Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Final Word

Everybody and their monkey have had something to say about Final Crisis since it finished up a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s my turn, since I figure I’m smarter than any damn monkey. Except for that one that used to outsmart Clint in Every Which Way But Loose.

The fact that there has been so much to say about this comic series is one of the nicest things about it. The release of issue number seven saw the usual moaning from the usual quarters, as people unaccustomed to thoughtful contemplation grew angry at the idea that they might be forced to put some effort into a superhero comic book, but there were also some fine commentary from some unexpected and presumed lost places.

Some said it was rubbish, that Morrison had lost all sense of pacing and the overall marketing was a drag on the comic book story, resulting in a series that was disjointed, confusing and an affront to all good comic books everywhere.

I don’t know about that.

Some said it was an otherworldly plea to give fictional characters their rights, told in a multiflexible format disguised as a four colour dreamscape. That it was the culmination of decades of superhero comic work from Morrison, resulting in a series that was transcendental, exciting and the first great mess of the 21st century.

I don’t really know about that either.

All I do know is that I was sitting in my car reading that last issue when I got towards the end and it just really hit me, and I let out an involuntary sob and a policeman on the other side of the road saw me do it and gave me a funny look and I had to hide under the doorframe until he went away and then I could finish reading my comic.

He took a long, long time to move on.

So yeah, I liked it. Anything that can get an emotional reaction like that out of me has to have something going for it. And sure, I can understand many of the criticisms, with the changing artist teams and sudden appearance of Mandrakk at the end there feeling a little off.

Still, anybody who complains about the fact it was hard to understand can fuck right off. All things considered, it was a pretty straight-forward story, with lots of shiny bits grafted onto the plot, but it was still just superheroes beating up bad guys, and people who have a problem getting their head around that deserve all the scorn they can handle.

And sure, I can get a little emotional reading comic books sometimes, (Garth Ennis is a fucking genius at writing stories that get under my skin in this way, and writes the best last pages in comics,) so this wasn’t that much of a rare event.

But it still really moved me. From the ‘Earth endures’ sequence to the part where the Monitors are chastised for almost causing the destruction of the most precious and delicate creation that ever existed, to Superman wishing all of us a happy ending, those last dozen pages resonated with me, and made me want to just get up and dance.

I’d be a Morrison apologist, if I felt there was anything worth apologizing over. I just love his comics, and always have, because they’re smart and funny and sarcastic and naïve and pure and punk and fun.

But I also love them because he sometimes he writes things that articulate just how much all these stupid superheroes actually mean, and I can feel the love. And I do genuinely feel moved over it all.

And if a comic book gets the kind of emotional reaction that has policemen looking at me funny, than it must be doing something right. When so many other comics leave me cold, or bored, or even angry at their stupidity, Final Crisis made me happy. And that’s a good thing.

And that’s all I know about that.

* * *

I was also oddly moved by a sequence in a recent Green Lantern Corps comic. It was an epilogue or something to the Sinestro Corps War, and featured a scene where a lizard Green Lantern floated on his back in a clear, blue ocean, laughing at the universe because he wasn't dead yet.

The whole crossover left me cold, but I loved that bit.


Chad Nevett said...

I'm not a man who gets teary-eyed easily, but you're right about Ennis and his ability to end stories/affect the reader. With some of his stuff, I have to put the book down and think happy thoughts for fear of getting the pages wet and wrinkly.

Bob Temuka said...

Oh man, I was completely destroyed by the ending of his Long, Cold Dark storyline in the Punisher Max comic last year. Just the sheer, overwhelming sadness of a man that has turned his life into this horrible, desperate and violent crusade, recognising what it has done to him and what he has missed out on. That just floored me.

But I've always liked Ennis' endings, ever since he had the man character pull the trigger of his gun at the end of True Faith in Crisis. In recent years, the last few pages of both The Tyger and The End Punisher one-offs have been staggering, and just the other week, the climax to The Night Witches was a tough, hard son of a bitch.

Chad Nevett said...

Punisher: Born had a chilling ending, too.

I'm already looking forward to/dreading the end of The Boys.

Bob Temuka said...

Shit, all his Punisher stories since he took things in the darkest of directions have been stunners. I have never finished one of Ennis' Punisher stories without feeling completely satisfied.

I just hope Wee Hughie makes it to the end of The Boys okay. The others are almost all doomed, but I'm hoping the little Scotsman will not go down with them.

Chad Nevett said...

I hope he somehow gets a happy ending with Annie. I know, I know, Ennis will no doubt crush their relationship in a horrible manner that will also crush my soul, but I can still hope.

Bob Temuka said...

Yeah, but Ennis can also be a big old softie and give happy endings to those who deserve them. Like at the end of Preacher....