The Death of Batman of Earth Prime (or Zur-En-Arrh, we donâ€™t know which, but does it really matter?)
Two years ago, we were teased with the promise that Legends Live Forever (not a Queen lyric by the way) – even if they get killed in the process.Â As you might have already heard, Batman finally dies in this issue, but as always, it is getting there that is the most infuriating.Â Or is it half the fun?Â In any case Final Crisis #6 is here and the death of Earth is upon us.
Is there really a reboot in the works?Â If Vegas had odds on DC rebooting its titles, the odds would be around 80:1, but there are a few clues scattered throughout this issue that point in that direction.
The first of course is this whole New Gods stuff Morrison has been spewing as he attempts to launch the Fifth World with humans assuming the position of the gods.Â He already did that in his JLA run, perhaps heâ€™s trying to make it more permanent.Â Then there is that whole sky turning red bit that has been (over) used to signal a major crisis.Â And donâ€™t forget Barry Allen making a speech about trying to outrun the Black Racer – and every crisis needs a speedsterâ€™s death – or in this case three.
But perhaps the most telling sign that DC is thinking of rebooting the universe comes when readers catch up with Montoya, deep in the heart of Checkmate headquarters. One would think that with system defenses coming down around them, the grand tour would be over.Â Not the case with Amanda Waller as she reveals the big Black Gambit device that can drill through all of the parallel worlds to one that can support the survivors of this world.
In the words of Renee, â€œWait a minute. Say that whole bit again.â€
It makes sense, those surviving characters in this Earth (whichever one that may be) could be transplanted to a stable Earth where they can continue their adventures.Â That whole death of Batman thing could easily be wiped away by revealing Earth-Whatever as the new DCU, thus bringing back or rebooting our favorite characters into something that could make sense.
Itâ€™s an out that is sitting there waiting to be picked up by the right editor, and can be played when all else fails – pretty much like what the heroes are contemplating in this issue.Â Remember, hints of the multiverseâ€™s return were hinted at in other titles before the big reveal in 52, and there is a precedent for DC rebooting its line every couple of decades, and we havenâ€™t had that in a while, so Iâ€™m going to take that 80:1 bet.
I will give Morrison some credit for writing a few â€œkewlâ€ moments in the issue.Â The purging of Desaad from Mary Marvel is nice, even if it does mean she will never utter the phrase to turn herself back into the hero.Â In this moment, Morrison concludes Maryâ€™s adventures that began at the beginning of Countdown with the underlying message that one really does need to be careful what they wish for.Â Sheâ€™s been to hell and back, and is quite shaken from the experience.
Batman, once again proving he is the most powerful when he is using his most awesome â€œWhim of Writerâ€ power to kill Dark Side, is a pivotalÂ moment, as Morrison finally strips away the final vestige of what makes Batman Batman by having him finally use a gun to kill.Â Â By removing Batmanâ€™s Rule Numero Uno, the writer ends up killing Batman moments before Darkseid kills him with his Omega Beams, or as they are referred to in this issue, his Omega Sanction.Â Is Batman really dead?Â Only a reboot will decide.Â Well, that and the fanboy legion that is sure to rise up in protest after this series concludes (supposedly on the 28th of January).
Then there are some moments that just tear apart what was originally cool about the series.Â Lex Luthor busting a hole through Libra only serves to tell the reader, â€œHey, I know this character was built up in the beginning to be the big bad, but in a single stroke I killed him with as much fanfare as Martian Manhunter was given.â€
As much as the heroes are giving each other their last good-byes, it didnâ€™t pull on the heartstrings like the good-bye moments weâ€™ve seen in other issues.Â This is kind of sad as I really wanted to feel for Hawkman and Hawkgirl as they contemplated finding one another again, and I really wanted to feel Black Canaryâ€™s pain as she had to fight her true love.
Then there is the moment that features Superman being in the future, then returning to the present to retrieve his â€œdeadâ€ friendâ€™s body.Â I thought Kal-El was tripping through Universe Fantastic in Superman Beyond, or whatever that Morrison story is, that still hasnâ€™t seen the second issue release.Â Howâ€™d he get from there to here?Â And if he really is using the Deus Ex Machina device the way Braniac 5 explained it to him, why is Batman still dead?Â Ouch Bruce, guess your pal Clark really does hold a grudge after all.
At the end of it all, one still has to ask, â€œIs this a good issue?â€Â There are some interesting moments that makes one wonder what is going on in Grant Morrisonâ€™s head, and then there are some interesting moments that makes one wonder what is going on in Grant Morrisonâ€™s head.Â He did a much better job of attempting to explain plot points through interactions between characters, but too often the reader is given a fleeting glimpse, almost like flipping through the channels on the television, catching certain beats without the entire exchange.Â The reader kind of knows what is going on, but not really.
I wish I could say the same about the art, but six different people on the art is a real distraction.Â I can pretty much let it slide as we flip through different time periods, different locations, and such, but really, this fiasco is something DC should really be apologizing for, and ensuring that something like this never happens again on a major event.
While it feels like something major happened in this issue, itâ€™s just an attempt to get the reader all worked up thinking something Earth-cracking is going to happen, when in reality the final issue will have the sun rising again on a brand new day in the DCU.Â I think this issue falls flat because the company has been releasing major event after major event for four years, and each time one series concludes, the curtain is pulled away a little bit more to reveal the fact that no change is permanent.Â This is a shame because of all the Final Crisis issues, this one is my favorite by far, but still only good enough to earn a 2.5 out of 5 Star rating.