The first part of Final Crisis comes to an end, and it does so in a most unconventional manner, as has been the case for the entirety of this series, really. Like the rest of this series, unconventional is tantamount to awesome, as this end of Act I is one of the most effectively foreboding comics I have read in recent memory.
There are a couple of very specific things that Grant Morrison is doing that I find really appealing here.
1. He is taking the "big players" off of the board, with Batman captured, Green Lantern arrested, Wonder Woman under enemy control and Superman dealing with Lois' injuries (and now, being sent on a mission to possibly help save the day).
2. He is trying to tell the story in an almost Pointillism fashion, as Morrison gives us a little bit of info here, a little bit of info here, a panel here, a panel there, and it is all designed to be combined in our mind to paint the larger picture, and it really delivers a unique reading experience.
The book has a real dire, personal feel to it, which is ably conveyed by artist JG Jones.
Remember in Crisis on Infinite Earths, when the heroes were all gathered together? Even though the situation was dire then, the gathering was almost cheerful (at least as drawn by Perez). Here, the gathering of heroes (via a superhero "draft" run by Alan Scott) is a good deal more subdued, and while all their costumes remain colorful, the dire mood is conveyed a lot better - yes, Alan might have his superhero army, but they are up against likely insurmountable odds.
There's a great bit with the lame Japanese heroes trying to show off their worth to Sonny Sumo and Mister Miracle. The redemption of these joke characters into true heroes is going to be really fun (unless they all die, of course ;)).
What else? The Flash stuff is fun. The Question stuff was fun. The Tawky Tawny stuff was fun.
I'm still not a fan of Dark Mary Marvel, but at least Morrison seems to be playing up that this is not a voluntary thing - the thing that bugged me was Mary VOLUNTARILY becoming Dark Mary Marvel. Her being controlled by an Evil God (possibly Lashina, if you go by the hair) is a lot better of a situation.
Nazi Supergirl getting thrown to seemingly her death? Totally awesome.
The Monitor's adjustment to Earth? Hilarious.
Sending the anti-life equation via the internet wasn't SUPER awesome, but it was still a pretty clever idea - but really, the ending made up for any slight cheesiness of the whole internet thing, as the Flashes have gone two weeks into the future and meet the evil that has conquered Earth, and it is gruesome (that has got to be Krypto that Wonder Woman is riding, right?).
This sets up an exciting two months before #4, as we see Superman's journey and some other cool stuff, and we come back in time for Morrison's other tie-in mini-series, showing some of the handful of free humans.
What a wild ride, and the most amazing thing about it is that Morrison does it without really any bombast - it's the quietest wild ride you'll ever see, and yet it is that quietness that makes it all the more ominous and frightening.
We've reached the middle of the story, and evil has won!
I can't wait until we see what happens next!