Friday, July 11, 2008

Final Crisis: Requiem review

Caretakers of Mars

This issue...on the one hand, it was basically what I expected, but it still took me by complete surprise.

The Martian Manhunter is dead, and this issue covers everything surrounding that.

The issue begins at his funeral before flashing back to the final moments up to and including his death and the immediate aftermath. So we see Jonzz, drugged to shit, held by Libra and his goon, taken back and run through by Libra. In Final Crisis #1, Manhunter goes out like a punk. The death was way too easy. Here, we see a much more dignified death, at least in that he does a helluva job fighting back, using his telepathy to start messing with the minds of all the villains around. Unfortunately, it doesn't affect Libra, who manages to brutally finish him off. In his dying moments, Manhunter sends out a telepathic signal to all his closest comrades. Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the like. Finally, his body is left in New York, impaled on a replica of Mars at a planetarium.

Well, alright, this is a lot of stuff that didn't necessarily need to be packaged and sold, I mean we already saw him get killed in Final Crisis #1, right?

So here's where Pete Tomasi kicks my ass.

The telepathic message Jonzz sent out was something that all Martians do at death. They telepathically seed all their memories to their family and friends. During the night, the telepathic suggestion kicks in and all the people who received it begin transcribing the life of Jonn Jonzz. And this...well, maybe not so much the actual bits presented by Tomasi but the concept was brilliant. Sentimentality in comics usually comes across pretty lamely, and there are small moments of that in this issue, but overall I was pretty floored. We do get a lot of the Martian Manhunter's best fights in this issue, yeah, but the whole thing is handled wonderfully. It is sentimental, but without being (too) corny or is DC's way of celebrating the history of one of their major, if completely underappreciated, characters. There are a couple of jokes that are fairly out of place, and the moment between Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen could have been stripped out, but I appreciate that Tomasi approached this in a creative way, in a way that makes sense for the character, while minimizing the emotional wank factor.

Now as for Doug, this guy blows me away. I remember first seeing his stuff back in the day on Major Bummer and thinking, hey, this guy is alright. Not great, but alright. What he produces these days is completely different from what I expect. I still think of Major Bummer when I think of Mahnke. Yeah, I know, completely behind the times. Well drawn, detailed, layed out nicely...tight stuff, man.

The issue isn't important towards Final Crisis. You could save yourself four bucks and not miss anything towards the event, but I would recommend this issue based on the fact that it's a well crafted epilogue for the Martian Manhunter that's honestly respectful towards a character that's been a mainstay of the DC Universe for many, many years. Got four bucks and change to blow? Go for it.


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