Look Back: Final Crisis #7 Ends the Crossover With a Beautiful Mess

This is "Look Back," a brand-new feature that I plan to do for at least all of 2019 and possibly beyond that (and possibly forget about in a week, who knows?). The concept is that every weekend (I'll probably be skipping the four fifth weeks in the year, but maybe not) of a month, I will spotlight a single issue of a comic book that came out in the past and talk about that issue in terms of a larger scale (like the series overall, etc.). Each week will be a look at a comic book from a different year that came out the same month X amount of years ago. The first weekend of the month looks at a book that came out this month ten years ago. The second weekend looks at a book that came out this month 25 years ago. The third weekend looks at a book that came out this month 50 years ago. The fourth weekend looks at a book that came out this month 75 years ago.

We begin with Final Crisis #7, which came out in January of 2009.

The whole way that Final Crisis came together was a bit of a mess. You see, first of all, Grant Morrison had his idea for this big storyline where Darkseid attacks the Earth while, at the same time, an evil Monitor attacks the Multiverse itself. The problem was that DC Comics wanted the story to act as a crossover, so they wanted to do lots of tie-ins with it. Morrison, though, was not doing the tie-ins, so Morrison agreed to give them a few plot points and they would then do a year-long series called Countdown (eventually revealed as Countdown to Final Crisis) that led into Final Crisis. However, Morrison's plot points were sort of vague bits and not all of them were even big deals to the story and since there was no coordination beyond that, we had this ridiculous YEAR-LONG story that came out ONCE A WEEK that had really nothing to do with Morrison's final story. In fact, there was a tie-in miniseries, Death of the New Gods, by Jim Starlin, that essentially did NOT tie-in with the ACTUAL death of the New Gods in Morrison's story!

There were also a bunch of tie-in miniseries that really had nothing to do with anything. They were actually mostly pretty good (Legion of 3 Worlds by Geoff Johns and George Perez was a blast), but they mostly just BARELY tied into Final Crisis as a whole (Greg Rucka's non-Spectre stuff came the closest to being legit tie-ins and Morrison does write Legion of 3 Worlds into Final Crisis by having Superman disappear for a few issues while taking part in that adventure and they do give Superman a view of the Miracle Machine for later in the story).

Secondly, Morrison asked DC if he could expand the series, which was to be seven issues, to ten, as he had a lot more story to tell than he had space for in seven issues. They told him no. He then asked if he could have some one-shots and a miniseries and continue the story in those books. They said sure. So Morrison then proceeded to write a two-issue miniseries called Superman Beyond (with artist Doug Manhke) that was absolutely essential to the overall Final Crisis story! At first, DC announced that they weren't going to release the Superman Beyond miniseries with Final Crisis #1-7, but thankfully they relented. There's also an important two-parter in Batman that shows where Batman goes when he gets captured early in Final Crisis and shows him escaping. There's also a one-shot, Final Crisis: Submit, that is also fairly important to the overall plot of the series.

Thirdly, the original series artist, JG Jones, couldn't find the series, only getting through #1-3 and some of #6 (the pages he did in #6 were amazing). Thus, after Carlos Pacheco and Marco Rudy filled in on #4-5 (and some of #6), Doug Mahnke was brought in on super short notice to finish #6 and then draw #7. Manhke is inked by, I believe, roughly 350 different inkers in the final issue as the book was a major rush job (shades of Infinite Crisis' infamous red background). He does an amazing job for such a short period of time, but the rush is clear (some pages are more obvious than others).

So the whole thing was a bit of a mess.

That said, it was a BEAUTIFUL mess!

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