5 Things About The Annotated FINAL CRISIS
Five questions about The Annotated FINAL CRISIS, with answers provided by the site’s creator, Gary Greenwood.
- Okay, let’s start with a biggie: Marvel or DC? Which universe is more interesting to you as a reader? Which produces the most consistently readable books (from your perspective)?
DC all the way, I’m afraid. This was more luck than judgement though as when I started reading comics in the late 70s (yes, I’m that old) here in Britain the newsagents only had DC titles on the racks.Over the years, I’ve become a lot more familiar with the DCU than the Marvel universe; the heroes of the DCU seem more integrated with the civilian population rather than the more underdog status that the Marvel characters. Admittedly from an outsider’s point of view, the Marvel world seems more prone to reboots with series reverting to a new #1 and previous continuity being tossed aside. DC certainly isn’t averse to doing that but they seem more inclined to attempt to keep the previous continuity - to have their cake and eat it. Sometimes it works (Justice Society) sometimes it doesn’t (Hawkman).The majority of comics I get weekly are DC because I know the characters, I know the stories.
- What is it about Final Crisis that made you want to annotate it?
Mostly just because I could, really! One of my favourite stories from DC is the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths and years ago I found a site that annotated it. If that site hadn’t existed, I think I’d have had a go at doing it myself! A few years ago, when the previous big event from DC—Infinite Crisis—came out, being the geek I am, I had the idea to go through and annotate it. I had such a blast doing it that when news of Final Crisis came along I just had to carry on.
- Do you think that Final Crisis is any more or any less satisfying for the general reader because of how steeped in DC lore it is?
That’s a tough one. I think the story’s basic enough—the bad guys win, the good guys fight back—that someone who has never picked up a DC book before can probably get away with it…but only just! Any collected edition should certainly have a brief overview of the main characters - who the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips are, who the Monitors are, that sort of thing. The trade paperbacks of Geoff Johns’s work on The Flash have these little thumbnail descriptions of the main characters, just a paragraph giving the reader a synopsis of who they are and that example, I think, should be followed when the book’s collected. Those who do know the background and can pick up on the little throwaway references are bound to get more out of it—who doesn’t like being the first to spot a reference to something else in a book or comic or film?—but with just a bare minimum of background, I think even a DC novice can read it.
- Are you a Grant Morrison fan? Do you think he is a consistently good or consistently bad influence on a book or universe? Where would you rank Final Crisis in the Morrison catalog?
I like a lot of what Morrison’s done in the past; he tends to deal in really big ideas, absolutely huge concepts that are staggering. His run on JLA was spot-on; gone are the bank robberies and kidnaps being foiled by the Justice League, replaced by enormous, global—or universal—threats that justify having a team as powerful as the JLA were. But while the scale of his ideas are pretty much uniformly good, the execution of them sometimes leaves a little lacking. Final Crisis is another brilliant, huge idea—the day evil won! It’s a great conceit, it really is, but the story itself seemed to wander a little as it went on. Having recently read the final issue, #7, I have to wonder what happened to the various story-lines: after the introduction of Libra as Darkseid’s herald we hardly see him again as most of his story takes place off-page; the Green Lanterns are brought in to solve the murder of a New God but are then moved off-planet; the Mandraak story-line is brought into play in the Superman Beyond 3D series but finished off, almost as an afterthought, in Final Crisis #7; the Monitors are set up to be a major part of the story but then disappear for most of the series only to be shoe-horned in at the end. And this huge, enormous, world changing epic was hardly mentioned in the monthly titles at all!Again, it’s full of great ideas, but plot wise it all seems a bit garbled—maybe it’ll benefit from being read all the way through in the right order in one sitting. I truly think that had he had a sterner editor to guide him, rather than being given free reign, it might have been a much better story. But hey, that’s just my opinion.Where would Final Crisis rank amongst his other work? Most of JLA is better, I think, as well as the excellent Earth 2 and I think the Animal Man story that dealt with the ramifications of Crisis on Infinite Earths was a better crisis than this one! It’s not bad but neither is it his best.
- And now, let’s close on a fun one. Do you think we’ll ever see a Justice League live-action film? If so, will Christian Bale be playing Batman? And will we see a brand new Superman, or does Brandon Routh still stand a chance of reprising the role?
One of the things I loved about the Iron Man and Hulk movies last year were the little post-credits scenes setting up a potential Avengers movie in a couple of years. It’s the sort of thing that comics fans like—it sets up a crossover which people like us will look forward to so much. The problem is time scale—we’re talking years of development, anything could happen, there’s already talk of Samuel L Jackson not being Nick Fury for example. A great idea in the comics world may not pan out in the film world, though, but I hope it does. As to a Justice League movie? I’m really not sure. The Bale/Nolan Batman movies were both really good at grounding the character in the real world; to suddenly take that character out of Gotham and have him hanging around with Superman and Wonder Woman—especially if he’s played by Christian Bale, the actor that an audience equates with a realistic Batman—might just ruin one of DC’s/Warner Bros’ biggest film franchises.DC should be following the Marvel lead, though—get successful stand alone films out of characters that the film going audience don’t necessarily know as well as us comics fans: Green Lantern, Flash, Martian Manhunter. Get them established first and then do a Justice League movie (if possible, bearing in mind what I said above about the time scale involved.) As to Superman, I’d like to see another Routh film. He was excellent in the role. I’d just change one thing, though: the villain. As enjoyable as Kevin Spacey was in the role, can we NOT have Lex Luthor again? Superman needs someone he can fight. Doomsday, the Parasite, hell even Solomon Grundy—just give the poor guy the opportunity for an action scene. Can we please give Superman someone he can hit?!