Wednesday, October 22, 2008
FINAL CRISIS #4 Review
Note: - This issue takes place after Final Crisis: Submit
Before I start yes we all know the editorial mismangement and the new fiasco of Doug Mahnke taking over on art but i'll get to that later.
Alot of my feelings haven't changed. I still think it's mediocre art and the fact the delays and now total failure have happened is pretty pathetic, I would understand the delays if the art was by David Aja or Leonardo Da Vinci, but J.G Jones' stuff is nothing special, it's just comic book stuff.
His first few pages in Issue #1 were very nice, the comic book cartoon but at it's most detailed, but obviously he can only draw cavemen that well since everything has derailed.
I brought up the Lantern ring implant scene as confusing and fucked and a few people gave me shit about the artwork like the 4th pip.(*just reread this, apologies 4th pip I didn't mean the ring implant scene, you're still a dumb fuck though) But that dickhead equates the current Captain America, Daredevil and Iron fist to Azrael/Knightfall, Reign of Superman and Kyle Rayner. Ha, what a dumb cunt. And he's in his late 30's. Pathetic. Yes, I browse the comicbookresources boards.
Whatever, alot of people see it now. Those people disagreeing can go get fucked. Because i'm right.
To the issue.
First off. The cover. What a cover. Seriously. Killer. Jones should have been on covers only. I'll give him this. What a cover.
It's issue 4. And by the trades and ads we are told that EVIL HAS WON.
We get scenes of moments before the anti-life equation has been unleashed. Then anyone listening to a speaker, with a phone, GPS, airline monitor - becomes a victim of the anti life equation. Drones, zombies. Then they become justifier troops for Darkseid, other Justifier Troops physically put helmets on them just like The Human Flame. I don't what it is, but I preferred the Parademons, no matter how silly and ineffective they were. These Battlestar Galactica Cylon soldiers don't have that oomph, maybe Jones drew them too small. To recap, those who are not exposed to anti-life via technological means and are not in hiding, are physically forced to become Justifiers. So you have a bunch of superheroes and refugees in hiding.
Next we learn that the JLA Watchtower is unaffected. The Ray is beaming around the world from there delivering Daily Planet newspapers, which are still being published, via a printing press in the Fortress of Solitude. Where Morrison is going with this I don't know, but from what I see it seems he's using it like history has actually done it, leftist rebel propaganda under a tyrannical regime, inspiring people to fight back. You've seen it in South America, Burma, Iran. However I don't think it works here, because the circumstances are different and the people fighting back are different. It's a world taken over by Gods with the rebels being Superheroes.
Superman however is MIA, so are most of the mythic heroes. Wonder Woman is a Fury, Hal Jordan is arrested, Batman is captured and Superman is missing throughout the multiverse. What you get out of this is that there is still hope, it's as if Superman doesn't even know this is all happening, he's just gone and when he comes back, shit is going to go down. It's a cool idea. Rather than take him out, he's busy and maybe Darkseid didn't count on this.
Anyway the Ray ends up at the Hall of Justice with the tattoo man in hand(this story comes straight out of Final Crisis: Submit). At the Hall of Justice are some rebels - Green Arrow, Black Canary, Oracle, Linda West and her two kids, Jay Garricks woman. Green Arrow doesn't like the tattoo man there, but the tattoo man says he has a message from Black Lightning(Final Crisis: Submit), The Ray saved him because he's a good guy and wasn't going to let him become a justifier troop. The Ray lets it known that the only thing the rebels have via communication is the Daily Planet which he and others deliver around the world. Black Canary asks him what happened to the Bludhaven Strike force and judging by the front page of the planet it seems there was a team sent in to Bludhaven. Which we see by the double page splash follwing that it was a bad idea. Bludhaven in ruins(from before) but bodies of what seems to be random heroes(no one known) and atomic knights and their dogs. Same imagery from the future scenes of Cameron's Terminator films. Disturbing. Justifier troops with Evil God guns around Bludhaven.
Next is the evil gods. Godfrey and the scientists Mokkari and Simyan. Darkseid IS in Turpin. What we learn is that in the fourth world, the new gods and evil gods actually had human bodies like avatars, but it's not working aswell in the fifth world. Becoming Avatars that is. (correct me if i'm wrong). Turpin is resisting. Resisting Anti-life. Mokkari and Simyan are responsible for the 'evil factories' across the world and are merging human and animals into super soldiers for Darkseid. They are also grafting the new bodies for the Evil Gods(also correct me if i misinterpreted this). The evil factory grafted a new body for Kalibak. Basically he's a big tiger. It's pretty dumb and nowhere near as bizarre as the old body, he's just a big tiger with a shorts and a tank top with Kirby esque markings. He is however devouring a Green Lantern. Another big idea added is that there are factions in a sense between the evil gods, all trying their best to impress Darkseid when he 'incarnates'. Granny Goodness is in the stars fighting the Green Lantern Corps and the guardians, trying to take over the central battery(please, fucking please, show this). Turpin is slowly breaking down and letting Darkseid take over. Apparently a brave noble spirit that is broken down is only capable to hold Darkseid.
At the Hall of Justice, the justifier troops in their hundreds are trying to break in, very reminiscent of the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers. And that's where the tone kicks in that i've been waiting for. That feeling of dread that haunts the whole movie from when the Rohirrim leave Rohan. That same feeling of dread and helplessness plagues the rest of the issue. It just hit me that nothing has been done like this before, we get glimpses like in Days of Future Past or a city made like this in Onslaught which also had a similar tone, but nothing like this where Earth has been taken over. It's done. The Bad guys have won. But like I said, they haven't counted on Superman.
The Oracle says that the anti-life equation is a mathetical proof that Darkseid is rightful master of everything. It's a brilliant concept. Basically everything you believed in was a lie. Most people on this earth think there is a reason for everything or that everything is rooted in neutrallity. But what is existence was rooted in evil. All the people who have faith, destroyed, not only does it not mean anything but it's the opposite of what they believe.
The rebels or survivors want to get out of there, The Ray says he is a power generator and that the secret society had their own internet, the unternet(Morrison what the fuck?) and they didn't know about it until they were told by an informant within Libra's circle. The Ray patches it together and connect to Watchtower 1 - Checkmate Castle. Above Watchtower 1 - heroes, specifically Hawkgirl fighting airborne soldiers of Darkseid, below, justifier troops trying to break in like The Battle of Helm's Deep from The Two Towers. The Ray and Mr Terrific connect all the Watchtowers and Alan Scott gives a message to everyone. Above Alan Scott, pictures of heroes and their statuses, it can't help but be noted all the big guns are M.I.A with some powerful fuckers conveniently being offworld(Kyle Rayner) and you get yourself thinking that if he was there, things might be a little different. He is afterall, the Luke Skywalker of Green Lanterns. Others M.I.A - Superman, Kingdom Come Superman, Hal Jordan. This means something no doubt. When the baddest heroes are missing by chance, you know that means there is some hope.
Alan Scott gives an inspirational speech about how their world is being attacked by Gods, and they have powers and technology beyond them, they have a genetic factory in bludhaven and that their presence is deforming time and distorting their minds. And that they must also have courage to fight back. That there are 6 Watchtowers with heroes and refugees. There we learn Watchtower 3 is the Fortress of Solitude lead by Supergirl. Watchtower 5 is Superbia lead by Warmaker but it's falling. Watchtower 4 I can't make out(I thought it was Gorilla City and it was - thanks to Gary Ancheta for the note). Watchtower 6 is the Great Wall lead by August General in Iron. Basically a random superheroes are at different Watchtowers which are acting like forts, some of the Watchtowers are being attacked and some of the heroes are outside holding back the Justifier troops until the time comes for the Omega Initiative which is the final stand of the Superheroes at the Bridge in Bludhaven. A very cynical Black Adam sees this and wants to join in, dissolusioned with the fact the primal gods have left and these new gods have come in, and he has a very 'fuck it' attitude, knowing they are outnumbered and doomed but wants to fight anyway. Then it's a Fringe Ad.
Back at The Watchtower, The Tattoo Man who is slowly becoming a Superhero reveals he was given a circuit by Black Lightning(Final Crisis: Submit) and it reveals itself on him like a tattoo, and it's Metron's symbol, all over his body. Outside the Justifier troops with Black Lightning leading them are trying to break in, the rebels go to escape to the JLA Watchtower.
To the Flashes. Barry tells Wally that Darkseid is falling and he's dragging the Multiverse with him. Wally is first in shock at seeing his uncle and lets that take over him first, Barry explains that an unknown force reverse engineered him out of light particles. With a steel rope, the Flashes take out the Female Furies, Giganta is taken out like an At-AT by a snowspeeder. The Art is pretty all over the place here, not very clear.
At the Hall of Justice, Green Arrow says he's satying behind so he can wreck the teleport system so they can get to safety and can't be followed. This is a great scene, it shows he anti imperialism of Ollie but also his heroism. Black Canary argues of course but Ollie tells her she is the JLA leader now. As they leave, Ollie goes all out taking on a whole horde of Justifier troops and Apokalips dogs by himself but stops when he sees Black Lightning. Black Lightning takes him out and says the rebels have escaped and can't be followed, Ollie says that the bastards will never get them and that they'll all fight to the end. Then Ollie becomes a justifier troop.
Above the earth. The Black Canary looks out to the Green Lantern quarantined Earth, laments Ollie then becomes a soldier and tells the rebels to station weapons review.
Darkseid's Helmet is a Crown. Mary Marvel brings it on a cushion like it was a ring. Above the checkmate castle, Alan Scott and Hawkgirl are being overwhelmed by super justifer troops which they discover are some superheroes. Alan says they can't give up, they have to hold back the troops until the Omega offensive is ready, which is when Hawkgirl starts to notice the rain.
Godfrey asks Darkseid(Turpin is breaking down but still resisting) whether he gives a thumbs up for the triumph of the Holy Spirit or a thumbs down for a holocaust that will never end. Turpin still tries to resist, barely mouthing "kk-kiss....my"
In Central City. Images of a factory of people working for Darkseid, it basically looks like that world in Rock of Ages from Morrison's JLA run. Justifier troops breaking down people physically, everything around like walls and clothes with omega logos. And around that, Apokaliptan tanks. The woman walks into her apartment and stares blankly at a screen showing the omega logo. Barry and Wally walks in. The Woman is Iris West. Barry kisses her like he's waited thousands of years to do it and she comes back to normal.
Back at the Checkmate castle, Alan notes that he can feel the world colliding with the world of the Gods. That it feels like the end of everything. Hawkgirl notes the rain is blood. It's raining blood. Mister Terrific notes that something is coming out of nowhere, and through a portal comes out the japanese heroes in their super car. Mister Miracle(Shilo Norman) comes out saying they can save the world until he is shot by a SHADE soldier.
The Evil Gods asking for Darkseid. Turpins last narration. He is broken. That at the end, the only choice is Apokalips and Darkseid.
Darkseid Awakens. With a thumbs down. "Give In" - Turpins last narration.
- FINAL CRISIS #4 - DARKSEID SAYS
Finally, it seems like it's kicked off, there are problems, but all that concept I had in my head of Evil winning and Heroism having to fight back and Superheroes as rebels is coming to the forefront. The most exciting thing and in regards to the Solicits is Superman being M.I.A, he's not taken out, just missing and he's Superman, the Anti-Darkseid. That is the best thing out of this book. He's going to come back like Aragorn to lead an army of superheroes against the Evil Gods.
The story is making sense, that good vs evil element is coming into full view. And "The Lord of the Rings" of the DCU is starting to take shape. I'm glad. That tone from The Lord of the Rings which is the greatest Good vs Evil story, those elements are seeping in.
The art is still mediocre. Carlos Pacheco drew some of it, but you can't note what he did, except the last full page of Darkseid. It's a good issue, which might become great if the next one adds to it. The storytelling, panelling is still meh. It doesn't have that epic feel like the stuff Ivan Reis does, Sinestro Corps War, you felt the scope. This is bigger than Sinestro Corps War and doesn't have anywhere near the scope. Some panels like of outside Checkmate Castle should have been larger with better angles. Though some of the ground shots of Central City in ruins were pretty interesting.
In regards to the mismanagement. J.G Jones should have never drawn this. JH Williams III (Promethea, Seven Soldiers, that amazing 3 issue Club of Heroes arc from Morrison's Batman) who is an ARTIST, should have done this, with his graphic design style, ability to draw like Jack Kirby, he would have made this something special. It's ludicrous that DC actually hired Jones knowing his track record. He has one fucking year of lead time. A fucking year. Fans say he spent it on design. Fuck you. A year. Fans say that Morrison kept changing it. There is NOTHING that jives with Countdown that needed a delay or modification to suit it. Nothing. He had a year of lead time, he didn't have to worry about Countdown. He said he was chained to a desk drawing this and by issue 4 there is already a fill in artist. Some fans say that they should have just let him continue with it just like Ultimates and Civil War, thing is those comics looked better from the start. And via interviews you just could tell Jones was overwhelmed with this, i'd be surprised how much of issue 5 is done by Jones.
What pisses me off about alot of DC fans and which is starting to crack now is that it seems like they don't read much comics outside of DC. I love DC, I mainly read DC but even I can admit Marvel has the better looking comics.
You look at most of DC's comics and there is nothing 'art' about them, they're just stories drawn as cartoons. There's nothing like David Aja's Immortal Iron Fist which makes you go 'wow' or Alex Maleev's Daredevil which makes you go 'oooh'. Maybe Ivan Reis' stuff on Green Lantern, it's the best and goddamn real good but it's still not as special as the others or distinctly artistic like the others. Although his storytelling, panelling is amazing. Ethan Van Sciver's is special but that dude draws one issue every 4 years. J.G Jones' art is mediocre, NOTHING special about it, wake the fuck up if you think it is because it isn't and to think he has failed in delivering 7 issues(oversized sure) with one year of lead time for this non special art is pretty pathetic. He's a slow penciller, I get it. DC was wrong to hire him and Jones was wrong to accept this. But DC fans, well not many now cos alot of them have started to agree with me, have been stupid to say that it's great or excusing his one year of lead time as design work. Fuck you. He failed, DC failed and now Final Crisis is going to be a clusterfuck. Doesn't matter how good the story is, there is nothing special about it anymore. It's the Lord of the Rings movies with 3 different cinematographers at different points, but they never started out with Andrew Lesnie, they just got some guy who did the latest TV to film adaptation.
I'm not too fussed about Mahnke, because his art on Superman Beyond 3D was impressive. But it's not art on the level with Marvel's previous events, he's no Leinel Yu, Steve McNiven or Ariel Olivetti. But it's ok, just when you have an event called FINAL CRISIS and it's billed as the be all and end all and you have a mediocre artist who can't even finish it. That's sad. This is a clusterfuck as said by a reader on Newsarama. This is the type of shit that makes Marvel laugh, last month they had more than a 50% share of the market, not superhero comics, but the market. DC continues like this, Marvel will have a 60% share by the time Final Crisis finishes. Yes, Marvel has all the best artists in comics on contract, but this was sheer stupidy by DC Editorial.
This isn't something that's going to become part of history like Watchmen or Dark Knight or the other mini series or comics that had one artist.
If this had better management, a better artist(JH Williams III) this might have been one of the greats.
B.T.W Final Crisis #5 has a new cover of Wonder Woman, Guess the other one was too skimpy.