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The weight of Expectations

So there’s two ways to look at FINAL CRISIS #1.

The first way is as the end of a “trilogy” of Crisii; the culmination of Dan Didio’s editorial vision which, at this point, would make this issue #122.

(to whit: TITANS/YOUNG JUSTICE: GRADUATION DAY [3 issues], IDENTITY CRISIS [7], COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS [1], DAY OF VENGEANCE [6], VILLAINS UNITED [6], RANN/THANAGAR WAR [6], OMAC PROJECT [6] and the [4] part SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN crossover that spun from that, plus another special for each of those four series [4], THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY [4], INFINITE CRISIS [7], COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS [51], SALVATION RUN [7], DC UNIVERSE #0 [1], DEATH OF THE NEW GODS [8])

(That’s me being nice and not counting AMAZONS ATTACK, or 52, or all of the individual crossover issues that happened in various comics, or event things like the JLA “Crisis in Confidence” storyline. You could certainly make the case that this is the 250+th issue if you’re less charitable)

(And, of course, that’s not counting the 30 issues of SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, which really feel more like the lead-in to this than most of that other stuff…)

There’s a lot of me that thinks that is a very very fair way indeed to look at it because that’s exactly how they pitched it, and, to a large degree, the very title of “Final Crisis” puts that very weight upon it.

By that thinking, yes, I think this comic is largely a failure — it is a slow build, it doesn’t appear to have any direct focus, has seemingly important things happen in a small small, and lets seemingly unimportant things happen at a dawdling pace. It also appears to either directly contradict, or just ignore things that have happened in the last 2-6 months in the DCU universe — the New Gods have already been dropping like flies, why is the GLC and JLA just noticing now as if it were the first time? Since SALVATION RUN is shipping late, a lot of these characters really should be running around, right? Where’s the C-List Monitor Posse, starring Ray Palmer, who said they’d be the ones Monitoring the Monitors? And so on.

Plus, as Graeme notes, there ain’t no explosions. And yeah, I think it a company universe-spanning crossover, especially one with a name like “Final Crisis” there shore should be some of dem purty spolsives, lordy yes!

I mean, honestly, after reading the issue, my first, gut-level reaction was “Well, where’s the ‘Crisis’?”

So, from the “Man, we’ve been reading the unending event from like 2003 now, where’s my payoff?” POV, I can’t give much more than an EH for this first issue.

But of course, the other way to look at it is without the weight of expectations, to completely let the last year of comics slip out of your brains, to not have the weight of a “Crisis” upon it, and just judge the book by itself.

And as that kind of reader, I’d call this a fairly GOOD book.

Because I think if it had come along with a different name, or not had a year-long lead-in (kinda sorta), or not been pushed as the conclusion of a trilogy, or even not come out in comparison with Marvel’s string of similar events — if people did not have the weight of expectations upon them, then I think the general internet reaction would have been very different.

Another book with a big Weight upon it was GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1, the big wrap-up to the Whedon/Cassaday story. And it, too, suffers I think, because of it. After all of the long ass waiting for it, I think it fails to impress, but that is because of the long-ass wait. I suspect someone reading it in TP form for the first time is going to think that was a pretty solid story and a GOOD ending to the run; me, I’ve been living with that wait, so it too was kind of EH, for me.

What did YOU think?

-B

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