Though it endured delays, multiple artists, and some confused reactions, “Final Crisis” has finally ended, and it has ended well. This final issue may require multiple readings and bit of effort, but that work is rewarded as Grant Morrison trusts his readers to rise to his level, using a fragmented “channel surfing” technique that jumps around a lot, but does provide all the information necessary for comprehension.
Darkseid is dying, shot last issue by Batman, and his fall is dragging “Earth Zero” into an abyss where an even greater darkness lurks. The final battle between Darkseid and the forces of good happen with the reappearance of the Flashes, Frankenstein, and the Superman/Lex Luthor team-up you never thought you’d see. Throw in a legion of Multiverse Supermen and the last stand of Earth surrounded by all that is Darkseid, and this is about as big as events get. So big that mere comic pages cannot contain it fully.
If the quick-moving nature of “Final Crisis” #7 is problematic, that’s only because there’s not enough space here to show everything. Some details must be hinted at, implied, alluded to, and that’s just fine by me. If this is to be the final Crisis, then it should be grander than those that came before, too epic to be described completely, that it must be told not just in the comic, but in the readers’ imaginations as well. All of the key points are here, but the reader must bring something to the table as well. Which, honestly, may not be something everyone will want to do, but it’s worth it.
Another area that may cause concern is the artwork. Doug Mahnke does his best, but his work can’t help but looked rushed to meet a harsh deadline, compounded by seven inkers and three colorists. The art never dips below a certain level of base quality, but the brilliance of Mahnke’s offbeat work only shows up intermittently. There are some panels that are absolutely gorgeous, but many look merely “okay.” The artwork here is a real demonstration of how good Mahnke is because even while rushed, it still looks better than anyone could possibly hope for under the circumstances. You can see for yourself in this preview.
Additionally, each page is packed with characters, old and new. In one double-page spread, Mahnke draws an army of Multiverse Supermen, nearly all of whom look like they have their own back-stories and pasts. To not only draw 37 pages of art but also design these characters is quite a feat, and one that Mahnke pulls off.
It may have arrived later than expected, but the conclusion to “Final Crisis” delivers on the promises offered by earlier issues. Nearly every subplot has a resolution of some kind, and even hints at the final fate of the Dark Knight and the role of Nix Uotan in the DC Universe. Things are changed as a result of “Final Crisis” in a manner beyond “who lives, who dies,” in way that could make the DCU a very, very interesting place in the months to come.
Ultimately, “Final Crisis” is one hell of a read. It may not be the “event comic” that people expected or wanted, but that’s only because Grant Morrison decided to give us something better.