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Off The Page: Final Crisis

By Patrick McNair Apr 4, 2017 - 11:13 PM print

Final Crisis concluded the "Crisis Trilogy", which began with Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. Written by Grant Morrison, Final Crisis would be DC's big crossover event for 2008, drawing together several concepts and themes from the earlier "Crises." Whereas Infinite Crisis was a direct follow-up to Crisis on Infinite Earths , Final Crisis was more of a thematic continuation, loosely connected to the previous instalments. As it was written by Morrison, the story is more "out there" than most, given the writer’s penchant for the esoteric (even by comic book standards), concerning Darkseid’s attempt to rewrite reality and the slow corruption of the DC Universe. Final Crisis was also the last DC comic event before The New 52 reboot in 2011.

The Setup:

Darkseid’s spirit is falling through time, causing aberrations throughout reality. All of space and time is being drawn into a singularity, threatening to end existence. Meanwhile, the body of Darkseid’s son, Orion is found, prompting an investigation. With reality becoming increasingly distorted, the Justice League must discover the truth behind these events before Darkseid's ultimate plan is put into motion


The Breakdown:

Final Crisis resulted out of several ideas Grant Morrison pitched to DC during his return to the company. Initially called Hypercrisis , Final Crisis took shape after Morrison had worked on All-Star Superman and Seven Soldiers . The event was preceded by a year-long weekly comic entitled Countdown (later retitled, Countdown to Final Crisis halfway through its run). The final prequel comic, DC Universe #0 explored various elements of the DC Universe, teasing upcoming storylines such as Blackest Night and Batman R.I.P. . To complement the seven issue core series, a number of tie-ins were produced, including Legion of 3 Worlds and Rogues’ Revenge .

After an intense and destructive battle with the New Gods, Darkseid is finally victorious and gains control of the Anti-Life Equation, a formula that can control all sentient life in the universe. However, Darkseid finds himself falling through reality, eventually manifesting in the form of a human being, Boss Dark Side. Darkseid’s fall has created a singularity that is slowly sucking all existence into, corrupting the rest of the DC Universe. The body of Orion, Darkseid’s son is found, having been shot by a Radion (a substance toxic to New Gods) bullet by Darkseid himself (ending a decades’ long feud between Apokolips and New Genesis). The Justice League investigates the murder, however, Granny Goodness, an associate of Darkseid, frames Hal Jordan for the murder and captures Batman when he discovers her involvement. Meanwhile, Superman travels to the future teaming with various Supermen from the Multiverse to defeat the fallen Monitor Mandrakk, while Wonder Woman is infected by bacteria, which drains her powers. Wally West runs through the Speed Force, trying to determine where the bullet that shot Orion came from, but finds something even more shocking. Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash and Wally’s mentor, who had died in Crisis on Infinite Earths is revealed to be alive, being chased by the Black Racer (the avatar of death). Wally and Barry race through the time stream, outrunning the Black Racer. With the majority of the League otherwise occupied, Darkseid begins infecting Earth with the Anti-Life Equation, stripping individuals of their free will, while also having a negative effect on the rest of the Multiverse. Darkseid brainwashes the superhumans (including Wonder Woman) into his army of "Justifiers."

A small resistance discovers a symbol from the alphabet of the New Gods that will break the equation’s control, while a huge battle erupts between the superheroes and the Justifiers. Escaping confinement, Batman confronts Darkseid, firing the Radion bullet at the New God, mortally wounding him. However, Darkseid uses his Omega Beams to kill the Dark Knight in retaliation. At that point, Superman returns to the present (having defeated Mandrakk) and discovers his friend’s corpse. Superman prepares to kill Darkseid, but Darkseid counters, stating that he has control of every person on the planet and if he dies, everyone else will. The Flashes appear, bringing the Black Racer with them, who comes to claim Darkseid. Although his physical body is destroyed, Darkseid’s essence still remains as it begins to collapse all creation, while Superman builds the Miracle Machine, a machine capable of granting wishes shown to him by Brainiac 5 while he was in the future. As reality crumbles into nothingness, only Superman is left and uses the last of his powers to destroy Darkseid’s essence by singing at a vibrational frequency, shattering Darkseid’s life force. With Darkseid finally gone, Mandrakk, the Dark Monitor re-emerges, saying that because Darkseid had brought reality to the brink of destruction, he has come to consume the remains. Superman uses the Miracle Machine to bring a Supermen army to Earth as well as the Green Lantern Corps to end Mandrakk once and for all. The New Gods symbol is emblazoned on Earth, removing the effects of the Anti-Life Equation. A final epilogue depicts Bruce Wayne, not dead, but transported to prehistoric times by the Omega Beams as he draws a bat symbol on a cave wall.


Final Crisis was the last big crossover event for DC before The New 52 reboot in 2011. As such, Grant Morrison throws everything (including the kitchen sink) at Final Crisis in an epic Justice League showdown with the god Darkseid. Observing Darkseid as a human puts an interesting spin on the New God, while also examining the doomsday scenario of Darkseid enslaving the human race with the Anti-Life Equation. Furthermore, after a 23 year absence, Barry Allen returned to the DC Universe (outside of a cameo in Infinite Crisis ), aiding his former protégé, Wally West in defeating Darkseid. Barry Allen's return would have major repercussions for the rest of the Justice League, which would be expanded on in The Flash: Rebirth , casting Barry as a man out of time, similar to Captain America. Moreover, Batman's "death", would provide the catalyst for the story, Battle for the Cowl as previous sidekicks fight to become the new Dark Knight, while The Return of Bruce Wayne focused on Bruce Wayne's eventual return to the present. Darkseid's physical destruction at the hands of the Black Racer is well written, however, the end of Final Crisis becomes a little hokey, with Superman singing to destroy Darkseid's life force and also using the Miracle Machine to wish for a happy ending serves as an uninspired climax. On the whole, Final Crisis , is a decent conclusion to the Crisis Trilogy as Morrison packs in as much as possible, even if it doesn't all stick together as well as it could.

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