The Doomino Effect for Jan 14, 2009

You know, after Final Crisis #5, I finally felt like I was on the bandwagon. That issue had a lot of crazy going on, but it seemed to be moving in an intriguing direction. The closing splash page, showing that demoted Monitor rising back up to his godlike status, declared “The Judge of All Evil is here,” and I was pumped for #6. On top of that, DC told us that Final Crisis #6 was really and truly the point where Batman RIP ended. So there was that intrigue too. However, after reading part 6 of 7, I feel like I did after reading Final Crisis #3.

We start with Brainiac taking Superman to the God-Weapon, a machine that allows thoughts to change reality. It’s not often that a writer is courteous enough to give you a literal deus ex machina. I have no idea when this is happening, relative to Superman: Beyond, Legion of 3 Worlds or any of the other Final Crisis miniseries currently unfolding. Therefore, its context is completely lost, and that only gets better.

Supergirl and Mary Marvel are duking it out in some city while the JSA fights the good fight on the ground. Speaking of Supergirl, isn’t New Krypton supposed to be happening before Final Crisis? Or is it after? I’m not up on my Marvel family, but apparently the transforming lightning is just transforming lightning, and is in no way tied to the individual who calls on it, hence Freddy being able to de-power Mary by way of zapping himself mid-hug. Meanwhile, Tawny earns command of some cat people by gutting Kalibak.

Over at the Checkmate castle, Mr. Terrific acts incredibly stupid for being so smart. Shilo Norman flat out tells Mr. Terrific that the symbol protects people against anti-life, and then Mr. Terrific is all “I’ll have to get back to you on that one,” because the shields are down and he needs to figure out a way to protect everyone from anti-life. Friggin’ moron. Then there’s a sidebar in which the expositionally blessed Super Young Team explains how relatively useless, useful and emo they are. I’m still stunned by how much attention they’re receiving, considering the delight Grant Morrison seems to be taking in removing information from this story.

Up on the satellite, the anti-life heroes have taken Black Canary and the rest of the gang prisoner, ordering them to submit or die. In a little bit of logical continuity, that tattoo guy is able to fight off anti-life by way of the aforementioned symbol.

Back somewhere else, Montoya is introduced to Lord Eye, yet another rebirth of Brother Eye. Apparently they’re planning on populating another level of the multiverse with whoever survives Earth, and Montoya will be Secretary of Defense. I imagine this means Earth-51 is going to end up being some new form of New Earth after New Earth becomes the Fifth World… maybe? Then we see Luthor and Dr. Sivana watching as the Calculator hangs from a noose. Libra approaches from behind and declares that Luthor betrayed him. I guess this means Luthor gave the heroes access to the Ünternet. Good job, Lex.

So here’s where I start getting lost, and I’ll have to depend on one of those websites that has writers who manage to know Grant Morrison’s every thought or maybe some troll can stop by and set me straight. The Flashes (I can’t tell Wally and Barry apart) are discussing what they need to do to stop Darkseid. Ok, so Darkseid needs to be stopped. He is “…sitting at the center of a personal singularity beyond the reach of light,” this Flash says. “To get to him we’ll have to run faster than we ever have before.” Gosh, it sounds virtually impossible to find Darkseid … and if you found him, you wouldn’t even be able to see him!

Then on the next page, Batman wanders into Darkseid’s room from a hallway. Not only did he find Darkseid … not only is he looking right at Darkseid … but he clearly states that he’s discovered Darkseid is “wounded … beyond repair.” So Darkseid is already dying. He doesn’t need to be stopped. So what does Batman do? He decides he needs to shoot Darkseid with a god bullet to kill him. So he does that, but as he fires the bullet, Darkseid also shoots some zig-zaggy eye beams, a.k.a. “The Omega Sanction,” which he thinks is fast enough that Batman might not be able to outrace it, yet it’s so slow that Batman can say “Hh” and “Gotcha” before it kills him.

So remember the Monitor who emerged at the conclusion of issue #5 as “The Judge of All Evil” ? He makes his one and only appearance on a montage page, observing stuff. On that page, Metron explains that a breach of the Bleed Wall is “a greater menace than Darkseid.” He also trips the Gnostic alarm by declaring it’s “The age of men as gods,” in case the parallels weren’t quite obvious enough yet.

And then Superman makes his grand return, blasting his way through what I can only assume is the singularity that Darkseid was hiding in. I have to assume because yet again, Final Crisis is hampered by art that fails to really communicate what is going on. But Superman emerges from wherever to bring out the smoking body of Batman. This is, of course, the first we see of Superman after he is given access to a machine that allows thoughts to become reality. Does this mean he thunk Batman should be dead? Or was that first part just irrelevant?

So maybe someone can help me with this: if Darkseid was already dying, and then he got extra killed by Batman, and if the red skies are a threat beyond Darkseid, what exactly is the threat posed by Darkseid that the Flashes have to run to the future to save?

We finally saw Batman die. What was the ultimate betrayal? Or is that still to come in the real Final Fate of Batman? Is “Gotcha” really going to be Batman’s last word? The only redemption for this arc is if they finally find the Spectre (as they’re hunting from him at Checkmate HQ) and he claims Bruce Wayne as his new host.

I’m not at a point where I think there won’t be a reasonable conclusion. I went back and re-read FC #5 for the sake of this review, and it actually cleared up a lot of the things I had forgotten, so the issue wasn’t as bad as I thought on first read. I am however at a point of not caring anymore.

Speaking of not caring anymore, that leads me to Action Comics #873, the conclusion to New Krypton. It was last week’s Book of Doom, and I already wrote quite a bit about how I didn’t care for it. I don’t care any more or less for it, but I do think this Ladrönn cat that drew the cover is kind of crap. It’s really boring and the style looks like a Frank Quitely knockoff. Boo hiss.

Speaking of hiss, that leads me to X-Men and Spider-Man #3, which involves Carnage, who hisses sometimes (I think). I find myself totally enjoying this miniseries. It continues its continuity-hopping tale of the intertwining lives of the X-Men, Spider-Man and Mr. Sinister, this time taking place in the 1990s when the X-Factor gang was back in the X-Men, Wolverine had bone claws, and Spider-Man was Ben Reilly.

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense to bring Mr. Sinister into the Spider-Man clone saga. First off, you’re not going to make the clone saga any dumber, and involving Sinister actually gives it a bigger Marvel Universe context. The good guys fight Carnage, who is part of Sinister’s project to use the symbiont in conjunction with clones. I’m looking forward to chapter 4.

Speaking of adaptive alien life forms, that leads me to Secret Invasion: War of Kings, which actually came out last week but I didn’t pick it up til this week. Blackbolt has decided, in response to the Skrull Invasion, to take the Inhumans on the offensive. They were created to be fighting machines, so they might as well be fighting machines. Am I right? So he starts out by killing a whole bunch of Skrulls.

Let me tell you, even if this storyline turns out to be awful, at the very least the Inhumans are gone from the moon so that we stop having to sit through stupid “Earth rising” scenes. Attention, writers: the Earth doesn’t rise for moon dwellers the way the sun rises for Earth dwellers. It’s not just bad science — it’s also disregarding the Inhumans’ history. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby actually understood this back when they created the Inhumans, placing Attilan on the Blue Area of the Moon, which was just a fancy name for the far side of the moon. Well guess what — there isn’t a far side of the moon if the moon rotates at a different speed than it revolves. The Earth would never rise for Attilan. Other than that, I still love Abnett & Lanning.

For the most part, the rest of the issue is just hell-raising and destruction. I’m very excited to see where this is heading, and I might even buy more $3.99 comics to read about it. I’m hoping I can get away with just reading Guardians of the Galaxy and the War of Kings miniseries, though.