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Superman/Batman #76 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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Final Crisis #7 [Review]

New Heaven, New Earth

Script: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Doug Mahnke & Walden Wong
Colors: Alex Sinclair w/Tony Avina & Pete Pantazis
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: JG Jones (sliver cover by Marco Rudy & Sinclair)
Publisher: DC Comics

So, this is it. This is the issue it’s all been building toward–the final chapter of this “final crisis” the characters are facing, this “event” capping off years of story…

Much like Marvel’s Secret Invasion final issue, this issue jumps ahead, and instead of us experiencing the story as it progresses, with the characters–instead we’re treated to a look-back from the present to a conclusion that’s already happened. We see characters rise against their Fifth-World gods and the intrusion of Mandrakk, and a multiverse’s army of Supermen, and…stuff happens.

The art in the issue isn’t all that bad. In fact, in and of itself it’s actually pretty good. Though there’s a whole bunch of inkers, the final result is a decent presentation. I went in with very low expectations, and what I got managed to stay a bit above my expectations–though I also found myself not really focusing terribly much on the art (didn’t expect to be impressed, so didn’t care to look for something to be impressed BY).

The story fits with the rest of the series in tone and feeling like it’s trying to come from somewhere above my reading level, and successfully makes me feel lost, whatever else it accomplishes there. While elements of this core series could be found in the tie-ins, on the whole, the entirety of the Final Crisis was told in 7 issues, this one mini-series. While that made it easier on the wallet, I feel like it did a large injustice to the scope of the story. Had it crossed into a large number of the DC books as Infinite Crisis did, this would have felt like a bigger deal. As it is, it felt like some apocalyptic (no pun intended) story with these characters with no real basis in ongoing continuity. That books are to make the “jump” to reflect what happened in Final Crisis later doesn’t really do much for me (but at least the story will be acknowledged).

I’m sure there’s “deep” stuff going on here with loads of potential for future exploration…but the feel just wasn’t there for me. I did not enjoy this issue, and the series as a whole has been bittersweet–I can’t see having skipped on it, but nor have I particularly enjoyed any of the issues. (The tie-in minis’ issues are another story).

Story: 5/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 6/10

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

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