Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
I can’t believe I didn’t review this at the time – BC
Final Crisis #4, the return from the break (designed to let it sink in that evil has “won”), shows us a world where evil may have won, but the remaining superheroes continue to soldier on! Hope is not gone yet, and we see the resistance while we also see the last struggles of Dan Turpin against Darkseid.
While some of this issue is devoted to the actual mechanics of the Anti-Life Equation taking over most of Earth last issue, mostly it shows the remaining superheroes holed up in a few final strongholds, warding off the invasion of the brainwashed superheroes and supervillains who have succumb to the Anti-Life Equation.
Meanwhile, while the superheroes soldier on, Darkseid is attempting to finally wrest control of Dan Turpin’s body, and we are treated to Turpin’s thoughts as this goes on.
JG Jones handles Turpin as well as the scenes with the two Flashs, Barry and Wally (who leaped into the “present” last issue), while Carlos Pacheco deals with the other superhero scenes.
Jones’ scenes tend to be the more thoughtful scenes, while Pacheco does the more standard heroic scenes, but both men do a good job with what they are given, and remarkably, for this issue at least, the artistic changes were handled crisply and without major distractions.
As with the previous issues, Morrison tends not to dwell upon any one scene for too long, to properly demonstrate the large scope of this crisis. So we get single panels showing the other strongholds, and we see epic battles that we are only going to see glimpses of, like Gorilla City being overrun by Anti-Life Justifiers.
Writer Grant Morrison nicely depicts a world seemingly devoid of hope where the remaining heroes still manage to get by, including a prominent role by one of the more minor heroes out there, The Ray, who is working as a contact person between the various strongholds. He also delivers a minor supervillain, The Tattooed Man, who was enlisted into the fight by Black Lightning before Lightning was turned by the Anti-Life Equation, as well. The Tattooed Man carries with him a sigil that the heroes feel may be necessary in the coming fight.
A nice touch is that the Ray is also delivering copies of the Daily Planet that they are continuing to print on a printing press in the Fortress of Solitude.
Green Arrow and Black Canary are given a wonderful little moment when Ollie determines that the Ray, Dinah and the Tattooed Man are far too valuable to the overall fight to lose, so he sacrifices himself to the Justifiers to cover their escape. It is vintage Green Arrow, from his sense of humor (“I’ll just use my Anti-Anti-Life Arrow on them!” to his sense of outrage (mixed with his willingness to jump into pretty much any fight – there’s a reason a dude who just shoots arrows is a member of the Justice League of America, after all!).
The Flash scenes are strong, especially when Barry encounters a turned Iris. He saves her basically through Love. It’s quite a cute scene.
Finally, though, Turpin loses his battle with Darkseid, and the issue ends with Darkseid fully coming into being, thereby signifying even direr straits for the next issue.
This was a strong transition issue – it moved the plot along well while also delivering a pile of awesome comic book moments. The artwork also merged together nicely, although it is a shame that JG Jones is no longer doing the sliver cover (I don’t believe the scene Pacheco drew for his sliver cover even appeared in the comic!).
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