Thursday, August 7, 2008

Review: Final Crisis 3

Major spoilers ahead, so be warned. Also, this is a long post because the issue was so dense, so be warned about that too!

Well, the much anticipated Final Crisis 3 came out yesterday and it did not disappoint. Okay … it disappointed a little. I think most of us thought that this issue would have the Mary Marvel/Kara battle that we have heard about. It did not.

But what it did have was a massive amount of information to digest as this story moves forward. Remember that this is the issue where evil wins, so this is a relentless downward spiral with a few bright points. Here are the highlights, with some special attention to the Kara pieces.

The opening pages show The Question and Frankenstein’s Monster with SHADE agents investigating Club Dark Side. The bald man acting as Darkseid in issue 1 is shown dead and mummified, a way to show that the humans housing the spirits of the New Gods burn out quickly. We also see a new version of the Source Wall, the burning hand replaced by a pixilated appearing computer icon. The hand writes ‘Know Evil’ … the significance of the version of the hand comes into play later.


Suddenly outside the club, a being falls form the sky. It is Uberfraulein, the Nazi Supergirl from Earth 10 (the Earth X equivalent in the new multiverse).

She says ‘der himmel blutungen’ which is ‘the sky is bleeding’ in German. It is unclear is she dies or is merely severely wounded.

Obviously the Source Walls between the multiverses are breaking down and cross-overs are happening. The universe is falling apart.

We have seen this version of Supergirl before … in the sketch pad of the banished Monitor on Earth. Here is that sketch from Final Crisis 1.


This Monitor seems to understand instinctively that something threatening the universe is happening but he can’t quite put his finger on it. We see him watching news where the drawing Metron gave Anthro in issue 1 as a way to defeat evil is now appearing in discovered cave paintings as well as crop circles. My guess is he plays a huge role by the end of Final Crisis.

We cut to a very nice scene of Jay Garrick talking to Iris West about how he ran with Barry Allen trying to stop the bullet that killed Orion. He assures her it was *THE* Barry, not a clone, time traveler, or version from a parallel Earth. Jay explains how he could not keep up with Barry or Wally and that they continued to speed through the time stream. More on that later …

Then we have 2 very quick scenes. First, The Human Flame is exposed to the Anti-Life Equation becoming a mindless warrior for Libra. Libra offers Luthor the choice: become an anti-life automaton himself or ‘renounce science’ and become a servant of Darkseid. Knowing Luthor my guess is he swears allegiance and will eventually try to turn the tables on his ‘masters’. Then, we see Superman as Clark sitting vigil at Lois’ hospital bed where he agrees to travel off Earth with a mysterious person (maybe a Monitor?) to try to save Lois. Strange to think Superman would leave Earth in such a dire state to save only Lois, but there it is.

Hal Jordan is then hauled off to Oa by the Alpha Lanterns (including the possessed one) to be tried for the attacks against Orion and John Stewart. He goes willingly. Suddenly the world’s heroes are without Superman, Batman, Hal, and J’onn. Fearing something big is happening, Alan Scott initiates Article X, the super-hero draft last used in WWII. He realizes that an army needs to be formed to fight whatever threat is out there. We see a number of heroes get served including Kara.

Look at this nice shot of Kara’s apartment. Makes me think that Jones was going for 'innocent' with the cover. A sewing machine? A guitar? Some love for streaky! I love it!! But look closely at this shot. I am convinced nothing is in these panels without significant forethought. Looks like Kara is re-designing her costume. The prominently shown sketch actually looks intriguing … sort of a short sleeve version of the Matrix costume (my favorite): full short-sleeve shirt with gold trim, pointed belt, and red skirt.


Even though this is a tiny pic, I think this is an upgrade from the current belly shirt uniform. I hope that this is what we see Igle drawing in the Supergirl title.



And here is the Article X army.


There is Kara in the upper right. Nice to know Alan Scott respects here enough to put her on his world-saving team. But check out this roster ... sort of a strange army. There are a lot of ‘no power’ or ‘low power’ heroes here. This would not be the wet-works super-strong phalanx I would have formed to fight some universal threat. That said, Morrison once had the Atom kill Darkseid in JLA, so maybe these guys are just who we need.

Next we are taken to Japan where Mister Miracle and Sonny Sumo are under attack by some Anti-life thugs and are rescued by the Super Young Team, a team I think is being set up as the new Forever People.

This segues to Bludhaven where Wonder Woman (probably the last big gun for the heroes) is attacked by the now Darkseid-upgraded Mary Marvel. She looks like a mix of Female Fury, a Xenobite from Hellraiser, and Cyndi Lauper. But she does have power.




And while it looks like Wonder Woman may be able to defeat her physically, Mary performs the true purpose of the confrontation … inoculating Diana with an Anti-life virus to use her as a disease carrier to the world. Then we see the Anti-life equation being transmitted to every email address in the world and opening itself up. Funny how this is the carrier wave for Darkseid … the internet. Maybe that is why the source wall hand looked like a cursor hand. With anti-life opened up world wide, evil wins (albeit off-screen).

The last scene we see is Barry and Wally slipping out of the time stream several weeks past the Anti-life release. The world is now in Darkseid's grasp. Barry asks the question I have been asking. Why did he have to come back to this world?



And what a world it is! Evil has won! The last panel is of a mutated Wonder Woman leading a pack of new Female Furies (looks like Mad Harriet, Catwoman, and Giganta).

Whew!! That is a lot of story for one issue. A lot of story!

Okay, so what about Final Crisis? I had been underwhelmed before this issue with the title so far. I did not like Infinite Crisis at all. I liked Crisis on Infinite Earths for all it did (outside of killing off Kara) to streamline the DC universe. But Final Crisis so far seemed to be spinning its wheels a bit before issue 3.

But I also am a huge huge fan of Grant Morrison. I know that sometimes his stories start off inscrutable and come together in a fantastic way. Still, in some ways I like my major cross-over event mini-series to be like summertime ‘popcorn’ movies. Sometimes I want to watch 'Robocop' and not 'The City of Lost Children'. This series has not been linear story-telling in a standard 3 act format. What we have is a slow build-up with hinted at plot lines and subtly revealed story. But in Grant I trust. The first 2 issues showed us all the players, all the machinations, building up to this issue when we finally start to see all the dominos fall. This is Morrison at his best. We saw the threads early on; now we are seeing the tapestry. Sure everything isn’t laid out easily but so what … this is great stuff. And this issue makes me appreciate the earlier issues much more as I see know small things coming to fruition.

My guess is that the Article X army was somewhere safe from the Anti-Life release and now will fight to bring down Darkseid. It looks like Kara will have a decent role in this Crisis. This also means that the Kara/Mary Marvel fight will happen somewhere in the next issues.

Overall grade: A

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

D'ye know what this means...?

Currently the most powerful hero on Earth is officially Kara Zor El!

At last..th' bigtime.
Her, the Flash (Barry), the Oracle have just vaulted to the A-List.
:D
I hope the writing does right by them...

John Feer

Anj said...

Currently the most powerful hero on Earth is officially Kara Zor El!

Thanks for the post.

You know ... looking at that army, you're right. And no one better say Power Girl is stronger!

I hope the writing does right by them...

In Grant I trust. I keep hearing he loves Supergirl, so I am very optimistic!

Mike said...

I'm slightly embarrassed by how much I geeked out over Kara's red skirt. I hope she does switch to the short-sleeved shirt. Those pointy cuffs on the long sleeves bug me.

Anj said...

I'm slightly embarrassed by how much I geeked out over Kara's red skirt. I hope she does switch to the short-sleeved shirt. Those pointy cuffs on the long sleeves bug me.

Thanks for the post.

I also got a bit jazzed up when I saw the red dress.

But I am a fan of the pointy sleeve ends, although I liked them much more as blue sleeve ends that stopped at her hand, rather than the gold trimmed super-over-sized ones Kara has now.

I ab only hope it is the end of the belly shirt.

Heath Edwards said...

i also like the pointy sleeves, though i'm preferring the oversize one she wears now... i also liked the cape she wore in the last issue of her own title, coming around her neck. perhaps that'll stay around...
good fun to see her in 'final crisis' . i like that streaky is there, and that she has all sorts of interesting things around her room. i wonder if the new team will bring up the guitar. perhaps kara had some sort of musical thing going on back on krypton. she did sing to kal-el, to get him to sleep, so... good fun to see that she's an artist, too, though that may be mainly for her costume design...
quite a hodge-podge of home decor, too... still finding her own style??

Anj said...

good fun to see her in 'final crisis' . i like that streaky is there, and that she has all sorts of interesting things around her room. i wonder if the new team will bring up the guitar. perhaps kara had some sort of musical thing going on back on krypton. she did sing to kal-el, to get him to sleep, so... good fun to see that she's an artist, too, though that may be mainly for her costume design...

Thanks for the post.

I have to say I got more of an understanding of Kara's character with that one panel shot of her apartment than I did in all of Kelly's run on her own title.

I do hope the new team keeps this hinted at artistic aspect of her personality.

Mike said...

I loved her warning Streaky not to pee in the laundry basket again -- I have an old cat who'll do that too. Morrison must be a cat owner.

The other decor is slightly different, but her coffee table is the same as in issue 23 (Puckett/Johnson's first). It's little details like that that help provide a sense of continuity.

Anonymous said...

I like the easel and the costume drawing too, I've always thought that "properly written" Kara Zor El would want to imbibe heavily of Earthly culture as perhaps it would be something she couldn't necessarily get from Krypton's logical achievement centered civilization.
I say the sewing machine is a harbinger of the return of the Super Wardrobe!!! RED hotpants and ballet slippers anyone!
Better times are comin' I kin feel it!
:D

John Feer

Anj said...

I loved her warning Streaky not to pee in the laundry basket again -- I have an old cat who'll do that too. Morrison must be a cat owner.

Thanks for the post.

2008 is Streaky's year. He is seen here, in Tiny Titans, as part of the deluxe doll, and now rumored to be in the JohnnyDC title 'Supergirl's Cosmic Adventures in the 8th grade'.

Streaky fans unite!

Anj said...

I say the sewing machine is a harbinger of the return of the Super Wardrobe!!! RED hotpants and ballet slippers anyone!
Better times are comin' I kin feel it!


Hopefully it is simply a new costume and not a different one every issue.

When she had many uniforms in her Adventure Comics run some of them were downright hideous.

Anonymous said...

Some of those costumes were also cute and whimsical and even practical sometimes.

:D

But I go waa-ay back with Kara Zor El so...take me with a grain of salt.

Have we discussed whether or not she should have a secret ID yet??
:D

John G.

Anj said...

But I go waa-ay back with Kara Zor El so...take me with a grain of salt.

Have we discussed whether or not she should have a secret ID yet??


I go waaay back with Kara too!

And no we haven't discussed a secret ID yet on this blog. Maybe the next poll?

Heath Edwards said...

ooo, secret id...

OF COURSE!!!

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Anj said...

Heh ... my first post by a bot.

I must be moving up in the world.

ealperin said...

Wait..so let me get this striaght...

The following issues in The Supergirl series are going to feature different interpretations of her outfit in this issue of Final Crisis?

Interesting...

very Interesting....

Anj said...

Wait..so let me get this striaght...

The following issues in The Supergirl series are going to feature different interpretations of her outfit in this issue of Final Crisis?


I am guessing that is the case, that we will see a new Supergirl costume in her title and it will be one seen here.

But that is just me guessing. And hoping ...