on November 10, 2012
* * * * * INTRO * * * * *
Final Crisis is one of the most polarizing events ever published by DC, as well as one of the most controversial works by Grant Morrison for that publisher, generally regarded as a love-it-or-hate-it book. Since there are almost 150 reviews right here in Amazon discussing Final Crisis' story and art, I decided to just focus my review on the edition itself of this new Absolute presentation.
Absolute Final Crisis is an outstanding, high-quality, great-value edition, with a very generous page count, full of extras and material not included in the old HC and TPB editions, and all this makes it a much better reading experience.
* * * * * CONTENTS * * * * *
This volume includes, in the following order:
- A 2-pages introduction by Jay Babcock (originally published for the first time in the Final Crisis HC edition, 2009)
- The last 5 pages from DC Universe #0, pencilled by Dough Mahnke (NOT included in the 2009 HC edition. This are very relevant pages for the overall story and I'm extremely happy they were finally collected this time. The rest of DC Universe #0 pages are a kind of sampling/advertising of other DC storylines, mostly unrelated to Final Crisis, so they were not included).
- Final Crisis #1 to 3 (exact same contents as the 2009 HC edition).
- Superman Beyond #1 and 2 (printed with 3-D effect, the Absolute edition includes a set of blue/red 3-D cardboard glasses. The 2009 HC edition DOES NOT feature this 3-D presentation, it was printed without the 3-D effect, with standard coloring).
- Final Crisis: Submit (exact same contents as the 2009 HC edition).
- Final Crisis #4 and 5 (exact same contents as the 2009 HC edition).
- Batman 682 and 683 (NOT included in the 2009 HC edition, this issues are a vital part of Final Crisis and they were only available in Batman R.I.P.).
- Final Crisis #6 (exact same contents as the 2009 HC edition).
- Final Crisis #7 (includes 6 COMPLETELY NEW pages and 2 re-drawn/expanded pages, all by Doug Mahnke. These new pages give a much better flow to the climax of the story, so I'm really glad DC decided to include them. Also, some panels and pages from this issue feature slight changes in the coloring, specially done for this edition).
- Final Crisis Sketchbook (the Absolute edition includes the COMPLETE Sketchbook, plus sketches from Final Crisis: Secret Files, making a total of 30 full pages of sketch material. The 2009 HC edition only included 8 pages from the original Final Crisis Sketchbook)
- Final Crisis #1: Director's Cut (NOT included in the 2009 HC edition. A total of 29 pages featuring the complete script of Final Crisis #1, all of that issue pages by J.G Jones presented in black and white, plus commentaries by both Morrison and Jones, DVD style).
- Variant Covers Gallery (all variants were included in the 2009 HC edition, except the ones from the Batman issues)
- Page 29 from Final Crisis #7, as originally illustrated by Doug Mahnke.
- A 1-page explanation of the Anti-Life Equation by Grant Morrison, originally published in Final Crisis: Secret Files (NOT included in the 2009 HC edition)
* * * * * EDITION * * * * *
The quality of the edition is truly outstanding:
- The volume features sewn-binding, so the gutter loss is almost non-existant.
- The paper stock is of the highest quality, glossy and very heavy weight, the kind of stock you find in art-books.
- The printing quality is also excellent, with sharp lines and vibrant colors that simply put the 2009 HC edition to shame.
- The slipcase is strong and well-build.
- The overall design of the book is beautiful and elegant.
* * * * * CONCLUSION * * * * *
If you are interested in reading Final Crisis for the first time, this Absolute edition can be an expensive risky buy: as I said before, it's a very polarizing book, so maybe you are better off getting the TPB edition. However, if you LOVED Final Crisis, this is the best presentation available and you should make it a top priority to get it. I own the 2009 HC edition of Final Crisis, and I was quite happy with it, but seeing both of them together is like watching an old VHS next to a brand new Bluray. I couldn't be happier with this book, this is everything an Absolute edition should be and stand for.
on December 5, 2012
I've thought long and hard about this book. If you have not yet read Final Crisis, I really think you would benefit from reading my review.
'Final Crisis' is an epic, layered story with several running narratives and many surprises, so it's difficult to synopsize. At its center are the "New Gods", involved in the last stages of their vast and mysterious war. It looks as though the BAD side has won. The story goes from there and involves dozens of characters, major and minor, some of whom actually die. Aside from alternate dimensions, cosmic technology, and many far-out concepts, there is a lot of battle action and some really classic superhero situations, with dialogue in a 'high' style reminiscent of cosmic '70s writers like Jack Kirby, Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, or Len Wein. The writing can be dense, and at times a LOT happens on a single page. The art is detailed, brightly colored, merging a very realistic style with psychedelic effects. The story is long and rather convoluted, including a grand mystery and scifi surrealism, to name just two of its many styles (neither specifically known for offering immediate clarity, take note).
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS BOOK?
An open-minded superhero fan willing to give the book some time, attention, and thought.
WHO WOULD NOT LIKE THIS BOOK?
People who hate experimentation in superhero comics. People just looking for a simple, easy read. People who must know exactly what's going on at all times. People who think all ambition is pretension.
FIVE TIPS FOR READING FINAL CRISIS
1. It's Not for Novices
I hate to say it, but if you're not already a DC fan, don't bother. I don't mean that you have to be a super-nerd with an encyclopedic memory of a couple lifetimes' worth of comics, just that you've been around the block a couple times. Pop quiz: what do Green Lanterns do? What's "shazam"? Who is Barry Allen? How are Darkseid and Orion related? If these questions stumped you, Final Crisis is going to be pretty rough going. I'd suggest reading Morrison's 'Seven Soldiers' or maybe 'JLA' instead.
2. 'Final' Crisis Stands Alone
Two parts to this one:
2a. Do Not "Prepare"
Don't read anything specifically in order to better "understand" Final Crisis before going in. It won't help, because Final Crisis was written to stand alone. If anything, "preparatory" material will just distract you with irrelevant details, confuse you with continuity discrepancies, and mislead your expectations. It may also provide too big of a build-up to a story with its own arc, resulting in feelings of anticlimax when you finally get to the good stuff. So don't read 'Countdown', and don't replace that with a "countdown" of your own. You don't need to know anything special to get in to 'Final Crisis'.
2b. Do Not "Expand"
Forget the tie-ins. If you want to read them for their own sake and on their own terms, because you like a certain writer or character or whatever, by all means go for it... some other time. As with "preparations", these will only clutter your head and distract you from an already convoluted narrative, to the disservice of each story. This includes Morrison's Batman books, a twisty epic of its own that intersects 'Final Crisis' at one tiny point. Efforts to conflate these two giant labyrinths WILL be unsuccessful. Everything you need is included in this 'Final Crisis' TPB-- no more, no less-- and it's best just to focus on that without any extra baggage.
3. No Expectations
Forget what you've heard. Don't go in assuming it's going to be an unreadable maze of obscure references. Don't expect a transcendent, life-changing experience, or the best comic book ever. Don't expect it to tie up all the loose ends of the past 20 years of DC continuity, or assume it's full of errors and problems. Don't assume you won't understand anything. Don't expect to understand everything. Just read it, see for yourself.
Take your time. Pay attention. Flip back and review. If you don't understand what's happening, reflect for a moment and see if you can figure it out before proceeding. Unlike most superhero comics, 'Final Crisis' requires focus and conscious thought while it's being read. Trust me, it's worth it.
5. Read It Again
Take a look at my summary again... There's NO WAY you're going to take all that in the first time. If you truly hated it, don't put yourself through it again... but if you followed my advice this far, you'll probably want to.
on March 30, 2013
I normally try to not put spoilers in book reviews. This isn't so much a review so much as it is an explanation of the story to people considering reading it.
Here's the first thing you need to know about Final Crisis - it is not a stand alone story. Having read ALL of the intro material in real time (about 70 comic books in total), a large chuck of the information in those books is essential to get a fuller picture of just what the heck is going on in Final Crisis. But to save $200 and a week of your life, just read the Origins section of the Wiki entry about a group called The Monitors. It's short and covers the most important information that feeds into Final Crisis:[...]
Here's the second thing you need to know about Final Crisis - it is not a stand alone story. I know I just said that but when Final Crisis came out there were 5 mini-series printed concurrently with it and all whose conclusions dovetailed directly into Final Crisis #6. Unfortunately none of those stories appear in this collection so there are massive changes that seem to come out of nowhere in the Final Crisis story itself. The complete reading order is: Final Crisis #1-3, Superman Beyond #1-2, Final Crisis: Submit, Final Crisis #4-5, Batman #682-683, and Final Crisis #6-7. Thankfully the Superman story explains a great deal and on its own is fine story but in the grand scope it feels tacked on with a villain that really just dilutes the main story.
Here's the third thing you need to know about Final Crisis - it unfolds using an experimental format. Morrison tells a story that is an exploration/explanation of what a story really is. That's a concept that is quite meta on its own, but he goes further to try to blur the lines between story and reality and import actual physical changes to the narrative as it is being told.
MAJOR SPOILER: In a nutshell, the evil New God Darkseid is dying but has decided he will descend from the higher realm where the New Gods live and have his death occur on Earth. That death, the death of a being from a higher reality in normal reality, dents the space/time continuum which will result in Earth collapsing in on itself as if it had never existed. It's Darkseid's final middle finger to the heroes that have thwarted him time and again. The ripple effects of that future event (in issue #7) begin to manifest backward in time into issue #4 (1/2 way through the story). The kicker is that Darkseid's death is SO powerful that, as the story approaches the finale when he bites it, the ripples of that event spill over into our reality literally affecting the physical book that you hold in your hands (well, not "literally" literally...or may be it is?). We see this in the comic book panels themselves as they appear to skip ahead (the way a scratched record/CD does) caused by the collapse of time and space in the DC Universe that radiates out from the moment Darkseid dies. The trick works and you can easily see it when you understand what Morrison is doing but the reveal doesn't come until the last 10 pages or so.
SPOILER OVER: However whether or not this trick - and the holding of the reveal of it to the end - positively contributes to the overall narrative is debatable. And that is what is a real bummer about the whole thing. Conceptually, the story is amazing and really makes you think. In execution, there's a lot left to be desired. With a story that begins on page 1 well into the ongoing narrative, with many character motivations that make no sense plus debasement of other characters that leaves the story feeling icky, changing artists midstream (blame Jones, he couldn't keep up and had to be replaced), and over-the-top concepts that distract, it's no wonder many people do not like Final Crisis.
I'm a Morrison fan and while it's not the birdcage liner that some seem to think it is, even I do not think this was his best work. However, if you want something more than just a standard hero adventure you are certain to find it here.
on December 6, 2013
Maybe enjoyable for uber fans who have been following all the story lines, but as a stand alone story it was just confusing to the point of absurdity. This should not be read unless one already has a great grasp on multiple characters and story lines from past DC comics. To say the story would not make sense without the background is a significant understatement... the words the characters speak do not make any sense. It felt like the time I listened to a speech in a Syrian synagogue where every once in a while there would be a string of words in English that I could understand, but really this just giving me a false sense of hope that I would soon understand. Of course the end result of that speech and this comic was I understood absolutely nothing.
So as a warning do not pick this book up unless you are well versed in the DC universe prior to this novels publication. There are plenty of other stand alone graphic novels out there that are much better for those searching for a good stand alone story on the fly. Try this authors other works especially the batman ones.
on August 17, 2009
Let's get something straight: no matter what author Grant Morrison says, this book is NOT for the uninitiated.
If you are:
Sick of the typical slugfest event comic-
Fairly well versed in current DC universe continuity-
A fan of Grant Morrison's previous DCU work-
Not afraid to be confused sometimes-
A fan of a good mind screw-
Then this book is for you!
I don't pretend to know everything that went on in this book. The Super Young Team was particularly cryptic to me. I can also understand others' frustration, because this book assumes a lot of previous knowledge, not only of aforementioned current continuity, but also of everything Morrison's ever contributed to JLA, Seven Soldiers, and Doom Patrol. You also have to have read Morrison's Batman, especially his R.I.P. epilogue.
I know i'm flogging a dead horse now, but if your average comic book was a 100 level college course, than consider this a post-grad dissertation.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT, This book is full of wild and fantastic moments that have never seen before in any book anywhere. The heroes overcome feats they've never imagined, and Morrison writes variations on classic comic book themes that no one else could possibly touch. There's more story packed into each issue than many events have in their entire run. It gets messy sometimes, but overall it was a thrill of a ride that leaves you breathless in its wake.
on February 23, 2011
I put off buying Final Crisis because of the many terrible reviews I've come across here and on other sites. Before reviewing this, I must say that I had low expectations for this book and I anticipated a very disorienting experience based on the aforementioned reviews as well as my own experiences with Morrison's work. In fact, I finally caved in simply because I ripped through Morrison's Batman arc, from Batman and Son to R.I.P, and I just had to find out what happened next.
I liked it. There is not one part of Final Crisis that I can say I disliked. There are several parts that were confusing, but the ideas and concepts were so unique in presentation and execution that I found myself hooked. The "Submit" storyline featuring Black Lightning, a character I know very little about, was one of my favorite parts. It does a wonderful job showing what the "little guy" is going through while Gods clash above and destroy the world around them.
The other thing this book does well is convince you that the world really is facing the end. I'm an avid comic reader and have read crisis type events from both Marvel and DC going back as far as the 70s, and this feels like an entirely new level of urgency and inevitability. Morrison expands the readers view of reality in a very disorienting way that works nicely in that it feels like your brain is not capable of comprehending the big picture. You see it but it feels like your head will explode if you think to hard about it. That's how your supposed to feel! I think a lot of people just don't realize Morrison's intentions here. He's not trying to insult your intelligence in comparison to his own. He's trying to put you in the shoes of the hero when the curtain lifts and he/she sees something bigger than themselves.
- I felt that the New Gods of Apokolips being reborn in human bodies on Earth was interesting, but could have been presented in a more effective way.
- Batman does not get as much time in this as he should, especially considering this is supposed to follow such a cliffhanger in the "Black Glove" arc.
- I still don't know why Darkseid wasn't killed by Batman when he fired the God bullet. I understand that death was tricked into coming for him (or was he?), but it seemed like the significance of Batman's actions were greatly diminished.
- I also still don't understand where Kamandi fits in. I don't know anything about him and there is no attempt to explain his role here. He just randomly appears in panels. Even though I have read that he is featured in the Countdown books, he should have been mentioned in the text or somehow introduced.
I would not recommend this to a casual reader. This is for mature (simply meaning not for kids) DC fans who are primed for a unique, disorienting but also very rewarding experience.
on December 1, 2013
First, I think that it's necessary for me to admit that I don't enjoy the writing of Grant Morrison; It's important that I am honest about that. I feel that his modern stories begin with a strong premise and story, and quickly descend into ill-explained gibberish (especially towards the third act of his scripts). I recently re-read Final Crisis (and all of his Batman stories) as a celebration of the finale of Morrison's lengthy Batman run, and I felt it important to try and steer any fan, potential or current, away from the schizophrenic, poorly scripted event that is Final Crisis.
The art in Final Crisis is, admittedly, great. That's not the issue. Without a quality storyline, the best comic art becomes a series of strung together pin-ups; That's nearly what Final Crisis is. I have now read Final Crisis three times, and, while I'd expect the plot of the comic to become remotely discernable by now, I still don't understand it. I have seen some FC reviewers defend Final Crisis by insulting other reviewer's intelligence. That's unfair. Final Crisis is, even when supplemented by all of the tie-in titles, frantically delirious. It makes no sense. For anime fans out there, Final Crisis makes as much sense as the final episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion (except Morrison didn't have a nervous breakdown...that I know of).
If you can check out a copy at the local library, read Final Crisis simply as a curiosity, as it's crazy. Please, though, do not spend any amount of money on this title. Thank you taking the time to consider my opinion of the title. If you are looking for a DC event trade to read, I would point you in the direction of Blackest Night first, or Infinite Crisis. Thanks.
on December 3, 2013
I have read much od Morrisons work in the past and have truly enjoyed it. This trade however was brutal to read. The trade only covers part of the story and because of that reason there are many holes in the plot. Dont waste your money on this trade, just go to Wiki and read the plot, you get a better idea of what its about.
on June 19, 2009
Reviews decrying the ending of Final Crisis are missing the point. Yes, Superman "wishing" the world better is contrived--intentionally so. Final Crisis is about, among other things, the nature of stories and the effect that fiction can have on the real world. By having the end of the story rest on a wish, Morrison & Co. illustrate the essence of who Superman is and affirm that the character, arguably one of the most powerful and influential creations of the last century, is capable of saving us, of inspiring us--essentially, he's capable of a lot more than punching out giant robots and lifting trains. He's all of our best qualities in one man, as recognizable as any real world figure, and more powerful than the destructive forces that pervade any decent piece of superhero fiction's dark corners. In showing us the power of this one creation, Final Crisis suggests that all stories have the ability to change and influence the real world. The Monitors, portrayed in the series as mighty gods who view the beings of the Multiverse as "germs," are oblivious to this truth and, I believe, are meant to represent us, the reader, who often overlook the power of fiction in our day to day lives.
Final Crisis also touches on the perpetual battle in superhero comics between good and evil. By showing evil winning for the bulk of the series, Morrison imagines a world--much like the homeworld of the CSA in the Morrison/Quitely graphic novel JLA: Earth 2--where evil prevails. And what do we get? Death, destruction, the loss of freedom and individuality... pretty much what you would expect. And yet, in the end, good wins. Because good creates and innovates and brings ideas to the table, rather than tearing such things down. In the very first scene of the series, humanity is blessed with knowledge and imagination and it is these attributes that save the world in the end.
Now, Final Crisis has its flaws. Much of the art towards the end of the volume appears rushed (understandably so) and Morrison fumbles some of the final moments of the series, particularly the final confrontation with Mandrakk the Dark Monitor, but none of this takes away from the scope and strength of Morrison's ideas.
With Superman Beyond and Submit included (in order, no less!), this collection is the way that the series should be read and will hopefully preserve Morrison's intent for future readers.
on March 4, 2013
I've been collecting comics since the 1970's. One thing I had become really excited about was the trend towards digital comics. I love the idea although I think they should be a lot cheaper as there is no physical production involved. Unless of course, all that extra money is going to the writers and artists... This is the first digital comic I ever bought.
The Story: really dense. So much going on and implied that it is sometimes hard to follow, and I am pretty familiar with the background of the DC Universe. Still, I would have enjoyed it more but for the following...
The Format: This would be really great if you could expand each panel, no matter how small, to full-screen size. As it is, most panels expand by only about 10% and even then are cropped. I really wanted to look closely at the art in this one but could not. Some panels were not even set to be expanded, making the dialogue almost impossible to read. This is a problem with the conversion, not the comic itself. I hope other Kindle Fire comics are formatted better.