Final Crisis #6 Review

The Revolution loved Final Crisis #5. Morrison did a phenomenal job transforming Darskeid into a villain who truly feels like a god. The ending of Final Crisis #5 was quite powerful as Darkseid appears to be the most powerful villain that we have ever seen in the DCU. I am excited to see what Morrison has in store for Darkseid with Final Crisis #6.

With only two issues left on this big event, I expect to get plenty of exciting developments in Final Crisis #6. I also expect Morrison to push along the plotlines faster than he has been and to start delivering the big pay-off moments like he started to do with the end of Final Crisis #5. Let’s hit this review for Final Crisis #6.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco & Doug Mahnke
Inks: Marco Rudy, Christian Alamy & Jesus Merino

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Brainiac 5 walking with Superman into a special vault where the Legion is holding the most incredible machine. Superman tells Brainiac 5 that he helped the Legion and that Brainy promised to return Superman to the exact moment when they took him from his time period. (Boy, it would have been nice to have finished reading Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds before this issue came out. Of course, I did not realize that the Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds was on the once every three months shipping schedule.)

Brainiac 5 says that they cannot return Superman to the exact moment where they plucked him from the past. That the Crisis in Superman’s time is threatening all reality. Brainiac 5 says that the Legion has been keeping a machine called the Final Machine. That it is the ultimate technological artifact created by the Controllers.

Brainiac 5 says that the machine can turn thoughts into things. Brainy says that the device was too powerful so the Legion permanently switched it off and hid it here in an inertron container. Brainy says that he is showing Superman a god-weapon. Brainy says that they call the machine the Miracle Machine.

Superman starts to fade away. (I have no clue why he is.) Brainy tells Superman to look at the Miracle Machine and to use his thoughts.

We then cut to the present time at the JLA satellite. The Tattooed Man tells Black Canary how beautiful the Earth looks from here. The Tattooed Man says that he realizes that his powers are a gift and that he should be fighting for good and not committing crimes. Black Canary says that Tattooed Man is now an honorary JLA’er and that he now takes orders from her.

The Ray, Linda West, Iris and Jai return from the JLA armory with some weapons. Suddenly, ships (that look similar to tie-fighters) full of Justifiers arrive outside of the JLA satellite. Black Canary orders the Ray to leave immediately. The Ray does not want to. The Justifiers then break through into the JLA satellite.

We slide over to Bludhaven where Black Mary is brawling with Supergirl. The other heroes are battling with Justifiers. Captain Marvel then tells Supergirl to let him use the last of his magical energy to stop Mary.

We then see Tawky Tawny brawling with Kalibak while Kalibak’s fellow tiger-men watch. Kalibak gets the upper hand in the fight. We then see Supergirl and Black Mary still brawling nearby the Tawky-Kalibak fight. Captain Marvel tells Supergirl to step aside. Captain Marvel then grabs Black Mary and says that he is counting on his magic lightning to transform the both of them.

Captain Marvel yells “Shazam!” We then see Tawky noticing the magical bolt of lightning crashing down to Earth. Tawky then guts Kalibak. Kalibak collapses to the ground and asks his tiger-men to help him. The tiger-men respond “No help. Strong is only.” Kalibak then collapses and dies.

We then see Freddie holding Mary. Freddie’s plan worked and the lightning transformed both of them. Mary stammers that “What have I done? Oh god, I did not mean this. I didn’t mean any of this.” Freddie states “It wasn’t you. It wasn’t you, Mary.” Mary hugs Freddie tightly and says “I can never say it again. Never say the word never say it ever.”

The heroes then radio back that they have secured the bridge to Bludhaven and for the second wave to be sent in. We then see Kalibak’s tiger-men surrounding Tawky. Tawky faces the horde and says “Do your worst, gentlemen.” Suddenly, the tiger-men all bow down before Tawky.

We zip over to Checkmate’s castle. Mister Miracle explains that the design that he and the Japanese heroes painted on their faces is a letter from the alphabet of the New Gods. That the design is a living symbol that means “Freedom from restriction.” That it is protection from the anti-life.

Mr. Terrific is then informed that the castle’s shields have failed. Mr. Terrific then tells Mister Miracle that they can continue their conversation later. That Checkmate’s endgame if the heroes lost has begun. It is called Black Gambit.

We cut back to Bludhaven where the new Fatal Furies, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batwoman, etc. are kicking ass on the heroes. We shift back to Checkmate’s castle where Mister Miracle and the Japanese heroes are all stunned that the end of the world has come. The heroes start talking about their life regrets. The Japanese heroes state that they are useless since most of them have powers that are merely cosmetic. Superbat then comments that he has the greatest power of all. That he is so rich that he can do anything.

We shift back to the JLA satellite where the Justifiers have entered the satellite. Black Lightning and Green Arrow are two of the Justifiers. Our heroes start brawling with the Justifiers. Black Canary tells Ollie that she loves him and urges him to break free from the control of the anti-life. Ollie states “Love is pain. Anti-life is the anesthetic.” Black Canary punches Ollie and yells “Snap out of it. NOW!”

We slide over to Renee Montoya still getting the grand tour of Checkmate: Omega. Renee sees Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi in their Atom costumes and getting ready to ride the graviton superhighway to another universe. Ryan bemoans the fact that he really needs to get a new codename.

Renee is shown the room full of psychics including characters like Miss Martian trying to purge the human mass of the anti-life equation. Renee is shown a room full of mystics including Zatanna trying to contact the Spectre. Renee is then quickly shuttled past a room where scientists are about to dissect the Nazi Supergirl and Renee is told that nothing happens in that room.

Renee then is led into the room where Black Gambit will be played out. Renee is then shown Lord Eye. Lord Eye tells Renee that they live in a Multiverse. That the choices they make decide worlds. Lord Eye tells Renee that she has “unprecedented” levels of law enforcement experience with particular regard to super humans and crime-fighting activities.

Lord Eye says that Renee is the template for something new. Lord Eye says that they have identified a target Earth into which they will make their retreat. That if Palmer and Choi are successful then they will core through the Bulk and into a parallel universe. Lord Eye states that they want Renee to lead the global peace agency that will establish the remnants of this world on another. (Really? Renee Montoya?) Renee is stunned. (Me, too.)

We zip over to Lex Luthor and Sivana standing next to where the Calculator was hung. We learn that Libra has kept the Calculator alive for days so he can die there forever begging for forgiveness. Sivana says that Libra made Sivana watch as Sivana’s daughter was submitted to the anti-life equation. Sivana says that the Justifier helmets that the Mad Hatter created are practically medieval and that Sivana has created a short range signal jammer.

Lex then states that Libra allowed Lex to power up his battle suit in anticipation of the big battle with the heroes. Libra then approaches Lex and Sivana. Libra says that it was Lex who leaked the information to the heroes. That it was not the Calculator. Lex tells Sivana “Impress me.” Sivana activates the signal jammer. The Justifiers next to Libra collapse to the ground. Lex then blasts a huge hole into Libra. Libra collapses to the ground.

Lex says that this is a war against life and that Lex is actually rather fond of life. Sivana then hands Lex a device and tells Lex that the Justifiers will hear Lex’s voice and think that it is Darkseid’s voice. Lex then frees Calculator from his noose.

We zip over to Iris’ house where Jay, Barry and Wally are meeting. Jay states how good it is to see the two “boys.” Barry explains how at relativistic speeds that space, time and light all run together and becomes one thing. That beyond the superluminal barrier, matter converts into pure information. Barry says that he was sent back from beyond that barrier knowing things.

Barry says that he knows how to stop Darkseid. Barry says that he needs Wally’s help. Barry asks Jay to take care of Iris until Barry and Wally come back. And Barry promises that they will be coming back. Barry tells Wally that if he can’t do this then it will be down to Wally. Barry says that the Black Racer did not give up chasing Barry. That Black Racer won’t stop until he catches Barry.

Wally says that he thinks he met the Black Racer before back when he was called Black Flash. Wally says that he outran the Black Flash. Barry smiles and says “Heh, I bet you did.” We then see the Black Racer appear on the scene.

Barry says that they are going to use the Black Racer. That Darkseid is sitting at the center of a personal singularity. Beyond the reach of light. Barry says to get to him they will have to run faster than they ever have before. Barry and Wally then take off running.

We cut to Darkseid sitting on his throne. Batman enters the room. Darkseid tells Batman to embrace the anti-life. Batman responds that he made a solemn swear not to use handguns. However, for Darkseid, Batman is prepared to make an exception. Batman pulls out a gun. Batman says that a gun and a bullet were Darkseid’s idea to kill Orion.

Batman says that the bullet is radion which is toxic to New Gods. Batman says that he sealed the bullet that killed Orion into his utility belt for later inspection. Darskeid’s eyes glow and he asks Batman if he can outrace the Omega Sanction. The death that is life. Batman says “Try me.” Batman fires the gun. Darkseid fires his eye beams.

The bullet hits Darkseid in his upper chest/shoulder area. Batman says “Gotcha.” Batman is then zapped and killed by Darkseid’s Omega Sanction beams. (Wow. That is it? Really? Morrison’s big plans for Bruce Wayne was a predictable and standard issue “hero kills villain and dies in the process” death? I expected something more creative and different. Deaths mean nothing nowadays. Can we all start the clock ticking toward Bruce Wayne’s inevitable “big return” penned by in order to create a sales bonanza?)

We see Nix Uotan (Hey, I thought Morrison forgot about this plotline.) talking with Metron. Nix says that he cannot coordinate this. That it is happening all at once. Metron says that Nix’s arrival has inaugurated the Fifth World. The age of men as gods. Metron says that these new humans face a much greater danger than Darkseid if the breach the Bleed Wall.

We see the heroes in Bludhaven standing there and realizing that they have lost. Checkmate initiates the Black Gambit. We see that the Green Lanterns cannot enter Earth. No matter how hard or fast they try they seem to be stuck in a time loop where they can never reach Earth. The sky turns red and the various multiple Earth appear in the sky.

Suddenly, Superman appears in the red sky and streaks forward screaming with his heat vision blazing as he blasts his way through Wonder Woman, Catwoman and Batwoman and toward Darkseid’s throne room. The heroes look at the red sky with all the multiple Earths appearing. The heroes say that there is nothing that they can do and that this is the end of the world.

We then see Superman walking out of the rubble of Command-D holding Batman’s charred corpse. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Final Crisis #6 was a slightly above average read. I do think that Morrison has come up with some brilliant ideas. Unfortunately, the execution of these ideas has been poor. Having said that, there were plenty of enjoyable aspects of Final Crisis #6. Even an average Grant Morrison issue still has some neat and mind blowing moments.

Morrison treats the reader to some of the best dialogue that we have gotten so far on Final Crisis. This was well crafted dialogue that had a good flow. Each character had a nice external voice. Morrison turns out some rather clever dialogue and several very funny lines.

And considering the overwhelmingly dark mood of Final Crisis, a little humor is always appreciated. And is absolutely necessary in order to keep the writing from being too overly dramatic. For me, the best line was Superbat saying “I have the greatest power of all, Mister Miracle. I am so rich I can do anything.”

Morrison serves up a good balance of action and drama. For every page of dense and mind warping dialogue Morrison also delivered a page of solid action. The combination of the chaotic action and the tense drama helps to give Final Crisis a massive and grand scope. Final Crisis truly does feel like an epic event.

Jack Kirby fans will continue to enjoy how Morrison keeps re-introduce various Jack Kirby technologies. In this issue we get to see that the Legion of Super Heroes has been housing the Miracle Machine. I adore Kirby so I dig seeing the various Kirby creations popping up throughout Final Crisis.

My greatly enjoyed the battle between Tawky and Kalibak. I have always like Tawky who is a wonderful supporting character to the Marvel family. And I was quite worried that Tawky was going to get killed off. Instead, Morrison not only surprised me by having Tawky kill Kalibak, but he flat out swerved me by having Kalibak’s tiger-men bowing before Tawky. What a great twist. And with this move, Tawky is now the leader of the Tiger Empire that Kirby introduced in Kamandi.

My favorite part of Final Crisis #6 was that Morrison cleans up the mess that was left behind by Countdown concerning Mary Marvel’s character. Morrison nicely erases Mary’s poorly planned and executed heel turn over in Countdown. Morrison clearly states that Desaad possessed Mary and caused her to do the terrible things that she did as Black Mary. This move by Morrison largely clears Mary Marvel of the stain that was Countdown.

I have enjoyed how Morrison has handled the characters from the Marvel family during Final Crisis. Given Morrison’s work on All Star Superman, I think that Morrison would be a fantastic choice to resuscitate the Marvel Family in the wake of Winick’s horrendous re-imagining of the Marvel family. I can only wish that DC would announce a new Marvel family title penned by Grant Morrison. These characters deserve some love from DC.

While I have been largely disappointed with the plotline involving the Flash family, I did enjoy the surprising reveal that the Black Racer is none other than the Black Flash. Black Flash was a neat character that Morrison and Millar introduced back in the 1998. Black Flash was the form that death took when it came for a speedster. This was yet another nice effort by Morrison to continue to weave the events of Final Crisis into the detailed fabric of the DCU’s tapestry.

I enjoyed the scene with Lex and Sivana. Well, let me clarify that, I enjoyed the entertaining chemistry between Sivana and Lex. The sarcastic rivalry between these two men was well played. While the reveal that Lex was the one who leaked to the heroes the villains’ Undernet was not at all a surprise it was still well done. Having Lex betray Libra and try to help the heroes to defeat Darkseid is in keeping with Lex’s character.

Lex is a bad man and certainly hates the heroes in the DCU. But, that does not change the fact that Lex has always loved Earth and believes in the strength and power of mankind in the face of super powered aliens. Darkseid’s plan is hardly something that Lex would find attractive or appealing.

I liked Montoya’s tour of the Checkmate: Omega facility. It was great seeing Ray Palmer in his Atom costume. I enjoyed the fact that Morrison made a point of Ryan Choi stating that he needed a new codename. Choi is a serviceable enough character, by for my money, Ray Palmer is the Atom.

Morrison does a good job showing the various ways that Checkmate is attempting to blunt Darkseid’s attack. We have the psychics in one room trying to free humankind from the anti-life equation. And we have the mystics in another room trying to raise the Spectre. The room where the Checkmate scientists are dissecting the Nazi Supergirl was just creepy which is in keeping with Checkmate’s shady nature. These short quick one panel scenes did an effective job conveying the massive scope of Checkmate’s effort in dealing with Darkseid’s attack.

I liked that Morrison reveals the return of the Global Peace Agency. The Global Peace Agency was seen in Kirby’s OMAC comic book in the 1970’s. They were a group of faceless people who policed the entire world using pacifistic weapons. This is a pretty cool wrinkle and I am glad to see the GPA being re-introduced into the DCU. Having said that, I had a bit of a hard time buying into the fact that Montoya is supposedly the most qualified person for the job and that she has unprecedented experience and abilities.

I loved Lord Eye. The name is a neat combination of Maxwell Lord and Brother Eye. Lord Eye is clearly a significant advancement over the old Brother Eye. It is obvious that Morrison is having fun letting his creative impulses run wild during Final Crisis.

I have to admit that I am fascinated with the Black Gambit plan. I am guessing the Black Gambit is what Lord Eye is referencing when he talks about having the Atoms pierce the Bleed and establish the remnant of New Earth into another world. This is such an intriguing plotline. It seems that we are on the verge of having New Earth replaced with yet another Earth.

In the wake of Infinite Crisis, Morrison and Johns made it clear that New Earth was not Earth-1. That they were two different things. Now, I have to wonder if Morrison is angling toward the return of Earth-1. After all, Earth-1 would be where all the DCU characters would return to their iconic roots. And DiDio has made it clear that he believes that for DC to be successful that all their icons must be in place. That is the driving force behind DiDio having Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern, Barry Allen back as the Flash and bringing back much of the Pre-Crisis continuity.

The return of Earth-1 would play nicely into what Metron tells Nix in this issue. Metron states that the Fifth World is the age of men as gods. Could the Fifth World be Earth-1 with the iconic DC superheroes being the “gods?” Eh, probably not and I am probably totally off-base and reading too much into this.

Metron also states that these new humans face an even greater menace than Darkseid. I would imagine that Morrison is referencing Mandrakk the “dark monitor” as the menace who is even greater than Darskeid. We learned about Mandrakk way back in Superman Beyond #1.

Even though I found Batman and Darkseid’s “deaths” rather unimpressive, I have to admit that Superman’s dramatic appearance and his rage was pretty cool. This was one of the most bad-ass moments so far in Final Crisis. And there is no doubt that this was a huge hook ending with Superman holding Batman’s corpse and the sky red with multiple Earths appearing and the heroes effectively helpless. Despite my disappointments and criticisms of Final Crisis #6, Morrison still managed to get me anxious and interested in the next issue.

Final Crisis #6 sports some great artwork. Yeah, it is pathetic that DC had to get a reserve artist in Mahnke for the reserve artist in Pacheco. I mean, really, a reserve for the reserve! Still, all three men are talented artists and I dig their styles so I still enjoyed the look of Final Crisis #6.

The Bad: Final Crisis #6 certainly was full of blemishes and failings. And it is hard to know who to blame for all of them. It is not all Morrison’s fault. And it is not all DiDio’s fault. And it is not all the editors’ fault. All three parties deserve their fair share of the blame for the defects on Final Crisis.

To be sure, DiDio and the editors deserve plenty of blame for the pathetic shipping schedule for Final Crisis and the Final Crisis related titles. This give event was stunningly mishandled from the start. It is practically unbelievable that a comic book company would so terribly bungle the scheduling and promoting of their supposed universe changing big event.

The readers should have gotten the ending to Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds and Final Crisis: Superman Beyond before Final Crisis #6 was released. Superman Beyond #1 came out back on August 17, 2008. Making the readers wait five months for the second issue of Superman Beyond is completely inexcusable.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 came out back on August 20, 2008 and we have only gotten two of the five issues over the course of five months. That fact that the remaining three issues of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds come out after finale of Final Crisis in issue #7 is a joke. The scheduling problems associated with Final Crisis and its companion titles are unprofessional and DC should be completely embarrassed.

Another problem with getting Final Crisis #6 before Superman Beyond #2 and the finale of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds is that it robs those stories of some of their impact on the reader. Obviously, Superman and the Legion are triumphant over Superboy-Prime. I know that our heroes would not lose, but still at least give me the illusion that they might lose. And we also see that Johns’ version of the Legion from Action Comics survives the Legion of Three Worlds story as well since the version of Brainiac 5 in this issue is the one from Johns’ Legion.

We also see Lois completely healthy and in the streets of Metropolis with Jimmy. Last we saw of her in Superman Beyond #1, Lois was in a coma and about to die. Now, either this spoils the ending to Superman Beyond #2 or Superman used the Miracle Machine to heal Lois. Of course, even though Morrison has delivered a choppy story with Final Crisis and has left out large gaps of the story I cannot believe that he would have the Miracle Machine reviving Lois happen off panel and not go acknowledged.

Another problem with Final Crisis is that there is a real lack of impact on the reader. And this is DiDio’s fault. DC has virtually ignored Final Crisis on all of the other titles in the DCU. Wonder Woman is totally ignoring the Final Crisis event so why care about her being transformed into one of Darkseid’s furies.

Superman and Action Comics are busy with the New Krypton story so why should the reader care about anything concerning Superman or his supporting characters over in Final Crisis. Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are completely focused on Blackest Night so why should the reader be worried about what happens to any of the Green Lanterns during Final Crisis.

In general, Final Crisis appears to be occurring in a vacuum. I might have been completely worn out and sick of how Marvel beat me to death with Secret Invasion, but the fact is that at least Marvel got the reader to buy into how Secret Invasion was impacting nearly every corner of the 616 universe.

There were Skrulls and Secret Invasion stories in just about every Marvel title. The reader was constantly getting bombarded with Skrulls and “He loves you.” But, at least the reader knew that Secret Invasion was important because it was present in virtually every Marvel comic book.

On the other hand, DiDio has treated Final Crisis more like an Elseworlds story. Final Crisis has failed to have any impact or influence on any title in the DCU. It is tough to see Final Crisis as a legitimate big event with a massive impact on the DCU when it is largely being completely ignored by the rest of the writers and titles in the DCU. DiDio has done such a shockingly poor job managing and promoting Final Crisis.

The plotting has been a continual weakness on Final Crisis and the plotting in Final Crisis #6 is no exception. This was another poorly plotted issue. Morrison slings the reader back and forth in a jarring fashion as we randomly crash from scene to scene. I understand that Morrison is employing this method of storytelling in order to convey the sense of chaos and the overwhelming scale of this event. The problem is that more often than not, this style of storytelling simply makes Morrison look like he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.

A large reason for the poor pacing and plotting on Final Crisis and the awkward and choppy flow of the story is that Morrison simply bit off way more than he could chew. Morrison has so many incredibly detailed ideas and plotlines and he is trying to cram as much as he can into these seven issues. DC would have been wise to have gone ahead and given Morrison twelve issues to tell his story. And thematically, it would have made more sense to have the supposed final Crisis event be twelve issues just like the original Crisis was.

With twelve issues, Morrison could have had a much easier time developing all the themes and plotlines that he wanted to do with Final Crisis. Instead, since Final Crisis was limited to just seven issues, Morrison is unable to properly flesh out and develop his plotlines in a more natural and enjoyable manner.

This title continues to be nothing more than build-up with very little in the way of any actual pay-off. And that is largely because the pacing has been poor. This is one of the slowest moving stories I have read. Part of the problem might be that the delays with the shipping of this title has simply exaggerated the already slow nature of this story.

It seems like most of the plotlines have been in a holding pattern for the past couple of issues. Seriously, several of these plotlines are dragging along like a two legged half-dead horse. I found the JLA satellite scene to be largely boring. This has been a plodding and directionless plotline as these characters have done nothing but hang out in the JLA satellite bemoaning the fall of Earth. This plotline has added nothing of value to the story and simply gets in the way of the other more interesting plotlines that Morrison has cooking.

And the sub-plotline concerning the Tattooed Man and whether he is reformed or not is a complete waste of panel space. The Tattooed Man is a D-list character and I would rather see Morrison focusing on some of the bigger named characters instead. It is pretty sad when a total nobody like Tattooed Man has played a more prominent role in Final Crisis than a character like Wonder Woman.

The scene at Checkmate’s castle with Mr. Terrific and Mister Miracle has moved at an excruciatingly slow pace. At this point, I have no idea why Mister Miracle and the Japanese heroes were shoehorned into this story. With just one issue left I get the feeling that these characters were largely unnecessary for the story and have only served to act as clutter.

It is ironic that the plotline involving the Flash family has been the most mind numbingly slow plotline in this big event. If it is so important for Morrison to hold off this Flash plotline until the last issue then Morrison should have waited to introduce this plotline until later in this story. That way Morrison would not have had to place this plotline in neutral for this entire event until the final issue.

The Nix Uotan plotline that received a huge push in Final Crisis #5 was virtually ignored in Final Crisis #6. We got to see Nix and Metron for all of one panel in this issue. Considering that Morrison has built Nix’s plotline into one of the largest and most important plotlines of this story it might have been nice to have seen this plotline get a bit more attention in this issue.

I found the brawl between Supergirl and Black Mary to have been terribly anti-climactic. This showdown completely failed to live up to the hype. The other brawl that we had all been waiting for between Lex and Libra was also incredibly anti-climactic and disappointing. Libra is supposedly this powerful villain capable of intimidating all the other DCU villains on Earth. However, Lex is easily able to “kill” Libra with one laser blast from his battle suit. Talk about being rushed and a bit too easy. I know that Libra is not really dead, but this scene still fell short of my expectations.

Now let’s get to the real heart of this issue. The “deaths” of Darkseid and Batman. I was summarily unimpressed with both. I found these “deaths” to be anti-climactic for both characters. First, let’s deal with Darkseid. Morrison did such an impressive job in Final Crisis #5 building Darkseid into the grandest and most awe-inspiring villain we have ever seen in the DCU. By the end of Final Crisis #5, the reader’s jaw was on the ground as Morrison presented a truly all-powerful god in the reborn Darkseid.

And what does Morrison do after constructing Darkseid into this unstoppable god who is evil incarnate? Have Darkseid get taken out in the very next issue in a rather short scene and with little to no effort on Batman’s part. I was stunned that Morrison would so quickly dispatch of Darkseid immediately after pushing him as this unstoppable monster villain in the end of the last issue.

Again, if Morrison was bent on having Batman “kill” Darkseid then Morrison should have made Darkseid into this unstoppable villain in Final Crisis #2 so we would have gotten some time reading this re-born and more powerful than ever Darksied before he gets taken out. Darkseid’s death was way too fast, way too easy and completely ruined the powerful experience of the ending of Final Crisis #5.

And having Batman use a god gun loaded with a god bullet to kill Darkseid made Darkseid’s death that much more anti-climactic and unsatisfying. The god bullet is the ultimate deus ex machina plot device. It felt cheap having Batman appear out of nowhere and kill Darkseid with very little effort and in such a quick fashion.

I found Batman’s death to be as equally unimpressive as Darkseid’s death. Morrison had stated in interviews during RIP that he was not interested in literally killing Bruce Wayne. And the biggest reason for that is because deaths lack impact on the readers nowadays and that Bruce Wayne would be brought back to life at some point anyway. Therefore, I was expecting Morrison to do something incredibly creative with Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately, all Morrison gave the reader was another boring obligatory big event death.

Death in comic books has lost almost all meaning. And it seems that every big event has to have at least one obligatory death. At least Batman’s “death” was better than the obligatory death over in Secret Invasion. Batman’s “death” also lacked impact because everyone knows that Bruce Wayne is not really dead.

In the day and age where DC cannot rush back their icons fast enough in Hal Jordan and Barry Allen there is no way that DC would permanently take off the table their biggest icon in Bruce Wayne. Didio has stated over and over that the iconic versions of the various characters must be in place in order for the DCU to succeed. That would also include the iconic version of Batman.

My other problem with Morrison doing the obvious and killing Batman is that it does nothing for RIP at all. There was no need to go through all the complex machinations of RIP if Morrison was just going to go ahead and kill off Batman in such a predictable big event death scene.

I was hoping that Bruce would merely take a leave of absence from being Batman and then return to being the Batman when Morrison returns to the Batman comic book. That way Bruce would be able to investigate the many dangling plotlines from RIP concerning the Black Glove, Dr. Hurt and any connection that Thomas and Martha Wayne might have had with the Black Glove.

Also, the ending to RIP was massively anti-climactic. But, the prospect of RIP tying into Final Crisis and the prospect of Morrison blowing out minds with some creative and original direction for Batman was enough for me not to be so disappointed with the ending to RIP. However, now that we see that RIP and Final Crisis really have nothing at all to do with each other and that Morrison did not have anything unusual in store for Bruce Wayne simply makes me revert back to my belief that RIP’s ending was incredibly anti-climactic.

Yeah, I get the full circle thing with Bruce using a gun at the end to kill off evil personified when a gun is what birthed the Batman. And I get that Morrison was playing with his constant view of Batman as the ultimate weapon and the ultimate man. And in this death scene, Morrison has the ultimate man use the ultimate god-weapon to kill the ultimate evil.

It just was not that creative for me. These were two pretty basic themes that I would have expected even a journeyman writer to come up with. The fact is that I have higher expectations from Morrison than I do from your average comic book writer. I expected something unusual and mind blowing from Morrison concerning Bruce Wayne’s character. And this obligatory heroic death that all big events seem to have to have just did not meet my high expectations.

Of course, having said all that, I will withhold my final judgment on Batman and Darkseid’s “deaths” until I read Final Crisis #7. There is still a chance that Morrison has a few surprises in store for the reader. When Darkseid fired his Omega Sanction beams at Batman, Darksied did say “The death that is life.”  That sentence refers to the Omega Sanction.  So it seems that Darkseid did “kill” Bruce Wayne with the Omega Sanction.

The Omega Sanction is basically traps beings in a series of inescapable deaths.  And we know that Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman flavor) escaped the Omega Sanction. And it follows that if Shilo Norman can beat the Omega Sanction then so can Bruce Wayne.

Remember, Morrison views Bruce Wayne as the ultimate weapon/man. And beating the Omega Sanction would be the natural progression of Bruce’s character given what Morrison has done with Bruce since 52. In 52, Morrison had Bruce undergo the Thogal ritual. That the Thogal ritual simulates death and allowed Bruce to savor the taste of death. That Bruce killed and ate the last traces of fear and doubt in his mind. Then Morrison had Bruce undergo the anti-sensory treatments from Dr. Hurt that simulated a near death experience.

All of this was designed for Batman to train his mind to take on the last thing that he had not yet conquered: Death. During RIP, Morrison made a point of showing how Bruce wanted to experience death so that he could come up with a way to defeat it. In the final issue of RIP, Morrison makes a point of stating how Batman has escaped every type of death trap in existence.

Well, all of these experiences from 52 up to RIP all lead up to Bruce Wayne taking on the ultimate death trap in the Omega Sanction. So, maybe Morrison will have Bruce beat the Omega Sanction thereby proving that even in a fight against Death itself, the Batman still wins.

Couple this with the fact that Metron hints how the Fifth World will be the age of men as gods and it is possible that Batman will be reborn as a New God. And if that is what Morrison ends up pulling off then I will be satisfied and impressed.

While I did enjoy the artwork in Final Crisis #6, there were a few coloring miscues. For some reason, Mister Miracle looks Japanese rather than black. And Renee Montoya is extremely pale which is unlike how she has always been presented.

Overall: Final Crisis #6 was a disappointment after such a fantastic issue in Final Crisis #5. Morrison failed to build off the momentum of Final Crisis #5 and served up a slow and disjointed read with this issue. Final Crisis #6 will leave many readers largely unimpressed and disappointed. Morrison really needed to start giving the reader some pay-off in a story that has been largely set-up and he failed to do that in Final Crisis #6. Morrison certainly has his work cut out for him with Final Crisis #7 and being able to deliver a satisfying ending.

20 Comments

  1. Something tells me that Darkseid is not dead. After all, who is Superman supposed to brawl with to release his anger over the “death” of Batman. No one else except Darkseid can even come close to matching Superman. Even people like Bizarro or Parasite or Metallo can’t match up to Superman. Not while he has this rage. Also, I have a suspicion that since the Black Lanterns in Blackest Night are supposed to be deceased characters, I bet Johns is going to have Batman return as either a Black Lantern or probably their leader. I bet that’s how DC’s going to bring back the original Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter.

  2. Darkseid said ‘Omega Sanction’ not ‘Omega Beams’, which is’the death which is life’, Batman’s mind is now in a constant state of experiencing failure after failure but his body looks dead, that is the fate worse than death. Morrison used this concept in the ‘Seven Soldiers of Victory’, of course once again the blame goes for Didio because Morrison asked Didio to put an embargo on the New Gods so that more fans can figure out this kind of stuff but Didio didn’t go through with it and now you see the problems it causes.

  3. “In general, Final Crisis appears to be occurring in a vacuum. I might have been completely worn out and sick of how Marvel beat me to death with Secret Invasion, but the fact is that at least Marvel got the reader to buy into how Secret Invasion was impacting nearly every corner of the 616 universe.”

    It doesn’t help that, unlike Infinite Crisis with all the “One Year Later” storylines we know exactly what came before and after that Crisis and that there were big changes. Since some storylines (like Trinity) seem to occur after FC (although it is hard to tell as FC really is in a vacuum), the deaths of half the people on the planet in FC hold little meaning when it is obvious that somehow everything will go back to something close to normal. Makes it hard to care.

    I also seem to remember the solicits for FC 5 to include Mandraak. What happened? Now he isn’t supposed to appear until 7?

  4. I’m thinking DC needs to announce a mini called “Batmen: The Lives of Bruce Wayne” right now. This would wipe “Battle for the Cowl” off the map, but think of the sales this would generate versus Jason and Dick arm-wrestling for the Batsuit. Heck, letting Tim and Dick deal with Gotham in their own books while we follow Bruce’s alternate lives in “Batman” would have been a winner.

  5. In re: Libra – I think his body disappeared, as it looks like his cloak was empty when Lex hit him – hence why Sivana says “that’s a classic we haven’t heard the last of him”.

  6. I don’t think Batman is dead. I am not just saying that I think Bruce will be back, I don’t think he died in that scene. The “Gotcha” line is said by someone who is not Bruce. That panel is very ambiguous. I believe we are supposed to assume it is Batman, but I think it is Barry Allen. That suit could easily be the Flash. That rip on the shoulder is not on Batman in other panels and the pointy mask is not shown, but rather ‘cut off’ by the panel. It is a red suit, but not because of the glow of the light, but because that is Barry Allen. He did say he was going to defeat Darkseid, and what would be the point in going to do that if Batman had already done it. I think Wally and Barry are the beams of light that hit Batman and somehow save his life.

  7. Alright, Rokk. I agree with you on the 6 outta 10 for the story (although I may have been a bit more harsh with a 5). Can’t go with you on the art rating though. The art was so disjointed it wasn’t even funny. Although, it did set me up for wanting a complete issue of Doug Mahnke art for #7.

    I agree it would’ve been really nice to finish reading Legion of Three Worlds, but let’s not forget that Superman Beyond #2 would’ve really helped a lot too.

    How could Morrison have pulled a deus ex machina outta mothballs like the Miracle Machine? This is a crummy writers device pulled from the archives of Adventure/Superboy comics (didn’t Matter Eating Lad eat this thing once and go nuts?). Just because hardly anyone remembers it should it be utilised again?

    The bit where Mary says she can never say the word again, wasn’t that nicked from Miracle(Marvel)man(…ummm #15 maybe?)

    One of my favourite bits was Sivana and Lex as well. Nicely played all around.

    Now Montoya turning up? Wow. Would’ve been kinda cool to finish Rucka’s Revelations too, huh? Yet another, “How the hell did this character get from their last life threatening moment to here,” bits.

    Yes, Morrison is letting his creative impulses run wild, but I think that’s both a good and bad thing. On the plus side, he’s leaving storylines for writers to follow up with after, but this in no way feels “Final” to me. He’s making just as many contradictions as he’s solving. Leaving the reader in the same boat we were at after the first Crisis.

    I really want to know if it was Morrison’s or DiDio’s idea of having Barry back to stay. Wally’s been the Flash since ’87. I liked it much better when Barry is the patron saint of DC and is only brought back every 5-7 years. Plus, (on a personal note) now they’re messing with My Flash. Sorry, but I grew up with Wally. I started buying funny books during the first Crisis when Barry died, and Wally took up the mantle. It’s not the same as with Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner. It just isn’t.

    I totally agree with you on Mahnke’s version of Superman doing his “Standard Dead Body Pose.” It brought a bit of majesty to FC that it should’ve had from the beginning.

    I enjoy Jones/Pacheco/Mahnke as well. Separately. These were three great tastes that don’t really taste that hot together in my book. I think that with what he’s done in the past and with what he did in FC #6 Mahnke should’ve got the nod in the first place.

    With all this being said, you know you’re one of my favourite funny book reviewers, Rokk. Keep up the great work and make your reviews as long as you need to. I’ll be here to read ’em.

  8. While I agree that I expected much more out of Batman’s death, I gotta say that I disagree with your assessment that the god bullet was an “ultimate deus ex machina”. I’ve been following Last Rites and wondering about the god bullet ever since, and when Morrison went out of his way to remind us that Bats had the bullet… After Alfred’s foreshadowing comments about the dangers of underestimating Batman, after Batman killing an army with his memories, after Batman waking up in Darkseid’s machines, very pissed off and in possession of a bullet that can kill a god… well damn, fanboy-ish as it sounds, I had goosebumps.

    Deus ex machina implies that it was unexpected, but I’ve been sitting in anticipation for weeks wondering whether or not Bats was gonna use it.

    But yeah, I thought I was gonna get more than two pages out of the moment. More of a “I am Darkseid, who can oppose me?”-“I’m Batman” moment.

    I like the theory that the corpse is Barry’s post-Black-Racer dessicated remains though. He looks a lot like 1986-Dead-Barry, doesn’t he?

  9. By the way, I thought it was funny that someone commented that he thought Morrison was planning on using the God Machine as a deus ex machina when the term literally translates into “god from a machine.”

  10. Let’s see… where to begin?

    How about a revised equation?

    Unacceptable Delays + Disjointed Storylines + Anticlimactic Battles + (Darkseid – power) + ((Batman + Gun) – Character) + No Real Major Villain + No Major Cosmic Forces + Smallville-level WB/CW Angst + Try To Reason With People That Have No Will Whatsoever + Pathetic God Machines X (DiDio) Squared = ANTI-LIFE

    I think that pretty much sums up the whole situation right there.

  11. ..

    Hehe…I had this trademarked:

    “Surrender to Anti-Life!!! Dido IS!!!”

    Making sense is SO over-rated.

    ..

  12. Couldn’t Batman in that scene be a psycho-merge-clone-thingy? Just a thought. Other than “Batman” “dying” like a b#tch I enjoyed the issue. The only problem I see, is that there are a bunch of plotlines in which how to defeat Darkseid. We got Chekmate, Batman’s god bullet, Superman arrival, Green Lanterns comming, Flashes running faster that light, Atoms ridding gravitons (although that was a cool physics reference, scientists think parallel world are conected by gravity)and more. So which one is it? I find it a bit distracting. Also, how will all of this be put together in one final issue? One can only hope…

    J

  13. Didio probably forced the death of Batman in the re-writes he forced through, thinking that the death of Captain America turned out great for Marvel and that Batman is a much bigger charecter.

  14. I’m still confused. How did Batman get out of the machine?

  15. Final Crisis has failed to have any impact or influence on any title in the DCU.

    To be fair, it’s been stated repeatedly in interviews (and is clear from the upcoming solicits for the next few months) that the entire DCU line currently takes place before Final Crisis, and next month we’ll start to see the aftermath.

    On the plus side, it means we’re not bombarded with 70+ books to get the “whole story” (though there are plenty of complaints as it is). I do think it would be nice if we’d seen more build-up within the rest of the line, but considering how Countdown turned out, perhaps it’s better that we didn’t.

    I really want to know if it was Morrison’s or DiDio’s idea of having Barry back to stay.

    Morrison stated in an interview last year that he was going to use an alternate universe Barry, but Dan Didio and Geoff Johns told him to just use the real one, since they were going to bring him back anyway. More recently, in the Dec. 24 DC Nation, Didio has wanted to bring Barry back since he started at the company, then found a willing partner in Geoff Johns.

  16. You have to read Batman #682-683 in order to understand how he got out of the machine. It gets confusing, though, which is par for DC of late.

  17. ..

    @Kelson:

    “…To be fair, it’s been stated repeatedly in interviews….that the entire DCU line…takes place before Final Crisis, and next month we’ll start to see the aftermath…”

    But the whole idea that the DCU is compartmentalized, and if you don’t read interviews or press releases you won’t “get it” opposes the POINT of self-referential literature.

    By self-referential I mean that the STORY (how ever many issues are required) tells you what you NEED to KNOW to comprehend the STORY.

    What if Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in such a way that you would need to read an interview with Bram to “get it”?

    How many Otto Binder or Garnder Fox or Eliot S! Magin stories required external referenceing
    to understand? Is that number ZERO or zero plus one?

    ..

  18. By self-referential I mean that the STORY (how ever many issues are required) tells you what you NEED to KNOW to comprehend the STORY.

    Let’s see… Final Crisis tells you what you need to know in Final Crisis (mostly). The regular books tell you what you need to know for the regular books.

    Yep, that’s taken care of.

    The only thing you need the interviews for is to tell you why they don’t mesh, and that’s ONLY because readers have somehow gotten it in their heads that books published at the same time take place at the same time, despite the many comics that clearly don’t.

  19. “Of course, even though Morrison has delivered a choppy story with Final Crisis and has left out large gaps of the story I cannot believe that he would have the Miracle Machine reviving Lois happen off panel and not go acknowledged.”

    Why wouldn’t you believe that? More stuff has happened in this series off-panel than in any other allegedly ‘world changing’ comic event I can remember reading in 25+ years.

  20. The idea that Black Flash is Black Racer is not original, not new, and should not be attributed to Grant Morrison

    http://www.hyperborea.org/flash/black-flash.html

    Blame Kelson

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