The Revolution has been excited by Final Crisis and it’s spinoffs. This should be another good one with Greg Rucka at the helm. Greg was one of the architects of the classic 52 series. Let’s see how this one holds up.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glampion & Jeff de los Santos and Walden Wong
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Crispus Allen is narrating the story while we see a crowd watching Superman deliver the eulogy for the Martian Manhunter. Crispus’ first comments are a summary of the issue, “I think about death a lot. It’s my job. Even when I was alive , it was my job.” Crispus remembers how another detective he used to work with said that they worked for God. Crispus agrees. Now that he is dead, Crispus is working for God as the Spirit of Vengeance.
Next we see Dr. Light and 3 girls(dressed as Raven, Wonder Girl, and Starfire) in a room. Dr. Light is bragging how he killed the Martian Manhunter. This is his party. No one will leave the room until he says so. Dr. Light fires a light blast to scare the girls. Then he orders 2 of the girls to hold the third down while he starts taking his clothes off.
The ghostly image of the Spectre’s face appears behind him. The Spectre is suddenly behind him and says that the time of judgement is at hand. As the Spectre recounts Dr. Light’s crimes, the lower portion of the Dr.’s body turns into melted wax. When faced with death, Dr. Light admits that he did not kill the Martian Manhunter.
Soon, Light’s body has become a candle with his head as the flaming wick. The Spectre watches Light burn and feels nothing. He reaches down and puts out the flame with his fingers. Crispus thinks that he hates his new existence.
Meanwhile, in Saint Faustino Hospital a doctor is telling a nun that there is nothing they do for one of the patients. The nun says that they can always pray for a miracle. Numerous nuns are standing by the bed of a woman. They are praying for God’s mercy for Sister Clarice. The sister says that everything is alright. It is time for her to go. The medical devices signal that she has died.
Crispus is thinking how he was told that being the Spectre is an honor. He could bring balance to the Spirit of Vengeance. That was a lie. Vengeance is about payback. Justice is about balance. While he is thinking, Spectre is making the villain Effigy burn and melt from his own fire.
At a dock in Portsmouth, England people are trying to book a ship. From a distance they are being spied on by a lady in a hat. Other members of the group find the lady and confront her. We now see that the lady is the Question. As the fight goes on, the gang reminds her that she is now their leader(see the Crime Bible mini-series). The Question takes out the whole group. She sees that the boat is leaving the dock. The Question runs and leaps onto the deck of the boat. She hides on the deck.
Returning to Crispus Allen we find him standing in the rain on a street. He is thinking of the difference between vengeance and justice. Vengeance is from the heart and is driven by emotion. Justice is from the head and is driven by reason. When he was alive, he was all about justice. Now he wants to make God pay for making him the Spectre.
In Libra’s hideout, he is meeting with a group of killers called the Hangmen. They are saying how Doctor Psycho faked their deaths. They know how Libra helped the Human Flame by killing the Martian Manhunter. They want him to help them. Libra asks what they want. The Hangmen want to kill the Titans.
Suddenly the Spectre appears announcing that Libra’s judgement is at hand. The Spectre realizes that something is wrong. It is Libra’s real name. The Spectre cannot find Libra’s true name. Libra is not worried about the Spectre telling him that he will pay for his crimes.
As the Spectre reaches for Libra, he is changed back into Crispus Allen. Libra takes him by the throat and tells him that he is insignificant in the face of creation. Libra throws him across the room. Crispus gets hurt when he crashes into the wall.
Crispus does not understand what is wrong. Libra says that he is eternal. He is unique in the universe. He tells Crispus that he is nothing but the host of a broken spirit. He starts to punish Crispus. Crispus screams and turns back into the Spectre.
Back on the boat, the gang is looking for something that the book says will be there. They pull in the fishing nets. Tangled in the net is the Spear of Destiny. With it they can kill a false god or raise a new one. The Question jumps down on them. The person holding the Spear blasts the Question.
Crispus is in a graveyard. He is telliing God that he is done with him. Crispus starts to change into the Spectre against his will. He knows that God is telling him to go after Renee(the Question).
Back at the ship, the gang sees the Question’s hat floating in the water. She ambushes them from behind. The Spectre appears, saying Renee Montoya your judgement is at hand.
The Good:As expected, Rucka does a good job setting up the series. This issue focuses on Crispus Allen and the conflicts he suffers from. The job of being the Spectre is not what he thought it would be. He is torn by his sense of justice. This is a natural growth for the character. Rucka has done a great job of developing Crispus from his days in Gotham Central.
Another character that Rucka has spent a lot of time developing is Renee (The Question) Montoya. She was Crispus’ partner at one time. Both have changed significantly since those days. It will be interesting to watch how Rucka handles the reunion of these characters.
This looks like a comic that Philip Tan was born to draw. His illustrations of the Spectre are fantastic. A lesser artist would not have pulled off this issue. I can see some Tom Mandrake influences in his Spectre. Tom was the regular artist on a previous Spectre series(with writer John Ostrander).
Turning Dr. Light into a candle was a tribute to the Michael Fleisher/Jim Aparo Spectre series in the 70s.
I thought that this issue has a killer cliffhanger ending. It does the job of getting the reader excited for the next issue.
The Bad:I did not really find anything wrong with this issue. The team does a good job of showing the various characters and setting up the whole series.
Overall:Another good Final Crisis tie-in. This will be an interesting series to watch as Rucka leads some of his favorite characters on the next step of their lives.
Rokk’s Take: Look at Thom dropping some serious 1970’s Spectre knowledge on us! Good review, Thom.
I figured I would add my two cents about this issue. At first I was not going to bother getting this issue. I like Rucka, but think he is far better suited for titles that do not deal with super heroes. And I have never warmed up to any version of the Spectre after DC junked Jim Corrigan. And I liked Renee as a Gotham cop, but I have hated her as The Question.
Still, I gave this title a try with an open mind and I am glad that I did. Rucka delivered a tight read that was nicely paced and plotted. The dialogue was well done and Rucka performed some flat out fantastic character work on the Spectre.
I have to admit that in just one issue, Rucka made me a big fan of this version of the Spectre. Rucka gives plenty of depth to the Crispus Allen’s character. I love the spiritual turmoil that roils inside of Crispus Allen. Rucka gives the reader such a sharp taste for the pain and misery that constitutes Allen’s existence.
Phillip Tan’s artwork was simply gorgeous. He serves up gobs of lush art in this issue. Tan draws the hell out of the Spectre. Tan’s art elevates Rucka’s solid story to an all new level. This is a great example of how an artist can take a good story and make it even better.
On the downside, I still dislike Montoya as the Question. There is just nothing about Montoya as the Question that even remotely appeals to me.
I think that DC made a mistake to dispatch Dr. Light and Effigy so quickly after Final Crisis #1. I would much rather have them stick around for a while and let the Justice League of America deal with them. I know that I am in the minority, but I thought Dr. Light was a fantastic villain. I love how Meltzer transformed this loser villain into one of the nastiest villains in the DCU. I would rather have seen DC keep Dr. Light around to continue to torment our heroes.
All in all, Final Crisis: Revelations #1 was a well done issue. I am glad that I gave this issue a chance. Final Crisis: Revelations #1 is a quality tie-in issue. I am certainly looking forward to what Rucka has in store for us with the rest of this story.