Saturday, January 17, 2009

Final Crisis #6(of 7) + a much deeper look into this comic book.

OK, be forewarned, from this point onward there are going to be alot of SPOILERS(I even made the letters bold, so don't say I didn't tell you so!)

Overall- Let's start out with the story, then I'll start to comment on what happened in this comic(I have ALOT to comment on!). We open in the future, where Brainiac 5 is showing Superman a futuristic machine, which the Legion of Super-Heroes had locked away. The machine was locked up because it is able to literally turn a person's thoughts into reality. As Superman begins to fade away, due to the disruption Darkseid has caused to the space-time continuum, Brainiac 5 tells Superman not to touch the machine, but to LOOK at it. Supes stares at the machine before vanishing.

Back in the present, the JLA Watchtower is invaded by the forces of Darkseid, which includes Black Lightning and Green Arrow. Black Canary, the Ray and the Tattooed Man(along with Iris West and Wally's kids)try to stand up to the overwhelming forces, but seem to be fighting a losing battle. When all looks lost, Tattooed Man is able to counter the Anti-Life equation with the pattern he was told to memorize by Black Lightning(I think... I may be wrong on that one...).

Meanwhile, on Earth, the battle continues on several fronts, and it would be nearly impossible for me to recount everything that was happening, because there was a whole lot of fighting going on here! The main point of interest is that the rag-tag group of heroes including Supergirl, Captain Marvel(Freddy Freeman), Black Adam, Red Arrow and the Wildcats(along with a few others)manage to free Mary Marvel from Darkseid's corruption and manage to turn most of Darkseid's forces away.

Mr. Terrific and his group discover that there is a design(the same one Tattooed Man used)that provides protection against the Anti-Life equation. Mr. Terrific ponders this as Darkseid's forces prepare to overwhelm his position. The Question(Renee Montoya)is with the remnants of Checkmate, where telepaths and mystics have gathered in a last desperate attempt to stave off Darkseid's impending victory. Apparently(and once again, I could be WAY off), Checkmate has conceded that Darkseid will win, and they are making plans to move to an alternate universe where Renee will be expected to lead a global peace keeping agency that will be established there to maintain order. Say what?!?!

Lex Luthor and Dr. Sivana secretly plot against Libra at the gallows, where the Calculator was left to hang. As they were talking, Libra and a horde of Darkseid's soldiers approach, and Libra reveals to Lex Luthor that he knows that Lex had been secretly feeding the anti-Darkseid forces information. Sivana touches a hidden device he created, which scrambles the brains of Darkseid's soldiers. Lex then proceeds to unleash a massive blast at Libra , blowing a huge hole through him. Sivana then gives Lex something and tells him that if he speaks into it "they will hear your voice as the voice of Darkseid.".

The Flash's(Barry Allen, Wally West and Jay Garrick)talk, and Barry reveals that he is on the run from the Black Racer, who Wally refers to as the Black Flash. Barry reveals that he and Wally were going to use the Black Racer to move faster then the speed of light in order to reach Darkseid and spoil his plans.

Finally, the main event. The reason I've been dying to get my hands on this comic book. Batman vs. Darkseid. We pick up directly after the events of Batman #682-683. Batman, free from Darkseid's labs searches until he is face to face with Darkseid himself. Batman notices that Darkseid doesn't look very well, before pulling a gun. Batman reveals that the gun has one bullet, the same bullet that Darkseid used to kill Orion, a fellow New God. The bullet in the gun contains Radion, which is toxic to the New Gods. Batman says that although he abhors using guns, he's making a once in a lifetime exception and fires the toxic bullet into Darkseid. As Batman pulls the trigger, Darkseid unleashes his deadly Omega Beams from his eyes and while Batman watches Darkseid fall, Batman is struck by the Omega Beams.

At this moment, Superman appears in the sky, which has turned a crimson red, with the alternate Earth's visible. Superman cuts through Darkseid's forces and burns through the wall of Darkseid's citadel, while the heroes outside watch stunned. Superman emerges from the rubble of Darkseid's fortress, carrying the burned out carcass of Batman in his arms.

Wow... I mean WOW... Where do I even start? This was one of the most action packed comic books I have EVER read. It was just non-stop action from cover to cover. Let's start with the beginning of this comic, the conversation between Superman and Brainiac 5. To me, Brainiac 5 was telling Superman to not just look at the reality warping God Machine, but to look INTO it, meaning, understand its inner workings. To me, the easiest way Grant Morrison can end the Final Crisis storyline is to have Superman and his allies re-create this "God-Machine", and then wish the world back to it's pre-Final Crisis condition. Now, if Morrison goes this route, and Superman uses the God-Machine to alter reality, I can't imagine Supes would allow Batman to remain dead. And let's face it, Batman's death is the main selling point of Final Crisis for most people. With all of the fuss about the death of Bats though, I'm not sure that it would look good to kill Batman off in issue #6, and then resurrect him in issue #7...

But enough about everyone/thing else, this comic book was all about the "death" of Batman(Bruce Wayne). If you are to believe your eyes, Batman is fried by Darkseid's Omega Beams. Superman walks out of the wreckage of Darkseid's fortress, carrying what we are to believe is the corpse of the Batman. Now, this being comic books, we fans are often taught to not believe everything we see/read. Characters "die" all the time, only to later turn up fine. That is why I still won't believe that DC is going to actually pull the trigger and kill off Bruce Wayne. After putting this comic down, my mind was already racing with dozens of ways Bruce could return. The God-Machine could probably do it, it's possible that Darkseid teleported Bruce elsewhere(I know Darkseid can teleport matter with his Omega Beams), and the corpse Superman was holding was a faux-Batman.

The bottom line is, in plain, blunt English, I don't think DC has the balls to kill off Bruce Wayne. Captain America(Steve Rogers)is/was one of my all-time favorite characters. Marvel killed Steve off in a very straight forward way. Steve was gunned down in the middle of the street as he was being led away in handcuffs. There was NOTHING deceptive about Steve's death, he was shot on panel, and we saw him expire ON PANEL. We saw Batman struck by the Omega Beams on panel, but the story moved away after that fateful moment. When next we see Batman, his "corpse" is being carried by Superman. The cynic in me, can just feel that DC has left themselves a loophole to return Batman to life.

Hell, maybe that was it, and Bruce Wayne IS really dead as of this comic book. Maybe DC will try to move on with a Batman who isn't Bruce Wayne. However, I think if there is a huge uproar about a new Batman, DC can always easily explain that Batman was transported to Apokolips by the Omega Beams, and simply move Bruce back into the Batman cowl. You see, although Steve Rogers is/was one of my favorite characters, and a comic book icon, he was no Batman. Yes, every comic book fan knows who Captain America/Steve Rogers is, but ask the average, non-comic book reader who Steve Rogers/Captain America is, and I'll bet you they won't know. Now, ask the same non-comic book reader who Bruce Wayne/Batman is, and I can almost promise you they'll be able to tell you. That's because Batman is one of only 3 comic book characters who have managed to transcend comics. Trust me, I hate to say this, but Bruce Wayne is a much more important character in fiction than Captain America. That is why I don't think DC CAN kill Bruce off. Bruce Wayne and Batman are too strongly connected, the same way Superman and Clark Kent are, which is why the "Death of Superman" event of the 90's was such a monumental failure. Clark Kent IS Superman, not four replacement characters. Peter Parker IS Spider-Man, not Ben Reilly. And Bruce Wayne IS Batman, not Azrael. Replacing Bruce Wayne didn't work in the 1990's, and I honestly don't think it will work in 2009 either.

Damn, I sure wrote ALOT here... I was going to post some other things, like what else I've been reading recently, but this post just ate up an 1 1/2 of my time! I would really love to hear from anyone else who has read this comic, and I'll definitely be looking to see what others are saying about FC #6. For a score, I'm going to give this comic book a 9 1/2 out of 10. In time, depending on what happens to Batman, the score for this comic may wind up being higher, or much lower. But as it is right now, not knowing what the future holds, this comic was nearly perfect.

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