First there was the Crisis on Infinite Earths, combining all parallel worlds into one, rebooting the DC Universe. Then there was the Infinite Crisis, reinstating these multiple worlds. Then, completing the trilogy, the Final Crisis, the day evil won. I won’t lie, I dreaded writing this post because that meant I had to reread it. Written by resident crazy person Grant Morrison, he wove a complex tale that, while certainly reads better collected, is still difficult to wrap ones head around. I’ll try my best to translate.
First, the preamble. Bludhaven, home of Nightwing, is a wasteland after being destroyed in Infinite Crisis and has become a battle ground with secret government bunker named Command-D. This is where Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, a Jack Kirby creation, took his name from. Countdown to Final Crisis, nothing to do with this, mostly. Death of the New Gods, safe bet to read. Also, most of the tie-ins, not worth reading. Some tell good stories, like Rouges’ Revenge or Rage of the Red Lanterns, but don’t play a part in this. Others, like Last Will and Testament or Resist, don’t matter. Good to go?
Darkseid (pronounced side), ruler of Apokolips, and all around bad guy, fought a cataclysmic war with the gods of New Genesis. These characters, known as the Fourth World, are Jack Kirby creations. Darkseid and his forces lost, their bodies destroyed, and their essences fallen to Earth. With Darkseid on Earth, a singularity forms around the planet, and time begins to slip and fold. Final Crisis starts with the discovery of New God Orion’s body on Earth. Having dealt the death blow to Darkseid, his death is thought to have come from this battle. The Green Lantern Corps via Alpha Lanterns, the JLA, and Batman investigate. Meanwhile, Libra, an agent for Darkseid, is gathering the villains, promising to give them whatever they desire. One wants the death of the Martian Manhunter. He is quickly captured and killed. Amidst all this, Barry Allen, the original Flash, has returned from dead, and comes racing out of the Speed Force with the Black Racer, the New God of death, chasing him. And the Monitor of Earth, Nix Uotan, was exiled to Earth for failure in his duties. I assume in preventing the Gods from falling.
The fallen gods have hidden in human hosts, putting Darkseid’s plan into motion. Dan Turpin, Metropolis detective and friend of Superman, is investigating the disappearance of children. His investigation leads him to Command-D, in Bludhaven, which has been repurposed as a new Evil Factory. He is captured, and his body changed to become the new shell of Darkseid. Meanwhile, Batman discovers that Orion was killed by a Radion bullet fired backwards through time. Alpha Lantern Kraken, possessed by Granny Goodness, captures the Dark Knight and frames Hal Jordan for Orion’s murder, taking him back to Oa. Superman is stuck by Lois’ side in a hospital near death after an explosion from the Daily Planet, his heat vision the only thing keeping her heart alive. Wonder Woman is infected by the Morticoccous bacteria, a metahuman dampening virus, while investigating Bludhaven by a Desaad possessed Mary Marvel.
Darkseid’s minions release the Anti-Life equation, the formula taking away free will, through every line of communication across the world. Over half of the world was infected, becoming extensions of the dark god. Wally West, having followed Barry Allen, come out of the Speed Force a month after the equation was released. Barry was chasing the Radion bullet, catching it before the Black Racer could claim Orion, preventing this future, but failed. With time in flux, they found themselves in the future. Wonder Woman, atop some very large, angry dogs, leads the furies, with Batwoman, Catwoman, and Giganta at her side.
And we’re only halfway done. Still with me? Okay. A two part miniseries entitled Superman Beyond, was released, showing how Superman saved Lois. It had some gimmicky 3D pages. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what happened. So the 52 worlds are suspended and separated by something called the bleed. Superman was called to Limbo, along with a Nazi Superman, Ultraman (evil Superman) and some other Supermen, to save it, or something with the promise of returning with some juice to save Lois. An old Monitor called Mandrakk lived there, becoming a vampire, feeding of the bleed until there’s nothing left but him. Superman defeats him, but then some other Monitor, Rox Ogama, is banished to Limbo, turns Ultraman into Vampire Superman, and becomes the new Mandrakk. Superman got the juice to save Lois, so he left already. Once he saves Lois, he’s taken to the future again by the Legion of Superheroes.
Wait, there’s more. See why I dreaded writing this? Alright, so Mister Miracle and the reincarnation of the Forever People found the gift that Metron (observe New God, rides a chair) gave to Anthro, the first human. While originally thought to be fire, it was actually the first letter of the New God’s alphabet, a symbol the means life and can fight the anti-life equation. Jordan, cleared of charges, returns to Earth with a group of Lanterns, but is stuck in a time warp. Batman, as seen in issues #682-683 of his series, also written by Morrison, broke free of his prison. They were trying to steal his memories to clone his resolve and create an army of Batmen. Because he’s Batman, his will was too strong, and broke free. Meanwhile, Superman was in the future with Brainiac 5, who let him glimpse a wish granting machine.
Batman, having the bullet that killed Orion in his belt, used it to mortally wound Darkseid. The god fired his Omega Beam, killing Batman. Superman returned to the present, pulling his friends corpse from the ruins. Darkseid, and his legion, all fire an Omega Beam at Superman, while Darkseid fires the bullet at him. The Flashes, creating a Speed Force time warp, arrive with the Black Racer in tow. The warp sends the bullet into the past (killing Orion), and brings the Racer to the Darkseid, who ends him. Simultaneously, the Ray traces the New God Symbol in light on Earth, freeing the populace from its control.
Darkseid’s essence still drags existence into nothingness, leaving only Superman in darkness to finish the Miracle Machine. Darkseid tries to reemerge to capture the machine, but Superman super-sings, countering Darkseid’s life force. I did not make that up. With nothing left, Mandrakk appears to consume the last of reality. Superman uses sunlight from his cells to power the machine and make a wish, for a happy ending. This brings Supermen from 50 worlds, Nix Uotan (the fallen Monitor and son of Mandrakk), the GL Corps, Heaven, and a Rabbit (really). All this light weakens the vampire, so the Green Lantern’s stab him with a light stake, and he dies. That easy.
Darkseid and Mandrakk gone, the singularity disappears, time goes back to normal. Everyone returns to their realities, including Nix Uotan. He disbands the Monitors in accordance with Superman’s wish, and his sent back to Earth. The last page reveals Batman didn’t die, but was sent back in time. He was seen in a cave, drawing the Bat symbol after an old Anthro died inscribing the New God alphabet symbol.
The end. Holy crap, I want to throw up. The series, seven issues, started in July ’08, finishing in March ’09. J.G. Jones was to have drawn the entire series, but was too slow, drawing #1-3, sharing duties with Carlos Pacheco on #4-6, with Doug Manke completely handling #7. If you want to read this yourself (if you read all this, I guess you’re crazy enough to), here’s the correct reading order from Morrison: Final Crisis #1-3, Superman Beyond #1-2, Final Crisis: Submit, Final Crisis #4–5, Batman #682–683, and Final Crisis #6–7. I’m done.
Did you read Final Crisis? Did you understand it (honestly, it took me a while)? Comment below!
If you read all of this, thank you.