The results of my recent poll on this blog tell the tale. Almost half of the folks who answered (44%) said they aren't reading Final Crisis, and over a third of the rest (31%) said they had no clue what was going on. To understand why, you don't need to look any further than Final Crisis # 3.
I swear this book appears to have been written by either 8 different writers or one schizophrenic. Grant Morrison's "New Storyline Every Page" writing style hasn't changed, and you'll need some serious background in DC history to catch the significance of everything happening here. I've been reading comics for over thirty years, and I still have no clue what most of this stuff is supposed to mean. There are entire websites devoted to nothing but answering the questions from this one series!
The bright spot in this story is the fact that it leads to the return of Barry Allen. Oh, I know tons of folks are complaining about that on the Internet because "Wally is the Flash now! It's not fair for Barry to take that away from him!", but it's the only good thing coming out of this acid trip known as Final Crisis. Jay Garrick appears long enough to confirm that it is indeed Barry we're seeing, and to admit that he's not as fast as either Barry or Wally. The Black Racer is chasing the two speedsters to presumably take Barry back, but they're leading him on quite the run.
Superman makes an appearance to mourn the loss of Lois (who isn't going to die, but who would for one second think she really is anyway?) and to set the stage for his own little FC miniseries offshoot starting next month. He claims his heat vision is the only thing keeping Lois alive, but how is that possible? All the medical marvels the hospital has at their disposal, and it's heat that's keeping her heart pumping? Can someone please keep Grant away from the crackhouse long enough to write just these simple seven issues?
We have that powerful "group shot" every major story is supposed to have. Alan Scott has formed this emergency Justice League of sorts to help contain the oncoming problems. Of course, we never actually get to see them fight, and this issue ends pretty conclusively that the Earth is doomed and the heroes failed, so I guess it was just one of those "Makes sense to me!" moments for Morrison.
There is this brutal and graphic fight between Wonder Woman and Mary Marvel (in her new "spank me, spank me hard" S&M outfit), but I'm not going to show any of it. For no reason other than shock value Mary rips one of the Atomic Knights in half, then gives Wonder Woman a virus.
Mercifully, the story is almost over by then. We see one last glimpse of the Flashes as they've overshot the present to appear one month in the future. Barry is upset trying to figure out why he's been brought back but still unable to save Orion, and then we close on what is supposed to be this big climactic scene of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Giganta, and some other lady turned bad and ready to destroy our heroes. Tune in two months from now to see one page of this storyline, I suppose.
This story ends telling you to read three different miniseries offshoot titles before coming back in two months for Final Crisis #4! You have to read Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, Final Crisis: Revelations, and Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D before coming back to just the Final Crisis main storyline. How does this make sense to anyone?
I know I keep comparing this story to Crisis on Infinite Earths, but I do that for a reason: DC started it saying this was the conclusion of the "Crisis Trilogy". Yet this trip down the rabbit hole every month makes no sense whatsoever. Can you imagine if DC ever tried to put out an Absolute Edition of this? It would be twice the size of the Los Angeles phonebook if they were going to include everything you'd need to have a complete story!
I think it's safe to say you can avoid this title and most of the DC books for the rest of the year. At some point reality is going to set in and someone at DC is going to say, "Hey, remember when stories used to make sense? Let's try doing that again just to see what happens!"