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Final Crisis by Greg Cox
Cover Artist: J.G. Jones
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441018574
Date: 06 July 2010 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The age-old war between the New Gods is over--and Evil has won.

Unchecked by the denizens of New Genesis, Darkseid seeks to seize the key to the Multiverse itself--Earth--and impose a rein of darkness that will last through eternity. The superheroes of Earth must make their most desperate stand ever if they hope to defeat the schemes of an evil god.

This is the story of Final Crisis by Greg Cox, based on the DC Comics' miniseries by writer Grant Morrison. The end of a celestial war means that Earth is defenseless against Darkseid...and he has a plan.

Former cop Dan "Terrible" Turpin is on the trail of six missing kids when he discovers the dying New God Orion, who tells Turpin that "he's in all of you!" As unsettling as that is, Turpin finds far more than he bargained for in the infamous Dark Side Club, leading him into the ruined city of Bludhaven and a bunker named COMMAND-D.

Meanwhile, a "prophet" of the coming Age of Darkseid--a minor supervillain named Libra--takes control of the Society of Super-Villains by achieving the murder of a Justice League mainstay. Lex Luthor is impressed...but begins to consider how to turn this to his own advantage (naturally). His calculations take on greater intensity when it appears Libra has managed the near-impossible: he has taken Superman out of play, through a clever, ruthless and wholly unexpected attack. Luthor begins to wonder if he's smart enough to win this after all.

The murder of Orion sets off other events as well, with an investigation by the Green Lanterns (deicide is a crime in their jurisdiction) indirectly leading to the return of a long-gone superhero and the exposure of a hideous secret by Darkseid's faction. This reborn hero (and his former kid sidekick) end up a couple of weeks in the future and see that Darkseid now rules the world, with a quartet of female superbeings as his new Furies. Realizing the crisis for what it is, they return to the present to rally the good guys for what looks like their greatest battle yet.

But the battle is over nearly before it's begun, with the worldwide release of a thought-weapon that deprives humanity of free will. With millions turned into Darkseid's willing minions, a handful of superbeings must hold out, even as Batman is captured, Superman is pulled into the future and Wonder Woman falls into evil's grasp.

It'll take a miracle to save the world. Good thing the all-new Mister Miracle and his allies, the Japanese teens called the Super Young Team, are ready for action!

Greg Cox once again does a masterful job of distilling a sprawling, complicated and massively cross-connected comic book epic into a single volume. Sure, details are dropped along the way--we don't see Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes taking on their opposite numbers in the future, or the Question facing her now-dead partner (who happens to be the Spectre)--but those elements are not key to the story and are wisely set aside. We do see Mary Marvel, now a champion of Evil, take on Wonder Woman and Supergirl before a final reckoning with a former friend; we also see Black Lightning and the Tattooed Man, bitter enemies forced to work together, as well as Nix Uotan, an exiled Monitor who may hold the key to defeating Darkseid.

Guest starring nearly everyone in the DC universe and bookended by vignettes of Anthro (a caveboy hero of the Stone Age), there are wins and losses aplenty, with the hardest loss being one of the world's greatest heroes. He goes down fighting, though, and it's one heck of a fight.

A love letter to the myth-building genius of Jack Kirby (who created the Fourth World mythology of the New Gods during his '70s run at DC Comics), Final Crisis is a story about how heroes face the triumph of Evil and what choices can be made when there are no choices at all. It's about hope and the victory of the human spirit, and how even the greatest evil can be overthrown, as long as we don't give in.

Which is about as epic as storytelling can get, whether it features heroes in spandex or not.

Recommended.

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