Quick Comments before the rundown:
1. Grant Morrison absolutely needs to take over Green Arrow/Black Canary, as all of his scenes with both of these characters throughout this series have been fantastic, especially any time Ollie even approaches a rant.
2. Make sure, if you got it, to read Submit before, not after, this issue. It’s a great book (albeit very straightforward and not especially begging to be annotated), and I know my experience (at least) was sort of lessened by reading #4 first.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the fourth issue of Final Crisis. Which is shockingly different from the original solicitation, now that I look at it, and I am really sad they did not actually go with the title “How to Murder the Earth,” because that rules.
Page 1: Narration by Ray Terrill, the second Ray of the Freedom Fighters. Carol Ferris is of Ferris Aircraft, who have apparently expanded from simply building airplanes to operating an international consumer airline. She’s an old flame of Hal Jordan’s from the Silver Age, and is still lurking around the periphery of the current Green Lantern book, a possible love interest for Hal after her recent divorce in #20 of that comic.
Page 2: The logo and speaker announcement in the subway stop clearly identify the location as London, and I’m sad Jones didn’t come up with a clever Blackberry joke for the cellphone. The Anti-Life Equation, as used here, is identical to the one in Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle. The cab is almost definitely in New York.
Page 3: I assume the “J” painted on the windows is for Justifier. At the end of Submit, the Tattooed Man heard a call for help from the Hall of Justice and went to assist; Ray Terrill presumably picked him up on the way.
Page 4: Black Lightning was turned into a Justifier in Submit while saving Tattooed Man’s family, after giving Tattooed Man the cave symbol of Metron’s circuit (it’s as-of-yet unclear where Black Lightning got it).
Page 5: Exposition, and everyone’s pretty clearly identified…
Pages 6 & 7: The dead seem to be Negative Woman (who was the White Queen of Checkmate, leaving that position open – possibly for Renee?), Count Vertigo (White Queen’s Knight), Director Bones of the D.E.O. (or just a regular long-dead dude with a well-preserved suit in Bones’s colors and a recently-extinguished cigar) and a bunch of Checkmate pawns and Atomic Knights.
Page 8: More exposition, and is Mokkari smoking a joint? I shudder to think of how the Evil Gods get down. I’m really gonna miss J.G. Jones on this, though; the way he gets across how Turpin is practically taking the world’s biggest Darkseid-shaped crap, and the sleazy, perverted sweat on Godfrey’s face, are just wonderful. Darkseid’s subordinates getting into drama queen whine fights over who was Darkseid’s favorite is a longstanding aspect of Darkseid’s court politics.
Page 9: Kalibak’s new body in action, first glimpsed back in #2 in the Evil Factory when everyone thought it was Tawky Tawny. Poor Opto, though – he watched worlds get eaten by Lady Styx in 52, watched John Stewart get his ass kicked and then got eaten by this thing.
The “Forever Pit” is, as far as I know, a new concept, perhaps signifying some kind of eternal Hell; Turpin’s internal narration, as well, seems thematically parallel to the theme of swallowing your pride and asking for help in Submit for Tattooed Man.
Page 10: The boss having bad dreams seems to imply that he didn’t realize Darkseid was controlling his mind at first; the decay of ego seems to have been faster in Turpin’s case. Tattooed Man was all the way back in #1, as well, helping Turpin find the Dark Side Club, a role he certainly seems disenchanted with here.
Page 11: Man, the definition of the Anti-Life Equation sure likes to change, doesn’t it? The Ãœnternet was created by Kurt Busiek in Action Comics #853; Kryptonite Man used it, and claimed it was created by Dr. Sivana from the “rhodomagnetic spectrum.” It stands as the first concept created for a Countdown-related title to actually appear in Final Crisis, so congratulations to Mr. Busiek.
Page 12: Hawkgirl fights a Justifier I don’t recognize in the skies over the Castle.
Page 13: Oooooooooookay.
Row 1: Rose Wilson/Ravager, Thom Kallor/Danny Blaine/Starman, Blue Devil (his MIA isn’t yet shown), Helena Bertinelli/Huntress, Ryan Choi/The Atom, Enchantress, Robotman
Row 2: Uncle Sam (corruption not yet shown), Ted Grant/Wildcat, Wonder Woman? (What’s up with the star on her tiara, and isn’t she leading the Female Furies? Or is this someone else?), Superman (off in Superman Beyond), Batman (imprisoned in Bludhaven), Cyborg (disappearance not shown), Martian Manhunter (killed in #1).
Row 3: Guy Gardner (on Oa), Hawkgirl, Rick Tyler/Hourman, Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (arrested in #3 and currently on Oa), Kent Nelson/Dr. Fate (MIA not yet shown), Power Girl, Wally West/The Flash (travelling through time with Barry).
Row 4: John Stewart (where did that scar come from?), Sandy Hawkins/Sandman, Black Canary, Kingdom Come Superman of Earth-22 (no idea where he is), Tim Drake/Robin, Red Tornado, Stormy Knight/Phantom Lady.
Row 5: Starfire (Capture not yet shown), Jesse Chambers-Tyler/Liberty Belle, Ollie Queen/Green Arrow, Black Lightning (corrupted in Submit), the mysterious new Aquaman, Jason Rusch/Firestorm and Kyle Rayner (on Oa).
Castellan Draper runs security for the Castle; he was formerly the supervillain Master Jailer. I have absolutely no idea A) what Amanda Waller is doing here, since she isn’t supposed to be with Checkmate anymore, and I have *no* idea how Renee Montoya found the time to show up here before the events of Revelations, since she claims to have already been at the Castle.
Page 14: Aw, I love Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle hugging that little kid. The Fortress of Solitude seems to have the Metal Men, Tawky Tawny, Hourman, Liberty Belle, Damage, Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle and Supergirl. Superbia is home of the Ultramarines, the supergroup from Morrison’s JLA and JLA: Classified runs that used to count the Knight, Squire and Vixen among its members. Watchtower 4 appears to be Gorilla City, being defended by Freedom Beast and other heroes I don’t recognize against a gorilla Justifier, which is such a great concept.
Page 15: I’m not sure where Black Adam’s holed up, and this definitely seems to imply that the New Gods have actually actively shoved the Old Gods out of the way.
Page 16: Note how activating the Metron Circuit tattoo seems to obscure all the other ones, and gives his body the radiant sheen Metron’s had; it also eliminates his hair. Black Lightning is breaking through due to being a Justifier.
Page 17: Finally picking up from the end of the last issue, we see the Female Furies (apparently Wonder Woman is now Wunda, and Giganta is Gigantrix). Darkseid’s Fall backwards through time was previously glimpsed all the way back in DC Universe 0, which was also where Barry witnessed it. “Flash fact” was a common phrase for Barry back in the day, especially when showing off about physics while beating up villains.
Page 20: I don’t recognize offhand the Silver Age story they’re referncing with the trophy of the Justice League in a bottle; I’m sure Wolk will get me on that one. The other trophies seem fairly generic; Kryptonite, cards of the Royal Flush Gang, a bunch of Hawkman’s weapons.
Page 22: The Justifiers are about to ride past what looks like the Guardian and Big Barda’s helmets.
Page 24: Black Canary assumes a leadership role immediately due to her status as chairman of the Justice League.
Page 25: Alan Scott’s power source has always been mysterious, so the meaning of his green flame waning is unclear. The Omega Offensive seems to be the official name for the superhero D-Day that’s being planned; Godfrey’s use of the term “Day of Holocaust” echoes the phrase’s use to describe Mandrakk’s escape back in Superman Beyond. Darkseid’s “crown” is being brought by Mary Marvel, who’s apparently still happily working with Darkseid’s inner circle.
Page 26: This is the first time we’ve seen life for the submitted new hunger dogs of Earth, and it’s obviously (and inevitably) very reminiscent of the status quo for the planet back in Morrison’s Rock of Ages arc in JLA. The woman walking home is Iris Allen.
Page 27: Either the Speed Force is the Life Equation (representing change against Anti-Life’s stagnancy), or Grant Morrison just pulled some insane Superman II “Super-kiss” level dumb here, so I’m betting on the former. I have to admit, though, he’s certainly doing a great job selling Barry Allen.
Page 28: Morrison said he wanted this series to feel like a Slayer album cover, and having it actually rain blood is certainly an effective step on that road. Mr. Terrific’s exclamation is whited out because it’s inaudible over the Boom Tube.
Page 29: It’s the Super Young Team, Sonny Sumo, and Shilo Norman/Mister Miracle, who may have jumped forward through time or could have been off on unseen adventures for the past month. I’m not sure why the SHADE agents shot Shilo – were they just freaking out and acting on instinct, or was one of them a planted assassin? Also note that, as he dies, the Metron circuit appears on the faces of all of the New New Gods present, and the Evil Gods seem to be immediately cognizant of these events since they comment on it as a sign.
Page 30: It appears that Turpin’s body is now officially the new vessel for Darkseid, as it certainly looks the part in that crown.