December 19, 2009
Because, quite frankly, both were published during a transition time for me, meaning that I didn't have what the kids call "disposable income"...and since now both series were/available in collected form (and more importantly, through my local library), I thought it high time to begin writing about them.
First, although I've blogged intermittently about it, I still think highly of Final Crisis by Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones,and various other artists. (Some of the tie-in series and spin-offs, not so much). The collection contains the main series, Superman Beyond, and Submit in their "proper" order. (The Superman spin-off seemed to come in between issues of the main series). I never really thought the series was "disjointed" (after all, who expects straightforwardness in a Morrison comic?), but putting all of these minis together gives the overall story a greater punch. This is one of those "things-will-never-be-the-same" series that...well, things were the same afterwards, but you can't fault Morrison. The diverse spread of artists through the book reinforces several key changes in tone (And in the case of Superman Beyond, without the 3-D processing, looks a little clearer and more effective) There are some meaty, inspired touches throughout Final Crisis, making it mandatory reading..
Now, about Ross/Kruger/Braithwaite's Justice, spread out through through three volumes...hoo, boy, how do I put this?
When your covers mimic (and the plot slightly echoes) the artist's best known series...and the introduction cites Challenge of the Superfriends as an influence, things don't necessarily bode well. This isn't really a bad series - merely an uninspired one.
Now, admittedly, I like Alex Ross' artwork, and am not ashamed to admit it. However, when combined with Douglas Braithwaite's artwork, there are moments that don't quite come together, and the art looks rather awkward. (A shot of Superman punching Batman - won't spoil it by explaining context - is a great example). This, combined with a not-quite-spectacular plot, really makes this seem more like a Michael Bay movie.
And that's an insult to Michael Bay movies. Granted, sometimes you just want to turn off your brain and just enjoy, but Justice is a comic that is completely tough to like, despite one or two Bruckheimer moments, and one or two inspired twists. (OK, I'll grant you, this has whetted my appetite for a Ross-painted Metal Men and/or Doom Patrol series).
Quite frankly, though, even though I'm a fan of old school comics like Justice, my heart - and my head - have moved on. No longer content with a high school sweetheart, Final Crisis is like the person you end up spending the rest of your life wit - smart, intelligent, and matching you in every way.