Monday, August 11, 2008

My one real complaint about Final Crisis

Soooo, some may have noticed that the new blogging structure of blogging about whatever the heck I want to hasn't quite worked out, since there are still delays and whatnot. Part of this is because I have a life, part of it is a lack of items I wish to comment on, and another part is me trying to sift through the eight years of Penny Arcade strips so that I can start regularly reading them (a sad compulsion of mine to want to know the full backstory of something before I jump in... after all, how would I understand the concept of the Fruit-Effin' machine if I hadn't read the back-strips?), and another part is attempting to maintain a webcomic while also trying to look for successful ways of getting my fiction writing out there.

So needless to say I've been busy with lots of stuff (yeah, you've heard that excuse before) so I haven't done much in terms of blogging about comics in general or my opinions about anything. So, here, let's get my opinion on DC's latest event.

It's okay so far. I seem to be one of the few people out there who really enjoyed Infinite Crisis when it came out.

While there were certainly parts I didn't enjoy (The Titans Massacre, for one), I found the story compelling, big, and altogether entertaining and a worthwhile continuation of the events from Crisis On Infinite Earths. Even the four miniseries that didn't at first seem to have anything to do with the story were wrapped into it, because you had talented people writing, talented people on art, and overall things were coordinated well (save for a time when an issue or two was late).

Let's go back to the artwork thing for a second, though, because this is really what my complaint about Final Crisis stems from, and how it builds into a larger point. For the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, we had George Perez on art duties, simply a comics legend because of his ability to draw a cast of hundreds and still make them all look accurate and wearing either what they wore at the time or their last known appearance in DC. Plus Perez was also doing the monthly New Teen Titans at the time and he managed to pull it all off, PLUS the covers for the series.

Following up from that in Infinite Crisis, twenty years later, we have another legend - Phil Jimenez. Like Perez, Jimenez is superbly talented, capable of crafting a complex page with a cast of hundreds and still make them look accurate. Now, admittedly, books got delayed at times either to match up with events happening at the same time in other books or art was simply rushed (the changes in the Infinite Crisis collection vs. the original individual issues, for example). And yet the final product was still awesome. Since this was still the follow-up to the masterpiece that was Crisis on Infinite Earths, George Perez returned for art duties on the covers, with Jim Lee doing an alternate print cover.

Now we get to Final Crisis. Here's one of the two covers to issue #3.

This is just LAME. I mean, scroll back up and look at that cover to the hardcover of Infinite Crisis (which even extends around to the back cover of the book!) and then compare it to this one. We have several thematic elements depicted, including the breaking of the trinity, a bunch of villains standing together, deictions of the scene at Alexander Luthor's tower, the red skies effect, and a distraught Earth-2 Superman.

And what are we getting in Final Crisis?

Two-thirds of the page are MISSING. Just painted red and proclaimed, "Hell with it!" The artwork itself within the book and on the covers is okay, since J.G. Jones IS a good artist, but where's the grandeur of the previous Crisis covers? Where are hundreds of heroes gathered together to fight one unstoppable menace, risking their lives for it all?

Look at the cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 from Wikipedia:

THAT IS A FREAKING COVER. It's bold, it's epic, and it's just well-drawn! It's everything you want in an issue of your big, universe-spanning crossover! But no, instead we get single characters drawn lazily in one small section of the cover witha generic font for the title. And again, the titles for both Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis were individually made, since you want your title to also reflect the mood of your book in some capacity. This looks like it was thrown together at the last minute for a NOVEL, and not a very good novel, either. It doesn't really catch the eye, especially with all the red tint over it. You just kind of glance over it as you look through the comic aisle.

The alternate covers aren't really any better. Sure, they'll take advantage of the full space of the cover, unlike these, but the text is even worse there, making it semi-transparent over part of the human body. THIS is how you do your massive, universe-spanning crossover to complete the trilogy of mega Crossovers? Not to mention we're not exactly dying for another one so soon.

Infinite Crisis felt good also because it had been a few years since we'd had another big crossover. Not to mention the build up for it had been for quite a while before the actual book came out, with cosmic enemies or future characters talking about "a crisis approaching" that no one was quite certain how it was going to turn out. As such, when the book itself happened, the events in it were actually surprising! But then after the book completed, we've had events and mini-events, like Amazons Attack, Countdown, and a few other titles that had tie-ins even though it made no sense to have tie-ins to these things. People are experiencing event fatigue.

Furthermore, Infinite Crisis CONTINUED the story of Crisis on Infinite Earths, making it a direct sequel where just a lot of stuff had happened between the times the books came out. Final Crisis has come out a mere two years after Infinite Crisis, and from the looks of it, it's not continuing the story! And then here's the problem that I have with it, as exemplified by the covers:


Grant Morrison has said in interviews that originally this story was supposed to be just a separate, stand-alone thing involving the New Gods and following up on his Seven Soldiers of Victory mini-series. Somehow this ballooned up into this event that not even DC seems to actually care about making it in the same vein as their previous Crises. It's like when Hollywood decides to put out another movie in a series simply because they want to keep cashing in on it. And don't get me wrong, Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones are making a good story, but this doesn't feel like a Crisis. This doesn't feel like the end of the world, "oh-my-God-how-will-they-get-out-of-this?!" kind of thing.

I'm going to keep reading the story of course because as I said, it's a good story. However, DC needs to rethink what helps make their events work in the future. ‎


Anonymous said...

Aye, but aren't the single-figure covers part of the point? Morrison is trying to show how this Final Crisis is about individuals rather than groups.

Er, I assume...

Lewis Lovhaug said...

I suppose that makes sense, but it's just so dang static when you compare them to the Crises of old.