, this is a perfect case study for why the affective fallacy is largely worthless as criticism.)

    Why does Andy need to acknowledge this?

    I never got the impression (Andy, correct me if I’m wrong) that Andy was attempting a fair, sober, and balanced critique of Final Crisis, or of the particular points that you’ve noted.

    Rather, I think he’s “merely” expanding on what he liked about it.

    And the things that he liked about it, he liked so much that they overcome any flaws in the narrative. Stressing the personally appealing parts of a work that one is enthusing about is pretty much the nature of such enthusing.

    Fair and balanced judgement is all well and good, and I would say it’s especially warranted in reviews, where the reader is using said review to make a decision whether to purchase/read/view something.

    I’d say that if someone is attempting to write an unbiased critique of something after the event, then by all means include the bad as well as the good. I’m not sure why one would want to do that about something that is a hobby and meant to be a source of enjoyment to them, but then hey! I’m not a blogger, I’m just a serial commentator and messageboard whore.

    I can acknowledge that Final Crisis was flawed – but why would I want to? Why would I bring it up? Who does it benefit? I’d rather be unashamedly positive about it, and hope that some of that positivity rubs off on others. If people really need to read about the flaws, then lord knows there are enough places on the internet where they can do that. It seems, though, equivalent to picking at a scab.

    For my own part, I reject entirely the view that the symbolic narrative in Final Crisis is “only, about other comics.”

    The power of hope, of love, of ideas, of imagination to overcome the power of despair, cynicism and hopelessness is not just applicable to the rejection of cynicism pretending to be realism in comics, it’s applicable to everything.

    And the fact that we may have seen such themes before (specifically now relating to comics) doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t read about them again – the themes are always going to be new to someone, and I struggle to believe that all of the 100,000+ readers of Final Crisis have read, understood and/or accepted Flex Mentallo.

  49. Zom Says:

    For the record, I am MORE THAN HAPPY for people to discuss FC’s flaws here.

    Carry on, Marc. Always keen to get your opinion

  50. Neon Snake Says:

    Sorry Zom and Marc, I wasn’t intending to sound as if I was attempting to stifle discussion of flaws, I was responding emotionally to the “you need to acknowledge” part.

    I suspect that IS what I sounded like, though, so I apologise to all.

  51. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Of course blogging hero Marc Singer is always welcome airtime here, but I concur with Neon’s posture that:

    For my own part, I reject entirely the view that the symbolic narrative in Final Crisis is “only, about other comics.”

    even while acknowledging pretty much every single other one of Marc’s critiques on his site are, by and large, accurate if occasionally unimportant (although, Jeez, the Super Young Team plot seems more aggravating the more time I think on it – where was their “moment”? What was the fucking point of all that then, beyond getting the ever-whitening Mister M from A to B?) and, actually, remaining on the comics-as-comics-critique point I don’t see the appearance of Captain Carrot – because that’s what it comes down to – as the same prelapsarian… impulse, judgment as, whatever, Mark Waid’s writing in the late 1990s but rather as a posture that these things, too, the daft, strange and childish having their place, too long ignored.

  52. Marc Says:

    Neon, I wasn’t being terribly clear on this point but I wanted Andy to acknowledge the validity of FC criticisms because I got the impression that his comments here were _not_ solely about expanding on what he liked about FC. The attempts to wave away flaws by pointing out counterreadings and symbols and “clues” and so forth, dismissing every objection with a (supposedly) newly revealed meaning, those read more like acts of interpretation, argument, and criticism to me. And they fell into one of the oldest and most pointless scripts for discussing Morrison’s (or anybody’s) work, insinuating that those who didn’t like it just missed some clue or reading that redeems the whole affair. Not meant that way, I’m sure, but that’s how the emphasis on undetected meaning came across to me.

    To put it in your terms, I thought it was enthusing on personal appeal dressed up as if it were sober, fair-minded criticism. But part of fair-minded criticism is acknowledging the parts of your reaction that boil down to personal tastes and won’t/can’t apply to every reader. A bigger part is taking it on faith that other readers did in fact read the same text you did and are competent to understand it.

    As for the purpose of criticism… you wrote,

    I can acknowledge that Final Crisis was flawed – but why would I want to? Why would I bring it up? Who does it benefit? I’d rather be unashamedly positive about it, and hope that some of that positivity rubs off on others.

    I remember you said something similar quite a few comments upstream and I nearly weighed in then but didn’t. For me, criticism isn’t about boosting comics or tearing them down, and god knows emotional frottage plays no role in it… nor is it meant purely for reviews or purchasing decisions. I think criticism can be about a lot of different things–sparking thought and discussion, providing a kind of institutional memory for otherwise ephemeral narratives, charting the potential of an artist or a genre or a medium and seeing how individual works measure up, to name a few–but at base it’s about watching different minds interacting. The mind of the critic and the artist, or the critic and other critics. The criticism I like best comes from a distinct point of view–I don’t mean in some rigid doctrinaire sense, just that the critic has thought about what they want from their art and can put it into terms–and half the pleasure is watching that point of view engage with new works, butt up against new interpretations, test out new ideas, all while responding to other points of view doing the same things. And if that point of view is honest, which for me is the only kind worth paying attention to, it has to take the bad into account along with the good.

    Who benefits? The critic, I hope. Certainly anyone who reads them.

  53. Neon Snake Says:

    Marc, I’m already in danger of purporting to speak for other people, so I hope you’ll forgive me for taking the cowards way out and ducking out of responding on Andy’s behalf with my own, potentially incorrect, interpretations of his motives.

    On criticism, though, and our differing stances on it:

    (Fuck, I’m sitting here already nervous that I’m going to articulate this poorly)

    The key point in your paragraph, I think, is around the word “honest” – to be an honest critique, and therefore “worth paying attention to”, both the good and the bad need to be pointed out.

    I would say that would be being intellectually honest, perhaps.

    Were I being intellectually honest, I guess I would take a long, cold, hard look at Final Crisis, and admit that there were parts of it that didn’t work for me – and maybe that these parts didn’t work at all, and were failures on the part of the author, and not just me. I’ve used the word “admit” quite deliberately.

    However, were I being emotionally honest, I would ignore those parts, and defocus them in both my mind, and in anything I said about Final Crisis. Now that the series is over, and I’ve read it a few times, the “good” parts of the series hit me on an emotional level to such an extent that the “bad” parts of the series seem, to me personally, irrelevant.

    Were I to “admit” to the flaws, I would feel emotionally dishonest, since I would feel that I was only noticng them to appease the person who was pointing them out, because I don’t notice them when reading the series. They’re objectively “there”, sure, but I subjectively gloss over them whilst reading, since they are rendered irrelevant by my emotional response to the rest of the series.

    I feel that there is just as much worth – more worth! – in reading a comment that is emotionally honest, whilst potentially being intellectually dishonest at the same time, since it’s the effect on the emotions that I’m personally more interested in.

  54. Andy G Says:

    I’m certainly enjoying the intellectual to and fro under the protective blanket of the mindless ones, far away from the Sucks! Rocks! brouhaha elsewhere.

    I write these off the cuff in my lunch break so apologies if they don’t have the appropriate intellectual rigour, but the reason I brought up the various plot points was to illustrate my argument when I disagreed with your assessment of character development in the series. As I recall, I agreed with you on the SuperYoungTeam, but I did think you were being a bit dismissive of the others.

    I’m also a little bemused by some of the criteria you’re (Marc) using. I’ll have to read up your thoughts on allegory but from what you’ve said here is sounds a little reductive and limiting. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

    What puzzles me a bit is what you’re comparing FC with. I wouldn’t want to use “it’s better than the rest therefore it’s good” argument, but I don’t recall reading a summer crossover event (apart from maybe DC One Million, and the original Crisis but only because I was fourteen when I first read it) that wasn’t complete bobbins, and if I was discussing flaws I’d be more inclined to use that kind of context.

    Most of FC’s flaws for me were a result of the commercial pressures, rushed art and probably a bit of rushed writing (yes, FC#7 does a wonderful job of feeling like all of existence is being sucked down a black hole, but it did take a couple of plot points with it), as well as misplaced editorial hyperbole and confusing satellite titles. Some of your criticism points to a failure of concept and design, of character and plot, and I wouldn’t really agree with that.

  55. Zom Says:

    I’m certainly enjoying the intellectual to and fro under the protective blanket of the mindless ones

    Happy to help

  56. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Can’t. Stop. Thinking. Of. the. Final. Crisis.

    I found a frankly amazing, huge and squiffy… review at Comics Bulletin which has some more exciting ideas within – God, hurry up and read #7 Satrap! anyway, elsewhere, oh the puzzling monkey man in #6 who has these few scant pages, crapulous sketches… I’m particularly fond of the idea of his embodying Himon, especially having just read Fourth World vol. 4 today, and cool whatever Detective Chimp, but I read some chap at Millarworld theorising that he is – of course! – the monkey, author of the infinite book of sand.

  57. Neon Snake Says:

    Ah, yes.

    Yes, it could be, couldn’t it? The monkey was even referenced in Superman Beyond, thinking about it.

  58. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    Yeah, this is why I love GMComics – it’s right there: a monkey, with pages, (from a book he wrote) that happen to be character designs from the infinite book of the DCU, and then it’s like this chain reaction up and down the spine of the narrative, and everything alters again. Vibrant, living text if you ask me – I’m keeping Himon because I actually like the much maligned ‘Hunger Dogs’, it’s a bit – I think it came out during COIE, actually, but it’s a bit shonky narrativewise, and reading it after FC you could definitely see it was a wellspring; there’s loads in the original 4W books that’s referenced, actually, or repurposed. But I’ll happily jettison Detective Chimp, even though there’s the 52 connex.

    Continuity! Fun!

  59. Marc Says:

    Neon, I think emotional honesty is an important part of criticism, too, and it doesn’t preclude taking a work’s shortcomings into account–I promise you, I found FC almost as disappointing emotionally as it was structurally. But no matter how deeply felt, not everybody will share them, no matter how passionately they’re expressed; the text, on the other hand, is there for everybody.

    Andy: What puzzles me a bit is what you’re comparing FC with.

    Good comics. Being better than Secret Invasion or Atlantis Attacks doesn’t count for much in my book. But this is a bit beside the point; I didn’t think I was making comparative arguments, just evaluative ones.

  60. Neon Snake Says:

    Marc, I’m not really sure what this might or should mean to me – “the text, on the other hand, is there for everybody.” – and I’m wondering if it’s because of the difference in mindset between blogger and commentator.

    I would presume that when you write a blog, you are writing for “everybody” – I would guess that your audience is largely (although not wholly) an unknown quantity?

    Whereas my comments are intended more-or-less solely for the folks on this site – the gentlemen who make up the Mindless Ones themselves and the regular commentators from the previous Final Crisis discussions.

    I’ve been indulged as a guest for several months now on this site, and have never really been called upon by the other guests or my gracious hosts to subject my posts to more rigorous thought processes, in the same way as I would have been elsewhere (Barbelith for example, for those familiar with it).

    My stance on this particular thread came about after the initial burst of posts which had in them a vague sense of disappointment in the ending of Final Crisis, and I’ve quite deliberately elected to try to bring into focus the good and at the same time bury the bad.

    And I feel that to be a worthwhile exercise, because I felt a little bit saddened that people hadn’t got as much enjoyment out of it as they’d hoped/expected, given their previous posts in other threads.

    I recognise that in doing so, I am glossing over flaws inherent in the narrative; but I’m not trying to say that they don’t exist, I’m trying to say that on the whole, they’re maybe not that important, that by (consciously) de-emphasising them, one could glean more enjoyment from the comic.

    I further recognise that by doing so, I’m failing as a critic. I’m ok with that. I’m not really attempting to critique. I leave that to others who would be better at it than I would.

    In my initial post to you, Marc, I unfairly projected a whole load of frustrations onto you, based on the phrase “need to acknowledge”; elsewhere on the web, when one does “acknowledge” a fault in the narrative, the conclusion tends to be “Ha! So, you admit it was ireedemably flawed, and worthless from start to finish, then, eh? eh?”. It was a poor and misjudged post, which should have been subjected to a clearminded re-read before submitting, and Zom was quite right to elbow me in the ribs for it.

    I’m not, despite appearances and what I’ve said earlier on, trying to say that the flaws do not exist, or are not worth bringing up and discussing.

    I’m attempting (poorly) to articulate that I don’t feel that there is a obligation, if one is not critiquing and/or defending, to acknowledge these flaws, as I feel that if I personally acknowledged them, it would be ascribing to them more importance than I feel they warrant – to me.

  61. Andy G Says:

    “Good comics. Being better than Secret Invasion or Atlantis Attacks doesn’t count for much in my book. But this is a bit beside the point; I didn’t think I was making comparative arguments, just evaluative ones.”

    I’m not sure I agree that it’s besides the point. For one “good comics” is a bit vague, isn’t it? I don’t know what you would consider good comics, but there has to be some kind of context, no? Final Crisis not as good as Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo/Maus/Watchmen or whatever doesn’t sound like it’s adding much to any discussion, any more than saying the latest Jilly Cooper novel isn’t as good as War & Peace. It isn’t, and they aren’t, but what purpose does stating that serve?

    I’d argue that FC is the finest company wide summer blockbuster comic book ever made, a title that’s unlikely to be challenged anytime soon, and if you don’t agree (I suspect one or two people don’t) I’d prefer discussion along the lines of what do we expect from these things anyway?

  62. Zom Says:

    I’d argue that FC is the finest company wide summer blockbuster comic book ever made

    You would?

    I think if there’s one thing most of us can agree on it’s that FC wasn’t a particularly good crossover event. It failed in all sorts of ways on that score.

    What do people think of the Comics Bulletin review?

  63. Andy G Says:

    “It failed in all sorts of ways on that score”

    Wow really? But you’re asking us to move on, fair enough. I liked the reviews, refreshing reading a critique of the art from someone who sounds like they actually understand art. More would be lovely.

  64. Zom Says:

    No, I’m not asking you to move on. I don’t get to do that in any official capacity unless everyone starts writing horrible racist invective or similar – this is communal space.

    In what ways do you think it worked as an event comic?

  65. Zom Says:

    …Beyond that you think it worked on an artistic level, I mean

  66. Neon Snake Says:

    I thought it worked very well as a culmination of Morrison’s DC work/the various Crisis stories/Kirby’s 4th World.

    It brings together the initial outing into the importance of “story” that Animal Man started, the Earth as cradle of superheroes from his JLA, and the dawning of Kirby’s 5th World, and the end of the Crisis stories Monitors, of course.

    As an event, I think it’s the biggest (arguably), in that Morrison has just ended the current DCU, the current age of superheroes, at the moment when Metron says that Nix has inaugurated the dawning of the 5th World (or whatever he says).

    On teh other hand, however, in complete fairness, I don’t think that this will be reflected in any way whatsoever in the actual titles. I cannot for one moment believe that eg. the Green Arrow and Black Canary title will be any different now that we’re into the 5th World. So, from that angle, maybe it’s a failure.

  67. Andy G Says:

    I thought it worked because it was a grand narrative featuring a cast of millions and it emotionally involved me as a reader. It was exciting, thrilling, puzzling, I had to read and re-read each issue to appreciate the nuances, it inspired me to dig out old Kirby stories and re-read them and enjoy the way FC actually added to the New God saga, it made me re-read old Morrison issues and read them as part of a massive DC saga. It made me excited about the upcoming Batman Morrison stuff, and it reminded me I buy too many superhero comics and most of them are dull illustrated movie scripts by comparison.

    It was certainly more self-contained than some (if not all) event comics, but that was its strength. I can see why Marvel use strategies like Secret Invasion, with its high concept that can play out on the whole line, but to what end? Does the completist feel privy to a vast complex narrative that threads together or just an over elaborated mess and an empty wallet? Graphs and plans and sketchbooks are essential for writing these buggers, but why show us the working as if its a maths exam?

    Are we really saying FC was O.K., but it was no Secret Wars? Or, it tried to reach Zero Hour’s lofty standards, close but no cigar? I think there has to be allowances for the editorial interference and fan demand with event comics. We can all be sad that the art was rushed, that the fill-ins didn’t quite meet the standard required, that we have little confidence in the ideas and storylines left dangling will be picked up by anyone other than Grant Morrison, but that’s the nature of the beast.

  68. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    I think it was – for me – an enormously pleasing and engaging grand-scale ‘event’, but as a tentpole, a base-incentiviser, as a crossover it was quite feasibly a Great Disaster.

  69. pillock Says:

    I don’t know, folks…I’ve liked three DC crossovers ever (four if you count Seven Soldiers), and no Marvel crossovers ever, at least not any that were billed as such…whatever it is, Final Crisis is already kicking the ass of Lifeform, Bloodlines, Inferno and The Evolutionary War, right? Seems to me it must make Fifth Best All-Time without even trying. And you know, I’m not even sure you can really count Seven Soldiers in a list like that, so that would make it Fourth pretty much right out of the gate. Basically FC is Canada at the Olympics, minimum.

    Don’t you think?

  70. Neon Snake Says:

    Well, I’m gleefully using it as the “end-point” in my Bookshelf of DC, and have dropped every other DC book that I read, on the basis that they probably won’t live up to the potential inherent in the end of Final Crisis.

    I’m presuming that this wasn’t what DC had in mind.

  71. Bots'wana Beast Says:

    No.

    No.

    But they don’t even fucking know the Hawks died, so it’s hard to sympathise. The only event I’d even bother comparing FC to, qualitatively, is DC 1,000,000. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a Marvel crossover either? X-tinction Agenda is notionally appealing in its inchoate horribleness, juxtaposing Bogdanove, Lee and Liefeld – umm, Dark Reignnno… Acts of Vengeance? I read an issue of Spidey, when I was 11, it was good.

    pillock, what other DC crossovers do you rate? Invasion? Uhh, Legends (was that even a thing?) At a guess.

  72. Zom Says:

    LOL, snake

  73. Neon Snake Says:

    DC 1,000,000 was a great work. I’ve not read the whole thing, just the trade that was collected, and some odd bits here and there of the other tie-ins, but it’s got possibly the greatest ending of any comic I’ve read.

  74. Thrilltone Says:

    Growing up, there were so many crossovers I loved, including the much-hated Spider-man Clone Saga, The Phalanx Covenant, Age of Apocalypse, Operation: Zero Tolerance, basically any comic that was on the shelf of the local John Menzies. In retrospect, it was just because they were American comics, not because they were actually any good, but who am I to shit all over my youthful indulgences? I did get a LOT of enjoyment out of them, though, reads and re-reads and copying the pictures and so forth.

    I have no idea if Final Crisis worked well as a crossover, as I only read the Morrison stuff, and that Greg Rucka one about Snapper Carr having bleak post-apocalyptic ‘relations’.

    As Neon Snake says, Final Crisis works well as a capstone to a whole bunch of DC stuff. But it didn’t make me rush to collect every single tie-in ever, and it has certainly not interested me in picking up any DC books I don’t already purchase. Hell, I’ll actually be buying less DC books in future, seeing as there’s not much Morrison on the horizon (I don’t only read him, but it seems his are about the only DC comics I pick up).

  75. Neon Snake Says:

    Even though it didn’t feature a teenaged single mother-of-one dying* from power-tool inflicted wounds, I still think it was better than War Games.

    *But it wasn’t her! It was someone who looked like her! And Batman (of course!) had his suspicions.

    Thanks, “Chuck.”

    But it’s true though isn’t it? You read the talk about Final Crisis: Aftermath, and the Super Young Team mini being “sleazy”, and how it’s the DCU, but it’s going to be “ugly”, and you think…really? Didn’t I just read a comic that ended with a fucking rabbit turning into a superpowered being? Does DC really know what they’re doing?

    And then you realise that actually, they do. They’re just writing for their demographic.

  76. Marc Says:

    Maybe this is a terrible mistake now that the thread’s moved in other, generally more congenial directions, but I wanted to answer a couple of Andy’s questions. Feel free to ignore.

    For one “good comics” is a bit vague, isn’t it? I don’t know what you would consider good comics, but there has to be some kind of context, no?

    Andy, this is a bit evasive–tossing out bromides like “there has to be some context” or making the critic’s tastes the issue can be easy ways of avoiding talking about the comics. I see questions like these as distractions that are indeed beside the point in a discussion about the successes or failures of Final Crisis. If everybody had to roll out their list of touchstones before venturing an opinion then no discussion would ever get anywhere.

    At any rate, I just wrapped up an almost five-year blog (okay, four plus some dregs) that went into a fair amount of detail on the comics I consider good. Quite a few of them are by Morrison. I hope you’ll understand if I don’t care to rehash it again; it’s all there at the link.

    I’d argue that FC is the finest company wide summer blockbuster comic book ever made, a title that’s unlikely to be challenged anytime soon, and if you don’t agree (I suspect one or two people don’t) I’d prefer discussion along the lines of what do we expect from these things anyway?

    Isn’t that just another way of talking about anything but Final Crisis? Because then any dissatisfaction is easily made a problem of reader expectations, not creative execution.

    Are we really saying FC was O.K., but it was no Secret Wars? Or, it tried to reach Zero Hour’s lofty standards, close but no cigar?

    Obviously, nobody here has made these ludicrous claims–a lot of your comments respond to ludicrous claims nobody here has made, Andy, like the equally nonexistent comparison of FC to Maus.

    But just as obviously, these are rhetorical questions that imply their inverse, operating on assumptions that of course FC is a lot more ambitious/better than Zero Hour or Secret Wars. Which I think it is, but that’s a false comparison, too, every bit as meaningless as saying FC isn’t as good as Maus. (Which would raise the question, at what? Use of anthropomorphic animals?) I bought this comic, I read this comic, I want to appreciate this comic for its own qualities and not its superiority to some worse comic I either didn’t buy or haven’t read in twenty years.

    If Final Crisis only looks good in comparison to these assembly-line crossovers–if we have to reach that far down to find a flattering comparison–then something has gone very wrong. I don’t recall anybody making such an allowance for Seven Soldiers, for example, or even DC One Million. We didn’t need to.

    I think there has to be allowances for the editorial interference and fan demand with event comics. We can all be sad that the art was rushed, that the fill-ins didn’t quite meet the standard required, that we have little confidence in the ideas and storylines left dangling will be picked up by anyone other than Grant Morrison, but that’s the nature of the beast.

    Thanks for telling us what we’re allowed to dislike in Final Crisis, Andy. The fill-ins weren’t quite up to snuff? Hard-hitting! The editors interfered? I knew it was all DiDio’s fault! And the fans! Those goddamned fans and their demands! And those other writers who won’t pick up the storylines that Morrison brilliantly left dangling for them at the end of his seven-part, 225-page (plus tie-ins) series! Everybody owns a piece of this.

    Except the guy who wrote it, apparently.

    Shifting the focus from the comic to the tastes of the critic, creating and responding to straw men, relocating the discussion to the more favorable and less discriminating ground of the summer crossover, contrasting the comic with vastly inferior works to make it look better, moving the blame to acceptable targets like the editors or readers or other writers… they all strike me as means of avoiding engagement with Morrison’s own contributions and the places where they fell short.

    More than that, they’re just not the type of conversation I need to be in anymore. In the end I don’t really care whether someone loves Final Crisis or loathes it, but I do care whether they’re willing to discuss it in good faith.

  77. Zom Says:

    To be fair, Marc, I think it’s quite possible that Andy didn’t know that he was arguing in bad faith. After spending years debating on a message board not so far from here, it’s been made abundantly clear to me time and time again that people can simply get caught up in being defensive.

  78. Duncan Says:

    He has, also, repeatedly – in differing fashions, and at length – discussed what many positives he did get from the book, without having to resort to lengthy fanwanks or anything of the sort but by direct engagement; I’m not entirely sure what it is you’re trying to achieve, Marc? Everyone has, however briefly, acknowledged Final Crisis has several flaws by now, have they not? (not the least of which is having an honest-to-goodness actual boring comic, Submit, in the middle which is – as an exercise?! I don’t know if that’d be better or worse, probably the latter – guilty of pretty much every sin Morrison ascribes to his peers in the game.) I don’t think it’s wholly unfair either to believe the status of FC as an ‘event’ comic does indeed have manifold distortionate effects on its critical reception.

    Clearly you’ve found these flaws so egregious as to torpedo the piece, whilst occasionally acknowledging positives, in your as-always hard-to-fault article, and we’ve done the opposite. Beyond that, it’s just pretty much an impasse, isn’t it? I don’t see anybody getting to Marlo* their way out.

    *i.e. “You want it to be one way/You want it to be one way/But it’s the other way.”

  79. Zom Says:

    I think what Marc’s trying to achieve is a conversation where he doesn’t feel that his criticisms are being pushed to one side by unethical arguments, which is fair enough.

    Andy, please note that I’m not calling YOU unethical, just that you seem to be attempting to frame the conversation in ways (listed by Marc above) which make certain kinds of counter arguments impossible or awkward

  80. Andy G Says:

    “Andy, please note that I’m not calling YOU unethical”

    Cool, ’cause thems fightin’ words were I come from :)

    Marc, I was just trying to open up the context of the discussion to crossover/events comics in general because I thought it would be useful to compare with reactions to FC. Is an event comic successful if it stands up on it’s own as a hermetic narrative or does there always have to be concessions? Is it a success if it inspires fellow creators/ launches numerous successful lines? That sort of thing. I get the impression I’ve wound you up a bit which was never my intention, I was just enjoying intelligent discussion with someone who didn’t enjoy FC, which is damn near impossible anywhere else in the worldwide web :)

    “Basically FC is Canada at the Olympics, minimum”

    FC is the TotalNetworkSolutions of the Welsh Soccer League.

    And for all my enthusiasm for FC, I’ve now dropped every DC comic I get (and added a couple of Marvel), this from someone daft enough to buy every One Year Later issue.

  81. pillock Says:

    Shit, I forgot DC One Million…that was good. Forgot about Legends too, which I quite liked — it was inoffensive, anyway.

    But for me it’s CoIE, Invasion!, and Millenium. Many, many people hate Millenium for reasons I can’t really understand…and that’s fine, but just look at the scale of it, the organization! Even someone who (mystifyingly) hated it would have to admit it was a hell of an undertaking.

    Crisis was, well, DC’s one-and-only genuine cosmological Event…it’s got many things wrong with it, but it did matter, and it spawned many interesting ways to interpret its “universe”. Invasion! I just really liked, period.

    The rest are all total crap! Ha! My Lord, they’re such shit comics, these things! It really is appalling.

  82. Andy G Says:

    Very generous to include Millennium, the event comic that brought us the New Guardians, but there was a pleasing organisational quality to these early ones:

    the way Legends crossovers were listed as chapters, giving you a clear order to collect and read your comics, and it kick started the Justice League, Suicide Squad and the new Wonder Woman. There’s a blog entry to be written about Byrne and Morrison, I think it’s fascinating they’ve both taken their love for Kirby and spun off in completely different, downright confrontational directions. I’m picturing a Jeffrey Archer Door stopper: Two sons, who loved their father but hated each other. Watch them battle for their father’s legacy! Legend’s Byrne’s version of a New Gods cross over (he does a really crappy one a decade and a half later doesn’t he? Wave something?) and I liked it, clean Byrne art, a broad storyline that was pretty successfully filtered into the tie-ins, but maybe a bit dated and dull by today’s standards.

    Millennium was impressive with its weeklies and corresponding tie-ins, which all came out on time as I recall. It even had one week where Batman, Captain Atom, The Spectre and Suicide Squad told the story of the same episode from their four respective perspectives, which worked pretty well. And the Gnort issue of JLI was hilarious! The central story was a little flat and pointless, and too centred around Green Lantern (in his dull pre-GEOFF JOHNS! incarnation). Nice Ian Gibson inks though.

    Invasion was big and chunky with loads of weird sci-fi characters nicely held together with sharp script & plotting, able to exist in its own right as well as spin off nicely into tie-ins. I’ve never been mad keen on McFarlane’s stylised approach, but it’s less offensive to me here than it gets later in his career. And too much Snapper Carr.

    Armageddon was a nice idea – annuals only, a big whoisit? but the vision of the future is so DULL (it looked dated about a month after release) and the big reveal gets cocked up by early tinternet rumour. Is this where it all starts to go wrong? Damn you internet!

    Marvel, in my humble, have never done a decent event comic.

  83. buttsex Says:

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