One of the most obtuse and baffling series DC has published this year, “Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape” has also been an intriguing puzzle for many readers, a show of rare experimentation and ambition in a company often saddled with a ‘boring and old’ label. In many ways, “Escape” has felt most like a Grant Morrison comic out of the “Final Crisis Aftermath” titles for good or ill and, in this issue, it wraps up in a suitably unexpected and not entirely clear fashion.
Nemesis has seemingly found the way to live in Electric City, constantly shifted through time and space, not knowing who to trust, he’s gone back again and again to his moment of arrival, reliving events in order to find his way out. Now, he’s worked it all out, he’s mapped the city, and, oops, turned his back, the map is gone, he’s screwed. However, his unique abilities to mimic and become other people is the key to his survival and escape if he can survive his final test.
Ivan Brandon’s storytelling has been ambiguous and obtuse to this point, putting a lot of pressure on this issue to pull all of the disparate ideas together and create a cohesive whole, something that doesn’t quite happen. We get explanations for events and they provide some clarity, specifically for how Electric City is run and Tom Tresser’s role in it -- and the Global Peace Agency. However, not as much information is provided regarding what exactly the Agency does or the roles played by the other characters we’ve seen in the series. Of those two missing pieces, not explaining the Global Peace Agency is probably the most glaring omission, particularly since its impact on the DCU could, theoretically, be rather large.
Cliff Richards stepped in with issue four after original artist Marco Rudy left the book and this is the first issue where he’s really made it his own. Rudy’s tenure on the book featured remarkable layouts that played upon the ideas in the story, something Richards’s work lacked, but this issue features strong, striking work that doesn’t require inventive layouts to enhance the visuals. Richards’s actual drawing in this issue is simply better than it has been on the past two issues, particularly his depiction of Tresser, whose expressions and emotions range wildly in this issue. So much depends on him that Richards’s visuals help the issue come off as well as it does.
While the conclusion of this series doesn’t live up to its potential, there are still plenty of intriguing concepts and ideas that suggest that the Global Peace Agency and Tom Tresser will play a big role in the DCU’s future, and that both Ivan Brandon and Cliff Richards are creators that should be watched.