Johns and Johns

FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #5: Well, I liked it a little better than Douglas did, maybe possibly because I have a greater affinity for the "real" Legion (ie Levitz/Giffen, and all that came before that), so I'm real glad to have them back after all of these years, but I have to admit that I'm befuddled by some of the gyrations of the multiple-worlds stuff in this.

Maybe it is because I just don't understand how one can have "52" parallel worlds AND also have "infinite" ones on top of that. As a general concept, I prefer the idea of endless ones that some artificial limitation -- but it isn't at all clear to me that DC or the writers working there really understand their own "rules", which makes things fairly confusing.

As I recall the theory, "Earth Prime" was OUR world -- the world where there weren't any superheroes, and we only read about them as comic book characters. This world was, theoretically, destroyed during "Crisis on Infinite Earths", which, of course, doesn't actually make any sense whatsoever from the POV of DC's cosmology.

(I always had this theory about COIE that went something like this: the multiple earths were never actually destroyed, just that "earth-1" decided to wall itself off from the rest of the multiverse. From THEIR perception, it might seem like everything else was "destroyed", but they just couldn't perceive it any longer.)

Anyway, I always liked the IDEA of Earth-Prime -- where you could have the adventures of Julie Schwartz and Cary Bates or whatever. They made a pretty big hash of it, however, when they decided to introduce... um, what the hell was his name? Was it "Ultraa"? Yeah, I think that's right -- a name with that extra, unnecessary "a" at the end. Would anyone ever know that was his name if he just SAID it? "Uh, no, it has an extra 'a' at the end, it's silent!" "Wow, that's really dumb"

Then, of course, we got Superboy-Prime from that issue of DC COMICS PRESENTS. Though I don't remember any of the details of that DCCP, I vaguely remember the idea was that he was in like "day one" of his career then he went directly into COIE seconds later, so maybe, just maybe, Earth-Prime could still be "our" world.

Now, here in FCLOTW #5 there's a little throwaway line about how Earth-Prime was reborn during "the second crisis", though it seems a smidge weird to me that Sboy-Prime wouldn't have known that since that was everything he wanted in that story, but whatever.

Either way, sboy-Prime is sent back to "his" (our) earth, and then really becomes the explicit metaphor of fanboy entitlement -- living in his parent's basement, posting on the DC Comics message boards (ha ha!)

But what marred this for me is the implication that he then murdered Lori, AND he still has his super-powers. That kind of guts the metaphor, doesn't it? No, it would have been much better to leave those two points out of it; to have had his parents been terrified by him not because of the suggestion of powers, but rather than because of his nutjobbery. I mean, it isn't like they could have him committed because they read in a comic book that he was a genocidal fuck, right? That would get THEM committed.

Take out those two bits, and this would have been a note-perfect ending; but instead it smacks too much of wanting to have one's cake and eat it as well -- Johns just can't seem to put the toy back in the toy box and lock it away forever. Bah!

I hope it WILL be forever, too -- I never ever want to read a comic book ever again that has Prime as the antagonist!

Either way, I still thought this was a decently GOOD ending to the series - one that would have had more punch had it actually came out on time...

BLACKEST NIGHT #1, GL #43 & 44: Y;know, even though this plays to the worst of Johns' instincts (Dirk Deppey's "Superhero Decadence", yes), I really enjoyed the heck out of these. IF you're going to have super-powered zombies coming around, then this is the way to do it, and I like the scope and scale of the story.

BUT, man, do you HAVE to have on-panel violence that is as extreme as Black Hand blowing his head off in GL #43? Or the gory ending of BN #1?

I'm really really REALLY hoping that Johns has a solid endgame mapped for this which puts all of the toys back in the box, properly -- hopefully this will all conclude with all of the dead characters (or at least the ones we LIKE -- Aquaman, J'onn, etc.), coming "properly" back to life, because, in the end, shitting on these characters legacies the other way will really really suck, and will essentially ruin the characters and their legacies "forever". (God, now I'm starting to sound like Prime, aren't I?)

I wonder, too, about at least one of the choices made here -- we've seen it established that Ralph and Sue have a "proper" afterlife, solving crimes as the DC version of Nick-&-Nora-Charles-meets-the Kerby's-From-TOPPER, so what's the, mm, "animating force" in the undead versions of the two? They talk to the Hawks like they ARE Ralph and Sue, but they can't really "BE" them, can they? I mean cosmologically-speaking, and all.

As for GL #44, well it has the hard trick of trying to have content, when that content kinda HAS to be in BN itself -- so, you get "round one" of MM vs Flash & GL, but since that was introed in BN#1, the main bit of it has to happen there. Still, I wanted to make a point that J'onn IS (nearly) "as strong as Superman", PLUS he can shapechange, and read minds and turn invisible... and Barry and Hall should really have no chance whatsoever against him. Not really.

Anyway, for now, I'm "liking" all of this -- I'd rather not, all things considered, have rivers of gore, but if you're doing "zombies", that kind of comes with the territory. ASSUMING that this gets an ending that restores heroism and hope (I know, I'm a fool), then I'm down with this little detour, and I'll give it a solid GOOD.

What's weird to me is that it's selling pretty poorly, compared to my expectations -- we sold more copies of WEDNESDAY COMICS #1 so far than we have of BN #1... and that's even with us giving out the BN ring with purchase. I expected BN #1 to sell like FINAL CRISIS, but it seems to me that the "DC fans" have lost a lot of thier faith in these kinds of events...

Anyway, as always, what did YOU think?