Review: Final Crisis: Requiem

Did you feel like Martian Manhunter’s death in Final Crisis #1 didn’t get the attention it deserved?  Are you even remotely a Martian Manhunter fan?  Do you like to see a great hero fight against overwhelming odds?  Do you like really pretty art?  Final Crisis: Requiem is a book for people who answered yes to any of these.

FC:R begins, essentially, with Martian Manhunter’s capture, as he’s jammed with a few hundred pyro-tranquilizers designed special for this by Dr. Sivana.  That right there sets up just how scared of the Manhunter the villains are – they treat him with the utmost respect, keeping him paralyzed for fear of his retaliation.  If you wanted a lengthened scene of the fall of Martian Manhunter, you’d love this book.

Unfortunately, there are a few disconnects between this and the main narrative.  First off, for al that people did complain about the suddenness of Martian Manhunter’s death, it was a rather pivotal theme-setting moment in the book.  It set the idea that nothing was sacred. The Martian’s death wasn’t heroic – it was a brutal execution, and Morrison portrayed it like that for a  reason.  People whined about how disrespectful it was to the Martian Manhunter, completely missing or unwilling to accept the point: the villains WERE disrespecting the Manhunter, and they had the power to do it. 

Another disconnect is more minor, and more subtle.  In the first two books of Final Crisis, I don’t recall anyone saying the Batman was still Bruce.  I don’t recall ever seeing Batman without his mask.  Final Crisis takes place after RIP, and Morrison seemed to be playing a little cagey on just who Batman was.  There’s nothing to suggest it ISN’T Bruce, but he keeps up that little bit of mystery intact for RIP fans – mystery that is ripped away by Requiem, which repeatedly says that Bruce is still Bruce, Alfred is still Alfred, Dick is still Dick, etc….  So, either there are some pretty big spoilers here, or DC’s editorial managed yet another massive cock-up – not that just such a mistake would be uncommon, given their recent track record on Countdown and DotNG.

The sense that the villains are powerful and, for the first time, have the ability to really hurt the heroes has been destroyed in this book, which seems designed to cash in on both the Manhunter fans and the Final Crisis fans.  In the end, however, this book is mainly for the J’onn fans, and it’s a pretty good one for them, providing great art from Doug Mahnke, an interesting history of Mars and J’onn’s life there, and a plenty of references to J’onn’s past books.  To fans of Final Crisis, it proves a startling disconnect from the ideas and themes of the main book, while adding nothing particularly consequential to them, at least at first glance, making it the worst kind of tie-in: it contributes nothing whatsoever to the main story.  It’s still a pretty good story, but don’t read it just because you’re interested in Final Crisis.  The meat of the story is in the main book – this is ultimately just fluff for the fans.

Rating: B

11 thoughts on “Review: Final Crisis: Requiem

  1. As a J’onn fan, I really enjoyed this tie-in issue. Your complaints seem to be relatively minor, although I do agree about the massive change in tone between this and the FC mini-series.

    Despite his abuse in recent years, the Martian Manhunter was a central figure in the DC Universe and deserved a fitting tribute like this. I do find it odd that J’onn chose Hal Jordan and Black Canary as two of the five people who would carry on his last requests, since Aquaman is apparently alive as of this issue? I’m so confused! Maybe DC Comics really doesn’t have editors after all…

    Given the fact that they expanded three panels into an entire story, I thought they did a pretty good job. It’s certainly better than any of those awful ‘Dark Side Club’ tie-ins going on in the rest of the DCU.

  2. Oh, it wasn’t a bad issue by any means. It was well-written, it was fun, it was sad, J’onn kicked ass. But, ultimately, it was a 3.99 issue that contributed nothing to the main narrative – indeed, undermined the main narrative in some ways. I’m not saying it shouldn’t have been published, but I do think that giving it the Final Crisis banner was a bad decision (though obviously not from the point of view of DC – it wouldn’t sell nearly as well without the FC banner).

  3. Hmm yeah I didn’t read it because I had a feeling it would be like this. This was all something Didio cooked up and nothing to do with Morrison. Grant supposedly personally asked Rucka to write that story for a tie-in so that one should be very good. But this was “just for the fans” as Didio said. And I suppose if you are a big Martian Manhunter fan you may like this, but it does seem like it would take away from FC. His death was random, quick, and with no explanation for a reason. Also, I don’t have any attachments to Tomasi or Mahnke. And as for the “really pretty art”, again I don’t know much about Mahnke, nor did I read this in its entirety. But I flipped through it and from what I could tell I didn’t much care for the art.

    And c’mon, you have to admit he draws MM like Impossible Man. Look at that cover! Anyway, thanks for reviewing this and hopefully Rogue’s Revenge next week will be better.

    In Geoff Johns we trust.

  4. I wasn’t saying Manke’s art was terrible, but what I saw flipping through this book wasn’t that great. Not unreadable, but certainly nothing that deserves to be called “really pretty art”. Maybe he just can’t draw MM very well.

  5. I’ve been a big fan of Mahnke since Seven Soldiers. Actually, 7S introduced me to a number of my favorite artists now – Sook, Mahnke, Bianchi. Speaking of Bianchi, review of Astonishing #25 should be up in a day or two. I wish I could draw like that. I wish I could draw at all. Breaking into comics would be a smidge easier then, I think.

  6. the old WB store at the mall had a Mahnke piece with Superman holding Lois, protecting her from all sorts of crazy looking aliens. black and white, inked. it was one of the coolest pieces of art i have ever seen. it was only 100 bucks. i didn’t buy it right away when i had the chance, and when i finally went back to get it… it was gone. it’s one of the great tragedies of my life.

    heh.

  7. Well, I just looked at my Seven Soldiers trade and DM’s art looked pretty good. So I don’t know….

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