Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Hal Jordan on trial back at Oa. Alpha Lantern Kraken is the accuser and the charges against Hal include Deicide and conspiracy to overthrow Oa. Kraken asserts that Hal has been possessed by one of Darkseid’s malevolent psychic parasites.
The Guardians point out that an Alpha Lantern’s judgment is infallible. Hal spits that nothing in the universe is infallible. One of the Guardians asks if anyone is here to speak on Hal’s behalf. Suddenly, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner appear on the scene. Kyle barks that it was Kraken who killed Orion and that Kraken has been taken over by one of the gods of Apokolips.
Kraken yells that Guy is lying. The Guardians chime in that an Alpha Lantern cannot be compromised. The Guardians ask for Kraken to respond. Kraken smiles and says that the Guardians underestimated the power and craft of Darkseid. We learn that Granny Goodness is inside of Kraken. Granny says that it was easy for her to possess Kraken and it was easy of her to get to Oa so she could steal the central power battery on Oa.
The Guardians state that the battery must be protected at all costs and orders the other Lanterns to stop Kraken. Kraken then drains the rings of the Lanterns and seriously wounds one of the Guardians. Granny then stands in front of the main power battery. The Guardians initiate the Krona Protocol and the main power battery disappears.
Hal summons up the power to break free from his bonds. Hal then attacks Kraken and proceeds to punch her senseless. Guy tells Kyle that the Krona Protocol is when the main power battery is at threat and that the Guardians hide it somewhere until the threat has passed.
The Lanterns then sedate Kraken/Granny and haul her off to a sciencell. Kyle fills Hal in on what has been going on with Earth. Kyle says that space and time around the Earth crumpled and that weeks have been smashed into days.
The Guardians state that the New Gods of Apokolips have taken root on Earth. That the gods of Apokolips have several world weapons capable of enslaving souls. That the gods of Apokolips have machines capable of rewriting the laws of being and bring whole civilizations to their knees. That Earth is ground zero of a Doomsday singularity.
Guy says that John Stewart is still trapped on Earth along with the rest of their friends. Hal then gets his power ring back and tells Guy that it is time for them to go back to Earth and kick Darkseid’s ass. The Guardians tell Hal that he is cleared of all charges and that Hal and the other Green Lanterns have twenty-four hours to save the universe.
We cut to Amanda Waller and Khalid giving Renee Montoya a tour of Checkmate’s facility. Khalid informs Renee that there are multiple Earths where people like the Nazi Supergirl that Renee saw come from. Khalid and Waller show Montoya where Checkmate is busy building Biomacs. These are prototype kit super soldiers with a seven day lifespan. (They all look like the original Jack Kirby OMAC.)
Waller states that Checkmate was created as the last move in the human game and that they planned for the day when the super heroes would fail them. Waller says that now Checkmate wants Montoya to be a part of this.
We shift to Reverend Goode, Mokkari and Simyan all bowing before Darkseid. Each of them is trying to convince Darkseid that they are more valuable than the other. They beg for Darkseid to not let them die. Mokkari and Simyan state that they have created miracles for Darkseid and have prepared an Earth body fit for the god above gods. Goode then stammers that it was his followers who spread the Anti-Life equation across the planet.
We cut back to the Checkmate castle in Switzerland where Alan Scott and Mr. Terrific are stationed. The castle is under siege by the various heroes under Darkseid’s anti-life equation spell. The JSA arrive on the scene to help out Alan Scott and Hawkgirl. We slide inside of the castle where the Mr. Terrific is ordering his soldiers to put their guns down.
The heroes of Super Young Team state that they came through space and time to get here and that Mr. Terrific’s soldiers went and shot Mister Miracle. Mr. Terrific asks how they knew he was here. Mr. Terrific states that he is invisible to machines.
Sonny-Sumo then holds up the motherboxxx and states that it is more than a machine. Sonny explains that the motherboxxx is like “If the gods made an I-Pod that were alive? Way beyond that.”
Suddenly, Mister Miracle struggles to his feet. Miracle says that he is not the world’s greatest escape artist for nothing. He reveals that he always wears an impact proof vest. Mister Miracle states that motherboxxx survived a cosmic war, but she is not alone. She says that the time of change is here and that everyone must choose sides. Mister Miracle says that the Fifth World is coming.
Suddenly, Mr. Terrific is informed that the castle’s shields are going to fail in 15 minutes. Mr. Terrific is then informed by the radar tech that it seems impossible but that the Swiss border just got farther away from the castle. Mr. Terrific then asks Mister Miracle for his help.
Mister Miracle responds that the war broke time and space. Miracle says that a fallen devil-god is dragging them down with him into a deep dark hole in time with no light, no hope and no escape. Miracle then tells Mr. Terrific to have all of his people paint their faces with the same design that Mister Miracle and Super Young Team have painted on their faces.
We zip back to Bludhaven to see the army of super heroes including Hourman, Liberty Belle, Wildcat, Wildcat v. 2.0, Frankenstein, Captain Marvel, Black Adam, Supergirl, John Stewart, Red Arrow and a few others engaging Kalibak and his army in battle.
Black Adam tells Captain Marvel that they must kill Mary. Black Adam states that he saw a leering old man in Mary’s eyes. Black Adam says that Mary is possessed. Black Mary takes this opportunity to regroup and take down Black Adam. Black Mary then takes down Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel refuses to hurt Black Mary. Captain Marvel tells Tawny to stand back because Black Mary will kill him.
We cut to Nix Uotan being thrown into Darkseid’s prison where all the people that the Anti-Life equation cannot affect are being kept. These are the people who are crazy or who are wired differently. The prisoners are kept here until they are dissected.
Nix responds that he does not care. Nix says that there is only one god now: Darkseid. The man in the hood replies that the time of gods is done and that it is time for something new and different. Something that was unforeseen. The man hands Nix the design from Metron that Anthro was drawing in the ground in Final Crisis #1.
The hooded man says to Nix “But you summoned him. You made this moment with your power. Isn’t that what your kind do?” Nix claims that he has no idea what the man is talking about. Nix says that his drawings are all just useless. We see the hooded man thumbing through Nix’s drawings. The hooded man has monkey or ape hands.
The hooded person states that if Nix’s superheroes cannot save them then it is time for Nix to think of something that can. That if it doesn’t exist then Nix can make it up. That Nix can make it real. The hooded person stops on the drawing of Weeja Dell. The hooded person asks if Nix there was a word that would remind him of who he truly is inside. Maybe a voice or a face. A name.
Nix exclaims that the girl in the drawing is not real. That she is from another universe that he dreamt about. Nix then looks stunned and says “Weeja Dell.” One of Darkseid’s scientists and two Justifiers enter the prison. The scientists approaches Nix and says it is time to show him what happens to the strange and the different. To those who refuse to fit.
Suddenly, the man in the wheelchair solves the Rubik cube and says “17.” The man’s eyes fill with blue fire. Suddenly, a burst of blue flame erupts and blasts the scientists and the two Justifiers.
We cut to Supergirl and Jon Stewart trying to break through the force field around Command-D station.
We zip back to Darkseid’s throne chamber. Mokkari, Good and Simyan are all collapsing around Darkseid. Mokkari states that he has failed Darkseid. That the Batman psycho-merge killed the clone army. The three lackeys then die before Darkseid’s throne.
Darkseid stands up and energy glows from his fist. Darkseid states that it is over. That no living thing can resist him. That all flesh will be Darkseid’s body. Darkseid says that the humans have only ever faced the concept of a god. Now the humans face a god incarnate. That all is one in Darkseid.
We cut back to Supergirl using her super vision to examine Command-D station. Supergirl states that she can see a massive energy source inside. That it is like a brain sending signals to a gigantic nervous system. Suddenly, Black Mary attacks Supergirl.
We slide over to the White House and see the President holding a gun. The President is informed that Darkseid’s Justifiers have found the bunker. The President is told that the country is no longer his and that the Earth is no longer theirs. The President is shocked that this could all happen so quickly.
We shift back to Libra at the public hanging. Libra yells that the Fifth World of Darkseid has begun.
We cut back to Darkseid stating “I. Am. The. New. God.”
Darkseid says “When I command your surrender, I speak with three billion voices. When I make a fist to crush your resistance. It is with three billion hands. When I stare into your eyes and shatter your dreams. And break your heart.”
We cut to the world’s population saying “It is with six billion eyes. Nothing like Darkseid has ever come among you; nothing will again. I will take you to a hell without exit or end. And there I will murder your souls! And make you crawl and beg! And die! Die for Darkseid!”
We cut back to Darkseid’s prison where Nix is being held. We see Nix’s drawings flying around the prison room. Metron’s voice says “Something new is born. The Fifth World dawns in flame and thunder. Battle is joined. The judge of all evil is here.” We then see Nix Uotan transformed and standing in the middle of the prison room.
The Good: Final Crisis #5 was another intriguing read. The focus of Final Crisis has been re-imagining Jack Kirby’s wonderful Fourth World characters. And Morrison is intent on bringing Kirby’s Fifth World to life by placing modern twists on Kirby’s classic characters. The general idea is a good one since I like Kirby’s characters and do agree that they could stand to have some updating and freshening up for the DCU’s New Earth.
And, of course, taking center stage has been Darkseid. The first four issues of Final Crisis have consisted of plenty of set-up for the monstrous re-birth of a Darkseid more powerful than ever. I do believe that the success of Final Crisis will rise and fall with the version of Darkseid that Morrison crafts. And Morrison certainly came through in this issue with a version of Darkseid that made my jaw drop.
But, we will address Morrison’s Darkseid in a moment. At this point, I want to address all the various little teasers and surprises that Morrison throws at the reader. Final Crisis #5 is another dense and complex read. Morrison gives the reader so much to digest and examine. This is certainly a fascinating issue that engages the reader’s mind and requires at least a couple of readings in order to fully place the various pieces of Morrison’s puzzle together.
I found all of the scenes on Oa to be exciting. The fact that the Guardians, being immortal and incredible beings of power, are actually afraid of this re-born Darkseid helps to hammer home the point to the reader just what a massive cosmic power Darkseid has become.
Hal Jordan leading the Lanterns to Earth in such a heroic fashion is one of those “Hell yeah!” moments that gets the reader charged with anticipation. I also liked the fact that wwhen the Green Lanterns arrived outide of Earth that you ccould see the various multiple Earths from the Multiverse.
Morrison delivers a wonderful explanation of what Motherboxxx is. Stating that Motherboxxx is if the gods created an I-Pod only it is even better was classic. This description neatly places a piece of god technology that is beyond human comprehension in modern terms that readily key the reader into exactly what the Motherboxxx is. Again, Morrison is trying to stay true to Kirby’s roots with his technology while trying to freshen it up for the present day reader.
Morrison also clues the reader into the fact that the design that is on Metron’s face from Final Crisis #1 is the key to protection against the Anti-Life equation. We see that the members of Super Young Team and Mister Miracle all have the Metron’s design drawn on their faces. This is valuable information that should help our heroes in what seems like an increasingly impossible battle to win.
And this is not the first time that we have seen someone with Metron’s symbol painted on their face. The final page of Final Crisis #1 shows Anthro somehow transported to Kamandi’s future. In the final panel we see Anthro with his face painted with Metron’s symbol.
Now let’s address Black Mary. As much as I dig her current look for purely prurient reasons, I have been less than happy with how her character has been handled ever since Countdown. Well, it appears that Morrison also shares my dislike for Countdown’s treatment for Mary as he begins to plant the seeds for Mary’s eventual heroic return.
Morrison makes a point of having Black Adam state that he saw a leering old man in Mary’s eyes. Couple that with the fact that Mary digs pain and I think it is safe to say that Mary has been possessed by Desaad. And this could be where Morrison is trying to rehabilitate Mary’s character from the shoddy treatment she received in Countdown.
By having Mary being possessed by Desaad, this is a convenient and logical way to retcon away part of Countdown. Instead of Mary simply being a weak person who is desperate for power no matter the source, Mary is now a victim of Desaad’s possession. And the radical change in behavior that Mary exhibited near the end of Countdown and in Final Crisis can be explained as simply being Desaad’s personality and not Mary’s personality.
Morrison ever so briefly touches on what we saw with the Batman over in Batman #682. We learn from Mokkari that the Batman psycho-merge killed the clone army. I have to say that I am a little disappointed about this. I thought that Morrison was going to be setting up a cool battle between the super-soldiers in Checkmate’s Biomacs versus the ultimate soldiers in the “Batmen.” I imagine that we will learn more about how the psycho-merge killed the clone army in Batman #683.
Morrison unveils another mystery in the scene where Libra conducts the public hanging of the Calculator. Lex Luthor acts very strange during this scene. It appears that Luthor is full of remorse and internal conflict. Lex Luthor may be an egomaniacal villain, but there is no doubt of his love for Earth and the human race. And there is no doubt of Lex’s hatred for aliens seeking to impose their will on humankind. So, I would imagine that Lex is less than thrilled with what is happening to the Earth at the moment.
I have to wonder if it was Lex Luthor who sold out the Unternet codes and not the Calculator who professes innocence. If so, that would be a wonderful twist to have one of the biggest villains help our heroes to defeat Darkseid.
My two favorite parts of Final Crisis #5 that captivated my attention the most where the scenes in Darkseid’s prison for those who are immune to the Anti-Life equation and the scenes with Darkseid in his throne room. The scenes with Darkseid powering up were incredible powerful and intense that hit the reader with the force of a sledgehammer.
Morrison continues to give the reader more details surrounding Darkseid’s rebirth. We learn that when Darkseid fell through the heavens that he broke reality. Evidently, Darkseid’s rebirth consists of him basically transforming all of Earth into his flesh. This fits with the fact that Morrison reveals that Command-D is basically a giant brain that is sending signals out to a massive nervous system.
In the process of re-birthing himself, Darkseid has collapsed space and time. Basically, Darkseid has created a black hole. The reader learns that weeks have been condensed into mere days. This would certainly explain the suddenness and somewhat fractured feel of this story. It is as if Darkseid’s re-birth is more than the universe can handle.
I mentioned earlier that the success of Final Crisis largely depends on Morrison being able to deliver on this newly re-born Darkseid. And good lord, does Morrison deliver. This is the most imposing, powerful and incredibly evil version of Darkseid that I have ever seen. Often in the past Darkseid has not been presented as an honest to goodness god. Many times Darkseid has come across as nothing more than a powerhouse super villain who could probably be beaten in a straight up brawl by Superman or Doomsday instead of a true god. That is certainly not the case with Morrison’s Darkseid.
And with this scene, Morrison succeeds in delivering the villain. This is the payoff to all the build-up concerning Darkseid’s return in the first four issues of Final Crisis. This is exactly what I wanted to see Morrison give us with Darkseid’s re-birth. Hopefully, Morrison can deliver on a proper conclusion as our heroes are up against a seemingly unstoppable villain.
I enjoyed the scenes that took place in Darkseid’s prison. We have three men in the prison: Nix Uotan, a man in a wheelchair and a monkey or ape-man in a hood. The man in the wheelchair is the version of Metron that we see in Morrison’s Mister Miracle mini-series.
We also have the mysterious monkey or ape-man in the hood. I have no idea who this might be. Clearly, he has knowledge of the Monitors and the Multiverse. I guess it could be Anthro, but that would not be consistent with how Anthro was drawn in Final Crisis #1. Anthro looks like a normal human while the hooded man clearly has ape-like arms and hands.
I know that during his Animal Man run that Morrison employed a monkey in Limbo who typed stories for the Animal Man comic books. That is the only monkey or ape character that I can think of at the moment that Morrison might be using in this scene.
Morrison mimics the opening scene of Final Crisis #1 with Metron and Anthro here in this prison scene. In the opening scene to this big event, Metron appears and gives Anthro the knowledge of fire. We then end Final Crisis #1 with Anthro drawing Metron’s symbol in the ground.
Here in this issue, the ape-man hands Nix a picture of Metron’s symbol hoping it will spark his memory. In the end, it is the picture of Nix’s love, Weeja Dell, which begins to trigger his memory. And like how Metron gave Anthro the power of fire in Final Crisis #1, in the prison scene in this issue, Metron activates his mother box and is then able to give Nix the power of his blue fire that triggers Nix’s transformation.
It is Metron’s voice that narrates the final panels in this issue since it is drawn in the same style as Metron’s voice in Final Crisis #1. Metron calls Nix the “judge of all evil.” It is possible that the combination of Metron’s powers with Nix’s Monitor powers has turned him into an ultimate Monitor or maybe this is the birth of another god.
Metron’s blue fire appears to give Nix Metron’s power to fold space and time. Or maybe, Metron’s blue fire triggers Nix’s Monitor powers. Of course, Morrison seems to view the Monitors as some type of uber-gods and Nix’s new form may be his Monitor form combined with Metron’s power. Clearly, Nix appears to be more than just your average Monitor.
This was an excellent hook ending to Final Crisis #5. The transformation of Nix presents so many possibilities. I am curious to learn more about Nix and what exactly he has become. Morrison has set the stage for an amazing finale to this story. Darkseid appears to be at the height of his power. Nix has transformed into something new. And our heroes have now learned how to protect themselves from the Anti-Life equation. This should all add up to an explosive finish.
Also, since Morrison wisely removed all of the big guns in the DCU in the first two issues of Final Crisis, their dramatic returns in the final two issues will be all that much more intense and exciting.
J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino did a nice job with the artwork in this issue. I particularly loved the two page splash shot of the heroes attacking Command-D station. The artists do an amazing job conveying the grand scope and scale of this event.
The Bad: Final Crisis #5 had some defects. I found the script to be a bit rough in certain spots. There were points where the characters were spitting out dialogue that no human would every employ.
Now, I enjoy Final Crisis #5 because it is so dense and crammed full of details that it requires the reader to read the issue two times to fully soak up all the information and process it. But, this is a double edge sword. Sometimes, I feel that Morrison has gotten too ambitious with Final Crisis and has bitten off more than he can properly chew through in just seven issues. And there are moments where the reader might feel overwhelmed by all that Morrison is throwing at them.
At times it feels like Morrison is rushing through the story in order to accomplish all of his goals with this big event. And the end result is that sometimes it seems like some important plot progression is happening off panel and that the flow of the story becomes a bit choppy.
Final Crisis #5 also features plenty of Morrison’s usual stream of conscious and metaphysical writing. Readers who do not enjoy Morrison’s style of writing might find Final Crisis #5 obtuse and nothing more than incoherent rambling.
Overall: Final Crisis #5 was another complex and captivating read. Morrison truly challenges the reader with this issue. I would certainly recommend giving this issue two readings. By the end of the second reading, all the little details and clues should become more evident and the story itself should gain more power and impact on the reader.
What I enjoyed so much about Final Crisis #5 is that this issue truly felt epic. This story is larger than life and set on a truly grand scale. In Secret Invasion, Bendis managed to make an attack on Earth seem very small, muted and rather ordinary. Morrison has done the opposite by making Final Crisis an epic tale that is a piece of comic book mythology.