Although I didn’t think much of the first issue of “Final Crisis Aftermath: Run!” this series has certainly not headed in the direction I had supposed. I assumed it was going to be all about the lame Human Flame on the run from the mob and whatever C-list supervillains he accidentally crossed, and that would pretty much fill up the pages of the six issues in the series. What I didn’t expect was that issue #2 would take a turn toward the even more absurd, and that issue #3 would feature a romp with tongue so firmly in cheek that characters like Polka Dot and the Condiment King don’t seem out of place at all.
In short, this has become a fun little series that knows how silly it is and doesn’t mind showing it.
Freddie Williams II, whose art didn’t particularly fit the hairy-ass, running-from-the-mob hijinx of issue #1 is much more suited for costumed shenanigans of the amped-up Human Flame and the goofy minions of General Immortus. This issue features not only the above-mentioned Polka Dot and Condiment King (both real villains in the DCU, believe it or not), but Clayface, Green Lantern, Firestorm, Red Tornado, and too many ultra-dorky supervillains you’ve never heard of. Williams has a bouncy style to his art, and it fits the tone of this kind of ridiculousness well. If my review of issue #1 expressed my fear that Williams would have nothing to draw but a bunch of mobsters and an overweight runaway supervillain with flaming nipples, well, you can be sure that this series has evolved into more than that. First of all, the now buff Human Flame’s fiery nipples are now cybernetically enhanced (though you’ll be glad to discover that his image/power enhancement didn’t result in the loss of his jaunty moustache), and second: this reads more like a parody of a superhero action comic than a run-from-the-mob tale.
Matt Sturges is channeling the Giffen/DeMatteis “JLI” tone here, and it makes for a fun read. These characters would have fit right in with the Justice League Antarctica, and though Williams is no Kevin Maguire, he wouldn’t have been a bad choice — had he been working back in those days — to follow the Maguire/Hughes heyday.
Out of all four “Final Crisis Aftermath” series, this is the only one that’s gotten better every issue. It’s gotten to the point where I’d actually recommend it, especially if you like your supervillains goofy and your protagonists bumbling. It doesn’t seem to be aiming for anything more than that, and why should it? It knows what it is, and it embraces it on every page.