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To Final Crisis #1
writers: Paul Dini and Keith Giffen
artists: Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher

In our hearts, we knew this was how it would go down. Fifty-two weeks of faithfully reading Countdown, and all of it really just serves as a preface to yet another event.

With only a week to breathe, even the book's most earth-shattering revelation has been negated by DC house ads. Last week, I mentally gave DC credit for doing the unthinkable: truly bringing the New Gods saga to a close and killing Darkseid. In the final issue, Jimmy Olsen even comments upon Forager being the last of that race, a character without a world or an anchor to this reality. Darkseid is truly dead.

Until next month.

So at the risk of spoilers…


You've been warned. Let's take a look at where Countdown to Final Crisis has left us.

Some may have had fears that the multiverse would disappear. So far, the concept remains, but with that ridiculously specific number of worlds - and the ridiculous notion that Jimmy Olsen can tell absolutely no one about it because, well, because he can't. With Grant Morrison writing Final Crisis, it would be safe to assume that he'll revert reality to a more Hypertime-like sensibility. With infinite variations, it just doesn't make sense that only 52 realities exist.

At least I'm grateful that they do exist, though Darwyn Cooke's assertion in The New Frontier Secret Files must always be kept in mind. New realities are created every day; we used to call it "fiction." Anyway, somewhere out there Earth-S remains, a place where the Marvel Family don't worry about their being a potential trademark violation, and instead can concentrate on being fun. Thanks to the last year of DC's books, and this one in particular, the "regular" Marvel Family has become unrecognizable, grim and flat-out stupid.

Granted, Mary Marvel might have become too innocent as a result of Giffen and DeMatteis' work with her, but at least that was an exaggeration of what had gone before. She was also a voice of reason within the Marvels, providing a calming feminine influence. Now her journey has made her dark and dangerous, willful and spoiled. Maybe that's realistic for a teen girl, but just because some teens behave that way doesn't mean all do - and shouldn't characters like the Marvel Family serve as exemplars, not as examples?

Perhaps there's a long-term editorial plan to bring Mary back around to the side of good, and it's not like a lot of teen girls are reading DC's superhero books anyway. But like the super-hoochie Supergirl, Mary has become a character no thinking comics-reading father would want to offer his kids. At least Freddy Freeman remains somewhat noble, even if the mythology seems all screwed up now.

Another mythology messed with concerns Jack Kirby's post-Great Disaster. As we all expected, Buddy Blank becomes the true OMAC we know and love (?), leaving the updated models of the last couple of years out in the cold. But it doesn't make sense, because it also undoes the barely weeks old revelation that Blank is also the grandfather of Kamandi, who wouldn't be Kamandi if he both remembers his name and only stays in Command-D for a few days.

On the other hand, a reality that must be faced is…well, most modern fans don't really know a thing about Kamandi, or OMAC or for that matter even the Marvel Family. It's really hard shaking a continuity fist from this old rocking chair on the porch. A nurse will be by with my medication soon.

In the new reality, though, we're left with an unlikely team of people without Earths. Ray Palmer renounces his citizenship of New Earth (Earth 1? Earth 1 - A New Beginning?), mainly because his successor Ryan Choi continues doing decently in a book titled The All-New Atom, which has lasted longer than any book featuring Ray Palmer in that role.

Joining Ray, or forcing Ray into heroism, are Donna Troy, a woman with continuity so screwed-up not even Mark Waid could tell you what Earth she's supposed to be from now, Kyle Rayner, the Green Lantern That Nobody Wanted From An Earth Nobody Bothered Developing, and the aforementioned Forager.

I'm going to admit to their being bad-ass, but how exactly did this grouping become so powerful they could make the near omnipotent Monitors quake in their boots, establishing themselves as a watchdog committee? Who monitors the Monitors? Who must carefully avoid using the actual Latin phrase in order to not cause Alan Moore to cast a spell against Dan DiDio?

Only Gotham City seems to be recognizable, with a barely perceptible change in status quo that should make things actually interesting for Batman. Having spent time with a far darker version of Batman, Jason Todd returns to, um, actually be pretty much the exact same character he was at the beginning of his return to life. At least Harley Quinn seems to be more firmly on the side of good with Holly Kyle as her new partner, even if penciler Tom Derenick now draws her as if she was a teen-ager. Could someone please remember that as crazy as she is, she has a PhD?

Will any of it have resonance, though? That's the frustrating thing. Holly tells Harley never to change; though that's out of the question, it would be nice if we could wait at least another year before things change again. Instead, we only have a month.

And, darn it, we'll dive right back in again.

Derek McCaw


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