So, here’s the thing. As I’ve pointed out, Final Crisis isn’t really a Batman story and I’ve indeed just finished reading the first two issues to see this for myself. The guy has a fair deal of presence at first, investigating the murder of a god and all, but one of the Alpha Lanterns attacks him, being under the control of Darkseid, and he’s captured, apparently not reappearing until the last couple of issues, having escaped from captivity “off screen”. However, back in our Batman R.I.P. trade paperback, there’s actually two stories that I’ve neglected to mention until now, jointly called Last Rites, and it’s about what happens to Batman during his time as a prisoner in this story.
What I’m going to be doing then, is review those two stories in the one post, and then Final Crisis as a whole after I’ve read it a few times. There isn’t much of a point reviewing that series issue by issue in my opinion and it could probably be skipped if I bothered to search for spoilers. But we’ll read it and I’ll give it the best review I can. That, however, is going to be tricky. When I read the first issue I was literally doing my “WTF face” practically the whole time. Had no idea why were following cave men at the start, who the god that’s killed was, who exactly the Lanterns are, who these Monitors were, et cetera. Thankfully, though, I’ve found these annotations by Douglas Wolk, who has a rather great blog dedicated to Judge Dredd too if you want to check out, and these ones by one Gary Greenwood that Wolk left a link to. Very, very handy indeed and it actually gives me a great deal more perspective on how well this series is written.
For example, as I sat down to read the first issue in my car whilst waiting for my sister, I powered through it and left with some notion of who was who, little realising that the cave man in the very first page, for example, is actually an established character and not some random dude that one of the gods gives fire to. So that’s cool, and I got a lot more explanations about who other characters were too, even actual references from Morrison to other stories, such as the six missing kids that the detective’s looking for not only referring to his own case, but something that was happening in another series called Teen Titans. Neat-o.
So there you go. With these annotations in hand, hopefully my review will be from someone who understands just what the fuck happens. First, though, keep an eye out for Last Rites and remember that, after Final Crisis, we’ll be reading Time and Batman in which there’s a story bridging the gap between R.I.P. and that particular epic. Until then.