Final Crisis: Some Thoughts

Final Crisis #7 summed up in two words: holy %$#& (insert the expletive of your choice).

I was somewhat disappointed by the first two issues of this major event miniseries. Once writer Grant Morrison hit his stride in the third issue, it just got better and better, culminating in a mindblowing finale that only Morrison could have crafted, and one that exceeded all of my expectations. It’s so wonderfully weird and cosmic. The parts I didn’t like about the first two issues make sense now that I’ve read the entire story in all of its brilliant glory.

Morrison is one mad bastard of a writer, and I mean that in an entirely positive way. I love his work (although it took me awhile to forgive him for killing off Jean Grey again). I’ve been a fan since he worked on Animal Man in the late 1980s.

And, really, how can one not love a comic where Captain Carrot makes a cameo appearance?

I’ve had quite a few disagreements with people today because I loved Final Crisis #7 and the miniseries as a whole. The majority opinion in fandom seems to be that this issue, and the miniseries as a whole, was confusing and, well, just too damn weird. I didn’t find it to be confusing. Challenging at times, yes, and most definitely weird, but those aren’t necessarily bad things. Then again, I’m someone who appreciates things like surrealism and the films of David Lynch.

Final Crisis writer Grant Morrison has admitted to heavy use of psychedelic drugs in the past as a way to expand his consciousness and once said that he thought David Lynch films reflected real life. Some of his stories in Doom Patrol were inspired by Dadaism, and his later work on The Invisibles was influenced by Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley, and William S. Burroughs. Although he’s also written more mainstream comics, like JLA and New X-Men, Morrison at his best is a mad genius who likes to challenge his readers.

I don’t think Morrison tries to be deliberately confusing, he simply applies his own internal logic to his works. Lynch refuses to explain his films because he believes that it’s more interesting to see how viewers interpret them for themselves. I think Morrison needs to be read the same way. Neither creator is talking down to the audience, they actually want the audience to think.

Final Crisis is far from perfect, but Morrison’s occasional stumbles are still far more fascinating than most other comics writers at their best. This is the kind of gleeful mind crack that dares to do something different than just another run of the mill big superhero event. Any writer can do those. It takes a brilliant writer to do a Final Crisis.

I’ll have more thoughts on this series to post at a later time. I still have much to cover, including various cameos, the surprising misuse of Wonder Woman in the story, and a look at my favorite moments.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m as crazy as Morrison? Let me know!

— Danielle Ni Dhighe

4 thoughts on “Final Crisis: Some Thoughts

  1. well, i’ve long thought that Grant Morrison is the best comics writer alive, better even than such luminaries as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, and Garth Ennis. so, i guess that it’s not surprising that i wouldn’t think that you’re crazy (at least not for this reason!)

  2. The majority opinion in fandom seems to be that this issue, and the miniseries as a whole, was confusing and, well, just too damn weird.

    I don’t think that’s true at all. I think it’s pretty split with the online fandom. I just think that the negative opinions tend to be louder than the positive ones.

    That’s true with all media, though. Negative is usually louder than positive.

  3. I agree that it’s far from perfect. There aren’t enough issues in the main series to tell the story, and while Superman Beyond is as awesome as Grant’s Superman always is, you shouldn’t have to read it to know who Mandrakk is when he turns up. Horrible, degrading things happen to Wonder Woman and Mary Marvel while making Batman and Superman intergalactically awesome. Grant cops to making a mess of WW on Newsarama but what happened to MM was worse. Submit read like he’d just seen Chris Rock’s Black People Vs N-s for the first time and adapted it into a comic, and it wasn’t clear what the Tattooed Man was doing or talking about without reading that.

    All that said, it’s still a cut above the likes of Infinite Crisis or Civil War because of its ambition. While as a Grant fan I think he can on occasion be a really bad writer, often on Batman (although Last Rites was surprisingly good, and you didn’t have to read it to follow the main story: good luck topping that, Neil!), this isn’t one of those failures. It has the grand scope that Grant’s best superhero work has and all the passion and thought that’s gone into his lifelong preoccupation with characters and their universe and stories and their relationship with reality in general. It’s properly epic: Darkseid’s fall drags the Earth into a kind of evil black hole in spacetime, he conquers the souls of half the planet’s population, he fires a bullet backwards through time to kill Orion and start the whole affair, Batman breaks his solemn vow by using that bullet to take him out, but gets incinerated and then thrown back in time (?) with no way to home. And then every comic character ever lines up behind Superman to slay a vampire version of the first superhero, and the Superman story outevolves the Lucifer story. Stories don’t get much bigger! And it has Mister Tawky Tawny gutting Kalibak, which is too much awesome. There’s some fantastic lines there: “There’s no such thing as infallibility in this universe, Malet Dasim: I’d have noticed.”, “When will he realise that being fantastic is a superpower in itself?”, “No one %$%$ with the judge of all evil!”.

    You know… if they made tombstones big enough Grant needs all those quotes on his: he ain’t infallible, but fantastic is his superpower, and he’s the ultimate badass.

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