Regression to the mean

Final Crisis #6. Grant Morrison and the entire Bullpen Bulletin. $3.99, 34 pages.

Warning: There will be SPOILERS in this review

This is a comic with plenty of sturm, lots of drang but precious little und. I mean, there’s a lot happening but very little connective tissue to tie it together. By my count, there’s over a dozen different plotlines running through this thing;* the reader is expected to give a damn about any of them because — well, let’s face it, it’s not clear why the reader is expected to give a damn. Most of the subplots over the course of this series certainly haven’t  earned any of the emotional heft that the similarly fractured threads in Seven Soldiers #1 had.

Given the way the series is constructed — all jump-cuts and tiny bursts of scenes — it seems almost inappropriate to give it a standard review. To match its pace and confusion, I should instead just write a series of declarative outbursts: Ungood! Rushed! Morrison better! and let the reader fill in the details. Morrison hasn’t really given us a story throughout the series; he’s given us a set of story notes in the form of bullet points: and then this happens! And then this! Oh, and did I mention this! And what about this! Oh, and I forgot to tell you this!

It must all be very Important and Meaningful to the DC Universe because characters keep telling us that it is. Indeed, without the occasional bit of expository dialogue this series would be even less coherent. For instance, the Big Bad for the series — Darkseid — apparently dies three-quarters of the way through, so you would think that the threat was over. Apparently not, though; it’s still “the end of the world” although God knows why, and we certainly wouldn’t have known that except for the helpful Hourman telling us. Thanks, Hourman!

Indeed, the fate of Darkseid is a low point in an issue filled with low points. IIRC, I’ve heard Morrison in the past say that he wanted to make the New Gods seem truly awesome, truly like gods, since they’d been cheapened by their usual appearances in the DC Universe. Accordingly, the coming of Darkseid was made out to be this great and terrible thing, the catastrophic peak to which the series was building; and so he only came onto the stage in issue 5. And then he’s apparently dispatched in two pages by a guy with no powers. Yeah, that was some awesome threat there. He came, he appeared in about three panels, and was conquered.

And what was the point of the Flash scene about how they’re going to race to Darkseid, if Batman could breach his singularity and take him down like a punk? And what’s up with that cover, promising a match-up between Darkseid and Superman? And, while I’m on it, what the hell does DC have against people of colour — viz. Renee Montoya and Shilo Norman?

As a superhero comic, this is bad stuff. As a superhero comic written by Grant Morrison, who can do so much better than this trash, it’s just fucking awful.

Recommended? Hell, no.

* Superman and Brainiac 5; the last stand of Black Canary and the Tattooed Man; Supergirl and the Marvel Family versus Mary Marvel; the JSA et al. holding the line; Tawky Tawny versus Kalibak; Mister Miracle and his Japanese pals; Renee Montoya, the Atoms and the Omega Offensive; Luthor versus Libra; the Flashes; Batman versus Darkseid; Nix Uotan and Metron; and the return of Superman. And that’s not even including the the Hawkpeople or Green Lantern bits.


One Response to “Regression to the mean”

  1. Dick Hyacinth Says:

    I can’t tell if I’m just sick of Morrison’s shit or I’m filled with contempt for DC’s menagerie of characters, cause I liked this about as much as I liked Infinite Crisis or the middle issues of Civil War. Mostly I think I’ve just soured on Morrison.

    Good to see you blogging regularly again.

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