Page 45 Review by Jonathan
Okay, before I reproduce my review of the FINAL CRISIS softcover which costs £14-99 lets establish what extras you get for your additional sixty quid and a penny. Errr... not a lot actually, much like most of the DC superhero Absolute editions frankly. This, exactly like the softcover, only contains FINAL CRISIS #17, FINAL CRISIS SUPERMAN BEYOND #12, and FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT #1. Given there was also FINAL CRISIS 1: DIRECTORS CUT, FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM #1, FINAL CRISIS: RESIST #1, FINAL CRISIS: SECRET FILES #1, FINAL CRISIS: REVELATIONS #15, plus the four 5 issue FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH titles: ESCAPE, RUN, DANCE (really, I kid you not) plus the possibly ever more improbably named INK, you might have thought they could throw a few of those in. But no. What you get is apparently a few extra story pages in the SUPERMAN BEYOND bit, many J.G. Jones sketches and some Morrison commentary. Larger pages, nicer paper etc. But that really is it. Is it worth splashing the extra cash therefore to risk tipping you in FINANCIAL CRISIS? Well, that as ever, is your choice. Anyway, heres the review of story itself which is great...
"There! Can you hear it Superman? So small and far away. That's the sound of you failing everyone you promised to save!"
As an unabashed Grant Morrison fan I will state now that I read and really enjoyed FINAL CRISIS, although like many other people, it seems, I can't quite bring myself to proclaim it a true masterpiece. A slightly flawed masterpiece, I think, would be a fair verdict. There are brave and bold ideas aplenty in the creative writing we've come to expect from Morrison and heroism on a truly meta-epic scale and yet, and yet, something just holds it back from being perfect. I'm quite sure people will still be picking up FINAL CRISIS in years to come unlike some of the many previous CRISIS variants, but whether it will ultimately acquire the status of works like KINGDOM COME and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS remains to be seen.
So why should you read FINAL CRISIS? Quite simply because it's Morrison writing superheroes in his own unique way that stretches and probes your mind and posits questions about your understanding of our own universe, and of course ultimately entertains as well. Let us make no mistake, FINAL CRISIS is never ever dull, nor is a single panel wasted with pointless fight sequences, instead it is plot, plot, PLOT and BIG ideas with many, many stand-out moments of brilliance, including some poignant ones. This is superheroes for intelligent adults with something to say, and thoughts to provoke.
So what's the problem (if any)? Well, the extremely intense nature of the plot,* coupled with the strange and somewhat jarring order of the additional issues within the main body of FINAL CRISIS itself in this collection means this is probably not something that is going to reap the maximum reward on your first pass. But then again, why should it? Think of it as a super-compressed version of his writing on ALL-STAR SUPERMAN with you the reader sometimes fighting desperately not to get sucked over the event horizon and into a black hole of plot impaction. You will need to re-read this work to get the most enjoyment out of it, but it is very much worth persevering with. There is some very clever and witty writing to be savoured. Plus you will also find out the ultimate fate of Bruce Wayne...
*I'm not even going to attempt a plot summary or we'd break the record for the longest review ever, I think.