Jan
28

Final Crisis #7 – “New Heaven, New Earth”

Posted by David Uzumeri on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 at 07:25:29 PM
Final Crisis #7
Final Crisis #7

Not much preamble to make here – it’s the last issue, I enjoyed it a lot, a lot of people probably think it’s confusing drivel. Maybe I can help you out.

Page 1: This Earth is never numbered, but the overall theme seems to be “black versions” although the only sample size we have to draw from is Superman and Wonder Woman. We start off with yet another Watchmen callout (the Alan Moore/father issues become really, really, really apparent in this issue) as we meet Black President Superman, who is apparently from Vathlo (apparently a sort of Kryptonian Wakanda) and has reconditioned Brainiac into his White House security system.

Pages 2-3: Nubia (or Nu’Bia) is a dark-skinned sister also made of clay who was captured by Mars, so her being the Wonder Woman proper in this reality fits with Vathlo Superman. The landscape seems to be the Themyscira of their world, and the Wonder Horn is used to call/summon/guide the Ultima Thule (last seen in Superman Beyond #2) into their world, which Nubia and Vathlo Superman get all mournful and philosophical and epic about until…

Page 4: Montoya kills the mood, as is her way. She’s now some kind of fully-formed Ditko/Kirby hybrid character, with roots in both Randian moral absolutism and free-spirited science fiction. Some of the Supermen seem identifiable – the guy in the back is Hyperion, for instance, and (counter-clockwise) you’ve got maybe Prime (Apollo seems separate and shown later), Supreme, Samaritan, Sentry, a guy with a Majestic-style head-piece that’s the wrong color, and whoever the dude with the big O on his chest is. (Another Overman?)

Page 5: The Watchtower seems to be composed part of the JLA satellite, Titans Tower, the Fortress of Solitude and what I can only guess is a section of Checkmate Castle. (I’m not even sure why Titans Tower is there; it hasn’t been in the series at all thus far and wasn’t one of the six Watchtowers.) This point, Lois narrating from the Watchtower, I’ll designate as the future timeline for now, as things jump around quite a bit. This is occurring concurrently with the previous sequence of Montoya and the 52 Supermen, which is quite a while ahead of the end of Final Crisis #6, but that will be filled in soon. The middle panel is Iman (the Spanish-speaking robot-suit guy from earlier), Power Girl, Mahnkenstein (Frankenstein drawn by Mahnke!) and Starman holding off the… Darkseid flame sky… as best they can, I guess. “Doc” Tornado and his Metal Men appear to be a new creation, a world where Red Tornado is a human and the rest of the JLA are robots. Too bad we’ll never see these guys ever again.

Pages 6-7: Continuity flub!: That beastmask should be broken since Diana smashes it earlier in their timeline/later in the story. The rocket is an obvious allusion to Superman’s origin (“rocketed from a dying world”), and apparently it’s basically a sort of information bomb out into the Bleed. Inside is the paper they just printed, what looks like a miniature Bat-signal and whatever’s in the caped-covered package Supergirl is holding (it looks a bit small to be Batman’s body). The panel of Supergirl, Blue Devil, Starman and Atom Smasher fighting the Robot JLA is, I assume, before the rocket was launched, since Lois mentions they scrapped the debris from that fight to make the rocket.

Page 8: This is now Lois’s story, and we flash back right to the end of #6, with Superman holding Batman’s body and staring down Darkseid, who’s still alive (for now) although he’s slowly dying of radion poisoning from Batman’s bullet.

Page 11: So now we see Darkseid take what looks like a different gun than the one used to shoot him and use it to shoot Orion at this point of singularity, which gets sent back in time by, I guess, the wake of the Flashes, where it kills Orion and is picked up by Batman and later used to shoot Darkseid. The ‘Seid, by the way, is using all of the people around him to shoot Omega Beams at the Flashes.

Page 12: The Flashes outrace Death, who comes for Darkseid (along with the Omega Beams he shot at the Flashes through the people!), as we get our one panel of payoff for all the “mysterious Aquaman” hinting (I guess he ended up being from a parallel Earth? Who knows?) The last panels are Turpin finally understanding what Orion meant when he said Darkseid was “in you all,” and being fairly horrified by it. (At least he seems to end up OK.)

Page 13: So now we’re back to the present timeline. Superman’s drafting out the blueprints for the Miracle Machine in the upper-left panel, while everyone left hangs out in the remaining Watchtower. Supergirl’s outfit firmly places this story a while ago in DC continuity for some books, like Teen Titans and especially the Batman titles. As far as I can figure, what Iman’s saying is “He’s going to start time, is all I’ve heard. To live in the world with a man like this.” The final panel is all the greatest minds of the DC Universe that are still around; other than Sivana and Luthor, Niles Caulder of the Doom Patrol and Will Magnus of the Metal Men are also visible.

Page 14: And back to the past. The OMACs (activated in Final Crisis: Resist, which I *guess* maybe fits into the story as how Checkmate re-took the Castle?) face off against the last of the Justifiers. A “nano-beacon” is sent into the Bleed, but Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi can’t make it, and the Black Gambit is, apparently, starting to fail. We see on the next page that they’re actively sending people through the dimensional gate, though.

Page 15: Ollie and Dinah were still up on the satellite at the end of #6, and apparently they’re still floating there while running out of oxygen. I know Ray was supposed to take the Metron face tattoo down to Earth, but I’m not sure how he got it to show up on the entire planet; maybe just with his light powers? Most Excellent Super-Bat grabs the line of the issue again as the cross-universe tunnel continues to collapse. (I’m guessing the very small figure herding human traffic with the hat on is Montoya.) It seems whatever’s screwing up the tunnel is somehow affecting the satellite, judging by the glowing energy around it – almost like the top part’s getting cut off by a Boom Tube, which would explain why it’s later on that big Watchtower.

Page 16: The first panel is in the ‘present’, as it’s revealed this story is being told to the remaining kids on the Watchtower by Supergirl. Lord Eye’s freaking out and closing down the tunnel, which is causing a huge explosion; the Super Young Team’s soap opera antics come to a sad head for Keigo/Atomic Lantern Boy as, just when Hawkman’s about to blow up Lord Eye, everyone gets Boom Tubed out (except, it looks like, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who have a death that’s only referenced later by a picture of two feathers along with J’onn’s pyramid tomb and Batman’s cowl.)

Page 17: As explained here by Renee Montoya, who’s also telling this story to Captain Marvel and the assembled 52 Supermen. The Boom Tube at the end of the last page took everyone there to Earth-51, which is also revealed to be the world Sonny Sumo is from. (Due to time dilation, the entire Great Disaster occurred during his absence.) The guy hanging out behind Black President Superman is Apollo from the Wildstorm Universe. I’m guessing at some point the Ultima Thule dropped in on Earth-51, which was abandoned, and met Montoya there, who followed along as a guide. The final panel must take place much later, after the Crisis is over, and provides a good (if sad) coda to Overman’s story as well as an excuse to do a pseudo-shoutout to Supergirl’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Checkmate should probably be pretty happy they couldn’t operate on her body at this point, since Overman would probably have been pretty pissed if the body they showed him was experimented on.

Page 18: Superman basically comments on how Darkseid’s committed suicide, while the New Female Furies roll up being controlled by Luthor and Sivana.

Page 19: And now we see that Wonder Woman made it out okay, and that she’s telling the story to the kids with Supergirl. (The ‘storytelling’ motif used for much of this issue is pretty thematically important, going back to Superman Beyond and forward to what Superman’s wish ends up being.) Frankenstein rolls in on a Hellhound, and Luthor rolls with the punches.

Page 20: The middle panel is a flashback to the battle; the four panels around it are in the present, as the remaining survivors are being miniaturized and frozen (presumably with the Kandorian shrinking ray). The bottom two panels are Superman putting Lois in a fridge, which I can only assume to be an ironic shout-out to the “Women in Refrigerators” meme – Lois is coming back from the fridge! We can move past this, comics industry! (“We can move past this, comics industry!” is really basically the theme of this entire comic.)

Page 21: With Anti-Life’s hold loosing due to the Ray earlier, Wonder Woman breaks free from the spell, crushing the mask (which is why I’m confused as to how it showed up in the trophy room on the Watchtower, I guess maybe she had more?) and binding Darkseid’s body in the flashback. The bottom panel is in the present as Superman finishes the Miracle Machine.

Page 22: The remainder of Darkseid’s essence is still around to torment Superman as he finishes up the Miracle Machine. Cargo cults essentially involve the deification of technology from a more advanced civilization, so what Darkseid’s basically saying here is that the Miracle Machine is just a really shitty, primitive, sad shadow of a Mother Box. (But it’s enough to work.) I have to wonder what the song that the multiverse makes is; I halfway expect it to be John Williams’s Superman theme (“so sad, so hopeful, so BRAVE…”). Either way, Superman sings that song which counteracts Darkseid and seemingly nullifies him completely.

Page 23: After beating Darkseid with a song, Superman finally hears the Element X (“fire of the Gods” – this entire series has been a macrocosm of that first prehistoric scene, and this is Superman finally understanding the fire Metron’s given him and using it to combat the evil that occurred during his absence). But then, like a last boss in a Final Fantasy game…

Page 24: Comes Mandrakk, from Superman Beyond! All-consuming parasite of the multiverse, waiting until now to show up with Ultraman (who’s apparently kidnapped Supergirl, and possibly fed on her). He drops the Spectre and Radiant from Greg Rucka’s Final Crisis: Revelations miniseries – the Wrath and Mercy of God, respectively – at Superman’s feet, and then taunts Superman.

Page 25: Superman expends the last of his solar energy into the Miracle Machine, to make one important wish. We finally catch up with the Green Lanterns again, who still can’t get into Earth; the wormy things around them are Mandrakk’s missiles and destroyers, which are apparently ridden on by the Green Lantern Corps into the atmosphere.

Pages 26-27: There are easily over 52 Supermen here, so I have no idea what the hell is up with that. Notably present are Supreme, Prime (I *think* that’s the guy above Supreme), Savior/Samaritan, Sunshine Superman from Animal Man, Mr. Majestic and Apollo (both from Earth-50 – maybe they got multiple Supermen from some universes?) The old-dude Superman at the right is, as far as I can tell, Perry White in a Superman outfit. The Supermen attack Vampire Ultraman with heat vision – of COURSE the ultimate enemy of 52 Supermen, of 52 super-strong Apollonian sun gods, would be a vampire, weak to sunlight. The narration caption is Nix Uotan’s.

Page 28: Uotan shows up and starts putting an end to the proceedings. The entire Grant Morrison/Alan Moore son/father “fuck you, dad” rivalry comes to unapologetic blatancy here, as dreary, restrictive, grim and grittiness end times stories are told off by unrestrained imagination. Uotan/Morrison enters the fray to bring back, of all the damn things, the transformed Zoo Crew from the end of 2007′s Countdown tie-in miniseries Captain Carrot and the Final Ark by Bill Morrison and Scott Shaw!, restoring them to their normal forms. (Note: They were on Earth-26, not Earth-35, in that story.) Then Uotan calls down the army of God (where the Hell did they come from? Did Zauriel just call on them or something? Why did Uotan bring down angels?), the Supermen, the Green Lanterns – and basically tells grim and gritty to get the hell out of comics. Grim and gritty is pretty sad, feeling betrayed and hurt by his creations (Nix Uotan, his “son”) turning against him.

Page 29: Now the Forever People of the Fifth World stand revealed as the Super Young Team, summoned with the word “Taaru”, which was their special word in the original Forever People series that they used to trade places with the ultra-powerful Infinity-Man. (I assume they were brought to the Watchtower from Earth-51). The two vampires get taken down traditionally – with sunlight and stakes, as the Green Lanterns contribute their part to the effort. Morrison gets one last dig in on grim and gritty before, as far as he’s concerned, closing the book.

Page 30: Panel one is the cleanup effort, as Earth’s exited the abyss and everything’s back to normal now that Mandrakk and Darkseid have been disposed of. I’m not sure regarding the significance of the feathers and the pyramid – the pyramid could be J’onn’s tomb on Mars, but what are the feathers? Did one of the Hawks die and this book happened so fast I didn’t even notice? (UPDATE: Yeah, definitely seems like one or both of the Hawks bit the dust so everybody could escape Lord Eye going crazy, at least as far as overall opinion is concerned. It explains their conversation last issue, as well.)The final shot, obviously, is supposed to mirror the shot of the Monitors and Orrery at the end of #1.

Page 31: The shot of the Supermen and Green Lanterns dragging Earth out of what’s presumably the abyss is evocative of Superman saving the Earth from another cosmic parasite, Starbreaker, in Justice League of America (I think) #98, which was recently retold in last week’s Justice League of America #29. The third panel is Central and Keystone Cities celebrating the return of the Flashes.

Page 32: Here we get a flower in the ruins of … where, exactly? The text implies that this takes place on what used to be Apokolips, and that it’s been turned into a world for the New New Gods (who we glimpse very briefly here, unfortunately – I wonder if they were originally supposed to play a larger part in the story? We just barely see the new designs, like Big Bear, from behind, and that’s it.) The “plan” Uotan used to “reconstruct” Earth-51 is, in a move that certainly made me happy, the previously-posted-on-this-site best map ever from Kamandi #1. Morrison intimates in today’s exit interview that Earth-51 actually contains both the New Gods and the Kamandi characters; I don’t get that from the narrative, but I’ll take his word for it. Kamandi holding the remains of Superman’s cape is a reference to Kamandi #29, the issue that featured, well, Superman’s cape. Uotan says he created Earth-51 out of pieces from other Earths, so that’s probably where all the remnants of Darkseid’s experimentation went, like the Tiger Tribes and Morticoccus. I presume Uotan retroactively built a past for that world, since he said he built it according to a plan.

Page 33: Wrapping up business with the Monitors…

Page 34: The Overvoid overtakes the stories the Monitors had made, leaving only the Multiverse to grow without restriction. Morrison claims in the aforelinked interview that the Overvoid is the blank page and the Multiverse is the ink; this sort of Monitor suicide is, therefore, essentially the page surrendering completely to the possibilities of the ink, the symbolic elimination of artistic restriction within the DC Universe. (It’s a nice gesture, but one I somewhat understandably don’t totally trust them to follow up on.) We discover Superman’s wish was for a “happy ending” – he, more than anyone else involved, would understand that principles of story and symbolism would beat a literal wish at this point, especially after his experiences in Superman Beyond.

Page 35: Mirroring the end of #1 again, Nix Uotan wakes up on Earth-0 in Metropolis, presumably with all the rest of the Monitors so that he can find Weeja Dell again, this time on Earth. The radio seems to indicate that the existence of the multiverse and what it could mean is common knowledge in the DC Universe now, so if that’s actually followed up on we could see interdimensional politics and economics and trade, which is just yet another patch of fertile story ground Morrison’s leaving for future writers to probably fuck up.

Page 36: The epilogue in the distant past, which may or may not be the scene Morrison mentions DC asked him to add in the interview. Notice in the background of the first panel the rocket from the Watchtower has just crashed, so it’s very possible Batman’s body traveled in it and was cured by contact with Bleed. Old Man Anthro reflects on his encounter with Metron at the beginning; he gained inspiration from the fire to build all sorts of tools, and presumably traveled around the country and world painting the Metron sigil everywhere he could, and he dies peacefully in the cave, only to be draped in a utility belt placed there by…

Page 37: Batman, who was transported back in time, much like Sonny Sumo was in the original Forever People series, by the Omega Sanction. BATMANTHRO: Coming December 2009.

I’m sure after the world’s had more time to digest and discuss it I’ll have further thoughts on Final Crisis as a whole, but I’d just like to thank everybody for an excellent ride – commentators, Doug Wolk, Mindless Ones, Tim Callahan & Chad Nevett, any other compatriots in commentating I forgot (I apologize if so), and especially Grant Morrison for what’s probably been the most fun I’ve ever had reading superhero comics.

Now I just need a new blogging gimmick. :(

Posted in Annotations · Read more by David Uzumeri

79 Responses

  1. It looks a little like Hawkman gets fried.

  2. David, great job as always on the annotations. I was curious what you thought of with the “message in a bottle” rocket being shown crashed into the ground in the upper right corner of pg. 39 (the Anthro pages). Might that mean that Batman’s body was somehow in the Supergirl package and there’s some sort of “Genesis Planet” effect caused by the rocket’s trip through the multiverse?

  3. Thank you, David! I dunno for completely new gimmicks, but there’s always “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” and thereafter Morrison/Quitely (primeval? I kind of want at least one issue of that) Batman.

  4. SHIT! I was so exhausted by the end I totally forgot to comment on the rocket; I *absolutely* noticed it. Let me add that back in, and please forgive me!

  5. “…the most fun I’ve ever had reading superhero comics.” That’s more or less how I feel about Final Crisis; whatever its narrative flaws may or may not be, each issue had at least one or two big ideas that set my brain on fire, and the back and forth of the annotations was part of the fun. Thanks!

  6. Page 30: the pyramid could be related to the Hawks, who are reincarnated Egyptian princes.

    Excellent annotations, the “women in refrigerators” observation was brilliant.

  7. That wasn’t Nubia on p21?

  8. Aw, and I get no credit for the “fuck you, dad” analogy? ;) Teasing. Great job, David.

  9. I love that Batman ends up in the Bat-Cave.

  10. What a ride! Great job, sir, thanks for being our tourguide.

    In the “future” line, the survivors shooting a rocket into the void is an echo of Jor-El’s last act. (The rocket’s also a dead ringer for Supergirl’s lifeboat back in the Silver Age.) The heat-death of Earth-Zero reminds me also of the Underverse of “All-Star Supe” #8. And vampire Mandrakk’s appearance there is akin to the cannibalistic Sheeda at the end of time. Crazy, man.

    It seems like Morrison feels a lot of anxiety about entropy & fatigue, & combats them with imagination & the creative act. That is, Anti-Life v. Life. But I’m not sure how that relates to Alan Moore… I wonder if you could clarify your Oedipal reading of the climactic confrontation for me?

  11. There’s a really weird looking Stargirl, no rod, no belt, red mask in one of the groups shots. What’s up with that?

  12. A little disappointed there were no alternate universe Superwomen in the issue. If the Superman of the Multiverse can be racially diverse, why not go for gender equality as well? Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. Angrier minds could probably make a convincing argument that the whole event has been a bit unintentionally sexist.

    Excellent work on the annotations as always.

  13. It looks to me like one of the Supermen on page 26 is Omega the Unknown, just behind/above Sunshine Superman.

  14. It’s Oedipal insofar as Watchmen, particularly, has had a pernicious effect on superhero storytelling ever since; that its and The Dark Knight’s effects were taken on and ever since (and this is a little bit of a surprising convergence) we’ve lived in the age of ‘Superheroic Ambiguity’, via the original Crisis… the whole bit with Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Nix (3 women, you’ll – hopefully – note) all telling a better, kinder story, probably Batman too actually, in their doing so, making it happen: “Here’s where we all say goodbye to that” is the intent, I imagine.

  15. I’ve got some notes up at http://finalcrisisannotations.blogspot.com/2009/01/final-crisis-7.html (always the bridesmaid). I’d note that the pyramid is probably a symbol of the Martian Manhunter–it was his HQ–and the feathers are symbols of the Hawks, who seem to have ended this incarnation by destroying Lord Eye.

  16. Don’t agree with your read of p22. I thought the song was the sound of everything in the multiverse, and Superman replies with a noise cancelling frequency that results in absolute silence across the whole of creation. Like those Bose active noise reduction headphones but, you know, more comprehensive :)

  17. I think the feathers are because one of the Super Young Team, Lolita Canary, died randomly.

  18. I don’t know if Darkseid’s bullet goes back in time through the Flash’s wake or if it’s something else. Darkseid made a comment about attacking him here where all time converges or something along those lines. Maybe I’m a bit off though as that wouldn’t explain the past traveling of the bullet and it landing 50 years earlier in the pavement.

    One thing I noticed that was cool was the thing from Metron’s chair seems to also be the Worlogog/Philosopher’s Stone from Morrison’s JLA run.

  19. One other great thing that was missed from Wolk’s commentary, on page 25 panel 1 Superman’s hand is about to become the hand in the swirling galaxy from the begining of creation that’s in all the Crisis’s and goes back to the Kronos bit in Green Lantern #40 where all this Crisis buisiness got a lot of it’s start. Man Morrison is crazy good.

  20. “Superman basically comments on how Darkseid’s committed suicide, while the New Female Furies roll up being controlled by Luthor and Sivana.”

    I’m pretty sure the ‘New Female Furies’ are being controlled by Darkseid, it’s just the ‘Justifiers’ that Luthor/Sivana are controlling.

  21. On Page 13, when everybody speaks of what Superman is doing with the Machine, I thought it could be us, the readers, making up theories of what happens next in comics. Just an idea.

    Nice work with all the annotations by the way.

  22. The feathers near the end are probably Hawkman and Hawkgirl, since there are two of them and they’re grouped with the signs of other fallen JLAers.

    Speaking of which, they really need to start calling her “Hawkwoman”

  23. Just an aside, but I love you Funnybook Babylon guys. I go through the message boards and I just can’t seem to find an intelligent read outside these lovely annotations (and Douglas’ annotations) of Final Crisis. You’ve been the bastion of intelligent conversation about Final Crisis on the blogsphere.

  24. Was “Ultima Thule” meant to be pronounced as “Ultimate Tool”?

  25. In the 52 Supermen of the Multiverse splashpage, you’ll notice a non-emblemed Miracleman/MarvelMan at the top of the page (near the Mr. Majestic analogue).

  26. Thank you for the lovely notations. So much info can slip by.

    I think the portrayals of Mary and Diana signify mens perversion of what should be female icons. Perhaps women need to be the ones to define these characters in a male centric universe.

  27. Also the last refuge I believe is supposed to be comprised of DCU landmarks. The Earth may change, but these places in whatever iteration are usually constants.

  28. Thanks, Duncan. Which Mindless One are you, by the way?

    I’d love to discuss this theme further. I understand how Morrison has worked to get out from Alan Moore’s influence, & how that Oedipal struggle creeps into many of his works. But I don’t see how “Final Crisis” specifically (& this climax in particular) is part of that response to Moore.

    I’ve been reading “Final Crisis” more as an homage to Kirby — New Gods, Kamandi, Turpin. If Moore is Morrison’s dark father, then Kirby is his bright father. Morrison follows Kirby by celebrating his own (Morrison’s) boundless imagination. The conflict of “Final Crisis” is the creative impulse (Life) versus a slavish reiteration of comic-book cliche (Anti-Life). I guess in this reading, then, Darkseid is the long, dark shadow of Kirby, & the fact that half of Earth’s population *becomes* Darkseid is symbolic of how most comic writers just want to write another “Avengers” or otherwise shadow Kirby rather than be truly creative.

    So what’s Mandrakk, in this metatextual reading? Maybe he’s the strong inertia of DC backstory? Ooh! How about, Mandrakk is Wolfman & the original “Crisis on Infinite Earths”? Wolfman (who made his rep on “Tomb of Dracula”) flattened & collapsed the imaginative iterations of DCU into a monolithic story, sucked the worlds of Earth-2-thru-infinity dry. Mandrakk *is* a fragment of the original Monitor, according to “Supe: Beyond #2″, right?

    “Animal Man” & “JLA: Earth-2″ (& “Zenith”, I’m told) chafe against “CoIE” ‘s effect on comics… maybe “Final Crisis” means to expunge it once & for all. Does that resonate with anyone? I’m all ears!

  29. I agree entirely. I thought Mandrakk = Moore, but I like your idea better.

    I’d also like to note Morissons disdain for violence through Superman saving the day through hope and music.

    And is it just me or is Superman the Jesus of the Kamandi Earth?

    Religion is always a touchy subject, but he’s really setting up the DC heroes as legends of our time.

  30. although i havent read it, i took the robot jla to be linked to JLA: cold steel mini series by chris moeller? http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=16999

  31. I’m making an educated guess here: Morrison has either recently read Ende’s The NeverEnding Story, or rented the movie a few times.

  32. [...] how about this (all emphases mine), from the lovingly detailed annotations of David Uzumeri, who actually enjoyed [...]

  33. I related the android JLA to Morrison’s JLA Classified story with Ed Mcguiness in issues #1-3 of that series. More of an homage to his own work, since the backstories are slightly different.

    That story led into Seven Soldiers, by the way.

  34. Page 23 – the Worlogog?

  35. Re: Superman beating Darkseid with music.

    I know that Superman’s been compared to an Apollo archetype, and Apollo was the god of music (as well as the god of the sun, and poetry, and…).

  36. Actually, I’m most amused that the ending took a literal Deus ex Machina for the good guys to win. I don’t think you could get much more literal with that literary term than a God Machine granting a wish….

  37. On the Moore/Mandrakk parallel.

    Mandrakk says “I fed on these ‘servants of god’ defenders of this universe. Drained now. Meaningless.”

    This reminds me of an interview I heard about a year or two ago in which Moore basically trashed all superheroes of the Big Two, saying that he’s done with all of them, that he wouldn’t even read them anymore, wouldn’t want to write any of them again under any circumstances because he felt they were so completely passe, boring and irrelevant.

    Interesting to read FC (including SB) as Morrison’s attempt to exorcise Moore by channeling Kirby. Doesn’t that make Morrison (“Moore’s son”) sort of a “vampire” himself, though? It’s pretty ironic for Morrison to call Moore a vampire when it’s Morrison who has lately been channeling and referencing specific, particular old comic issues that have personal meanings for him (the old Batman issues, Wein’s JLA, obscurities of Kirby’s New Gods). If Moore is a vampire, then it’s pretty evident that at least his own body (of work) has been feasted upon by many other creators. In other words, Moore might be a selfish “vampire”, but he’s certainly given back to others in that he’s been THE most influential comic writer in at least the last 30 years. Comparatively, Morrison’s influence is very limited; and you can look at Morrison as being the more self creator, hung up on particularities that DON’T inspire others all that much–comparatively. Moore was/is an uncompromising artiste–yet his work has lent itself to many others, good and bad. And on the other hand, Morrison basically HAS compromised a lot (shotty rushed artists, schedules, probably editorial influence…) and as of yet I haven’t seen him have anywhere near the influence that Moore has had.

  38. I always thought The Never Ending Story was a big influence on the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, with its “big nothing” wiping out everything. It was translated into English a couple of years before the comic was published. Final Crisis seems to build on the ideas in the book, though, particularly the relationship between stories and those who read them.

  39. I think part of the Morrison/Moore debates is the shadow that Moore leaves through his work. He leaves a dark shadow, even though his latest stuff is pretty upbeat. Watchmen leaves a long shadow that I’m still learning from every time I’ve read it. Heck, I learned alot by just watching the issues animated on iTunes.

    Morrison comes from a time when he and many writers were told to emulate Moore’s work on Watchmen/Swamp Thing. I think he’s still trying to grapple with those ideas in his head and it does come out in his work. But I like that his capper on it is more multiverse rather than less multiverse. Less realism over more realism.

  40. Something to think about: While we’re, at Morrison’s encouragement, considering FC as the newest, latest, most relevant statement on comic books…Watchmen collected editions are selling far, far more copies to a wider audience. While Morrison seems to be saying “Enough with Alan Moore and his dark shadow!”, at the same time Moore’s influence is growing perhaps more rapidly than it ever has. It seems reasonable, however, to speculate that Moore’s influence during this era won’t be to bring “darkness” to the industry but rather to shine more of light ON the industry. The people I know who have picked up Watchment for the first time, within the last 6-8 months, aren’t excited by its “darkness” but rather by its craft and complexity. To outsiders, superheroes are inherently fun. Within the industry, however, it’s understandable how Watchmen would have encouraged “darkness” within a medium used to happiness and lightheartedness. Just something to think about.

    I’d love for one of the interviewers, after Morrison has gone on about how he’s changing the medium in certain ways that run contrary to the “dark” years, to point out how many copies Watchmen is selling during its renaissance, and then to ask Morrison what he thinks of that, and how FC’s influence is being completely overshadowed in the larger context. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy FC very much, but I’d love to know how Morrison would justify some of his theories and contentions. Furthermore, it seems that sometimes Morrison’s saying “Let’s move on to the FUTURE!” while simultaneously holding up…Jack Kirby. Uh, Kirby is even more of part of the PAST than Moore. It isn’t necessarily “moving the art form forward” to emphasize, again and again and again and again and again, the importance of someone (Kirby) who’s ALREADY regarded as the King of comics.

  41. Yeah, don’t blame Moore for his imitators.

  42. Fantastic issue. I was actually bracing myself for dissapointment, but I am happy to say that that was unnecesary. :-)

    The only problem I have with it, really, is that Mandrakk and Ultraman come out of nowhere unless you read Superman Beyond. Now, I did read Beyond, but doesn’t change the fact that it’s very sloppy storytelling and I imagine will be very akward and confusing for readers of the collected edition.

    David, awesome job on the annotations, both for this issue and the series as a whole (same to Doug Wolk, obviously, for his own efforts).

    I must echo the sentiments of some of the other commenters in that I don’t see the criticism of Moore in FC (nor did I see it in Superman Beyond, aside from some digs through Captain Allen at what Watchmen did to the superhero mythos).

    The comicbook-related things Morrison criticises through Final Crisis are, I think, the overly commercial nature of comics, heavy editorial interference, and the grim & gritty style of comics. Moore could partly be blamed for that last one, but I feel that that is both shortsighted and unfair, and, more importantly, I don’t believe it’s really in the comic.

  43. You know, I could have sworn that, post-52, people were already aware of their fractured Earth being the remnants of a Multiverse, at the very least.

  44. It’s true that the anxiety of Moore’s influence is in Morrison’s work. I’m just not convinced yet that it plays a strong role in “Final Crisis”. (But it does appear in “Supe: Beyond”, where a Doc Manhattan stand-in is recognized as a unique & powerful iteration of Superman.) I guess you could argue that Mr. Terrific’s Black Gambit is cousin to Ozymandius’ plot to save humanity. But they’re second cousins at best. And the Question ends up with a key role in that plot, instead of opposing it the way her duplicate in “Watchmen” did.

    I guess Mandrakk’s statement “Drained now. Meaningless.” could apply to Moore’s belief that the DCU has become tired out & irrelevant. But I don’t quite get how he’s the vampire who drained them. Surely it’s the hackneyed writers & editors (like Wolfman) who drained them of significance?

    Don, I disagree that Morrison’s celebration of Kirby (the Good Father) is artistically conservative. Kirby always & pretty much only struck out on his own, even when at DC — the New Gods quickly abandoned Superman as a context, even though they began in “Jimmy Olsen”.

    Morrison, however, isn’t creating whole-cloth the way Kirby did. Rather, he’s synthesizing the Kirby Kreativity with the archetypes & fabric of the DC mythos. He’s saying that there’s always room to create new forms, even within the context of a DCs patchwork of already-established, pre-fab stories. It’s the inspiration of Kirby’s creativity & not Kirby’s creations that Morrison prizes. “Move forward/choose Life/create!” is what Morrison is saying, holding Superman (within the story) & Kirby (outside it) up as inspirations.

  45. Hm, I’m not sure about the Marvel(Miracle)man in the splash page, much as I’d like it to be there.

    Does there seem to be a Validus Superman under the Big Red Cheese’s left armpit?

  46. I have to say that now Final Crisis and R.I.P. have ended I feel a large absence in my comic reading for the foreseeable future. Where now will I find an epic in the making? At least we have Seaguy returning soon. But what will David be left to annotate now? Many thanks for all the annotations over the past few months (and to Douglas Wolk as well).

    A further piece of circularity in a story filled with them is the Rocketship containing the story of the final crisis which meant that Batman read the story that was told by Lois Lane, and left his sigil along with Metrons, so to influence his own creation, and therefore be there to lay a mortal blow on the god of all evil, Darkside.

    The final page of Nix Uotan is also reminiscent of the finale of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, where only the Psycho Pirate seemed to remember all the events that occurred.

  47. I completely agree with you’re reading except the over emphasis on Moore. I don’t think GM is blaming him or casting anyone specifically as the devil. Lack of imagination is the target.

    I think the Doc Atom stuff is a shout out to say ‘Moore, look! It can be fun again!’ but not to insult him. Like when Superman says ‘come back to us, Allen.’

    I don’t think GM is directing criticism towards anyONE so much as he’s attacking the idea that super heroes are devoid of creative potential or that they only work one way or that we should excommunicate any stories BECAUSE that is all the opposite of imaginative. It’s limiting.

    Designating Earth 51 as ‘Old School Kirby World’ is just another way of saying ‘everything has it’s place.’

    Maybe. You certainly did more homework. Thanks for all your dedication. I’ve really enjoyed the articles.

  48. There are easily over 52 Supermen here, so I have no idea what the hell is up with that. Notably present are Supreme, Prime (I *think* that’s the guy above Supreme), Savior/Samaritan….

    I think you’ve answered your own question, as I’ve just realized. Obviously, DC can’t have Prime, or Miracleman, or Supreme, on one of the 52 Earths. And they can’t appear *here* in any more than disguised walk-ons, because DC Comics doesn’t own those characters.

    And yet, they’re still clearly inspired by Superman. Ergo, the *idea* of Superman is so powerful that, just as in our world, it can’t be contained by a single multiverse or publishing company; he’s bigger than that! And that’s really the upshot of the whole “Final Crisis of the Monitors,” isn’t it?

  49. Then Uotan calls down the army of God (where the Hell did they come from? Did Zauriel just call on them or something? Why did Uotan bring down angels?)

    I don’t think Uotan summoned them, per se. They’re reacting to Mandrakk’s feasting on Radiant and Spectre.

    Now the Forever People of the Fifth World stand revealed as the Super Young Team…

    I’m not so sure. The SYT are present a page earlier (iirc), and Morrison’s redesigned FP are later pictured with the other New Gods. I think Uotan’s being poetic here. Forever People = Superheroes (or superhero stories).

  50. I think that idea of Morrison giving Alan Moore specifically a call out that “Hey look it can be fun again” is a bit ridiculous, seeing as Alan Moore launched an entire line pretty much dedicated to that initial idea.

    If it’s a call out to the bendis’ & brubakers trying to infuse noir, and people stuck in the Watchmen/Dark Knight, maybe it makes some sense. But Watchmen was about creating depth of character, and characters that change, so even that call out seems disingenuous.

    I think that the “Dark Shadow” of Watchmen as largely been a raising of the bar, rather than darkening of tone. The darkening of tone did exist in the late 80′s early 90′s but there’s been a lot of work since then that has pushed things the other way too.

  51. Ummm… so, two questions:
    1. Everyone in the “freezer” was thawed out and returned to Earth, right? And Earth-0, right?
    2. Does no one remember anything that happened? I’m just wondering why no one in any of the other DC books I’m reading ever mentions the events with Darkseid. No references made, nothing– like it never happened.

  52. According to Dan Didio, we’ll only start seeing post-FC events in DC comics over the next couple of months. The Paul Dini issue of Batman out this week, for instance, seems pretty clearly set after Final Crisis.

  53. I always felt that watchmen and comics of that type, tried to force superheros’ to exist in a definable real world.
    FC is bringing back the cosmic wonder, bringing back the anything goes.

    that’s why Nix brings back the Zoo Crew, because they have as much right to help save the multiverse as any other (humanoid and more real) superhero.

    is there a way to publish these annotations as a PDF? I think I’d like a set to keep with the hard copies.

    Big thanks to you and Douglas, you were our tour-guides. I’d tip you if I could, now that we’re leaving the bus.

  54. Great work!

    When Superman finds Element X in the Mobius chair, it’s actually the X-Element from ‘The Pact’ issue of Kirby’s New Gods. Darkseid gave the X-Element (a teleportational power source for the Mobius chair) to Metron in exchange for Metron’s betrayal of New Genesis.

  55. Ah. Wolk beat me to it.

  56. Here’s a comment I had elsewhere – I’d be interested to see what you think.

    Okay, I had a thought about this story. Which is kind of the point – if I understand correctly, a lot of this story was about the power of stories and imagination, right? So wasn’t Morrison trying to engage all of us readers by making us think about the story, wrestle with what was going on, use our imagination to fill in the blanks? And by so doing, bring a much greater, more powerful story into creation? In other words, the story I read wasn’t really the same story another reader, with more time and background information, read, because we both had such a different experience and understanding of what we read. The experience of me reading and processing the story was different than when reader X or reader Y or anyone else read it, and all of that imagination and thinking about the story brought so many new stories into the world, by our wrestlng with what Morrison wrote and what the artists drew. And maybe that’s what Morrison was trying to do all along – create the skeleton of a story that would make us all think about it and use our imaginations to create a myriad of amazing stories.

    Or maybe I just didn’t get it.

  57. Craig, I’d say that’s a pretty solid reading, considering the fact that in recent interviews Morrison has basically said he’s writing comics now for the Internet-annotating generation, the people who like to solve puzzles.

    Yah, from his last Publisher’s Weekly interview:

    I had the idea to develop an approach to comic narrative that would actually benefit from becoming entangled in internet fan speculation, gossip and research. So Batman R.I.P., with its huge canvas of potential suspects, its central mystery story (“Who Is The Black Glove?”), which has driven all kinds of inventive speculation, and its references to old stories and obscure Tibetan Buddhist practises you have to look up on Wikipedia, became an attempt to do for Batman what I’d done for The Invisibles in the ‘90s but with better technology. It’s an approach which rewards deeper and more engrossing engagement from readers. It’s proven very popular and will probably become commonplace. TV shows like Lost and movies like Donnie Darko generated the same kind of extra-narrative participation, if I dare call it that!

    So I’d say you’re dead on.

  58. I don’t know if you can call any of the ABC comics Alan Moore did to be “fun”. They are so well meticulous and over plotted, that I feel like any sort of fun I get is because Moore has forced me to only have one valid emotion to his work.

  59. Super Young Team is our generations Forever People. And I don’t know why people think the New Gods were redesigned for Earth 51. They are back to their pure Kirby selves. Taking their place as gods since it was only because of Darkseid that they made their presence known to us, the readers.

    I think Grant is giving that world to Kirby because the Kirby method is doing something new and wouldn’t want his concepts rehashed forever. Final Crisis was done with love and respect and a creative energy I haven’t seen since the King.

    This story managed to illicit an emotional reaction I didn’t expect. Where do we go after this? I don’t know if I can look at my monthlies the same after seeing he potential of comic book heroes.

  60. Seriously, “That Guy” I read Final Crisis Revelations 5 first when I got home from the comic store and then immediately read Final Crisis 7. Now I have the rest of my stack for the week and I’m just looking at them like, “Man, how am I even supposed to read those now. There’s no way they can do what that book just did.” I’m gonna have to stop reading for a couple of days and let my brain settle before reading any more comics!

  61. Nothing much to add, except excellent annotating.

    I do wonder if anyone’s pointed out the suspicion I had: that the Barack Obama Superman Earth was the post-Crisis version of the Earth introduced in the “Missing Issue” of Crisis on Infinite Earths, that was released a few years back. You know, the one with the completely multi-cultural Justice League.

  62. Squashua, while it looks similar, apparently they’re two different Earths, because we see *both* “President Superman” and the “Sunshine Superman” from that special in #7 (and they’re not the same person.)

  63. Crazy idea that I just wanted to get out there into the critical discussion:

    All series long we’ve been waiting for the birth of the Fifth World (prophesied by Metron back in JLA IIRC). Final Crisis begins with the new version of Metron – presumeably from after Darkseid’s defeat – giving Anthro the fire of the Gods which will ultimately lead to technology (per Turpin’s comments in FC #1) and thence the power rings and eventually the Miracle Machine. Then, as a result of Darkseid’s fall Batman is transported back in time along with the capsule of stories and artifacts of the superheroes where, in Final Crisis’ last scene, he begins inscribing the sigils of the superheroes onto a cave wall. Thus, through the events of Final Crisis, man has been given both the tools and symbols to help him realize the godhood potential within him.

    THAT’S THE BIRTH OF THE FIFTH WORLD.

    The heros and villains have, entirely consistent with Morrison’s JLA, ALWAYS been gods.

    EVERY STORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE HAS BEEN IN THE FIFTH WORLD. As the story told in Final Crisis keeps reinforcing time should not be thought of as only existing, when it exists at all, in a linear fashion. The Fifth World, the age of “men as gods”, is born from the death pangs of the Fourth World but has been happening all along.

    Incidentally it’s also a clever way of reconciling how the Gods of the Fourth World can exist at the same time as the prior pantheons who lend there powers to various members of the DC pantheon.

  64. I guess I am slow on the uptake here…but would be nice if someone can clear things up….

    1. Darkseid shoots into the past while he is dying from the toxic poisoning ? Why bother if he is going to die anyway ?

    2. Why not bring batman back to the present along with the multitude of other stuff that was fixed using the miracle machine ?

  65. Bravo, MikeCr. You have finally convinced me that the last page showing Batman “not dead, don’t worry!” was not the editorially mandated insertion but instead integral to, indeed the culmination of, Morrison’s story.

  66. [...] Funnybook Babylon: Final Crisis #7. [...]

  67. Craig B. and Mike Cr: good work.

    We could argue till the cows come home about how successful FC was overall, but I think no one can deny that it was the most ambitious superhero story since Watchmen.

    The biggest problem I had with it was Barry Allen and Libra were completely superfluous to the story.

  68. Continuity flub!: That beastmask should be broken since Diana smashes it earlier in their timeline/later in the story.

    I had a crazy thought about that. Is it possible there’s an unreliable narrator effect here? The continuity error with the mask… no explanation for WW’s sudden free-will… subdued by Frankenstein one scene, unencumbered the next… the fact that Darkseid’s spirit is very obviously not chained? Probably not, but it’s interesting to consider.

    Incidentally, I find it funny that Nubia didn’t participate in the final battle. Sure, it’s the end of the world and she’s an A-level powerhouse with a magic horn that can annihilate gods apparently, but c’mon Nubia, this ship is for SUPERMANS ONLY. Don’t be so presumptuous…

  69. Pretty good and interesting annotations, I must say.
    I’ve a couple of question, if anybody is interested in clearing them for me…
    1-Who is the hodded monkey-shape guy who talks to Nix Uotan in #5? Perhaps the type-writing monkey who wrote the Book Of Limbo?
    2-In #7, Montoya is travelling through the Multiverse to collect the Supermen. Does that mean that the earth Ultima Thule was abandoned on – at the end of Superman Beyond 2 – is Earth-51 (where is recovered by Montoya)?
    3-Ok… The one thing I’m REALLY confused about. What’s the timeline of Kamandi? In #1, Anthro sees him through a Miracle Machine graffiti – induced hallucination. But in #2, He is among the imprisoned guys in Bludhaven, and in #7 he makes some strange comments about a vision he had in a Bunker. I frankly didn’t get it, and in addition I didn’t understand Kamandi originally comes from.

  70. By the way, I don’t think that Morrison criticizes Moore in FC, some points in Superman Beyond could be considered as an homage to Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow, or Watchmen itself. Nonetheless, it’s interesting that – according to the Monitors’ final speech – evil Ogama was the Monitor of earth-31 (the “Dark Knight returns” one).

  71. I thought the whole point of only showing the New Gods from the back was to let a subsequent writer decide who they are now.

    As with Aquaman, Morrison seems to be content with setting out all sorts of new possibilities and potential new directions for DC’s characters and then leaving whoever comes after him to develop these ideas as they see fit.

    Unfortunately, if his X-Men run is anything to go by, all this imaginative and original groundwork will go to waste when less talented and adventurous writers take up the reins.

  72. “‘Doc’ Tornado and his Metal Men appear to be a new creation, a world where Red Tornado is a human and the rest of the JLA are robots. Too bad we’ll never see these guys ever again.”

    I was thinking that these robotic versions of the JLA may actually be more significant to one of FC’s themes than the space allotted to them in the series suggests.

    One of the main things that Morrison discusses in FC is the importance of creativity. I believe that these robotic superheroes signify the uncreative way that many superhero series work: iconic characters just doing the same thing over and over again (like machines).

    And if my reading is correct, is it then not fitting that they are defeated by Luthor and Sivana, in their own way champions of the human mind and imagination? The role of these two villains in FC may bear closer inspection, actually, in light of the themes and meanings that we can now fully analyse (especially in light of the aforementioned theme of the importance of creativity).

  73. Finally got something up. It’s large, and it’s only part 1 (of 2)

  74. [...] looks to be the ultimate appeal of today’s Big Two mega-events is the volume of discussion and analysis they generate, and there is still plenty to discuss – and plenty of questions to ask - about FINAL CRISIS #7. [...]

  75. couldn’t you just imagine the Halle Berry catwoman prowling around in the shadows behind SuperObaman and Nubia in that intro sequence? ;)

    @tk: i think Darkseid wanted to destroy good at any price, so he doesnt care if he’s going down, he’s gonna take Orion down with him in a twisted inverse murder-suicide push.

  76. I don’t think there’s a continuity problem with the mask. Wonder Woman smashes the mask in the present, while remembering herself being freed in the past. So, the continuity is
    her with lassoo -> mask in the glass case -> WW smashing mask

  77. A few things: Notice that the panel of Superman and Supergirl drawing up plans for the Miracle Machine mirrors a panel from the Superman Red/Blue story almost exactly.

    I wonder if the Superman with the O on his chest is Omniman? Either from Invincible or Supreme.

    Bruce drawing the Bat-signal on the cave wall matches the sliver cover from Issue 1.

  78. The spinning sawblade-like disc where Superman recharges the Miracle Machine should look familiar from Superman Beyond: it’s Limbo. The entire multiverse has been forgotten and Superman rekindles it.

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