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Final Crisis: Secret Files [Review]

Balancing Act!

Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Tony Shasten
Colorist: Alex Bleyaert
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: Frank Quitely (sliver cover by Jim Lee, Richard Friend & Randy Mayor)
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue introduces us to Libra. From his initial origin (with ties to the Ted Knight Starman) to how it is we have Libra in the Final Crisis story. The story shows us how the young man was impacted by events beyond his control as a child, and the home life he came from. We then see how he deals with it, and how he pulls himself up through the world to the point he was originally introduced at way back in the day, and the cost of actually achieving all that he seeks to do. We then find out how Darkseid came to have a “herald” or “prophet” Libra during the contemporary Final Crisis story.

I don’t recognize Shasten’s name, but the art here is quite good. It seems to fit the story well, and I have no real complaints. The story itself is fairly interesting, revealing the origin of Libra–not just as an obscure character from decades past, but as a character we see operating today.

As far as DC’s “Secret Files” specials go, this is certainly NOT what I expected. I should have been suspicious at the (relatively) small price point. Rather than character profiles and information about location and events that’ve unfolded in Final Crisis, this is simply another one-shot that fills us in on a character’s background and how they relate to Final Crisis. This should have been billed as a “Secret Origin issue, as the Secret Files title from DC has come to imply lengthy text/image pieces that go in-depth on bringing one up-to-speed on the current status of a number of characters related to the title.

As with other recent tie-ins, though…I enjoyed this a great deal more than I have the core series. When I saw Wein’s name on this, I was trying to place the name. I recognized the name, but didn’t think I’d seen it in awhile. This finally clicked for me when I saw a note in the credits that Libra was created by Wein. Given that, I find it quite cool that the character’s creator was brought on to reconcile past and present.

Simply as a one-shot that ties in to Final Crisis, this is a solid issue that–while it doesn’t move the Final Crisis story forward–goes a good way toward explaining a pretty major character related to that story.

I’ve had several times that by the time I’ve gotten to a comic store there’s been no choice BUT to get the “sliver cover” for a Final Crisis book. This was the first time that I found myself “stuck” with no choice but the full-cover image. Quitely’s art for the cover is not bad, and as I have yet to see the sliver image, I’m not gonna worry about it.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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