I have absolutely no right to be writing a blog post about this storyline after having only read it once. This is obviously a story that lends itself to multiple readings, all in order to understand the intricacies and twists that it presents. I’m not even going to attempt to summarize the story; if you’re here, I’m assuming you’ve read it. Any summary I provided would be woefully inadequate, and would no doubt leave out plenty of key elements. Instead, I’m going to focus on a handful of plot points that either surprised me, confused me, or just plain didn’t make sense.
- Is Batman DEAD??
Okay, that’s a rhetorical question, since we see him at the end of the trade, transported to the past by Darkseid’s Omega beams. Still, this image of a dead Batman is pretty haunting. Given that this is Batman , I never really worried too much that he was really gone for good; even if he died, they’d just find a way to bring him back. Still, I sort of love the fact that it seems he didn’t really die. Flash, Green Arrow, even Superman: they’ve all died and been brought back to life. This is Batman though, and he’s just too damn good to die. Even in the grips of death, he outwits it.
Maybe I’m reading too much into that, but I think it’s pretty awesome.
2. J’Onn J’Onzz is dead?!?!?!
This one’s not a drill, as the Martian Manhunter actually does die. Surprisingly, the aftermath of his death isn’t collected in this trade. Luckily, Mistah J pulled the single-issue Final Crisis:Requiem for me to read about our favorite Martian’s demise. I was fine the whole trade, really I was. Sad, but I kept it together. That is, until the final page of the comic, when Batman hangs back at J’Onn’s grave on Mars and leaves an oreo atop it as he says goodbye.
I started bawling my eyes out. HOW DARE YOU, DC. I can’t handle this type of emotional trauma, dammit. Did he really need to die? Why do all of these amazing character have to die?? I’m holding out hope that he’ll come back though, especially since…
3. BARRY ALLEN IS BACK
Yes, Barry Allen, the man who bravely sacrificed himself during Crisis on Infinite Earths 22 years prior has FINALLY RETURNED. I geeked out quite a bit at this one. If Barry can come back, then there’s hope for everyone. Plus, watching him reunite with Iris and Wally and the rest of the Flash family was way sweeter than it had any right to be. Barry returned and told Iris, “Everything’s going to be all right now,” and you know what, I believed him. How can you not trust Barry Allen when he says something like that?? If they did nothing else, at least DC finally brought this hero back.
4. What was up with the Monitors?
There were all these side stories about them protecting the multiverse etc etc, and then they just cease to exist at the end of this story? I didn’t fully understand their role, other than serving as a vehicle to explain various components of the multiverse before knowledge of it was widely known. This portion of the trade felt disjointed, and didn’t tie into the rest of it for me all that well.
5.What the heck is up with the New Gods now?
As far as I can tell, we’re supposed to believe Darkseid is dead (uh huh yeah, sure). Batman fatally shot him (go Batman!) and then Darkseid was sucked into a black whole of death. I would be incredibly surprised if he was gone for good, but maybe we won’t be seeing him for a little bit. Honestly, that’s fine by me. He’s always causing so much mischief and mayhem that we need a little break from all the end-of-the-world threats.
If he’s dead though, what about the rest of the New Gods?
These characters look way too familiar, and yet we can’t see their faces. Does this mean the New Gods will be returning, or are they going to be resurrected as new people, but with the same titles? I’m trying not to be too optimistic, but I can’t help it: I really, really want Mister Miracle and Big Barda to come back (I don’t really care as much about the rest of them. Is that bad? Of well, I like who I like). I’m hoping this isn’t a loose end that doesn’t get tied up, and that the characters aren’t just completely reimagined. I liked Scott Free and Barda the way they were, thank you very much, and don’t really feel like seeing new characters take on the roles. I’m a grouchy old curmugeon, I guess. I don’t like change.
6.Why were there so many random ancillary characters?
There were so many continued storylines from Countdown to Infinite Crisis that never really seemed to go anywhere. What was the point of Renee Montoya/The Question even appearing in this trade? Other than meeting with Checkmate and apparently serving as a liason for…something, she didn’t really do all that much. There were a handful of side character story arcs that felt a bit unnecessary. To be fair, maybe these were fleshed out a bit more in tie-ins that I haven’t read, but even so, I should be able to appreciate their role in the story without reading any additional material. I just didn’t get the significance of these inclusions, and they tended to jolt me out of the story a bit.
A lot happened in this trade. Far more than I could ever hope to cover in a single post. Mistah J has sent me some handy-dandy links to FAQs and summaries about the trade to answer any lingering questions about what all happened, but I’m still unsure of what everything means for the multiverse. All I know is that I still have a few tie-in trades to read following the main storyline, so I’m hoping those flesh out a few more details and repercussions of everything I just read.
No matter what, yay Barry Allen!!!