A Mess on a Cosmic Scale

As a comic book fan, I just have this sense that Marvel event comics come across as such blockbusters while DC events have such an “also ran” feeling about them. Partly an issue of concepts, take for example, Marvel’s Secret Invasion: the shape-shifting aliens, the Skrulls have been secretly infiltrating all strata of life, government, and the super hero community as a prelude to invasion. Its core cast revolves around the most popular heroes/teams in the Marvel Universe (The Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spider-Man, etc.).

DC’s Final Crisis has something to do with the New Gods … ties back to Crisis on Infinite Earth (1985), Identity Crisis (2004), and Infinite Crisis (2005) somehow … and the first issue features a lot of characters not immediately familiar except to those of us who have been lifelong fans of DC Comics (we’re talking one page of Green Lantern and one page of the Justice League for the casual fan).

Master of the “big idea” Grant Morrison writes it, so at least the idea is in good hands. Yet by the end of the series I was left with one question: what the hell happened? Somewhere in this mega crossover event the main story got lost. Final Crisis should be the main trunk from which the tie-ins branch.

There is the feeling that so much must’ve happened in the tie-ins that Grant Morrison was basically left stringing together arrows pointing to other books (by issue five, the series had really come off the tracks).

“But what happens in a world where good has lost its perpetual struggle against evil?” –Libra

Darkseid and his forces of Apokolips have essentially conquered earth, turning our technology and our heroes into night-missionaries spreading the gospel of anti-life. Having found the Anti-Life Equation, people are subjected to a message of “loneliness, alienation, fear, despair, self worth mockery, condemnation, misunderstanding, work, consume, die, judge others, condemn the different, exploit the weak.” This corrupting influence brings with it a cycle of destruction, warping man’s sense of right and wrong, and spirals into a pattern of fear, violence, and doubt; selfishness, separation, insecurity, and sensuality; causing us to believe lies about ourselves as we become trapped in a cycle of spiritual (and literal) death.

“Sure, life is hard. I fought monsters, gangsters, super-creeps. But I never backed down. I never asked for help. Lord, help me, now. Someone help me. I can’t hold back the storm on my own anymore.” –Dan Turpin

The need to deal with this corruption is one view of how redemption works. Any sense of assurance springs from faith in God as the ultimate protector, that sense that He is the ultimate, faithful judge. It doesn’t mean that He will spare you from every bad thing that could happen to you, but it does mean that we trust in Him ultimately exposing evil for what it is, and avenging us.

[A more cynical me would then make a point similar to this: ****** Died For Final Crisis’s Sins (Spoilers)]

Final Crisis, to be generous, is sometimes too clever by half. If I were in a less charitable mood, I would probably do a rant similar to the one I received from a friend of mine …

***SPOILER-LADEN RANT AHEAD ***

“Batman RIP didn’t end with him dead. Or even significantly impaired. It was a goofy arc designed to sell books that had a weak-ass ending tacked on to a left-field-if-otherwise-dumb premise. Setting up the battle for the cowl, or whatever they’re calling this summer “blockbuster” arc was supposed to be the point of the RIP arc, which sort of petered out. Instead, the wait until the end of Crisis and in a two page spread they shoot up the Bruce-ster with Darkseid’s Omega Beams.

“We all know Bruce Wayne has a plan for “In Case of Omega Sanction” – we’re talking about a person who has a $30mil asteroid, in case Supes goes rogue. A guy who was so concerned someone might try to drive him mad he created a back-up personality of Batman and sealed it in his subconscious in case he ever lost his wits. He was ready for a known and obvious threat. Bats is as Dead as Supes was. Or Black Canary, Green Arrow, or a half-dozen other DC heroes. Death is about as permanent as a haircut in their universe, which makes it more frustrating that they would do such a cheap ploy to sell magazines.”

***END SPOILER-LADEN RANT***

Yeah, that about covers my sentiments.

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