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Reign of the Supermen…26 Years From Page to Screen

Last week–maybe the week before as well (but this last week for sure) I was greeted with a pleasant surprise in an ad. Most advertising is frustrating, deceptive, or otherwise just bugs the sheer heck outta me. This was one of THE BEST ads I can think of in a number of YEARS.

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See…THIS ad prompted me to ACTION. It informed me of this two-day event. Reminded me that this was happening, as I believe I’d seen SOMEthing about it some time back. And it was well-timed, being the Wednesday before the event–providing me with several days to consider and make plans and actually attend the event!

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The Death of Superman came out last July or so, and I enjoyed it overall. It was certainly far superior to 2007’s Superman: Doomsday (which I still hold as primarily worthwhile for its retrospective documentary on the actual comics event).

This "do-over" was good, catching a number of good points from the original comics…while updating, modifying, and adjusting stuff in such a way as to fit it–essentially–into the New 52 continuity, as the last few years of these DC Universe Movie features have been–some based directly on those comics, others drawing inspiration from, and so on.

For me, probably the most stand-out thing about this The Death of Superman was the way it pulled off addressing Lex Luthor as he’s generally been known, and yet the Luthor at the time in the comics was vastly different. I remember that moment in here leaving me chuckling–like "Alright, I was wondering, and that’s good, I like that, that’s awesome!"

In its Return of the King style multiple "epilogues," it also drew from what I feel is one of THE absolute KEY moments of Funeral for a Friend/World Without a Superman, the heart of that story, and in some ways maybe the entire reason one could do this sort of story. It gives us a voiceover of Bibbo praying, talking to God, asking how it is that He would take Superman…while a washed up old roughneck like him goes on living. It was a scene in the comics that made me cry in 1993, it’s a scene that has brought tears to my eyes multiple times since in re-reading the comics, and darned if it didn’t have my eyes wet in the theater the other day!

[SPOILER WARNING! I’m gonna get into spoilers below with Reign of the Supermen!]

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The biggest draw here for ME, of this double-feature, though, was Reign of the Supermen. Not only the chance to see these on "the big screen," but the fact that it was a chance to see this one a couple days BEFORE the "digital-only" "window" that I so thoroughly DESPISE that has been such a trend lately/for years.

I’m still trying to decide what I think of this one, and perhaps as I’m typing this I’ll better settle it out.

————— [Again, spoiler warning! Stop reading if you care about knowing nothing really about it going into Reign of the Supermen!] —————

Something that really stood out to me quite a bit was the way that the Justice League was involved, as well as the very presence AT ALL of Darkseid.That more than even just the costumes rooted this as a sort of New 52 version of The Death and Return of Superman stuff.

It worked–having Doomsday be a weapon of Darkseid, and Darkseid having been behind Hank Henshaw, and all that. In context of Darkseid being THE big Justice League foe of the New 52 and all that; being the driving force of the "origin" of the League, etc.

But it also turned this into a Justice League story in which Superman had died…rather than being fully at its heart a Superman story.

While I can "appreciate" certain stuff with Darkseid and even like certain visual interpretations…on the whole I just do not care for the character and find the character to be vastly over-used and uninteresting.

We still had key moments adapted into the film. Steel still had a momentary subplot with weapons; Superboy hitting on women; the "visored Superman" still used deadly force; the Cyborg still saved the president and was recognized as the real, one, true Superman; and so on. Scenes had some clever nods to comic covers in montage mode that I really liked. To "just anyone" it was a montage; someone like me that read the individual comics each week as the story originally unfolded across much of 1993, it was an excellent way to acknowledge the original comics without being hung up on them and their story.

While Superman, the Supermen were a primary driving force…I just strongly feel that this could have been just as easily Justice League: Invasion II or some such.

In the end, though, I enjoyed this, especially as I decided that for me at least it’s simply the New 52 version of the death and return story, updated and adapted for the New 52 such that it fit the altered continuity and such, while keeping many of the moments from the comics that were important and informative of the characters. Unfortunately, the biggest disservice was probably done to the Eradicator, with virtually no real character exploration nor explanation. (Why the visor??? The visor wasn’t even really acknowledged! except his being "the visored" Superman)


I’ve missed at least a couple other Fathom Events presentations of DC Universe movies. I’d been very interested in and planning on going to see the Batman: The Killing Joke back in 2016, but was laid off days before and still in a bit of "shock" over the whole situation, and didn’t go. And I’m pretty certain there was at least one other "premiere" in theaters in 2017 and/or 2018.

But it feels "fitting" to see these…and all the better a value for having both together. I think the listing I saw indicated the combined thing was 2 hours 45 minutes or so–which makes for a "longer movie," with an individual 70-74 minute animated feature "short" and a "full length" film running closer to 120 minutes. But unlike most of these "longer movies" in theaters, having these as two movies but back to back…there was a whopping 5-minute "intermission," which was more than enough time to go to the restroom and grab a quick drink. I certainly wish more films would be a bit longer BUT (such as on a cliffhanger) have a brief intermission for using the restroom and such.

I despise this "digital window" on movies. I have never ONCE decided to blow $20 on a digital-only film JUST to have it 2 weeks before it would be available on physical media. It just pisses me off. If "digital" were a completely separate thing and there were NEVER "DVD + Digital" or "Blu-Ray + Digital" or "Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital" combo packs, that’d be a different thing. I refuse to "convert" to digital-ONLY when it’s basically the same price to get the physical media WITH a digital code. (Or for $2-3 difference–cheaper than a single issue of a comic book–it’s negligible for a huge benefit/convenience!)

Even having bought and watched The Death of Superman last year, and even just having seen Reign of the Supermen in the theater…I’ll still be buying the latter in a couple weeks when it’s available.

If you’ve bought/watched The Death of Superman this is a solid continuation. And even if you’re not really a Superman fan but dig Batman and the rest of the Justice League, this is also very much a Justice League thing, and fits with the other recent Justice League animated features, references the Teen Titans, and generally works in that continuity.

It’s taken 26 years…from the original comics to this animated (double) feature. I’m glad to be able to have ’em, all the more as they make a 25+ year old story "new" and "current" again for an entirely new generation!

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The ’90s Revisited: Superman – Dead Again!

deadagain_supermanthemanofsteel038Over the past several weeks, I’ve been reading/rereading complete stories rather than “just” single issues here or there that aren’t connected directly to one another by story or series.

The latest instance comes from issues I picked up recently at a sale (Carol and John’s Not At ComicCon 2015 sale). Finding they had a good stock of mid-’90s Superman books–ALL FIVE TITLES–allowed me finally to in one single purchase get the entirety of the Dead Again! arc (which either has not ever been reprinted in collected volume, or at least I do not have said volume). This purchase saved me the hassle of moving then replacing a dozen-some longboxes in a confined space to pull hardly a dozen issues, where I would then have to move and replace the boxes again after reading.

deadagain_superman094Despite seeing issues from this arc here and there over the past several months/years and being interested in re-reading the story in its entirety…it wasn’t until Michael Bailey and Jeffrey Taylor began their coverage of the story on their From Crisis to Crisis podcast that my interest was heightened to the point of action…which combined nicely with the well-timed opportunity of getting the issues and the time to actually read the entirety of the 11-issue arc in two days.

I actually can’t remember the last time I sat down and re-read more than one or two Superman issues in a row, let alone an entire cover-branded storyline like this from the ’90s Superman books. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and may next look to The Trial of Superman.

deadagain_adventuresofsuperman517I never noticed it as a kid when I originally read this some 20 years ago, but the issues do not line up 100% going from issue to issue the way they probably would if this was being published in 2015. Each issue ends on a some level of cliffhanger/dramatic moment–setting the stage for the next chapter–but then that next chapter didn’t often seem to pick up from the exact same moment. Additionally, some of the narratives of individual chapters would be different stylistically…some straight-forward, others picking up “later” and then flashing back to fill the reader in, then continuing on.

The art is also all over the place throughout the arc, and reading it all at once, I noticed the differences from book to book in a way I never had before.

deadagain_actioncomics704All of this is not unexpected, given the multiple titles and creative teams. I rarely went back to re-read issues week-to-week as the issues were coming out, and having a week between issues I don’t recall comparing the visuals to each other all that much…though even back then I’d noticed a personal preference for the art in the Superman title.

Dead Again! begins with characters reacting to the fact that a body–one that APPEARS to be the genuine Superman’s–is found in what should have been an EMPTY tomb. The tomb/room had been damaged in a fight between the current/live Superman and new villain Conduit. Various tests seem to confirm the body as being genuine, leading our active Superman to seek out villains that might be responsible for trickery…after all, he remembers coming back from the dead, being Clark Kent, etc. Other characters react in differing ways–Lois believing him to be genuine, while other characters aren’t so sure (and don’t have Lois’ “insight” into Superman’s genuinity).

deadagain_supermanthemanofsteel039Across the arc, Superman’s search involves Conduit, a new villain named Death Trap, the Eradicator and the Outsiders, STAR Labs, Atom, the New Gods on New Genesis, Darkseid on Apokalips, Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Metropolis SCU, hallucinations, and finally the ultimate villain of the piece (despite seemingly being ruled out on New Genesis) Brainiac himself.

Over the course of the story, we see Superman growing increasingly irrational as the situation drives him closer to sheer madness, as the supporting cast gets more concerned about him and his mental state. We also have a significant subplot as a young orphan–Keith–finds and loses his mother while gaining new foster parents in Perry and Alice White. We see the majority of Superman’s rogues gallery, and generally see questions raised and answered regarding whether or not there could have been–if this is–another “imposter” Superman…the possibility that Superman himself, the true Superman might never have actually been resurrected.

deadagain_superman095While I don’t recall this story getting any serious media attention and it does seem largely a footnote in the entirety of the ’90s Superman…this is a pretty significant arc, and an interesting follow-up to stuff. After the Death and Return of Superman “trilogy,” there were a number of smaller arcs and the overall continuing story/”Never Ending Battle” of the multiple titles collectively telling a weekly story…but this seems to be the largest singular story since Superman’s return, and paved the way for the likes of The Death of Clark Kent and The Trial of Superman, as well as (eventually) a number of other several-month arcs that punctuated the ongoing saga.

And this is definitely well worth the read if you get a chance!


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Justice League: War

justiceleaguewarboxcover_0206I (finally) read the entire Justice League: Origin 6-parter a few months ago, having taken advantage of one of Comixology‘s 99-cent sales. I don’t recall right now if I’d originally stuck with the book for 3 issues, or 4..but I know that I “let it go” before the arc was done, as I was bored with it and it seemed more flash than substance. Sure, it was pretty to look at for the most part, but the story was just lacking, and not up my alley of preference.

I’d like to think that I approached this film with little expectation and an open mind, but so recently off the JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time thing, biased against anything seeming truly long-term in the New 52 comics, and not particularly ENJOYING the comics this is based on I think I was predisposed to dislike Justice League: War.

Visually, with the animation, I liked this a good deal better than Trapped in Time. In particular, something about this Superman worked better for me than a lot of previous animated versions, though I could certainly do without the “collar.” Granted, I’ll take the collar over nearly-bare-shoulders and a sagging cape, gladly!

Nothing with the animation–in and of itself–ever grabbed my attention positive or negative. Which, technically, is a positive in my eyes. It just is what it is…neither calling attention to itself for revolutionarily spectacular style or effects nor being “off” in such a way that I noticed it or had a problem with it.

I’m far more used to Batman’s costume changing through the years, and am less familiar in general with the other characters’ costume specifics to have any particular opinion there. Superman’s costume worked well for me (or as well as it can)…I don’t mind the loss of the “trunks” and the darker blue to the suit is fairly subtle and doesn’t bother me, either.

My problems with this film come with the story…or as I felt, its lack thereof. This seemed to be little but one fight scene after another, alternating between hero-versus-hero, heroes-versus-generic-bad-guys and heroes-versus-boss-bad-guy. Basically, this might as well have been a video game, punctuated here or there with a few moments of mandated pre-provided plot.

While I “get” that these aren’t “my” versions of the characters–this IS based on the New 52, after all–there’s a certain “heart” missing from all of the characters in this. None of the heroes have any qualms about wading in to the slaughter of the parademons–there’s no hesitation, no questioning if they’re alive or should be rounded up rather than killed–by ANY of the characters. There’s also the admittedly nitpicky aspect of Shazam cursing (an obvious huge step away from the “holey moley!” exclamations often attributed to the character)…this was (for me) the most bothersome of the subtle things in this film.

Aside from a few touches of humanity–Batman and Superman acknowledging Clark and Bruce; Vic/Cyborg and Shazam/Billy’s secret; Batman sharing his identity with Green Lantern come to mind–these came off as two-dimensional archetypes rather than characters to actually care about. We’re just outside witnesses to the events that unfold, albeit with front-row seating. We don’t get into any of the characters’ heads, we get only–at best–hints to their pasts, we don’t actually see anything “personal” with them or any supporting cast/characters.

I didn’t note any of the voice actors going in, so rather than hearing so-and-so AS _______, I simply heard the characters speaking. By the end credits I realized Alan Tudyk voiced Superman, and having recently been on a Firefly/Serenity kick, that was a welcome surprise. (Of course, as said earlier: there’s not enough to the characters to really care, or for me to really get to where I’d recognize a single voice I’ve not previously associated with the animated character). All the voices seemed to work, none of them gave me any pause to hear THAT voice coming from the given character.

The extras aren’t particularly impressive. I always watch the featurettes as I’m interested in the content and refuse to watch video interviews online, and tend to find these of a higher production value than “just” some quick interview video posted online.

The Jim Lee featurettes seem just a “love fest” to Jim Lee. I would have preferred more of a documentary feature on the history of the Justice League and its varied incarnations through the years–from the original mash-up of “let’s throw all our characters into one book!” to the late-’80s “Bwa-ha-ha” and the ’97 Morrison “Big Seven” through Meltzer‘s Identity Crisis and post-Infinite Crisis reboot on to the current New 52 stuff.

I bought my copy from Best Buy specifically for the Superman figurine. I already had several figurines from previous releases and had missed a Superman one several years ago, so paying the $2 above Target and Walmart‘s $18ish opening-week price didn’t bother me on that end. That the film failed to truly entertain or really hold my interest is a sincere disappointment. Having now experienced this one for myself, I’m quite hesitant at the thought of any future Justice League New 52 films (such as one hinted at by a scene in the end credits).

All in all, if you already know these characters, if you like the New 52 incarnations of ’em and don’t mind the film’s “assumption” THAT you already know the characters (and want almost all-action and virtually no character development), you’ll probably dig this film. Alternatively, if you prefer deeper stories and well-rounded characters/character-interactions and the like, you’re about as well off here as you’d be watching friends play a videogame.

If anything, I’d recommend (if possible) a Redbox rental, and then if you happen to enjoy this, consider a purchase at that point.

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DC Villains Month, Week One

FOREVER EVIL #1

foreverevil001I find it rather…interesting…that the first issue of a “core series” beginning with 52 other “#1 issues” featuring villains, and 3-D-ish covers does not, itself, carry such a cover. That said, I’m really not impressed with Forever Evil #1. It wasn’t bad–and I definitely liked the art–but it’s only the first chapter of SEVEN, and I lack the context going in that might otherwise hold me to it. How did Trinity War end? Is this set in the present? The future? We start cold, with only the parallel universe villains’ word to go on with the fate of the Justice League. While I expect that’ll be revealed over the course of the next six issues with some typical flashbacks and maybe even flash-forwards or flash-sideways…this just fails to strike me as a worthwhile book to read month to month. If I’m not spoiled on a hugely negative ending, I’ll probably seek out the inevitable hardcover, though…in about a year or so when DC finally puts one out.

CYBORG SUPERMAN (Action Comics #23.1)

foreverevilcyborgsuperman001Of the five DC books I bought this week, this was the only one I’d intended to buy, and that on a whim. Cyborg Superman? AKA the “Superman” I initially “bet” on waaaaay back in 1993 as “The Real Man of Steel”? The character whose Sinestro Corps War special I thoroughly enjoyed, and who I recall popping up regularly throughout the ’90s (even if a bit TOO often)? Yeah, why not? Especially with the potential for a 3-D cover, to boot! Sadly, my high expectations proved fruitless, as I am THOROUGHLY disappointed with the “revamping” of the character for fitting into the New 52. This is absolutely NOT “my” Cyborg Superman…this new origin, background, BASIS of the character itself…it’s virtually unrecognizable to me, and feels like this should have been an entirely different character. Still…better to have found that out with a SINGLE issue than getting suckered into trying multiple issues of any title for “promise” of the character appearing/being developed!

JOKER (Batman #23.1)

forevereviljoker001I actually quite enjoyed this one-shot. We get a truly one-off tale of the Joker, from his point of view, as he adopts a baby monkey (ape?) and raises it to be his son and partner in crime…raising it in contrast to his own memories of childhood. Of course, things don’t turn out well, and Joker finds himself back to reflecting on life in his own twisted way. The art was a bit jarring for the flashbacks, but quite good for the main story. I got the feeling that this story could fit pretty much “anywhere” in time…just a period when the Joker went off the grid or such. Since it’s set in “the past,” it’s before he had his face cut off, which makes this all the more timeless and not necessarily set in the New 52 (and being the Joker, who knows how much of this was “real” vs. made up/exaggerated/etc?). All in all, this was a nice one-shot, and with the 3-D cover combined with the short one-issue story, I’m quite satisfied with my $3.99 spent on this issue.

DARKSEID (Justice League #23.1)

foreverevildarkseid001I actually wound up getting this issue because I was intrigued at the Desaad issue, and had pretty much made my mind up to get that issue. And having just read the first 6-issue arc of Justice League a few days ago thanks to a 99-cent Comixology sale, and typically associating Desaad WITH Darkseid…I decided this would go with Desaad’s issue. What I got was an origin of sorts, a glimpse of the “old gods” and the start of the “New Gods.” And a look at how Darkseid shows that he’s not oblivious to what goes on around him, but uses everything to his own ends. Nothing fancy, or deep, or really all that compelling for me. I’ve never been particularly interested in Darkseid in general, and have rarely enjoyed anything with him involved–“Big Bad” or otherwise. This issue did nothing to change that, and only cemented my actual lack of interest in the character.

DESAAD (Earth 2 #15.1)

foreverevildesaad001This issue hooked me with the cover. Desaad has a MUCH different appearance than the sniveling old-man looking character I recall from the ’90s and generally pre-New-52 DC stuff. While I’m not a fan of the new look in and of itself, it is rather striking. Combined with the 3-D effect of teh cover, this one really stood out to me with a lot more “depth” to the image than other issues that seemed a lot more obviously “layered.” As a story, the issue basically shows us Desaad working his machinations, trapped on Earth 2, waiting for Darseid to find/rescue him. He’s not idle–experimenting, mutating, and generally doing horrible stuff. He ends up looking in on a human–My first thought was Jack Kirby–and decides to let the human live for now, better to be “eaten” later. While I was definitely impressed with the cover–the cover can be credited with my buying into the month’s event in general–I wasn’t particularly impressed with the interior; though it could’ve been worse.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 1

I was going to stick to the Cyborg Superman and Doomsday issues this month, and those two mainly “for old time’s sake.” I probably would’ve been grabbed by the Bane issue due out later as well, anyway, for that 1993 nostalgia (despite severe disappointment in The Dark Knight #6). But I wound up buying four of the villains issues, primarily because of the 3-D covers actually impressing me. That, and I was at the comic shop late in the evening, well after some of the other issues sold out, and I was truly just looking at the covers/characters, with no real mind given to creative teams or ongoing stories. Just covers and the characters.

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While I was quite disappointed in the new Cyborg Superman, his origin, etc, and far from impressed with the Darkseid story…I enjoyed the Joker story, and the Desaad story was a middle ground. But I really do credit the Desaad issue with my buying into the Villains Month thing: I was impressed by the cover, and if I was buying Desaad’s issue, “had to” buy Darkseid’s issue. And if I was already buying a couple characters’ issues like these…how could I NOT buy the Joker issue? Especially since all 4 were still available in the 3-D editions….despite rather severe allocations and whatnot.

I submitted a list of 12 more Villains books to the comic shop this morning, figuring I’d just throw in and go with characters I’m interested in. I received an email back this afternoon, and a note that for the ones I’ve requested, I should be able to have the 3D editions. While I reserve the “right” to disappointment if I get “stuck” with a 2-D edition amidst all these 3-D covers…tentatively I’m looking forward to MORE one-shots, as I truly don’t remember a time that I read so many such issues that were ok in and of themselves, without feeling like I HAD TO follow them into a bigger story.

Final Crisis #6 [Review]

How to Murder the Earth

Script: Grant Morrison
Art: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Doug Mahnke, Marco Rudy, Christian Alamy, Jesus Merino
Colors: Alex Sinclair & Pete Pantazis
Lettering: Rob Clark Jr.
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: JG Jones (sliver cover by Pacheco, Merino & Sinclair)
Publisher: DC Comics

This sixth issue opens with a scene featuring Superman and Brainiac 5…presumably our Legion of 3 Worlds link. Brainiac has something he needs Superman to see, and Superman’s concerned because he’s been beyond reality and has to get home (no mention of Lois). We then cut back to a gathering of heroes doing what they do, and the Supergirl/”Black Mary” battle (we find out who’s pulling Mary’s strings). Heroes find themselves facing friends and loved ones now under Darkseid’s thumb; the Flashes hatch a plan, and Batman breaks one of his personal rules in order to face Darseid. Finally, Superman enters the battle on Earth, bringing with him anger not often displayed.

The art jumped out at me for this issue–unfortunately, though, not a good thing. Rather than the fairly distinct JG Jones art alone, we have a number of other artists brought on to get this done, and so there is quite a bit of variance in the visuals throughout the issue–this looks like just another comic instead of a singular, special event/series. The art in and of itself isn’t all that bad–characters familiar to casual readers are familiar and recognizeable. The Tawky Tawny battle, though, was a bit hard to follow, and took me a bit beyond the battle itself before I even realized who won the fight. While I’m sure intended for dramatic effect, a key double-page shot toward the end looks almost comical (in a “ha, ha” sort of way) and seems almost out of place in this title given other events that have ocurred off-panel and been referred back to almost as an afterthought.

The story is far from wonderful, but it is serviceable, at least on the surface. We get a number of scene-jumps without much flow, just jumping from one scene to the next. One has to keep track visually of what and who is where as the Supergirl/Mary battle is cut with the Tawny battle, for example. The main Batman scene comes across like it’s supposed to be reminiscent of a certain speedster in a prior Crisis, and for this reader felt forced and overly predictable.

On the whole, due to one character’s fate apparently shown here, this issue is pretty important to DC continuity, at least for the moment. However, this is an issue I read more to seek a conclusion to Batman: RIP and in the hopes of staying somewhat current with the most major goings-on of the DCU than out of enjoyment. This is one of those comics that is probably going to wind up being pretty “essential” to the bigger picture in the DCU…though it lacks the feel I’d expect for something of its supposed enormity.

Recommended for its necessity in the DCU-to-come, but not for the story and art.

Story: 5/10
Art: 3/10
Whole: 4/10

Final Crisis #5 [Review]

Into Oblivion

Script: Grant Morrison
Art: J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Rudy, Jesus Merino
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: J.G. Jones (sliver by Pacheco, Merino & Sinclair)
Publisher: DC Comics

Green Lantern Hal Jordan is tried for apparent deicide, though it turns out someone has corrupted an Alpha Lantern–something that is not supposed to be able to happen. Meanwhile, as the dark gods revel in their victory and the nearly-awoken Darkseid, certain heroes band together to strike back as the world falls apart around them.

There’s a lot going on in this issue, which makes it feel somewhat choppy as we jump from point to point to point to point. This is going on, that’s also going on, this other thing’s happening, someone’s doing this other thing over here.

The art felt rather choppy as well with multiple artists covering different parts of the story. I’m hard-pressed to think offhand of an example of multiple artists detracting from a story for me, but this might be a first.

The story leaves me scratching my head–both for trying to get to an understanding of what’s actually going on in the bigger picture sense as well as the execution. As a “contained” story limited to just this mini and some tie-in minis, I don’t feel any great sense of urgency or crisis…this reads simply like some alternate unverse where Darkseid wins, and not the main DC Universe I’m supposed to actually care about.

This may read much better in a single volume when all the pieces are on the board to be read at once, and we actually see how events play out in the main DCU whenever the let this affect other books. Until then, it is a huge disappointment for me and is far less enjoyable than Rogues’ Revenge, Revelations, and Legion of 3 Worlds have been.

Worth getting if you’re following the event for the event’s sake, and if you’re enjoying this title thus far. If you’ve not been getting it so far, you’re probably better off catching up through wikipedia and if you’re so inclined, snag collected volume.

Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6/10

Final Crisis #4 [Review]

Darkseid Says

Script: Grant Morrison
Art: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
Cover: JG Jones
Sliver Cover: Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
Colors & Sliver Cover: Alex Sinclair
Lettering: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza

This issue opens with the heroes defeated. Evil has won–and those heroes that remain are busy organizing safety zones–“watchtowers”–for surviving, uncorrupted civilians. An “underground resistance,” if you will. We get to see a world of darkness, in which the evil “gods” of the “5th world” have taken over, creating an Apokalips-on-Earth. While Earth has been subdued, the various evil “gods” are intent upon the re-awakening/return of their master, Darkseid…whose return will, apparently, seal the deal–Earth will be theirs, heroes won’t be able to stand, and so on.

The art for this issue is pretty good overall. I have no real qualms with it. Though it’s a bit disappointing to not have “just” Jones’ art, there are plenty of scene-shifts and points that I already don’t really have a clue what’s actually going on that hey…different art? Hardly jarring at all. It’s actually slightly helpful, as I assume as I read that different art means the scene has undoubtedly shifted and might be something to take note of.

The story? I’m “getting” a bit of the overall story, but I still am not getting the nuances. I’m sure there’s PLENTY going on that I’m not noticing, not picking up on. And…chances are those details I’m missing are rather important to enjoyment of this story.

I feel like I’m along for the ride–but not much else. This is a core-series “event” book…and it’s my LEAST-favorite of everything with the “Final Crisis” title on it. I just do not care about the New Gods–I never will, and the fact that their story is essentially THE story frustrates me all the more. Three issues to go–perhaps I’ll see by then why they’re ever so important to the fabric of the DC Universe that their coming into a new iteration is so tied to Earth.

Another issue I have with this particular issue is that there are several empty word balloons–was that intentional? an effect of us needing to know something was said, but not supposed to know WHAT just yet, and/or effect of hearing SOMETHING, but not over an explosion and other surrounding noise? Or is it just something that slipped through the cracks? Additionally, in my decision to read this issue to see how the story may have progressed, I learned the outcome of the Final Crisis: Submit one-shot, which was a bit frustrating when I turned over to that issue and realized what had happened.

Whether on me to “dig deeper” or not, I am not enjoying this series. I find myself following it for whatever context I might be able to find for the tie-in stories (which–excepting Superman Beyond–have all been far more enjoyable) and in the hopes that something might occur in this core series to change my mind, to make me feel like it’s actually a story that lives up to the year of hype predating its debut.

Story: 5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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