Goki’s Giving Judgment- Catching Up on Final Crisis

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So I finally went to the store and bought comics. Which means it’s time for the return of our Patented Ratings System (TM)!

If you’re new to the blog or just need a refresher course, here’s how the rating system works:

Goki’s Fly is DOWN: it means this comic was so good, I unzipped my fly and made sweet, sweet love to it.

Goki’s Fly is UP: This comic wasn’t even worth pulling down my fly for.

Goki’s Fly is STUCK: Was it good? Wasn’t bad? I can’t decide, my fly is stuck!

Every so often, a comic will make me FUDO— our highest honor. However, every now and again I’ll read a comic that is so awful, I have to reverse-FUDO– a.k.a. ODUF. For those who don’t know what FUDO and ODUF mean, see our manifesto.

For this post, I’ll just be focusing on Final Crisis and its tie-ins. 

Final Crisis #4: Fly DOWN/FUDO

Ah, now that was more like it! Things finally get into full-swing this issue, as the few heroes not under Darkseid’s sway regroup and fight back. Heroes big and small shine in this issue, particularly the Ray, the Flashes and a certain Emerald Archer (seriously, Oliver Queen fans will be proud of the way he’s handled here). Fans of Morrison’s run on JLA will find plenty of little references to “Rock of Ages” (of course) and even his brief stint on JLA Classified. Carlos Pacheco and J.G. Jones do a very nice job on art; there are some terrific close-ups on Black Canary’s, Barry Allen’s and Virmin Vunderbar’s faces. Unfortunately, some of the fight scenes do leave a little to be desired.

Other than that, though, a solid issue. Oh, and that last page is a doozy, isn’t it? Sure, we knew it was coming, but it was just so well done.

Final Crisis: Submit: Fly DOWN/FUDO

This was a very pleasant surprise. While Grant Morrison may be dealing with the big-picture aspect of Final Crisis in the main series, this one-shot focuses on the unlikely pair of Black Lightning and the Tattooed Man, two of DC’s more down-to-Earth superpowered characters.  I’m not very familiar with the Tattooed Man, but Morrison humanizes him by portraying him not as a villain, but instead as a man looking out for his family. Which is probably why Black Lightning, who’s quite the family man himself (with all those young, female family members that keep popping out of nowhere), makes such a great foil. Black Lightning himself is portrayed as smart, confident and quick on his feet; he’s clearly Justice League material.

I should add it’s a real treat seeing Matthew Clark’s pencils again. I’ve enjoyed his work since his Adventures of Superman run and I’m glad to see all of his strengths on display here, including his impressive ability to draw realistic hair!

Final Crisis: Resist (or “Snapper Carr gets some”): Fly DOWN

I’ll be honest, it’s a little easy to get lost in the technical jargon, but other than that, this is a pretty solid issue. Checkmate fans will no doubt be happy to see familiar faces like Mr. Terrific, Sasha Bordeaux, Fire and the Thinker; not surprising, seeing as this comic is written by Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann. Although I kind of wonder what Wonder Woman fans think of the way Cheetah’s handled here; she’s portrayed as brilliant, but also as rather lustful (which, as Cheetah herself points out, makes sense given where she gets her powers from, but is it consistent with her past appearances?).

One of my favorite parts of this issue is the inclusion of a character from the JLA’s distant past: Snapper Carr, their ex-mascot. Snapper is a character I grew to really like in Tom Peyer’s Hourman series, but Rucka and Trautmann take things even further by making him action-hero cool. And they do it WITHOUT altering his Hourman personality! Kudos!

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1: Fly DOWN

This issue probably has the most blood you’ll see in a non-Vertigo DCU comic this year, and I’m not just referring to some of the surprisingly gruesome deaths this issue. While the events of Final Crisis are mentioned in passing, this isn’t REALLY a tie-in; it’s really more of an extra issue of Green Lantern. We learn more about Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps, as well as the mysterious motivations of the Guardian scarred in the “Sinestro Corps War.” We even see the first member of ANOTHER corps make his debut. What really makes this issue shine, however, is watching Sinestro trying to find cracks in Hal Jordan’s resolve while simultaneously manipulating the other Corps members like chess pieces. Johns has always had a knack for writing villains, and Sinestro is no exception.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2: Fly STUCK

Okay, things are starting to get a little confusing. Issue #1 was a great introduction to Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but issue #2 quickly bombards you with alternate Legions and throws in references that could easily confuse people unfamiliar with the Legion. There are still some pretty nice moments in the issue, such as the interaction between the three Brainiacs (leading to a hilarious line about the older Brainiac’s hair) and the last Green Lantern’s brave stand against the Legion of Super-Villains. However, unless you’re familiar with at least one of the Legion teams in this issue, you’re probably going to be a bit lost. But hey, at least George Perez’s art is lovely; his ability to draw dozens of characters and panels is as strong as ever and never looks rushed. I was especially impressed by the way he tastefully handled a certain character’s death without robbing it of any of its impact. I just hope the writing gets back on track next issue.

Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge #3: FUDO

The best of the Final Crisis tie-ins concludes with style, as the Rogues finally face off against Inertia and Zoom. Character-wise, this time Weather Wizard gets to shine, which is a slight change from the first two Captain Cold-centric issues, but isn’t at all jarring. We also get more hints about the true nature of the villainous Libra (who has a great line that cleverly addresses Countdown’s tenuous place in continuity). Scott Kolins’ hyper-kinetic, hyper-detailed art continues to own, particularly when he draws the speedsters and the Pied Piper (cool AND creepy). Fans of the Flash, particularly Geoff Johns’ run on the title, should definitely give this mini-series a shot: it’s not only an excellent bookend to Johns’ Flash work, but it also has several major status quo changes that will no doubt be addressed in Flash: Rebirth and whatever comes afterwards. For more about this particular issue, check out Spiffy’s review of the issue, which echoes my thoughts about it word for word.

Tomorrow: Part 2! Be there!

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2 Responses to “Goki’s Giving Judgment- Catching Up on Final Crisis”

  1. spiffyithaca Says:

    So it sounds like you’ve been loving Final Crisis as a whole here Goki!

    I agree that Final Crisis #4 was pretty damn good, and yes, I loved Ollie’s part in that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy this series as much as hardcore DC fans, as I’m more excited for the fallout of the series than the actual conclusion.

    I haven’t read any of the tie-in’s besides Rogues’, and we both agree that Rogues’ rules (and has been the best part of Final Crisis IMO), but from what I’ve seen from flipping through each of them, is just how GREAT the art is for each of them. I’ve been underwhelmed by a lot of the art on Secret Invasion tie-ins, but not so with Final Crisis.

    Also: I think I’ll buy Rage of the Red Lanterns just to see if I can wrap my head around the whole GL stuff at all. Because I want to now.

    Great reviews all around Goki. This was a perfect 100th comic post for this blog! Yay! I look forward to part 2, and more GGJ posts down the road.

    -Spiffy-O

  2. Gokitalo Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Spiffy-O! And yeah, I’d say I’m digging Final Crisis all around right now. The tie-ins have been great from the start, and while issues #2 and 3 of the main series were kind of lacking, Final Crisis #4 was a big step in the right direction. I’m very excited to see what comes next.

    I should mention that while folks who’ve been reading Final Crisis could easily skip Rage of the Red Lanterns, it’s practically required reading for Green Lantern fans.

    As for Secret Invasion… I’m, ahem, trade-waiting 😉

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