Written by: Ron Bricker
Final Crisis has arrived. And god dammit, it's good. DC consistently blows my mind when it comes to events. The approach they are able to take with characters and epic scenarios comes in a package so much more than simply resolving itself in a big fight where a couple people die. Their deaths are always meaningful and felt across the DCU, and even their resurrections, save Jason Todd, are just as so. But more than that, DC allows the massive personal investment you have made in their characters truly payoff in a superb way.
And if the first issue of Final Crisis is a commitment from DC as a subscriber to this ideology, then this event may prove to be the best one ever.
Final Crisis, as we we all know, looks to complete the Crisis trilogy, beginning with 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths and continuing to 2005's Infinite Crisis. But in my opinion, Final Crisis is the climax of everything the DCU has been going through since the reeling events of 2004's Identity Crisis. These threads have been running so rampantly throughout the DCU since then, and even led directly into Infinite Crisis. It's amazing, really. I think I can literally trace everything in the current DCU all the way back to Identity Crisis in some way.
Regardless, Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones look to usher in a new age with Final Crisis. In the first issue alone, we get to see the beginning of time, the passing of a New God, and the death of a beloved DCU hero. What amazes me about this first issue is how truly accessible it is. Of course, characters like Vandal Savage, Libra, or Renee Montoya's Question are not going to be identifiable by new or perhaps even casual readers, yet Morrison's writing only asks that you be open to them. Obviously readers in the know will have more appreciation for these characters and the plot devices they bring, but new readers looking for a jumping on point for the DCU need look no further than Final Crisis.
That said, the big mystery is really, what in the hell is the book about? Well…we still don't really know! Yes, there are hints as to what is to come, and we know the players – we just don't know the game. From the teasers, we know it's the day that evil wins in the universe, and judging by this first issue, it seems that Darkseid, long time seeker of the Anti-Life equation, an equation that can take away all free will, has found what he is looking for.
And of course, no Crisis would be complete without the Monitors. And while we catch up with them in this first issue where they left off in Countdown to Final Crisis, these Monitors are considerably better written and require no previous knowledge of anything that happened in the weekly series. In fact, it's better if everyone just forgets it completely.
This issue is, as expected, basically entirely setup for what's to come. And while I admit that this provides a bit of disappointment after so much excitement leading into the read, it's necessary for the sake of the story. However, it should be noted that for this very same reason, this story is all the more accessible because of it's self contained nature. Yes, there are going to be a heaping of spin-off books over the summer, but they too seem to all be in place solely to serve the main series. There will be no drastic cross overs with flagship titles, no unnecessary "Final Crisis Cross Over!!" imprints on other books. A reader can purchase only this series and get the complete story.
What Morrison presents here is something building to be incredibly high-concept. The scene between the Monitors alone is enough to make a reader's head spin, with their existential talk and multiversal babble. Of course, this is Grant Morrison and I can guarantee you that in the end, everything will make more sense than you could have ever imagined. And in the meantime, we get to look at J.G. Jones' better-than-perfect interiors depicted these scenes in amazing detail.
Remember how good those 52 covers were? Well, imagine that. But on every single page, in every single panel. Jones gives us a sight to behold in everything he draws, from the days of Anthro to the Alpha Lanters and back again, with everything beautifully colored by Alex Sinclair. Sinclair gives us swarms of space-stuff, glowing sunsets, and crimson skies. The best part is that all of this amazing work comes together in perfect tune with Morrison's high concept tale.
There is so much going on in this single issue alone, that it's hard to even put into words. The only way to experience this book is by reading it. So go. The Final Crisis is here.
4.5 out of 5.