Final Crisis

DC has released a big teaser image for the big crossover event that will follow “Countdown.” They’re calling it “Final Crisis.”


Well, first, holy cow, does DC ever overuse the word “Crisis.” See, back in the ’80s, there was “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which was one of the first big cosmos-quaking crossover mega-events. Heroes died, villains died, entire alternate universes were destroyed, readers generally liked it, and DC sold a lot of comics. A couple years ago, DC came up with “Infinite Crisis,” which was another big cosmos-quaking crossover mega-event. Heroes died, villains died, entire alternate universes were created, DC sold a lot of comics, and readers were a lot less favorably disposed.

Now comes “Final Crisis,” and I’ll tell you what a lot of folks I know expect from it: they expect DC to kill everyone and start all over. Reboot their universe from the beginning. Get rid of the characters they don’t like, lose the complicated background continuity, pretend the bad stories never existed in the first place.

I despise this idea. Hate, hate, hate it.

Here’s Valerie D’Orazio’s take on the idea, which I largely agree with, but I do have my own thoughts on the subject, too.

It’s not just the idea of watching favorite characters get killed. Yeah, yeah, they’re fictional, so who cares. The problem is, first, that DC has a really cool continuity and lots of cool relationships between characters. I don’t think DC should want to lose all their Green Lanterns or all their Flashes or all their Robins. Dumping them in favor of having just Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, and Dick Grayson would make the DCU a lot less fun to read about.

Second, the idea of clearing the slate and starting over doesn’t say good things about the respect the higher-ups have for their characters. If they’re willing to wipe out characters that people have been reading about for decades, and start over from scratch, I think you should expect some of the fans of those characters to decide they want to do something else with their disposable income…

Third, I’m tired of gigantic crossover events, from both DC and Marvel. Crossover events won’t give you stable revenue and loyal readers — they give you roller-coaster revenues, and readers who are probably close to burning out on your comics, both because they’re tired of the convoluted storylines and because they can’t afford all the extra comics they have to read to keep track of what’s going on.

And finally… I’m beyond tired of deaths in comics. No, I don’t want to make comics a no-violence zone or a no-deaths zone. But there have just been way too many in the past couple of years. Death works best in comics when it’s rare, because that rarity gives it a powerful emotional impact. When you overdo death, everyone stops caring. “Oh, who’s the ‘Death of the Week’ now? Yawwwwn.” I want to see a lot less death in comics because I liked it better when death meant something.

Remember when Gwen Stacy’s death in “Spider-Man” really shocked people? Remember when Barry Allen’s sacrifice in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” was an unusual and remarkable event? You couldn’t get that nowadays. We’ve gotten jaded because our comics creators think of death as a cheap alternative to real drama, as an easy shock, as a convenient way to make a bad guy into a BAAAAAD guy.

You can make great comics without killing your characters or blowing up your universe. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Gardner Fox, Jack Cole, Steve Ditko, and the entire Golden and Silver Ages of comics prove it.

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