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Final Crisis #5 Review

This issue of Final Crisis brings a bit more of the standard “action-packed” story that one expects from a big company crossover, although even there, Morrison adds a little extra flair. How can you turn down a double-page spread with a group of “still in their right mind” heroes attacking en masse, led by Frankenstein on a motorcycle, and the other heroes following on motorcycles made up of the Metal Men?!

That’s very cool, like this issue.

The art in this issue was a lot stronger, as it looks like Carlos Pacheco was given a LITTLE more time to draw this issue (although towards the end, it was a bit scratchier) than he was on the previous one, and he and J.G. Jones went together well, although, of course, I’d prefer Jones to draw the whole thing, the comic maintained a decent synchronicity, which will be especially handy when the story is collected.

One thing that is a bit odd is that, okay, so we know that Morrison’s one-shots SHOULD be read (as they were quite good), but it is a bit odd that it appears as though Superman Beyond is going to be practically REQUIRED reading for the end of the story, as the bad guy from that story is going to be heavily involved in the rest of this story. I guess that’s a bit of an odd complaint, “Why are you forcing me to buy an extra two good comics!” but still, why not just have the Superman stuff IN Final Crisis? Then again, just this week, Warren Ellis’ Astonishing X-Men mini-series ended, and that two issue story was also pretty darn important in learning more about the main story, so I guess that’s just a “thing” nowadays – use stand-alone mini-series to get extra story across that you would never be able to do with your main title’s slow artist. Whatever, so long as the comics are good, I guess it’s not a big deal (and Superman Beyond and Ghost Boxes WERE good – even if Ghost Boxes was insanely overpriced).

Anyhow, like I said before, this comic had a lot more standard superhero elements in it, at least in the beginning, although you can easily argue that the early stuff with the Green Lanterns kicking Granny Goodness’ behind (while she still achieved her purpose – keep the Lanterns off Earth while the stuff happens) is designed to give you a false sense of security for the ending scenes.

The ending scenes are nuts, as we see Darkseid come into being in a tremendous series of panels – his very coming into existence is ripping through time and space – that’s heavy duty stuff right there! The power of him taking over billions of souls is almost a black hole of evil.

Meanwhile, we get some nice work introducing the first member of the “Fifth World.” There is a bit playing on the real-life “God’s algorithm,” which is referenced when people discuss the fewest moves possible to solve a Rubik’s cube – the smallest is 18 turns, until Metron, in this issue, does it in 17 – unlocking the motherboxxx (or however it is spelled), which is awesome, because remember how in Seven Soldiers, the motherboxx was in a die? So first it is in a die and now a Rubik’s cube – pretty cute.

Morrison continues to keep the book more of a series of events rather than a long story, which I’m enjoying – the pointillism storytelling approach gives it a nice, epic feel. So let me hit on some of the awesome points –

- “You have 24 hours to save the universe”

- “There’s no struggle with anti-life!” “Life, on the other hand…is all struggle!” (says Hawkman as he hits mind-controlled Donna Troy with a mace)

- “You have thoughtlessly gunned down a global megastar! How will you explain yourselves to this man’s fans?”

- “Motherboxxx is more than a machine. If Gods made i-pods that were alive? Way beyond that.”

- All of Frankenstein’s Milton-ian dialogue.

- “Radar says that the Swiss border just…just got further away.”

- “I saw a leering old man in her eyes!” (Desaad finally shows up!)

- The bit about Mary still being enough in control to scream at what Desaad is making her do – ever the torturer is Desaad!

- Tawny on a jetpack!

- Luthor’s struggles

- The Green Lantern’s rings being affected by Darkseid’s sapping of free will (and their rings run on willpower)

An awesome comic, although I expect even more from #6 and 7 and Superman Beyond #2.

This has set those issues up, now give us something even cooler!

Recommended.

33 Comments

but it is a bit odd that it appears as though Superman Beyond is going to be practically REQUIRED reading for the end of the story, as the bad guy from that story is going to be heavily involved in the rest of this story. I guess that’s a bit of an odd complaint, “Why are you forcing me to buy an extra two good comics!” but still, why not just have the Superman stuff IN Final Crisis?

I think there are a number of reasons for not doing it that way, actually. The first being that it probably would have stretched FC out to 9 issues instead of 7. The second being that it probably would have driven the probability of Jones being able to do the entire series without other artists on the book with him to zero – or less (admittedly in hindsight this is less important, but when the series was being planned out it was probably under consideration). And the rhythm and tone of Superman Beyond are pretty different from that of FC – that may have been different had the Superman plot been wrapped into the main plot, but I think cutting away for a page or two of the “Supermen and the Multiverse” plot might have detracted from the immediacy of the crisis on Earth, which Morrison has really been driving hard for the last 3 issues.

That and I suspect that Morrison has his own creative reasons for breaking the Superman story away from the main arc. I’ll wait until the second issue comes out, but I think he had a full story that he wanted to tell with the Supermen, and he felt it was better to put it in its own book rather than try to intertwine the stories together more tightly. But I wouldn’t completely discount the possibility that the decision was made with the hope that Jones would be able to do 7 issues on time but that everyone knew that there was zero chance that he was going to be able to do more than that.

but it is a bit odd that it appears as though Superman Beyond is going to be practically REQUIRED reading for the end of the story,

It’s not that odd anymore, given that Dido seems to have done it with almost every event miniseries since Infinite Crisis. Remember when you needed to read the Superman/Wonder Woman crossover to get a crucial story element of the OMAC miniseries? How stuff like this can still be odd and surprising to people is amazing to me, I find it odd if Didio DOESN’T do it.

Right, Jer, but I was thinking more along the lines of keeping the books exactly as they are, just having Superman Beyond #1 actually be labeled Final Crisis #4, then Final Crisis #5-7, then Superman Beyond as Final Crisis #8 then Final Crisis #9.

I mean, when these stories are all collected, I think Superman Beyond will have to be collected with it ANYways (or rather, it SHOULD be), so why not just change the numbering and ship on the same schedule as before?

What’s the point of keeping consistency of artists on a title when you need the mini-series for the full story? Why not have Superman Beyond and Ghost Boxes just be part of the actual titles?

It’s not that odd anymore, given that Dido seems to have done it with almost every event miniseries since Infinite Crisis.

Wow, all two of them! That’s a large sample size to judge them by!

But yeah, Sacrifice was a whole lot worse than this. That definitely should have been in OMAC Project. It’s almost beyond belief that they didn’t have that in OMAC Project. “Oh, by the way, the main antagonist? Yeah, he died in some other comic. Our bad!”

I’ll try to keep this brief, so I’m not too much of a downer.

I thought FC #5 was a pretty lousy comic, sloppy execution all the way through, with some potentially dramatic plot points (the lantern trial) pretty well wasted and drained of life by the storytelling. About the only thing I really liked was Tawny on a jetpack.

Many of the reviewers cited “awesome” points just had me bored and rolling my eyes–although that can probably be chalked up in part to taste and mood.

I liked the issue a lot, my only problem is with the coloring of Mister Miracle. Did someone not bother to tell the colorist that this is Shilo Norman and not Scott Free? He looked very white to me and he had blue eyes.

I don’t know why, but your reviews always tell me more about the comic than other reviews (like the ones over on CBR) without ruining it…

So far the only spin-offs that I haven’t picked up are “Last Will & Testament” and “Sacrifice”….

I REALLY enjoyed both Submit and Resist, but I’m still not 100% sure about Superman Beyond… That may be more down to the 3D breakdowns mind you, as I have a very slight tendency to short-sightedness in my right eye, which gives a red-shift/blue-shift edge to all the 3D stuff and hurts my head…

As a whole I’m still preferring FC to SI, but then I still haven’t read SI #8…

ANd there have been WAY fewer tie-ins to FC than SI….

Wow, all two of them! That’s a large sample size to judge them by!

No, there’s more than two. For example, WWIII one-shots were needed to fill in the blanks of 52. There were also story elements of Countdown that needed other books to fill, and vice versa. I could dig through old message board complaints to come up with a more exhaustive list of times Didio required side one-shots and minis to tell a crucial story element from a main book, but that would take a while. But it’s definitely more than two times. I don’t read DC books unless someone lends them to me, so I can’t recall all the instances off the top of my head, but I’ve seen enough complaints about it online to know it is not a rare occurrence lately.

Also, according to Newsarama the real conclusion to Batman RIP will be in Final Crisis #6.

I find it kind of funny that you cite the double page motorcycle spread right before mentioning that the art this issue was a lot stronger, because to me that contained the single most glaring art problem in the series thus far (Wildcat’s motorcycle being horrifically out of proportion with the rest of the scene). Also, I found it funny that Morrison made such a huge deal about the scar on Hal’s head in the dialogue, yet apparently Pacheco failed to draw a scar on Hal for the entire sequence. The coloring on Shilo is weird too, when he got shot in #4, I just assumed it was Most Excellent Super Bat wearing the Mister Miracle costume due to his skintone and MESB’s absence from the panel, but then this issue came out showing MESB and Shilo still had Caucasian skin tone before putting the mask on.

I’m still finding this series to be wildly uneven and almost all of the standard superhero content unbelievably dull, but at least Morrison is devoting more time to Darkseid with this issue, and this was probably one of the stronger issues thus far, artistic issues aside.

T.
Do 52 and Countdown really count as “Event” comics?

To me, WWIII was the “Event”, just as Final Crisis is… 52 and Countdown just led into them…

[...] fuimos los primeros en reseñar FC #5, pero en Newsarama y en el blog CSBG hay un par de reviews dignos de atención que también alaban al cómic (aunque tal vez no tan [...]

I can’t wait to read this. I’ve actually been enjoying Final Crisis so far, except for the delayed shipping, which really makes it hard to re-engage with the story once the book does hit. The other caveat is that I would probably give a favorable review of Grant Morrison’s grocery list if he published it.

If only the rest of the series ships in a reasonably timely fashion, I’ll be very happy. I would also love to see more script annotations, etc., like we got for issue #1 in the FC Sketchbook. I am not a big DCU fan generally, so the significance of certain characters and story elements are sometimes lost on me (i.e., before I read the annotations in the Sketchbook, I thought #1 just featured a detective and a caveman — I had no idea they were previously established characters).

Help me out… given the events with Checkmate in this issue, when does FC:Resist take place, since the two issues put Mr. Terrific (among others) in very different places? And what of the robOMAC army in FC:Resist and the biOMAC army in FC5?

It is disappointing that given the lead time that had to go into the plotting and approval for this series that we couldn’t have consistent artwork. Jones’ “Darkseid becoming” scenes are so powerful that you can’t help but think of what might have been if he could have drawn the whole series. Pacheco is a solid teller of superhero stories, but his work still looks really rushed here. It’s not uninked red backgrounds of Infinite Crisis bad – but it’s still a shame.

Script-wise, this is really strong stuff and it feels like the culmination of Morrison’s capital “S” superhero story. It seems to grow out of Seven Soldiers both in terms of themes (legacies and the evolution of heroes; roles of the creator on creation and vice versa) and technique (the pointillism Brian talks about above or the much decried non-ending to “R.I.P”), while still giving us some funnybook “F#@$ Yeah” moments.

This is going to read really well as a whole, I think – as is usually the case with the God of All Comics. My big question is whether DC is going to have the cahones to stick with the Fifth World (how and whatever that ends up being, but damn isn’t the new monitor design SWEET, as are Super Young Team as the new Forever People) as their in-continuity status quo…

I also thought that Revelations was really good this week. I think DC editorial deserves some credit for coming up with (or following through on Morrison’s) story-driven means of removing big players from the board for FC. If the Crime Bible stuff was always intended to play out and tie into FC this way…extra kudos to Rucka, Morrison and the rest of team 52.

I’ll still be disappointed if the Life Equation is just the speed force or love or something.

It has to be a bombastic celebration of human individuality personified in a man’s desire to dress up in gaudy colors and punch someone named Captain Cold in the face.

“I’ve seen enough complaints about it online to know it is not a rare occurrence lately.”

Complaints on the internet are never proportionate to the issue being complained about.

Anyone else notice the bit where the first line of dialogue spoken by the furry chap in the cloak appeared to be coming out of the mouth of Metron in the wheelchair? Made the scene a little confusing till I worked out they’d put the little indicator thingy on the wrong side, especially as the whole gimmick there was supposed to be that wheelchair dude was supposed to “never talk”, yet there he was, talking, in his first on panel appearance (or so it seemed!)

Who *was* that furry guy, by the way?

…sorry, I didn’t explain that very well. What I *meant* to say, was that the impression of that first panel is that wheelchair dude is saying “he don’t talk” due to the misplaced speech bubble indicator thingy, only to have the furry guy immediately say “As it turns out, blah blah” in the very next panel.

Interesting use of the term “synchronicity,” Brian.

You probably meant to use that other misused word, “continuity,” instead.

Snark aside, I think it’s pretty clear that like RIP, FC will make more (or some) sense after it’s concluded and collected, including the spin-offs (if there’s more than one issue, calling ‘em one-shots is a misnomer, btw.)

Yeah, picky, picky, picky. But I’m just as self-critical, so there.

You know I actually prefer Superman Beyond over Final Crisis (though the 3D was annoying). But I’m digging Final Crisis and how it’s just building. I wasn’t wild about Submit though.

My favorite bit was watching the Green Lanterns do a free fall into Earth.

I do have a qualm. The fact that most of the New Gods haven’t revealed their true forms or those awesome designs we saw in the Preview a while back is a little frustrating. It’s cool Desaad and Granny Goodness are hiding in these other characters but it’s been 5 issues and it looks like it’s only just now going to happen.

I’m hoping Morrison gets a 5th World or New Gods book after this but who knows.

BTW the art does look good. Not exactly cohesive but each page is really well drawn. The coloring helps bring ti together. I think I would have preferred a more consistent art team but everyone is doing a great job. It’s hard to complain when you get fill in pages by Carlos Pacheco.

“Help me out… given the events with Checkmate in this issue, when does FC:Resist take place, since the two issues put Mr. Terrific (among others) in very different places? And what of the robOMAC army in FC:Resist and the biOMAC army in FC5?”

I’m ASSUMING – although not positive – that it happened in the gap between #s 3 and 4. Terrific’s unleashed the OMAC army, but he hasn’t used them yet. Presumably they’ll be used along with the Biomacs (heh, great name there) once the castle shields fall.

(Just checked – there’s timestamps throughout the book that place it in the month between 3 and 4. So either the OMACs didn’t work… or Mr. Terrific did something very smart like hiding them amidst all the slaves of Darkseid, ready to be activated at the last second. That’d be one hell of a finish.).

And re: the collected edition issue, Infinite Crisis was possibly even worse than that, as all the follow-up specials from the four miniseries were basically bridges between individual issues.

Oh, and the quality of the tie-ins has been high across the board – Rogues’ Revenge was a lot of fun, as well.

I liked it several muches.

I wasn’t going to read this review since I had already read the issue, but decided to skim through anyway, when I was a kid my mom must have bought me a stack of comics before I could read an Idea of some of the books Inc. Hulk 102, Doom Patrol 87, which is my avatar by the way, and Metal Men 37 & 38, I didn’t catch that the Metal Men were the bikes in the centerfold thank’ s for pointing them out, after all these years I still get a kick out of the Metal Men. Later!

Regarding the timing of the Checkmate tie-in, I believe the theory is that Mr. Terrific escapes in that one-shot and makes it back to the base with the rest of the heroes in this issue, so that explains how he gets to meet up with all the other heroes when Mister Miracle shows up.

As to the OMAC stuff – fine question, but I think that’s one of the things we’ll have to see the next couple of issues to know if that was just dropped or if it is being worked in a different way (like, as someone mentioned, as perhaps sleeper agents by Terrific).

“How can you turn down a double-page spread with a group of “still in their right mind” heroes attacking en masse, led by Frankenstein on a motorcycle, and the other heroes following on motorcycles made up of the Metal Men?!”

I bloody well can’t.

Totally didn’t notice the Metal Men as the transportation. Thanks, Brian! Also didn’t get DeSaad “being” Mary Marvel. So just to verify: has DeSaad been in Mary’s body since the end of Countdown, thus absolving Mary of her 540-degree turn in that maxiseries?

I think the series is underwhelming because it demands twelve issues, at JLA: Heaven’s Ladder proportions to make it work. As it is, I feel like there’s stuff going on offpage, and I don’t mean the various tie-in books that I can pick up for a buck each at comic conventions.

Who is that on the last page? I kept thinking that I recognized the pattern on the jacket, and now I know: it’s Secret from Young Justice. Seriously, it that Metron? Black Racer? Orion?

[...] a very different opinion, there’s Brian Cronin’s review; what he finds awesome I just find to be tiresome [...]

With regard to whether or not DC will keep the Fifth World… are we seriously asking this? How are we actually expected to believe things will stay this way? After all the events of Infinite Crisis boiled down to a few people dying (mostly inconsequential ones at that) and the introduction of a new villain I’m supposed to believe that Bruce Wayne will never again be Batman and that Wonder Woman will continue to wear her dog-face mask and that Superman will….oh wait, I don’t even know what’s happening with him since I forgot to buy one of the books.

As with every “major crisis” the world will go back to normal with a some minor changes and maybe a couple big ones (a la Connor’s death in IC). Maybe I just long for the days when a Crisis was 12 issues long and the bad guy ended up being a giant fireball that Superman could kill by punching…

Still not getting this book and the amount of explanation needed from other readers, the writer and various editors in interviews to make the story clear strikes me as very funny. Don’t expect any permanent changes here folks. I suspect this series will be forgotten and ignored within months. The cross-overs have all been pretty strong however although the one with the Spectre and the Huntress etc. seems to be telling a very small story over a very large number of books. Hopefully the excellent Legion book will lead into a strong relaunch of a new/old series revival.

If you are having problems following the story, b_rad, you should ask for help!

I’ll gladly fill you in on what’s unclear to you.

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