Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Final Comic: Leisure of 3 Decades


So. Today I purchase my final comic book, the fifth and final issue of the miniseries Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, written by Geoff Johns (who’s now writer/producer on the Flash movie, apparently) and drawn by George Perez. This comic nicely encapsulates comics history and my own history of comics-reading, long an important element of how my brain works. Observe:

Superman was the first comic book superhero, debuting in 1938. Twenty years later, publisher DC Comics began depicting what is now technically regarded as another Superman, dwelling in a hipper, more modern universe, where he interacted with characters such as the Legion of Super-Heroes, time-traveling crime-fighters from a thousand years in the future.

That conceit of multiple universes was imitated by Marvel Comics in the first superhero comic I recall ever reading, Avengers #149, drawn by George Perez — who, with the editor of that issue, Marv Wolfman, went on to do the ultimate multiple-universe story for DC, the aptly-titled 1985 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, by which time George Perez had become my favorite comics artist and I’d started buying the futuristic Legion comics as well, seeing in them something akin to sci-fi movies (such as the then-current original Star Wars trilogy). In Crisis on Infinite Earths, which drew me away from Marvel and more fully toward DC, DC Comics’ entire fictional reality was nearly destroyed, and the original 1938 Superman was sent into extra-dimensional exile, along with a younger version of him from the “real” world, Earth-Prime.

Long story short, that Earth-Prime denizen went homicidally insane while in exile (in a slightly metafictional way that makes him unable to regard the other characters as “real”), killed the original Superman (who now exists only as a zombie, per the current horror miniseries Blackest Night), and later traveled a thousand years into the future, where he has summoned an army of supervillains and now threatens to kill not one but three different versions (from alternate universes, as depicted over the years) of the Legion of Super-Heroes (hence the title of the comic I’m buying today), while the main, current Superman goes to the end of time to confront my favorite Legion villain, the history-manipulating Time Trapper (who I was for Halloween once, as Jill Pope, Mike Carlin, Scott Nybakken, and others may recall).

Indeed, the tale technically pits four versions of Clark Kent against each other and promises to resolve years’ worth of plot threads — perhaps even revealing that one of the Legions hails from the aforementioned Earth-Prime, since their universe’s Kryptonite seems to work on the evil/insane Clark.

The time-hopping story also binds together my childhood, Superman’s childhood, our time, a sci-fi future a thousand years away, and the literal end of time, all wrapped in a universes-crossing temporal Crisis. It literally all ends here. You can’t blame me for using up the last of my store credit on it — and just a tiny bit more of my precious time.


Eric Hanneken said...

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, issue 5 of 5, one of ten formal tie-ins to Final Crisis, one crisis of two in the last five years (not counting Identity Crisis, 52, and Countdown) epitomizes why I gave up collecting comics in 2005 (until recently. You shouldn’t have told me about X-Men Forever). But you’re not promising never to read another graphic novel, right?

Todd Seavey said...

Barring a request-to-read from the author or a gift from a friend who knows my tastes (I don’t want to be a stubborn jerk, after all), I’m done with the medium in large or small doses. Too many other things to do. Doesn’t mean I’ve lost respect for it, though. (Similarly, I just stopped getting TV reception last month but recognize there are good things on — this just saves time.)

Brain said...

I’ve lost count, over the years, how many times you’ve “quit” comics for good.

Todd Seavey said...

There were other times I said I’d stop unless they did [some specific, unlikely thing] and then they did the unlikely thing. After _Infinite Crisis_ and _Seven Soldiers_ ended in 2006 was the only other time I said I was simply done — because I figured that was as close as I’d ever get to seeing Grant Morrison write a Crisis storyline with Perez doing art and the Time Trapper, Darkseid, Krona, and the Monitors all having simultaneous roles — but then they did that in this just-ended Final Crisis (and some related simultaneous stories) described above. Now it’s just plain over. This was the ending I dreamt of. Thus endeth the chronicle, to quote the final page of _Devil Dinosaur_.