Here we are. The final issue of Final Crisis. It’s been long, twisty, and like the actual series this feature has had its fair share of delays.
Final Crisis #7
(w) Grant Morrison (a) Doug Mahnke (i) Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Christian Alamy, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Dough Mahnke & Walden Wong (c) Alex Sinclair w/ Tony Avina & Pete Pantazis.
Jason Jeffords Jr (JJR): Wow, It’s the final issue of DC’s final crisis of the final comic event. Actually, only one of those is true. Before getting too deep into the issue, this whole The Full Run write-ups have been fun as hell to me. Having read Final Crisis multiple times and recently reading the tie-ins I feel like there is still so much I missed which has been said by Dan. It’s insane to me that after so many reads there was so much I missed. Nonetheless, let’s look at Final Crisis #7!
The opening pages of this final issue were huge for me! As much as I loved comics back then, I never delved too much in the multiverse stuff, so the Supermen of the Multiverse was stupid awesome towards me. Hell, even in 2020 it pulls at the “this is badass” strings in my heart, especially the character of Superman (Earth 23) or known as President Superman. Final Crisis #7 is actually his first appearance, luckily it isn’t his last as Morrison used him more throughout the years. Funny enough, this opening may be the easiest part to digest in the whole issue.
That in mind, I’ll kick it over to Dan!
Dan Gehen (DG): While this issue does wrap up Final Crisis in a neat little bow, it in many ways wraps up this iteration of the DC Universe too. Think about the stuff that happened between this issue and Flashpoint. You had Dick Grayson assuming the mantle of Batman, Geoff Johns was turning the Green Lantern books into an acid-trip with the various colors. The Justice League comic wasn’t much of a flagship title. If you wanted to stop reading DC after this story, you could walk away completely satisfied. Of course, the nature of comics – especially the Big Two – meant that more stories would follow, and Morrison knew this. And so we get the seeds of what would come later here.
It does astound me that President Superman hasn’t been given his own miniseries, because every time he shows it is a treat. Morrison would later use him – and this “league of Supermen” – in both his Action Comics run and later, The Multiversity as a member of the team Justice League Incarnate. This Superman was actually created as a tribute to newly elected President Barack Obama, while Nubia – this universe’s Wonder Woman – is a throwback to 1973’s Wonder Woman #204.
Speaking of these multiversal Supermen, we see Captain Marvel, who gets his own issue in The Multiversity. This isn’t the rebranded Shazam, but the old-school, Big Red Cheese from Whiz Comics. He gets his own world (Earth-S or Earth 5, depending on who’s in charge of editorial), and keeps the name Captain Marvel like he should. Speaking of Marvel, we see the rival publisher’s Hyperion, Sentry, and Omega the Unknown. has been tossed into this page, along with Malibu Comics’ Prime, Rob Liefeld’s Supreme, Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s Samaritan of Astro City fame. I know references to other works are fairly commonplace in the industry, but how this got past editorial and Marvel’s lawyers is amazing.
JJR: Yeah, looking at it as a “wrap up of the iteration” of the DC Universe is interesting. It seemed to end a fair amount going on, while (like you said) setting seeds and such for the future. If you wanted an out for DC Comics you could have very well called this your final crisis event. One thing I did like is how this series feels like a precursor to The Multiversity. Having just recently reread that series a lot of it stems from Final Crisis. Honestly, it feels damn near like a prologue to the series. Nonetheless, there are two things I wanted to bring up before the end of the issue.
First being the whistling scene, or the “vibrations/counter vibrations” Darkseid send-off. Where I grew up, people hated this scene passionately. Just as bad as “Martha” from Batman V. Superman. Personally, I loved it. It seems like it calls back to Flash of Two Worlds with Barry going to another Universe due to changing his body vibrations. I don’t know what it was for where you live, or how the internet reacted, but everyone I knew despised this moment.
Now the second thing; I fucking love the double page of the Supermen of the Multiverse, the Super Young Team, the Zoo Crew, the Army of Heaven, and the Green Lantern Corps charging at the shadows and Mandrakk. The page is epic as hell and makes the fight seem huge like a final fight should be over someone so powerful. Be that as it may, big battles aren’t everything, because damn does the final issue feel dense. Even after reading it recently, I’m still looking at pages to remind myself about everything.
All of the threads in the story Morrison has laid out comes together in Final Crisis #7 in a story that’s so damn dense you have to read it multiple times. That’s not a bad thing, but now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t remember the last time I read an event that seemed this stacked in the story. Most events to me seem like fluff that doesn’t really push the limit or give you a reason to reread. Instead, I feel like when I read an event now it’s one and done and the story is a straight line. Yet with Final Crisis (especially this issue) the story doesn’t feel like a straight line and promises you a different place of understanding when you read it again. I guess I miss when some events made you think and reread instead of being “simple.” Before anyone comes after me for that, yes I also love “simple” reads, but events should feel big and warrant you to look closer at it.
On a side note, Final Crisis #7 is freaking bleak at times. I mean they send out a rocket with Lois Lane’s “final” article to show how they think it’s all over.
DG: That whole sequence with the “final” edition of the Daily Planet is indeed bleak, but like a lot of Morrison’s works, there is still a hint of optimism breaking through. Where things stand at this moment is the lowest for our heroes. Batman is “dead,” Wonder Woman is an acolyte of Darkseid, and the Daily Planet is sequestered away in the Fortress of Solitude. And despite this, the front page headline reads “Earth Endures.”
It is that optimistic outlook that begins to change the tide. Darkseid, despite vanquishing Batman, was fatally wounded by the Radion bullet in the previous issue. That opened the door for arguably the most badass Flash moment ever, with Wally West and Barry Allen leading the Black Racer – death incarnate – right to Darkseid.
From here, Morrison’s script transforms into pure narration. It’s a style that usually doesn’t work in comics, especially in modern context where it is considered folly to narrate a visual medium. However, Morrison’s narration provides big-picture context to Doug Mahnke’s visuals. The story jumps from Superman to Checkmate to the Super Young Team, it is wonderfully tied together by a small caption that reads “this is the story of all our stories” which continues on the next page with “And this is how it ends.”
How does it end? With Superman delivering the final blow to Darkseid by singing a mighty tune. Yeah, the book says it’s vibrations and all that, but it also says “Darkseid… always hated music.” So yeah, Superman sings a song that saves all of time and space. What I’m saying is that Final Crisis is the superhero version of Bill & Ted Face the Music. Jokes aside, Final Crisis reaffirms the aspirational nature of superheroes, and acts as a counter to Watchmen. Whereas Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ work postulates how messed up these characters would be in the real world, Morrison shrugs and says “who cares?” He embraces the ridiculous and awesome feats these characters are capable of because they live in a fictional world. The conclusion of this issue – and story overall – reflect that. Superman built a wish-granting god machine, and he wished for a happy ending. The journey to get to this point may have been… let’s say insane. However, the resolution is elegant in its simplicity.
Previously on “The Full Run: Final Crisis”