It’s been a long time coming, but the Mindless Ones have at last vomited forth some thoughts on Final Crisis #7. And it turns out that we’ve got so much to say on the subject that this is but part 1 of a 2 part crikeysis extravaganza. So without further ado, let’s get on with the annocommentations…

Quick caveat before we go any further: I know the text below paints us as a bunch of Morrison fanatics but I think it’s worth pointing out that pretty much all of us have reservations about Final Crisis – it’s hard not to, to be honest. What we’ve decided to focus on, however, is all those things that we did like, find interesting, or that effected us positively, mainly because all of our negative criticisms have been well rehearsed elsewhere, and are, frankly, not as interesting to us as the other stuff.

Expect subjectivity!

Page 1

AMY: In some ways this first page sums up all we need to know about FC and what it’s about. We start off with doomsaying and ‘The end is nigh placards and finish up with Super-Obama, taking in Large Hadron Colliders and gravitons along the way. We have pretty good reasons for getting all doom and gloom at this stage in the game – global dimming, global warming, nuclear proliferation, depleted resources, economic meltdown, etc. – but, hey, we might prove superstring theory in a year or so and we’ve seen the inauguration of the first black president, so maybe there’s room to believe after all. Page 1 is all of our condensed fears and hopes crammed into 5 little panels. Very neat.

And now I’m going to explain something to you about superhero comics.

Superhero comics can and should be lots of things, but one thing they rarely are is SUPER. Sure, there’s room for action/adventure stories, suspense, grim ‘n’ gritty, romance, whatever – but if you’re setting out to write this summer’s new event comic, if, in essence, you’re attempting to get at the meat of what makes an entire universe tick and create some kind of modern myth, then you absolutely cannot neglect the ‘super’ part of the equation. It has to be front and centre. And definitely if you’re setting out to tell the tale of the FINAL CRISIS. Now I know this sort of appraisal is veering into cliche now, but Grant Morrison’s comic, whilst being a big ol’ mess, blah, blah, is just about the most insanely superheroic thing I’ve ever read. Ridiculous, history-defining events occur pretty much every other panel, and that’s what I want to see. Superheroes as metaphor for the impossible, the fantastic and everything that’s good in the world, not a thinly veiled attack on the comic fan’s neuroses. Alan Moore was staggeringly arrogant when he claimed Watchmen was the final nail in the coffin for superheroes, that no relevant or interesting things remained to be said in its wake. Yeah, right, mate – only if we get as cynical and reductive as we can be about the genre. Morrison, and Moore himself now, has disproved this bollocks time and time again, and I would argue Final Crisis 7 is just the latest nail in its coffin.

And if this comic is about dreams, wonder and primal superheroics, of course it has to be about Superman. Not just one superman, but every possible iteration of that pure, golden superangel we saw in Superman Beyond. Yep, FC is the story of the blazing “S” shield standing between us and the howling darkness. That’s what that close up on panel 5 means. What it’s always meant:

‘Beyond this point evil shall not pass!’

See evil bouncing off it, like bullets.

ZOM: So Brian Hibbs has a theory that goes like this: Dark Reign was planned by a bunch of guys that thought Obama was going to lose. I’ve been mulling over the same idea ever since the project and Obama’s victory collided in my mind. Yes there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world, yes the global economy is down the shitter, but Dark Reign is predicated upon the idea that totally unscrupulous, mendacious, manipulative, bad guys are in power, and that their power is to be greatly feared. Doesn’t really fit with the zeitgeist, eh?

Now here, this makes a lot more sense, a kick ass black president is gonna save the world (and contribute to saving the multiverse – I’ll leave all attempts at drawing spurious parallels to you, fair mindless reader). It’s all a bit over the top, but, hey, the Obama experience has at times felt just as heart-warmingly absurd. It’s not like he hasn’t been bound to the Superman myth before now, is it?

Anyway, has anyone noted – I suspect they probably have but I probably wasn’t paying attention – that cracked red skies look a lot like the interior of a womb? I’m sure someone must have mentioned that before now, we are talking about The Bleed after all.

Bobsy: It’s nice that the Last Son of Kenya’s got his Luthor (‘Courtney’) on the team in the Rahm Emanuel role (a name so good and Final Crisis-y it should belong to the super-analogue of Earth 2009). Always trying to be clever. Good also that the great military machine intelligence inside Washington is no more to be trusted than it was back in the Doom Patrol days.

The intersection between all my todays and all the whenevers of the DCU, is happening right here on this page – the lack of poetry in Spidey and Barry terrorist-fist-bumping (be a shame to lose that expression, no?) their way through some sad Chameleon caper becomes sadly apparent.

Pages 2-3

AMY: There’s a lot of talk about prismatic comics nowadays, but one of the things I think Final Crisis makes explicit, is that, potentially, it’s not simply an empty, tho’ altogether fun, exercise in post-modernism or an imaginative piling up of multiplicities, but also a celebration of pluralism and equality. That to non-white, non-heterosexual, non-whatever readers it might have a representational component – one that is full of charge and meaning, especially given the historic context in which this comic emerges and that it is explicitly referencing. I also feel that the new and inventive riffs Grant plays on familiar superpowers, like the super-tune Superman uses to blast Darkseid to kingdom come later on, and the fractured interplay of narrative realities that define this final chapter of the story, all in some way contribute to this feeling of new, other and autonomous worlds all rubbing shoulders and attempting to co-exist simultaneously within the overarching umbrella reality of the…ahem… *multiverse*. In and dramatic terms, doesn’t this just make the whole thing feel bigger? The DCU feels pretty small when it’s all just white blokes in pants knocking the crap out of each other.

And as is befitting a comic that aims to capture the throbbing core of superheoism, there’s lots of talk about ‘mythic time’, Argos and heroes cluttering up this two page spread. Here the superpeople aren’t even attempting to sound like *people* per-se and the text explicitly recognizes the kind of simple, primal, declarative dialogue of the comics of yesteryear as the secret language of the Gods.

I think the wonderhorn sums up something intrinsic to Morrison’s work as well. A visual reminder that his superbooks are more concerned with inspiration, awe, beauty – and all the rest of the stuff I go on about above – than they are with fighting. A lesser writer would’ve had it look like some kind of sonic weapon, but Grant and Mahnke go for the opposite approach. Aesthetically it inhabits some gorgeous cultural and historic hinterland, combining a kind of high-tech neo-classicism with the stained-glass jewelry of the Christian church and the elaborate, swirling arabesquery of Islamic design, and all of these elements combined lend it a timeless, legendary quality that, again, transcends partisanship and division, nodding to some kind of fundamental ur-religion and source of holiness from which all of our different belief systems, perhaps, sprang. It is intrinsically *about* non-violent conflict resolution. It’s about sharing a mutual space. It’s about shared human origins. It’s all built into its architecture.

ZOM: Fuck, look it’s all veiny – it’s ridiculously obvious. I’ll shut up about it.

Why is it that Morrison (and attendant artists) is the only writer who ever manages to make Wonder Woman seem magical. Those beautiful, swirling, invisible liquids, and the cursorily referenced “anti-war technology” bring more *wonder* to the character in one panel than the sum totality of Wonder Woman comics I’ve read by other writers. And then he, and the man Mahnke, goes and gives us the bloody Wonder Horn, which, as I’m sure you’re all aware, can’t fail but be blasting John Williams’s Superman theme across the multiverse.

It’s a horn. It calls Superman. All of them. Think about it. But just in case you can’t make the link.

Horns call for superman


BB: See, I was concluding – in the (correctly) implicit soundtrack… it sez in my Daily Record (not actually mine) that Nubia is a trib to Beyonce Knowles, the 21st century’s premier sex symbol; I had previously thought she looked more like lovely, lovely Michelle Obama – would you like to read my repository of Barack/Michelle slash, no alright – but then, no, there’s the horn fo’ sho’. And a mic. So, a singer lady – here is a Beyonce song with lots of horn, probably the best one. I think we’re back at – it seems an odd amount of time lingering on this one particular scenario, as we see later, from a practical point of view, but then – wasn’t this Crisis the metal crisis, the – please excuse this – rock of ages crisis, and now this countervibration of, I think, the funk. Are we back at Morrison & Afro-futurism, again? That post, my avowed favourite of ’08, just keeps giving; do read, if you’ve not already. Countervibratory because… this was the metal, the emo event comic, death- and misery-obsessed. [A short caveat about funk, because it feels necessary: growing up, as a teen, listening to not insignificant amounts of abrasive guitar music, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers singlehandedly ruined the reputation of the very notion for me – even now, I listen to the new TV on the Radio album, my favourite last year ultimately and wonder “am I liking this? It is kind of funk music, you know.”]

Everyone heard something different.

The first three pages are also just lovely if, like me, you invested an evergrowing undeniably unhealthy amount of time and personal stake in 2008 following an election in another country which you had no direct sway whatsoever in. A little bit special for me, particularly, given I’d tried and failed and given up as perhaps a little imbalanced to write a blog entry on how Barry O: isn’t he a bit like Superman, really? Super’bam. The very basic precis is here, if you want to check the datestamps. Marc Singer is a lot more sensible than I am.

I was writing it up on election night, November 4, and it lost to the drama and absorption at about 2.00-2.30am UK time; wish I’d bloody done it now, obvs. Here is a picture I was focusing rather a lot on, an awful, lurid bloody mantra, this is how it will feel in the advent of an Obama defeat:


Tell yourself. There’s always hope.

Funny that; but then, I was of a mindset that here was an election with a chance to radically, radically alter the cultural sphere (possibly they all are? Maybe not winning second-term bids) and that it was predicate to really any other developments “in the world”, so to speak.

Bobsy: One of the many parts you can hear booming through the Gjallahorn-of-Plenty is the flourish of Doug Mahnke arriving in time to make the Final Crisis happen. Everything on this page is pure splendour, from the alarming bulges on Superman’s chest and…elsewhere, to the way the mike flex carries us on to the next panel in the sequence, and the arrival of the Ultima Thule like a sperm breaching the wall of the ovum…

Page 4

ZOM: Annnnd all the gravitas is sucked out like air escaping from a balloon ripped open by my son’s incisors (this happens often in our household, and with every bang comes fresh tears). The dissonance at work here is just fantastic, underscored hilariously by that look between Nubia and Obama Superman.

Which brings me to a more central point. Grant has described Final Crisis as, in part, an attempt to capture the overall feel of the DCU, with all its demented incongruities and dissonances. I appreciate that some fans might have trouble with the Question, hard bitten city cop Montoya, flying around the multiverse in the Ultima Thule in the company of hundreds of alternative supermen, but to my mind you simply couldn’t do a better job of capturing the wonderful absurdity of the DCU. This isn’t the Marvel Universe, which, even before the current continuity and coherence prizing strategy was put in place, had long been possessed of something approaching homogeneity. The DCU is a space that’s always been chock full of jarring genre shifts and tonal inconsistencies, “imaginary” stories and, in recognition of this state of affairs, the occasional fruitless attempt to bind the whole messy thing together. The DCU spins in a strange super position between the polar axis of Superman and Vigilante, Batman Black and White and Ambush Bug, resurrection and women in refrigerators, Morrison and Simone, horror and humour. That it should all describe one place, one history is a completely ridiculous idea – the best it can ever hope to do is fake it, is to make you forget for five minutes that its about the weirdest fictional construction out there*. In this small moment, Grant is encouraging us to reflect on that fact for a couple of seconds, and have a good natured chuckle. It’s totally barmy, yes, but we’re being asked to go with it. Enjoy it for the mad pile of steaming berserkness that it is.

Just like our living breathing real world. Realism, eh? It ain’t what it used to be!

*It seems to me that much of Geoff John’s success is tied to his ability to convince readers that the DCU is a smooth, shiny, sexy topography. That’s the essence of continuity porn

Strikes me that the point here (and by here I mean in this panel and in Final Crisis as a whole) is more to do with aesthetic appreciation, to do with how the DCU looks and feels, than argumentation. GM’s not giving the lie to continuity, or trying to expose the weaknesses of the four colour DC enterprise – he’s celebrating multiplicity. Reveling in the awkwardness and the imagination that lies at its foundation.

AMY: “Enjoy our world for mad, steaming pile of berserkness it is.”

But Montoya isn’t just commenting on the dementedness of multiversalism, but, at a meta-level, this is obviously a highlighting of racial issues also – ‘they all look the same’, etc, and a comic reminder that depending on whose looking at it, our language can be read in a variety of different ways. Contexts, understandings and mileages vary. I mean, how dare Montoya suggest that anyone would have a problem telling the difference between superpeople? Absurd, isn’t it?

Bobsy: See, for me, who yet likes to think myself sympathetic and loyal and attuned to the direct currents of the various superhero universes, it’s easy to get stuck in old grooves, to fail to keep up. It happens with comic-book characters as much as music trends, which is to say: to me, Renee Montoya is just some Batman back-up cop, wearily deflecting sleazy comments from Harvey Bullock, and never a star in her own right.

All that changes with this panel, where she stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of the best of all the best, and looks damn elegant while doing it. Classic costume right there, fedora, Crimson Avenger lines, Pierrot buttons, foul mouth. It would have been sexier if she’d had no face (fuck off for just a minute Dr. Freud – I prefer Clement) but this comic isn’t about masks, it’s about capes.

Page 5

AMY: This is just one of those conceits Grant couldn’t resist, isn’t it? As the universe folds down into the singularity, as we approach of core of the DCU, so do the different watchtowers and super-bases – the origin story of the linear men’s fortress perhaps? It’s just such a glorious, poetic idea, not just good common sense from a defensive, scientific and archeological point of view.

The whole page is the shit, actually. You can just feel the cosmic winds blowing out there on that balcony – the electric crackle and fizz of the hostile forces outwith the defensive shields attempting to bite their way through. I’m sold on the idea that this is it – we’re completely adrift down the sinkhole at the bottom of the universe, and I totally believe in our guardians, eyes blazing in the burning cold night of eternity….

But, y’know, I’d rather read a really well crafted Paul Dini comic.


BB: Initially reading this, and the following few pages – Starman, Frankenstein, Power Girl and obscurist’s favourite Iman on the last battlements of existence of the combinant Watchtower… things had looked to be going so well, too. It’s a Crisis, so massive shit could go down – it really did appear as if all was to be lost, suddenly.

ZOM: As this page is the point where we dive into the depths of the story this seems like the best time to get something off my chest: people have complained, I have complained, that this issue verges at times on incomprehensibility, certainly on a first read through at any rate – but there’s something interesting about the difficulty I’ve faced when attempting to contextualize some of the plot. The net affect is an unusual, and rather intense foregrounding of just about everything in the book, the consequence being that everything feels important, everything takes on a grandeur, everything is completely necessary and irreducibly valuable. It’s like we’re looking at the intercises on one of those hyper crystals Morrison’s so keen on. I know, I sound like a half mad apologist, and for the record I’m pretty sure this effect isn’t intentional, despite it’s obvious ties to the channel zapping technique employed by GM, but as we like to merge the traditional critical approach with good old subjective experience around here, I feel justified in saying that’s how it worked for me.

Bobsy: The composite Watchtower makes me like my Enochian inference from last isue a lot more. Amy’s right – the recall of the Linear Men’s hangout from DC1M is strongest – the memorable line in that about the last electron in the universe about to lose its last charge of meaning to the endless entropy – the entropy has Darkseid’s name now.

The stormcloud electrophantoms are being deterred by eye beams from Power Girl and Iman, but just a baleful glare from our modern Promethean. He’s, like, sooo A-list right now – Welcome Back, Frank.

Pages 6-8

BB: What I particularly like about the narration of this issue, apart from the simple underused multiple narrators strand, is that i) three of the narrators are women and ii) that this is a fundamental role, really, on the meta-reading – in the telling of tales of valour, imagination, wonder, strength and kindness they literally unmake Darkseid’s bad world and Vanishing Point. Here are the cog-turnings of the Miracle Machine.

ZOM: I wish I didn’t have to fanwank away that Wonder Woman mask.

Ah, the giant penny, the bane of all serious Batman fans the world over. How angry they must be that Grant decided that it should be front and centre at this particular moment – singled out as the heart of the Bat mythos. Mind you, they also blast the corpse of Batman, night shrouded vigilante, into the depths of multiversal space, so start as you mean to go on I suppose.

Again, though, I come to a more important point about the miniseries. Whilst debating the merits of Final Crisis with Daily Pop over at Andrew Hickey’s site, my attention was drawn to the fact that in order to enjoy much of the event, you need to be willing to give yourself over to Grant Morrison’s ideas about how many of the DCU’s characters, and their attendant mythologies, should be written. In our discussion the case in point was Hawkman (if you should read this DP, I’d like to go on record as having softened my stance somewhat on the portrayal of the bewinged one), but it’s true enough to say that that was but one example out of a possible multitude. To get back to this page for a second, arguably the most contentious take has been Morrison’s gun-toting Dark Knight – understandably this was simply too much for some of the audience, after all wasn’t it Morrison who described the JLA as “impossibly moral”? Heroes capable of making choices that would be inconceivable to the rest of us. The point being that if Batman has got the god of evil in his sights he doesn’t pull the trigger, because he made an oath – with Batman there’s always another way. And that’s before you get into the debate about whether the Caped Crusader* should even appear in an event like this. Of course, the obvious response is that the Batman who’s been built in the pages of the Morrison’s batbook wouldn’t think twice about blasting chunks out of Darkseid, which brings us back to the original point: you have to be willing to immerse yourself in GM’s private DCU.

*I would argue that the Caped Crusader, as distinct from the Dark Knight, needs to make a come-back, and that events like this are as much his home as the streets of Gotham. Give me the Caped Crusader! Now!

Unreasonable? No, I don’t think so – this is what Morrison does, what he’s known for. He takes characters and squeezes out the bits that he doesn’t like and he’s become hugely popular off the back of this approach. Many, many of us think he that he leaves characters improved and reinvigorated, but we also recognise that his style is idiosyncratic, personal, and not easily duplicated by others. And, I think, it’s this idiosyncrasy that troubles some fans. We’re being invited into GM’s world – a place where I’m more than happy to go to, idiosyncratic visions are the ones I like best – which in some ways is necessarily at odds with the expectations of a lot of fans when they shell out for a global crossover event. They want to see the status quo, not the inside of Morrison’s brain. I, however, will go with the brain eight times out of ten.

BB: Here is my fanwank: Wonder Woman crushes the mask (p.21) after telling the story to the children, after the rocket has shot off. It’s difficult to use terms like ‘present’ because time is seriously wonky in this book – I still haven’t worked bits out, really. But the jissom of fandom is in and on me now, and I have to wonder – is Darkseid, rather than admitting a flaw because Darkseid is perfect – “He would have resisted longer than I wished!” Is Darkseid conceding really that Batman did beat him – twice, like a drum – and he was indeed The Black Glove? The I-Ching did seem to think otherwise.

AMY: Batman’s allowed to take Darkseid’s ‘life’ for the same reason Superman can take Mandrakk’s. HE’S NOT LIFE. He’s ANTI-LIFE. God, this isn’t rocket science. He’s a horrible story-virus about nullification that’s managed to hijack an old man. This is not the same as killing the Joker.

And when Darkseid intersected with the material world, he was always going to bite it anyway – Batman’s just the hand of God – because, basically, here he becomes what he represents. And what he represents is the yawning void. The black hole where his heart was.

Anyway, more wonderful folding down. And now from super-bases to super-archeology. All the magic weapons, mementos and totems can be found inside. Whole histories, runs and continuities crammed into the ultimate museum. All of it slowly crushing down and collapsing into Superman, many pages hence, alone in the dark, ready to explode again into the strangeness and charm of the DCU.

Look, I’ll explain something about why Grant’s writing is so popular. It’s not just because of how quirky it is, but because, okay, if you like the Daily Planet’s just a newspaper Clark Kent works for, but isn’t it so much better to understand it as enjoying as much right to a place within the hallowed satellite of the legion of legions as any Gamma Gong – that it is, in essence, a super-paper, and Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen super-reporters, as much a part of the DC pantheon as anything and anyone else? There’s something deeply respectful and beautiful about this. These pages encapsulate the idea that the Daily Planet is precisely what it says on the tin – the voice of this ball of rock, and the diary of humanity itself. In the end, even a bloody newspaper is permitted entrance to this archetypal, deific space, and that’s exactly as it should be.

I should also add that as we’re venturing into the heart of the superman, it makes thematic sense that FC should incorporate its own revised retelling of the superman origin myth, but this time with the perfected human rocketed into the beyond.

Bobsy: These pages are still all overture. The rocket is the whole issue/series/multiverse in microcosm. The final caption on p7 gives away the ending.

Page 8

AMY: At the end of the road for humanity, there’s an acute symbolic resonance built into the image of superman cradling the body of the aforementioned perfected man.

Bobsy: Only now do we begin proper, where we left off last issue. The look on Soup’s face is great, the rage and grief quickly settling into his usual steely resolve. Muscley necks rule.

This was the bit, first read between karaoke bellows, cucumber sandwiches and a rising surge of skunk’n’scrumpy, where this issue really started to sing out. You know how Superman’s got his  golden sunny future stretching ahead, his universal legacy being a gradual fulfilment of his normal human desire to make everyone just a bit more like himself – all that? How horrid that it could be Just More Darkseid. Not the doubtful, reflective Darkseid of The Hunger Dogs either – this is a bleeding, calipered Darkseid in excelsis, claiming Superman’s mantle as his own all along, through racking coughs of laughter.. That put the shits right up and no mistake, had to put the issue down because I felt I might be becoming Darkseid, a feeling reinforced by the fact that I was being called away to sing Nickelback…

Page 9

AMY: Just a quick thing, but of course Darkseid is incubated by conflict.

Bobsy: Don’t do it, Superman!

This is the essential difference between the two DC hemispheres of superherodom: when Batman broke his vow last issue, it was a victory – to throw away one’s core virtue when faced with the utimate evil is the right thing for a human to do, and by doing so he won. The ultimate price was paid for it, but with satisfaction, foreknowledge and acceptance of the consequences, sweetened yet by the adult understanding that he’d closed the circle on his own life. It was worth it – to fail to shoot Evil when you’ve got the chance wouldn’t just be morally remiss, but also viscerally irresistible for anyone who, when all’s said and done, is just a human being.

Superman doesn’t have that luxury – in the face of this cosmic threat, to break his vow and throttle poor Dan Turpin (+/- 3 billion souls), who tried so hard to save us all, would have been an unbearable defeat. If we’re going to lose to Darkseid, bette to lose pure. These are the impossible ethics that only Superman can be expected to uphold. He doesn’t disappoint, and his spirit demonstrates that the core difference between Man and Superman isn’t a negation of compassion, like Julius Evola and certain interpreters of Freddy Nitzsch would have you believe – it is an abundance of compassion.

Page 10

Bobsy: The Black Racer only kills New Gods, right? Are the Flashes just the road he travelled to reach Orion and Darkseid? One thing is clear from this page: he’s gaining onus.

Pages 11-13

ZOM: Why have Aquaman in this scene? Why just jam him in there between the moment when the Black Racer bears down on Darkseid and the Omega Sanctions blaze into his black soul? Because you can! This issue is built from delirious heroic moments, and poor old Aquaman’s been out in the cold for far too long. By wedging his one panel return against the brightest victory in the entire book, he gets to share in some of the moment’s red and gold glory. These moments aren’t bound together by narrative logic, by the left-brained god, Plot – they’re bound together by thematic resonance and poetic license.

Nice touch with he veiny, cracked, blue aquadome an’ all. Final Crisis at the seaside!

BB: It’s also King Arthur’s messianic return, here at the Omega Point, “the Terminal Moment/aneverending instant” – there’s something appealing and fitting then about the prospect that Darkseid has dug out the Radion bullet to shoot Orion at this point, in order for Batman to recover it in #2 in order – in #6 – to shoot Darkseid who dug out the Radion bullet, etc. ad infinitum, if it need be said.

AMY: Oh, this is nice.

I was wondering how Morrison would juggle all the disparate heroic endings he had in play at the end of #6, and this really is effortless. The black hole that is Darkseid is devouring him and death is racing in his direction. He’s dying. Remember we’re in mythic space now and the Flashes are just completing the spell. And for those of you wondering why the Black Racer doesn’t get straight back on Barry and co.’s trail after he’s finished with the devil-god, well, have you ever stopped to consider that his trajectory was in the direction of Darkseid all along and the Flashes were just the *event* that led him there.

Another thing I like about this page, and I admit it’s far more wanky, is that it confirms the Omega Effect as not simply a weapon employed by Darkseid, but the very slope along which death skis. It’s the Wheel of Samsara and the Black Racer’s gliding across its rim.

Bobsy: King Arthur vs. the Deep 666. Turpin is freed on this page, left to deal with his trauma and regret, and there is a shift as a second movement begins. The camelot shit is a tonal signifier of this next reflective passage, the sweet respite before the next phase of apocalypse gears up – the elegaic, end of an era feel that weeps from the pages of Mallory. (You could be well wanky and maybe flag up how this use of the most famous British version of the Grail cycle contrasts with the more ‘avin it, earlier mainland Euro versions of same that we saw in 7Soldiers 1, but you won’t get it from me.)

Page 14

BB: Everyone heard something different.

Look, it’s a world – a multiverse – of deus ex machinae, piling up on one another: that’s just an empirical statement of the matter of the DC Univere, really. So, this is the trump card.

Bobsy: Think, Superman! Work! Use your left brain! Red Devil’s line here is key – cf. the giant penny in the trophy room a few pages ago, and Most Sexcellent SuperBat’s line in a couple pages time.

Page 15

ZOM: Some of you out there probably hate the justifiers reliance on Uzis and flamethrowers. For serious, get it right Morrison! How the fuck are uzis and flamethrowers supposed to hurt invulnerable superheroes? And, for shitsake, these guys are financed and equipped by blimin’ space gods possessed of super-technology! Get with the bloody programme!

Except that having them carry real weapons, weapons which are actually used to kill and harm real human human beings is much nastier, much dingier and much more in tune with the themes at work in Final Crisis than any number of lazer gun toting evil robots. It’s a contest between the mundanity and magic, and while bullets can’t penetrate superflesh, the horrible banality embodied by fully automatic weaponry certainly can.

Bobsy: I love the Justifiers. Their weapons are tools.They’re good at their jobs, and love their work.

Page 16

AMY: If there’s been a better line than ‘Let me show you what money unleashed can do’ in any comic ever, I want to know about it. Most Excellent Superbat elevates cash from the mud of the materialistic and mammonistic to the level of pure, unbridled imagination. Money can make you a superhero, it doesn’t just have to be about cars and cribs. Unless we’re talking about supermanvans that is.

ZOM: And to go back to those fully automatic weapons for a second, contrast what you could be spending money on – photonic battle armour – with all that black gun-metal. TBH, I’m not sure if Morrison thought about this too much – it’s an unusual message to find in one of his comics – the idea that money can be profoundly transformative. Sure enough, millions of capitalists the world over cleave to that way of thinking, but I’m surprised to see it in a Morrison book. Perhaps I shouldn’t be.

Oh, and “we rule” carries with it as smidgeon of character revelation, a spot of contemporary vernacular, and a rather obvious double meaning.

Bobsy: The money thing – it’s not entirely new in Morrison’s work, it’s Mason Lang isn’t it? The other Invissies had superpowers like magic, kungfu, swearing – his was money, and his journey was about learning to get comfy with his powers. It’s a cute idea: money, the species’ (grudgingly) agreed-upon symbolic condensate of work, time, innovation and effort, but liberated from all the bad shit and put towards making the laser-besuited utopia we all want to be in. I’d be interested to know how Superbat got his tailoring just so while avoiding stuff like worker exploitation, early mornings, industrial pollution, the monkey power-politics of hierarchies and avarice, the social problems caused by financial inequality etc., but looking for the practical answer to all the world’s problems in a superhero comic is probably not the most sensible idea, would it were otherwise. (Never stopped us before.)

Here ends part 1 of our mindless annocommentations.

Check back in a couple of days for part 2.


xxxore we

Part 2 can be found here.

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