Via The Comics Reporter:

Where I now see the primary weakness of Final Crisis is that the DC universe itself isn’t vital enough or interesting enough or dependable enough as a starting point or filled with enough creative energy for me to give a crap as it all slips away. It’s hard to take seriously a crisis paired with an adjective, even an alarming one. A greater sense of peril was engendered by one of Fred Sanford’s heart attacks.


  1. I’ve been wondering how much of DiDio’s attitudes toward Superman, Batman, et al., are based on the belief that the characters have been done to death, and that there really isn’t any way to do something new with them, aimed at new readers, that doesn’t risk antagonizing old readers. Readers who love the characters are willing to put up with repetitive situations, character bits, plots, etc., that would drive other readers batty: “Batman vs. the Joker? Again?! You’ve got to be kidding me. . .” There’s the Flash, who is a single-gimmick — super speed — character, but he’s lasted for decades, despite his shallowness.

    If someone’s primary concerns as a creator are originality, innovativeness, and making creative statements, it’s easy to look at the DC characters and think that there’s nothing there.


  2. Yeah. As much as I like the idea of Darkseid & company getting a serious revamp, as much as I like seeing fringe characters stealing the limelight away from the Big Three, and as much I love Morrison’s scripting overall, I find myself… not caring all that much.

    These universe-spanning crisis thingamajigs have grown tiresome beyond the telling, as has the DC Universe itself become a vast haven of far too many characters, all inter-changeable, all always on the cusp of some dire emergency. By being in a position of always having to save the multiverse from certain peril, it has become… well… as mundane as always being on the lookout for accidentally stepping on a kitten in a houseful of cats; Sure, they’re adorable and all, but after a while, you wish they’d just get the hell out of the way. Also, the smell from all the litter-boxes is getting to be a bit much.

    Best case scenario: Once this “Final” Crisis is over & done with, start streamlining the DCU into something more manageable, forget the frickin’ multiverse (which honestly, is nothing more than a crutch for the unimaginative) and go back to making conflicts into something more personal. Sure, you can still have the occasional “OMFG! Look at the red skies!” thing from time to time – but it should be a real event, not something that happens every three weeks.

    Go back & look at Kirby’s original run of the Fourth World – specifically Darkseid himself. What made the character great was that he wasn’t an intergalactic tyrant that engaged his enemies in idiot fisticuffs. He was more reserved, calculating, even sardonic at times. And tragic. What Kirby did not come right out and tell you about Darkseid was just as important (if not more so) than what he did. My point being this: Despite people always ragging on Kirby’s writing, in Darkseid, he created a complex, multi-layered, tragic on a Shakespearian level villain that who fascinating to watch whenever he showed up – because of the subtle cracks beneath the stone visage which we could sometimes glimpse. In short – the attraction of the character was that of a personal nature, NOT because “HOLY SHIT! DARKSEID’S HERE & HE’S GONNA TAKE NAMES & KICK SOME ASS!”

    Learn from this.

  3. Hey Mark , whenever I see a dragged out knuckle busting slam ass bout happening between Supes and Darkseid on either a Superman: The Animated Series or Justice League episode: I look upon it as movie magic!



  4. forget the frickin’ multiverse (which honestly, is nothing more than a crutch for the unimaginative)

    Huh? How is a framework that (in theory) opens up more possibilities for storytelling a “crutch for the unimaginative?”

    Multiverse, Elseworlds, Hypertime, Imaginary Story, What If, All-Star — whatever you want to call it, it seems that it allows people to be more imaginative because they’re not boxed in by current continuity. Now, if authors don’t take advantage of that (the 5 million stories in which Kal-El grows up as an ordinary guy, or becomes some other hero, but still ends up being Superman at the end of the book), that’s a failing of the story, not the concept.

  5. “Mr. Spurge has been so down on comics lately that he seems on the verge of walking away from comics.”

    Good riddance.

  6. Alan and John, so just because Tom Spurgeon doesn’t like Final Crisis or the current DC superhero universe means he “seems on the verge of walking away from comics”? If DC (or Marvel) superhero titles were the only comics Tom is reading, I couldn’t blame him. On Spurgeon’s blog he seems to hardly mention current superhero comics instead putting the spotlight on other genres within this medium and other than this Final Crisis entry of his, I’m not getting the same vibe you’re getting from The Comics Reporter. Examples please?

  7. Tom’s points are well taken.

    But I don’t think it’s “fatigue” per se, as much as what Stan used to call “the illusion of change” and the fact that many of us have seen similarly senses-shattering and pulse-pounding universe-changing events several times already.

    The second time you hear a joke it’s not as funny. And the third and fourth, even less so.

    But Kelson, as usual, is correct. Hypertime, baby!

  8. I like Ralph’s point about judging Tom just by some of his posts.

    so why does heidi seem to focus on only those comments negative towards DC/Marvel—ok, DC? why not pick up Tom’s erudite praise for a new edition of French comics? why is the negative always accentuated over the positive?

    i have “event fatigue” fatigue.

  9. RIght on, Jimmy. And I wonder if the antidote to all the super-swelled catastrophic universe-altering events is to create more smaller stories. That is, smaller in scope, examining character, motivation, and emotion.
    We don’t see Mr. Hex planning enormous adventures for himself in the Far East, for example, nor does he seem to need to deal with more than a limited band of characters from book to book.
    You could denigrate Hex by calling it genre fiction, perhaps, but there are lessons there in good storytelling.

  10. Yeah, but Richard,

    if you going with a joke, and just keep doing it again and again and again, eventually it becomes funny again, or at least popular enough to keep Family Guy on the air.

    And Final Crisis, which I haven’t read, can’t be as bad as NFL Superpro. Remember NFL Superpro?

    I’m going to read some Hex. As Jimmy commands so it must be done.

  11. Guy walks into a talent agency. Agent says, “So, what’s your deal?”

    Guy says “DIE FOR DARKSEID!”

    Agent’s will, thus crushed, becomes subsumed in his devotion to Anti-Life.


  12. For some reason this reminds of me how much I loved DC’s “Cosmic Odyssey” when I was younger; another universe-ending Darkseid story involving a handful of heavy-hitter superheroes that managed to tell itself in four issues over the course of a few months and move on.

    That’s what used to be fun about the genre and I think it’s precisely because characters without an end simply can’t have a continuity! It seems that the more adept creators (Paul Dini, Kyle Baker, even Mark Millar to a point) recognize this, that you can’t give weight and gravitas and life-changing meaning to characters that will never die, to stories that by nature can’t ever end. So what you do instead is take the archetype and use it to create a fun, meaningful, affecting, engaging story that ends when you’re done creating it.

    It always amazes me when editors try so hard to constrain their eternal, even mythological characters in an ongoing traditional continuity.

  13. “go out and buy yerself some hex.”

    Not only is Hex an interesting character in a well written and illustrated monthly book, but there ain’t no way that he can be dragged into any massive company wide cross-over craptacular.

    dad-gum it!

  14. One sure way of ruining a character is to do too many stories with him. Even if a writer manages to avoid obviously repeating specific plot elements or character bits, the character’s theme isn’t inexhaustible. If he’s heroic, having him be selflessly heroic repeatedly becomes repetitious; if he’s flawed, he has to learn from his mistakes, or making the same type of mistake repeatedly is repetitious.

    One of the best things about “Star Trek: TOS” was that Paramount allowed the characters to age as the actors did. If they’d recast the parts and tried to have the Enterprise crew explore the galaxy endlessly, the series would have died an unnatural death.

    Quesada’s multi-part interview with CBR that addressed the “One More Day” controversy showed that he thinks of Spider-Man as a comic strip character in extra-long stories, with no literary qualities. I suspect that most of the editors at DC and Marvel have the same attitudes toward their characters. It’s the writers and fans who are concerned with originality and change.


  15. Coat: “…whenever I see a dragged out knuckle busting slam ass bout happening between Supes and Darkseid on either a Superman: The Animated Series or Justice League episode: I look upon it as movie magic!”

    Well… be that as it may, it’s somewhat of a betrayal of what the character is really all about. And it’s not as if there’s not a lot of other heavyweights for Superman to punch through multiple buildings; Mongul immediately comes to mind as a big, dumb alien custom-built for extended fight scenes.

    The problem (and it is a problem) being that distilling characters to their lowest common denominator tends to sell best. Twilight is a great example of this.

    Edward: You cannot love me! It is TOO DANGEROUS!
    Bella: No. Plz to be giving me teh lovings now.
    Edward: Well… okay.
    Bella & Edward: NOM NOM NOM NOM!
    **watching Bella sleep, intense meaningful staring, music swells**

    And there’s your story.


  16. “Not only is Hex an interesting character in a well written and illustrated monthly book, but there ain’t no way that he can be dragged into any massive company wide cross-over craptacular.”

    He can when there is time travel involved.

    Pre-Crisis, he met the JLA I think twice, once in a Lord of Time story involving Cinnamon and Scalphunter and Bat Lash and another time (I think a JLA/JSA crossover) involving people like Tomahawk and Von Hammer and Miss America.

  17. I heard that Hex will be making a appearance on the Batman: Brave & The Bold animated series – and you know that utilizing time travel is a no-brainer right there.



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