It Came from the Longboxes

This week’s book is relatively new. I pulled Final Crisis #4. On the whole, I liked this Event; the art by Jones and company was superb. Morrison was at the peak his of power as a writer as he brings in most of King Kirby’s work at DC. The two missing pieces are Etrigan and Sandman II.

#4 was probably the strongest single issue: evil wins. We see exactly how it happens, and moreso than any other “crisis,” the events here seem apocalyptic and hopeless.

What really sold this run for me is that for the first time in my reading memory, Darkseid was a true god-level threat. Until this series…even counting “Rock of Ages” in JLA… Darkseid was written as just another big and powerful punching bag for Superman. This guy is supposed to be a god and the embodiment of evil? Why does he spend his time getting his ass kicked by Superman? Why do his schemes seem so small and petty? The use of the Anti-life Equation and the chess set up here showed thought and true evil.

Rereading it, I got a chance to see how this set up worked. The poetry of it all brings these events from the good to the great. From hearing Turpin’s struggle against Darkseid to seeing the death of Mr. Miracle and “freedom,” you couldn’t change a single word without losing something.

I’m tempted to reread the whole 7 issues now, but I’m still pretty sure 4 will remain the strongest.

Where’s my flying car?

A fair warning before you read. This post falls squarely and unashamedly into the category of Grumpy Old Man Pants. From here on, any grumpy posts I make will be preceded by the following image.

Universal symbol of grumpy-old-manery ahead.

Remember back in 2007? Everybody was talking about Final Crisis. This was DC’s next event

The stakes are high here guys, and Evil wins.

There are going to be some big changes in the status quo of the DCU. We’ll be exploring the consequences of this one for the foreseeable future.

My personal favorite: Good will have to work harder to win because the bad guys will have an upper hand.

This was the hype we read on news sites and heard at convention panels. Three years later in the here and now? Not so much.

Sure Batman’s dead, but odds were pretty good that Bruce Wayne wasn’t going to be wearing the cowl when that Morrison arc ended. Martian Manhunter was murdered you say? Isn’t that hardcore? that was evil. Right. WAS evil. The aftermath has been lackluster (looking at you Run! and JL: Cry for Justice) Ah! Superman’s gone, yeah that’s a change…and? If you’re not reading it, that’s got nothing to do with FC. The aftermath of FC, the exploration of the consequences: Blackest Night, an unrelated event affecting only half of the DC titles.

In thinking about this lack of follow-up, this is the real problem in a mindset of constant Event writing. The companies have rightly pointed out that the argument of hitting the pocket book is faulty. Readers vote with their wallets is the common expression. Instead, we readers/ fans should be complaining that it is lazy story writing. As DC readers, in the last ten years, we’ve been mostly cheated out of the follow up/ aftermath. Evil gets the upper hand, heroes rally, good is victorious, everything is 90 – 100% back the way it was: this is the formula for Crises, Wars, Nights, and other events. The last time DC really got it right was the original Crisis. It was a full generation before we saw Barry Allen again. DC streamlined it’s continuity, and Superman and Wonder Woman were completely revamped.

I’ve been focusing on DC, but Marvel isn’t much better. Civil War should have been bigger and there should have been more serious lasting changes.  Instead it’s right into the Skrull Invasion with the only big change being the 50 States Initiative covered only in Avengers: Initiative. To Marvel’s credit there is more of a common thread between the Event of Invasion and the semi-event/ tone change of Dark Reign.

Again, you can argue that readers will voice their displeasure with their wallets. This isn’t entirely fair or true. If you’re an X-men fan and you’re bombarded with events and crossovers ad nausea, it’s a long hard decision to drop the books and titles. A reader/ fan is invested in characters and the collection of the books. The big companies take advantage of this collection mentality when crossovers and events are the only game in town. Bad form gentlemen, bad form.

Weird where a thought can take you. The business about FC was originally intended to springboard into a discussion about evil winning and how no one’s ever done it well.

ADDENDUM: My statement about it being lazy writing is unfair to writers. There should also be a comment about lazy editors. Would you please reread that sentence and insert the phrase “and lazy, cowering editors?”