Review: Final Crisis #4 & Final Crisis: Submit

Final Crisis: Submit

Post-apocalyptic fiction. The Last Stand. Do you like stories were one or two heroes struggle silently against an overpowering force to defend a single small town, small family, even a single person? If you do, you’ll love Submit, a Morrison-penned tie-in to Final Crisis in which Black Lightning teams up with the Tattooed Man to try and haul Tattooed Man’s family to safety before the Justifier shock-troops of Darkseid track them down and infect them with Anti-Life.

There’s some good action, and this is an excellent example of how to make a reader care about B-D list characters in a single issue. The trials of Black Lightning and Tattooed Man as they try and protect this single family from the hordes of Justifiers is touching, and the end has made me hope to see more from both characters in the near future.

There is some blatantly obvious religious commentary in the issue – I’d say, if you’re of the hardcore religious right and are particularly sensitive, you may not enjoy the issue (though I don’t know how many of the hardcore religious right are reading Final Crisis in the first place), but it is nonetheless a solid action comic, a single bad day, a demonstration of how harrowing it might be to live in a world ruled by Darkseid…and the decisions and sacrifices that go part and parcel in with being a hero.

Grade: B+

Final Crisis #4

Final Crisis has had an excessively long wait thanks to the apparently epic slowness of artist JG Jones, and while the decision to use Jones will doubtless read well in trade, it’s undeniably frustrating fight now. That said, there are a panels right now that definitely showcase Jones’ particular talents, towards the end of the book in particular, and I don’t know another mainstream comic artist so capable of imbuing such a sense of menace or dread into super-heroic art.

Morrison knows how to use his art team quite well, and this issue is definitely a turning point in Final Crisis. Darkseid has won, and everyone knows it. True to the spirit of super-hero comics, the heroes won’t give up, but as every page passes, the dread increases both for us and for them.

As a mainstream event, it’s doubtless too dark, too ‘unheroic’ for the Big Event genre, not to mention the fact that it follows mostly B-D list characters (and I love them for it), showing that the end of the world effects everyone equally..and everyone fights this equally as well. Turpin’s running narration of the issue is a chilling example of the cold, hard fact that sometimes it takes more than fighting the good fight to win – and that theme, that sense of alienation, runs throughout the entire issue, making this one of the strongest issues of the series thus far.

Final Crisis is a dark epic of cruelty, of tyranny, as universal mathematics. This issue demonstrates that to chilling effect, making all of the tried-and-true formulas of super-hero comics strip us slowly of the very hope they once inspired.

Grade: A-

2 thoughts on “Review: Final Crisis #4 & Final Crisis: Submit

  1. Submit really only had one plot point that was totally relevant – otherwise it was more an examination of trying to survive under Darkseid’s thumb and a “Seven Samurai” style story of a few people trying to stand up for what’s right against insurmountable odds. But, yeah, I can definitely see how that was annoying. It should’ve come out the week before, along with Resist.

    I actually read Submit first. I was so damn excited to get FC #4, that I didn’t want to read it first then find Submit dull by comparison. Imagine my surprise that this was the correct order!

  2. I definitely agree – there should have been some firmer indication that Submit should be read first. I had thought that Submit and Resist each took place during the weeks Barry and Wally were gone. It seems that I was right about Submit, but I’m not yet sure if Resist takes place between 3 and 4 or between 4 and 5.

    I suppose we’ll find out soon.

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