Infinite Final

*I should have a review of something or other up at some other site in a short while, but I also read Final Crisis #2; I must agree with some other folk that this really, truly is shaping up to be Seven Soldiers 2 right now.

There's plenty of basic plot-to-plot connections, obviously, but what really gets me is that -- being The Day Evil Won and all -- its execution functions as a reversal of one of the core themes of the prior series, that the best evolution in a superhero universe can happen among those at the fringes, the C and D-listers. Unencumbered, under the radar, they can accomplish the grandest good by bettering themselves and trusting into the wider (DC) universe to soak the light in. Bury the works of evil in the coat of many patches, cast a spell to resolve the plot - modular action.

This new series is also modular, in a way - I love how every black-bordered first page (thus far) makes a focused statement that's 'answered' in a bad or scary way on every last page ("Man." to "Aww, man." in issue #1, "STOP!" to "RUN!" in issue #2). But here it's the bad guys, the dastards of Apokolips, slipping themselves into new skins to bring ruin to the DCU - death by a thousand scratches! Evilution! Since they're Fourth World characters they're obscure to start with by default -- I mean, not Darkseid, not quite... but is anyone itching to put him in a movie? -- and since they're wicked they accomplish their transformation not through some dumb journey but by stealing the skins of other marginal characters. A terrible revamp for Terrible Turpin, who's tough-guy lines have gotten florid:

"Who knew the sound of breath whistling through smashed cartilage could be such a turn-on?"

It helps if you've read the Final Crisis Sketchbook, and therefore know that Turpin as seen in this series is "Jack Kirby as drawn by F. Miller," which possibly spells it all out right there.

It also helps if you've read the Fourth World books and Seven Soldiers, granted, although I don't think there's anything too tricky in here. I haven't found any of this to be very hard to follow, and I'm someone who was turning DC Universe #0 around in my hands to see if I had it upside-down. It's also telling -- and funny -- that Seven Soldiers got to serve as this shadow series to Infinite Crisis, this shadow Event, while an outbreak of evil revamps, the triumph of Zachary Zor, is a five-alarm world-breaking comic book Event of Events in Morrison's world.

Although it is seven issues, don't you know.

Anyway, I thought issue #2 was a lot more fun than issue #1, particularly with the (excellent) Japanese superhero scene; poor Shilo Norman has to find even more obscure heroes now, a lost Fourth World dude and a hodgepodge of foreign outlooks (comics from Japan, tee hee). All the while, the evil influence brings about a souring of the superhero world... great compression in this thing. Nice, harsh location cuts.

And then there's that odd taste of self-awareness, even a little tiredness - Superman hoping the Martian Manhunter will be revived sometime in the future, Lex Luthor acting utterly bored at the death of some expendable superhero (in an Event comic! *yawn*). Like Didio implied, these characters have seen it all. Is it good for the health of DC comics, rather than the DC Universe? Hell, I don't know. And while I'm aware that if things get so bad they board up the windows it'll mean less chances for people like Grant Morrison to write comics, I still find it awfully tough to shift my focus onto what's Good For the Industry when I'm trying to interface with a particular work - my problem, folks.

But, you know, maybe I'm the second-most ideal reader for this particular thing. With a comic like this I guess the DCU hardcore superfan will forever be #1, but I have read every Grant Morrison DCU comic, and there may be nearly as much playing to that audience in here as well. Odd to be catered too.

And doubly odd it always feel ready to be done with this, on every page, even as they get better. Like Morrison said in New York, even if this isn't the Final Final Crisis, it's his Final Crisis, and I'm ready for that. Bring on Warcop and Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye (if we must have a sequel) and all the rest. Bring 'em all.

And Christ, does anyone know what Frank Quitely's doing next?