Saturday, July 12, 2008

Final Crisis - Requiem

While Final Crisis had a big part to play in my creation of this blog, I don't plan to cover every single offshoot issue from the convoluted storyline. But when I read Requiem, I knew there was something here to talk about.

One of the problems with Final Crisis is the way Grant Morrison is trying to tell a dozen stories in each issue, and everything only gets a passing mention before being tossed aside and the fans being told, "If you like that story, grab the one-shot or miniseries coming out about it." I can't say I've ever really seen a time before when a publisher would do a miniseries about a miniseries while it's still trying to publish the original, but this is DC.

One of the major moments so far has been the one-panel death of Martian Manhunter, a hero that's been around since the creation of the JLA. I have never seen the fascination folks have with him, as he was--to me--a second-rate Superman rip-off who could be defeated if you just lit a match, so his death really didn't grab me. The fact that they've slowly tried to devolve his look into something from an X-Files episode over recent years didn't help the matter. Still, even I thought he deserved more than a toss-off death scene.

Enter Final Crisis: Requiem.

This one-shot is supposed to fill in the blanks about what led up to the Martian Manhunter's death, how it affected his friends, and just how they found out about it (as well as the obligatory funeral scene). The problem is this is a great story, and if they'd just put this into Final Crisis itself it could have helped the miniseries so much.

Instead of just being dragged into the room and stabbed, MM actually puts up a fight in this issue by playing with the minds of the villains in the room, making them think the heroes are killing them. For a moment it seems like he might make it out of this alive--except we know how this ends for him. And even though I didn't care for MM, this fight gave me new respect for what he could have been if DC had just let him cut loose. And after the bad guys get through really killing him off, his body still has to be found. Tell me this wouldn't have been an incredible shot in Final Crisis:
This would have been a much more powerful statement in the miniseries itself. Nightwing finding his body impaled on a rooftop...this is the stuff the miniseries is missing right now.

DC has pushed Final Crisis as "the last one". This was the end of the "Crisis Trilogy" (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis), and it was supposed to be this universe-altering storyline that would change the DC Universe forever. Instead, it's like grabbing a sampler comic every issue with the main stories being pushed to one-shots like this one. If they want to fix this, they should go back and read "Crisis on Infinite Earths" again and see how self-contained this maxi-series really was. All the major events happened in those 12 issues, and it was what made the story powerful. Requiem just proves that DC still has the storytelling chops in them somewhere, they just need to pile it all into that main story!

Pick up this issue. Yes, parts of it are sappy, but it's a much better story than the series it comes from.


Robby Reed said...

You rake the issue over the coals, then tell us to buy it anyway? Maybe you should write DC press releases. That shot of MM impaled on the roof is not "powerful," it is an obscenity. It is murder and torture made into entertainment. It is SICK. As enjoyable as a watching a snuff film. Or, to put it as DC might, "suitable for children of all ages!"

Brian said...

You misread this. I rake "Final Crisis" over the coals, yes, but this one-shot "Requiem" is a good single story issue not directly tied into the storyline.

And yes, I'll agree that scene was graphic, but no more graphic than the impaling we got in the miniseries itself (and definitely not as bad as the guy getting his heart ripped out of his chest in that second issue).

Sorry you didn't like my review of it. It's just my opinion anyway. If I wrote for DC, the whole "Final Crisis" storyline would have been much different.

Robby Reed said...

Ummm, I didn't misread anything. You DID say the impaled MM scene was "powerful," did you not?

You also wrote: "Tell me this wouldn't have been an incredible shot in Final Crisis."

OK -- this would NOT have been an incredible shot in Final Crisis! I told you!

Rather, it would have been a shot that was an obscenity of murder and torture made into entertainment!

It's not that I "don't like your review," it's that I don't find scenes of sick torture entertaining! I guess you do.

Or at least you find them "powerful."

I find them unnecessary and revolting.

Brian said...

The torture wasn't what I found powerful. It was the fact that they actually killed one of their icons. The scene could have been just as powerful with just a reaction shot of Nightwing's face, and then a later explanation of what he'd seen (a shrouded body on an examination table at the JLA headquarters maybe). They never had to show how he died at all and it would have given the same reaction. Actually, it would have probably been a better reaction because each person would have to fill in the blanks in their own mind of what had happened. Like Alfred Hitchcock said, "The tension is not in the bang, but in the anticipation of it." We can make it worse than it was.

I'm definitely not pro-violence, and I agree that comics are way too violent today (Moon Knight is a series that I completely ignore now thanks to the horrible blood and gore moments in this mainstream comic). Since they've abandoned the CCA seal, it seems everyone is pushing the envelope. The statement I found so powerful was that Martian Manhunter was dead, and what I'm saying is that DC is breezing over major moments like this one (the death of a major hero) in an attempt to make so much happen at once.

I understand where you're coming from and what you're saying. It is too far for the sake of shock value. The rest of the story, however, deals with the JLA trying to fulfil MM's last wishes to them (he projected it mentally as he was dying), so it was trying to lay this dear friend to rest. The story in this one-shot ended well with a fitting tribute to him.

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