Very Unconventional, Ambitious and Often Brilliant
Final Crisis is not your average superhero story. In fact, it’s one of the most ambitious comic book stories ever attempted. If you read it through once and find it confusing, then that’s alright because a good deal of what Morrison writes is so unconventional. If you’re willing to be patient, open-minded to some rather unusual concepts and ideas and perhaps most importantly re-read certain sections or even the entire story if need be, then it can be a very complex and rewarding experience. Some things are just like that: for example, movies like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ can be difficult to understand and even frustrating the first time around, but on repeated viewings can be fully appreciated for their unconventional techniques and philosophical insights. Final Crisis may not be a perfect story or one that will appeal to everyone, but it is certainly one worth reading.
If you like stories with an epic scale, then Final Crisis should be of interest to you: it has the Guardians of the Universe, the New Gods, the Monitors, other universes and something called the Anti-Life Equation (I won’t spoil what it is) in the story. It also has the deaths of two major heroes and the return of another. Without question, Final Crisis lives up to its billing as a major event in the DC Universe. No event is complete without great art of course, and this one is no exception. JG Jones does a magnificent job of bringing Morrison’s wild imagination to the page, right from the smallest details to the most spectacular whole page or two-page panels.
If you’ve read much written by Grant Morrison, you know that he has a tendency to write some very bizarre stories which often polarize opinions. There were some things in this story, especially in the Superman Beyond issues contained in the volume, that probably pushed a little too far for a lot of people, I’m still not sure I entirely understand that portion of the story. The rest of the story, however, I thought was quite well done, ranging from the murder investigation of a New God to an incredibly philosophical take on the very nature of storytelling itself in the final issue. While Morrison doesn’t hit every note perfectly, I appreciate that he respects the intelligence of his readers enough to write what he does and hope we can follow what he is trying to say, and that he has the ambition and creativity to try to tell stories which break the mold of conventional story arcs and reach for something far more daring. Though Final Crisis may not have the universal appeal, sense of humour and fun or quick pacing some may prefer, there is little doubt that Morrison was aiming for true greatness with this story and, at least in my opinion, he largely achieves it.