Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Doug Mahnke gives us all a good sign of what we can look forward to next week in the final issue of Final Crisis with some outstanding artwork of what is one of the more straightforward issues of Final Crisis by Grant Morrison (outside, of course, of that ultra straightforward one-shot about Black Lightning and The Tattooed Man). The result is a delightful comic book adventure.
One of the more interesting aspects of this comic is how simple most of it is, while still, of course, throwing in some intriguing not-so-easily-explained ideas, as well.
This two-part series was originally intended to work as a giant-sized one-shot following #3, and it really would have worked better that way, I imagine (it also would help since this issue explains why Lois is healthy for issue #6), but even as a two-part story, this is a rollicking action issue that allows Superman to be pretty much the pinnacle of superherodom, while working in plenty of nice character moments for the other characters who went along with Superman on this journey.
Between this issue’s usage of Billy Batson and Final Crisis #6’s usage of Talky Tawny, it is almost like Morrison is directly countering any argument that the “silly” aspects of the Marvel Family cannot work in this day and age, because the child reporter and the talking tiger both had great, serious moments in the last two weeks.
I loved the dualities set-up in this issue (Superman fighting for life against Mandrakk and anti-life, plus a bunch of other uses of dualities that I care not to spoil for those who haven’t read the book yet), and I particularly loved the way that Ultraman and Superman were able to achieve their anti-matter explosion, via Ultraman’s age of blind rage mixing with Superman’s selfless act – that was beautiful.
I am thoroughly intrigued at the idea of who ARE the Monitors supposed to represent? Morrison certainly seems to be making a meta-fictional piece of writing with regards to the Monitors, but I’ll be damned if I could tell you who they are supposed to represent. Either writers or fans are the most likely choices (both use the power of their imaginations and both have a deep connection to the worlds that they follow, almost to the point of being like the “vampires” that the Monitors are), but I am unsure if either one follows all the way through, analogy-wise.
The 3-D portions of this issue made a lot more sense than #1, but I’ll be honest, I’d have just preferred to see the Mahnke art on its own rather than in murky 3-D.
The way Superman decided to carry the elixir was touching and awe-inspiring at the same time – this comic sure does spend a lot of time showing us how awesome Superman is!
I like the casual reference that all the fighting going on on the “main” Earth may, in fact, be currently echoed on the other 51 Earths, in that they are all may be having a “Crisis” at the same time.
I totally dug having to figure out which non-DC-owned Superman analogues Morrison was referring to earlier in the story (Supremo, Guardsman, etc.) and it was nice to see Icon mentioned.
Anyhow, I sure did love seeing the first (and possibly greatest) superhero fighting a bad guy with not just his fists, but with inspiration for stories written about Superman – I enjoyed the spotlighting of the importance of Superman.
In the end, this seems like a nice set-up for Mandrakk and Ultraman’s ultimate return to the series in the last issue. All these plot tie-ins do make me think that editorial notes might have actually worked well here (and in Final Crisis #6 and likely #7 where this story will intersect and affect the main Final Crisis series).
This comic may have been worth it just for seeing all the denizens of Limbo stand up for themselves!! What a cool scene.
This book is filled with cool comic book moments. Like Superman’s tombstone – awesome.
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