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Final Crisis #3
From: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: J.G. Jones
Color: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
Final Crisis has been a tricky beast so far. Expectations for the first issue were so bogglingly high that it probably blunted the issue’s effectiveness. You may recall that I was lukewarm on it, though I thought that it was better upon a second reading. Similarly, I thought that issue #2 was better, but I was struck at the seeming . . . choppiness of the story. Too much of it seemed to be formed of incomplete episodes, sketches of thought the feed into other stories published elsewhere or moments seem only dimly connected. Now, we’re at issue #3. It’s the issue where, according to interviews with Morrison and Jones, that business was scheduled to pick up. Dan Didio, at a Wizard World Chicago panel that I happened to cover, also noted “You’ll see how evil wins at the end of issue #3.” By the measure of those promises, how does it do?
I’d say that it does okay. Not great, but okay. I think that I’ve battened my fundamental problem with Final Crisis down to two intrinsic levels, two real points of comparison. One is the question, “Does it live up to Morrison’s JLA?” and “How is it in the face of the original Crisis?” Elements reminiscent of both of those books play heavily into this issue, so I think that it’s a fair basis. One of the things that I loved about Morrison’s JLA was that he had great ideas bursting like fireworks all over the place. A problem here is that we’ve seen a number of these ideas already in that very JLA run. Consider: a possible future where Darkseid conquers all, the rallying of the forces of Earth, minor heroes turning out to play a major role, a confederation of villains taking down heroes, even Kamandi’s line at the end of issue #1 echoes the sentiments of the Glimmer . . . all of the major beats play almost exactly like “World War III” (Morrison’s JLA arc, not the 52 addition).
In reference to the original Crisis, the major point seems to rest with clarity. The original Crisis was filled to bursting with characters. It was written in episodic fashion. Every page was crammed with stuff. But it was actually a very linear read. This issue attempts to echo some of the elements, but it never quite comes off. The gathering of heroes is meant to be impressive, but the full-page shot of the usual “hey, it’s a big fight so let’s together” suspects seems fairly uninspired. I also think that the layouts of pages 2 and 3 are needlessly confusing.
I did like the Sonny Sumo/Mr. Miracle/Super Young Team scene, but it almost seems like it belongs in another book at this point. I really, really have a problem with Mary Marvel as a casual murderer; that’s a character interpretation that’s gone completely off the rails. The end of the issue does indeed get to the “evil wins” point, but the execution of the final plan is very anti-climactic, and the device with the two characters landing in the Darkseid-conquered future again points back to JLA-WW3.
I want to like Final Crisis. Hell, I want to love Final Crisis. My primary difficulties with it: Morrison seems to be repeating himself, and the overall lack of “Wow!” factor. I don’t hate it, but I have to say this: when you’re playing on a canvas this big and running dozens of tie-ins through and event, it has to be better than “just okay”.