Countdown Breakdown: An Illustrated Guide to DC’s ‘Final Crisis’ – Part 1
Hello there, folks. So the first issue of DC’s latest mega-event, Final Crisis, hit shelves last month and the second issue is out this week. The series features a story by one of the greatest writers in the industry, Grant Morrison, as well as one of the best artists in comics these days, J.G. Jones.
So far it’s a great read, in my opinion, and fairly accessible to anyone who doesn’t mind waiting for all of the answers to the questions it raises.
Still, some of you might be wondering, "Should I have read Countdown and the various other miniseries that were intended to lead up to this mega-event?"
Well, maybe you already know about Anthro, the first human of the DC Earth. And maybe you’re aware of Kamandi, the blonde-haired teen who lives in a possible future where he is the last human boy on an Earth ruled by animals. But what about this "war in heaven" that folks are talking about?
And what’s this about a parallel Earth being destroyed?
Well, look no further! I’m here to give you a recap of some of the major Crisis-related happenings over this past year to get you caught up to speed.
First, some backstory: A long time ago, there was "The Monitor," this guy who was sort of simian-looking but had really cool technology. It was his job to watch over the main DC Universe (and a few others). But then he died during The Crisis On Infinite Earths.
A few years ago, the events of Infinite Crisis caused 51 parallel versions of the DC Earth to be created and the birth of 52 new Monitors. Each Monitor was assigned to watch over a single universe (sort of like having a pet, except you can’t play with it too much).
Countdown really kicked off when the New Gods began dying. The New Gods are basically extra-dimensional, near immortal beings who wear bizarre outfits, have weird names and live on the planets New Genesis and Apokolips.
The first death was Lightray, who fell from the sky and crashed in Metropolis, whispering the word "infinite" before he died. Since Lightray was kind of lame, no one cared much. And you can be sure that the Green Lantern Corps didn’t freak out over this case of deicide and cordon off the entire planet as a crime scene, no sir!
Now, Solomon, the Monitor of Earth-8, decided he was going to try to become the "Omni-Monitor" with power over the entire multiverse. He put some things into motion, such as turning the hero Captain Atom into the villain Monarch.
Darkseid, ruler of the evil New Gods, had his own plans to take over the multiverse. So he and Solomon not only plotted against each other, they also played chess with pieces that were carved to look like heroes and villains they were manipulating.
… Which begs the question, where did they get that nifty chess set?
Clearly, faithful ComicMix readers, we must conclude that Darkseid the Destroyer enjoys whittling in his spare time and making chess pieces and dolls based on his friends and enemies. And that just makes him even scarier, don’t you think?
I mean, just imagine:
DARKSEID: Oak is so gentle … So soothing …
Well, Solomon’s plans didn’t work out and before he knew it, Monarch brought an army to take out the Monitors, with Earth-51 as the battlefield. The war was joined by Superboy Prime (basically a whiney fanboy with Kryptonian powers) and that whole universe ended up nuked in the end.
This did not look great for its Monitor, the pony-tailed Nix Uotan. He recreated Earth-51, but then Karate Kid accidentally unleashed a virus that turned almost all the human population into animal people. Having failed not once but twice to protect his Earth, Nix was definitely in trouble with the other Monitors.
While all of this was going on, Darkseid’s torturer Desaad (get it?!) started messing with the Flash villains Trickster and Pied Piper. It was all part of a convoluted scheme to learn the Anti-Life Equation, a formula that destroys free will.
But when Trickster was killed, Piper got ticked off and used his special flute to blow up Desaad’s head. Then he took it a step further and blew up most of Apokolips itself, which just proves that the guy rocks harder than AC/DC and Black Sabbath COMBINED!
After this, Piper decided he was gonna be a good guy, which shouldn’t be a stretch since that’s what he had been until just a couple of years ago anyway.
Oh, and before we forget …
Somehow, during the chaos, Brother Eye (the evil A.I. satellite that Batman created and which birthed the hero-killing OMACs) showed up and integrated itself with Apokolips.
So Piper then blew up the planet before Brother Eye could accomplish anything, making this plot point pretty moot.
Okay, got all of that? This is probably a good time for an intermission, so come back tomorrow for the second half of my "Countdown Breakdown" here on ComicMix.
In Part Two, it’s New God hippies, pimpin’ rides and the science of "soul-catching!"
Alan Kistler has been recognized by Warner Bros. Pictures and mainstream media outlets as a comic book historian, and can be seen in the "Special Features" sections of the Adventures of Aquaman and Justice League: New Frontier DVDs. His personal website can be found at: www.KistlerUniverse.com.
All sketches courtesy of Alan Kistler, who is also an artist, apparently.