Watching the Train Wreck of “Final Crisis”

Van Jensen

Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book writer. In addition to ComicMix, he contributes to Publishers Weekly and Comic Book Resources. He lives in Atlanta, and his blog can be found at

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33 Responses

  1. mike weber says:

    "…today's writers have become obsessed with style at the expense of substance."Not unlike comics fans love of flashy artists who really don't draww too good, after all, once you get past the styilistic tricks they swiped from somewhere else but don't really understand."As Myers wrote about critics, there's a subconscious instinct that you must appreciate writing you don't understand."The song "If You're Anxious for to Shine", from Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta "Patience" covers it quite well: And ev'ryone will say, As you walk your mystic way, "If this young man expresses himself In terms too deep for me, Why, what a very singularly deep young man This deep young man must be!"

  2. Van Jensen says:

    An addendum: My wife, who does like comics, made this comment after only three pages, "Can I please stop reading this?"

  3. George Haberberger says:

    I agree. I read the third issue last week and until I read this synopsis, I wouldn't have been able to say what happened. Such monumental things are happening that no one thing seems to be important.

  4. Eric Francis says:

    I must agree with the others who've commented here.While I've not really been a fan of Morrison, this "event" is dull, boring and a waste of paper at times.As with a good number of Morrison's "mainstream" works, I've felt that I'm missing half the story. He jumps around and doesn't offer a complete tale. I don't want to pay for half a comic book, and despite assurances of many, consider this removed from my pull list.

  5. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    The old chestnut is "Every comic is someone's first comic". If you follow this rule scrupulously, this book is an epic failure, since it's imponderable to anyone but a hardcore comics reader with in-depth knowledge of the DCU. But this is written exactly FOR the hardcore comics reader with in-depth knowledge of the DCU. This is the last chapter of a very long book. It's the last episode of a series – too bad if you just started watching this week – go look up what's been happening on Wikipedia. Even more so than any other event DC have done in a long time, you really DO need to know a lot before you open the book. Contrary to popular opinion, that is not the norm for DC's titles. You can pick up almost any DCU title and get an idea of what's going on by reading the origin box, and maybe picking up the previous issue if it's a continuing story. FC is like a reward for paying attention to all those niggling details for all those years. They're getting used here, and you can finally feel memorizing all those details had some small value.If anything, it's BECAUSE it's so insular and stand-alone that DC is taking a bit of a risk with it. It doesn't tie into any other books, save for the specials done for the event. As opposed to Secret Invasion which is crossing into everything short of my local Pennysaver, FC is a pretty low investment. Also, as a result of the book pretty much standing alone, there's the feeling that it's not going to have a big effect on the DCU upon its end. So there's a lot of questions surrounding it.It's not going as fast as other event books (Both Rogues Revenge and Legion of 3 Worlds jumped out of the starting gate with a lot more action) But a lot of Grant's work reads better as a unit. He sets up a lot of stuff at the start that pays off in spades near the end. 7 Soldiers is a fine example – it's not until half way through the books easy that you see how inter-related they all are.As the saying goes, "If you like that kind of thing, it's the kind of thing you'll like". Well, I happen to like Grant's work, and I'm enjoying FC so far.

    • Martha Thomases says:

      As am I. Like THE INVISIBLES, I have no clue what's going on, but it feels good while I read it. Which is more than I can say for most of my entertainment choices.

      • Van Jensen says:

        How can you possibly like a book when you have no idea what's going on? I really don't understand that sentiment. But, then, I also don't think this is well executed nonsense. To me the writing is forced edginess covering up a hollow premise, made worse by terrible dialogue and illogical character actions right and left.If the handful of obsessive DC readers are happy with this, well kudos to them, but DC is doing no one any favors — least of all themselves — by putting so much effort into one of the most insular events yet seen.

        • Martha Thomases says:

          It's a Zen thing. I loved ROGAN GOSH. I love experiences that make me question reality. Maybe you had to live through the 60s.

        • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

          (not to cast direct parallels between the two but) can you honestly say you understand what Salvador Dali was doing in his paintings? But they're way cool to look at. That doesn't work all the time – strange for strange's sake is not a virtue. If Steve Chaput sees this, perhaps he'll tell you about a brain-softening nightmare of a film called Begotten.In my case, I DO understand what's going on in FC. DC Comics is nearly my native language. I can recite and explain the theory and specifics of the multiverse from memory, and I can get anyone up to speed on any DC character in five minutes flat. So I'm the perfect audience for Final Crisis. I have no problem with people who don't like or get it.

  6. Joe in Philly says:

    "But a lot of Grant's work reads better as a unit. He sets up a lot of stuff at the start that pays off in spades near the end."There had better be a damned good payoff for this series to be worthwhile.

  7. John Leasure says:

    "But a lot of Grant's work reads better as a unit. He sets up a lot of stuff at the start that pays off in spades near the end."Apparently this middle-aged reader is too dense to get it. I find the writing to be the ultimate excuse to stop reading comics.

  8. Mark Torres/MFC Stud says:

    Trinity is self contained and I can follow it with no problems (and it comes out weekly!)Final Crisis is just….I really dont know.

  9. zen says:

    U sir, clearly too lazy to read the entire panels, not just the texts

    • Van Jensen says:

      Says the guy who's too lazy to type out "you" or to include verbs in his sentences…

      • zen says:

        it's not relevanttry talk something relevant to the review

        • Van Jensen says:

          OK, zen. I read the book cover to cover multiple times before writing this review. Ergo, you are mistaken. Care to add something relevant?

  10. Ian Kirk says:

    I haven't liked Morrison's stuff since "Crawling from the Wreckage" and I haven't anything since to change my mind.It always seems that he tries to find some obscure characters to turn on their ear & if he can't he creates them.Fortunately, the series is contained. I can enjoy the rest of the titles & not have to worry about this drivel impacting them.If only he would leave Batman alone……

  11. Rob says:

    I've always felt the same way that you do about the majority of Grant Morrison work. It's either weirdness for weirdness sake (Invisibles) or it's stuff that only Morrison cares about, and anyone else be damned (like New X-Men). His total attitude about Countdown, which admittedly was sub-par, was ridiculous. And yet everyone kisses his butt as being such a great creator. I mean he doesn't suck by any means, but he's not this great creator that everyone says he is.

    • Linda Gold says:

      I tend to agree with you Rob. I am hard pressed to remember anything Morrison has done since Animal Man that I liked or even understood.

  12. Alan Kistler says:

    I've actually been really enjoying Final Crisis all the way through. I tossed it to a friend of mine and she loved it too, the only thing she had to ask me about was "who are the new gods?" I explained that in about three minutes and she's been fine with it since.But I understand it's of a certain style and very atypical of super-hero crossover books, especially since part of it focuses a lot on a group of Japanese characters who have never appeared in comics before. And I do think Sonny Sumo could've been explained and some of the story could've been pushed forward faster, such as the gathering of heroes. This definitely ain't gonna be everyone's book, but I personally am really loving it and find it easier to understand than the last 4 issues of Morrison's X-Men and most of The Invisibles.I think part of my enjoyment is also just how much happens in one issue. The evil gods possessing people, the appearance (and apparent murder) of a Nazi Supergirl from a parallel world), Metron hiding something in the mind of Anthro, Alan Scott (one of my all-time fave heroes) rallying the troops, Libra and Darkseid's forces taking out the heavy hitters like it was their job, removing Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman within just over a day. as opposed to other crossovers over the past few years such as Civil War and Secret Invasion where I felt like I could summarize the entire thing in two sentences and it involved nothing I hadn't seen before. A lot of comics today I've been against because they'll spend half an issue (or more than that) on just a single fight without moving the plot along. Morrison's skipping the fights for the most part and showing us the results so we can keep pushing forward. I dig that. I wouldn't want that to become the norm, but it's a fun new take.

  13. Delmo Walters Jr. says:

    I'm not crazy about this series but am willing to stick it out in hopes it gets better. I just hope he starts getting the characters right. Superman, as Clark, should've known something was up when he saw Jimmy in two different places, and his hearing should've picked up the bomb before it went off, unless it was a "Superman-proof" bomb. I do find it pathetic that, even with a few months break between the latest issue and the next issue, J.G.Jones needs help to finish the art chores. It's like Phil Jimenez on Infinite Crisis-if you can't handle the big project, step away from it. I do agree with Ian Kirk that Morrison should get the hell out of Gotham City. Batman R.I.P. makes no sense.

    • Alan Coil says:

      The break is supposed to be one skip month.JG Jones made his name doing covers for 52. That was 1 page a week. It came as no surprise to me that he might need help completing this book. Also, the book has 30 pages of story instead of the regular 22-23.

      • Delmo Walters Jr. says:

        If JG Jones didn't make his name on Fatale or Marvel Boy, he made his name on Wanted. I don't remember his needing help on Wanted. If he doesn't think he can do it in the time allotted, don't do it.

    • Alan Kistler says:

      I've actually been enjoying R.I.P., I just wish it was moving a bit faster. But yeah, it is annoying about J.G. Jones. I heard Pacheco is picking up art chores and I like his stuff a lot, but I still find it interupts the flow when you switch artists (unless the other artist does something specific such as a flashback sequence or scenes taking place in another reality, etc.). EIther give me all Jones or gimme all Pacheco. The fact that I was expected to wait until the trade of IC to get Jimenez's finished pages was ridiculous and the "fill-in" artwork was just plain bad. What's wrong with scheduling and time management these days? Perez did all of Crisis. Jurgens did all of Zero Hour. Semeiks did all of 1 Million.Considering Morrison wrote Diana, Batman and Superman for about 5 years during JLA and the past year on All-Star Superman, I think he's familiar enough with the characters abilities that we have to assume Libra was once again using New God technology. If Batman could mask his heart-beat and presence from Clark using sound-masking technology, I have no problem believing Libra could disguise a bomb's presence in a similar manner. What I do have a problem with is the editor's falling down on the job again. First with letting Countdown and Death of the New Gods contradict not only Final Crisis but also each other (Orion basically died three times in the same two months) and also with the fact that they positively identified Batman as Bruce Wayne in FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM even though Morrison has made a big point about not saying WHICH Batman this is since FC takes place after R.I.P. Lazy.

  14. Ken Pisani says:

    Just last week I was filing away a bunch of recent comics and I came across Final Crisis #3… and couldn't remember what it was about. Did I forget to read it? No, skimming the pages seemed familiar. Maybe I'd been drinking, maybe I was simply too tired when I read it… maybe it was Alzheimer's. So I pulled it and put in back on the short stack to re-read, only to find it pretty inscrutable. It wasn't until I read this post that I recognized the problem — THIS ISSUE IS SO BAD, IT'S INSTANTLY FORGETTABLE. Thank God it's not Alzheimer's, just bad writing.

  15. edwardnigma says:

    I question the sense of anyone who says that Final Crisis #3 is 'one of the worst comics I've ever read.' Cmpared to what, moron? The 100s of juvenile, melodramatic OTHER comics that DC has been putting out this decade? There is more art in Final Crisis #3 than entire volumes of major DC titles today.I can't figure out if this critic is a fraud, or just jumping on the bandwagon of Crisis-haters, most of whom are philistines who 'don't get it.'

    • Linda Gold says:

      You are certainly entitled to your opinion but so are those of us who didn't care for Final Crisis without being called morons or Philistines. And , by the way, some of us would like a comprehensible story to go with all that artwork.

      • edwardnigma says:

        That was directed at the reviewer, not because he didn't like FC, but because he said it was one of the worst comics he's ever read, which is absurd. To you, I say: go back and re-read it. It is perfectly comprehensible if you pay attention. And if you want the ambiguities explained, there are plenty of people online who can do that.