Friday, October 24, 2008

Book of the Week 8: Final Crisis #4

[I choose a book of the week when I have something I want to discuss about one of the comics I got that week. It really has nothing to do with quality, it just needs to have set something off in me.]

I can't get the final page of this book out of my head. Mainly the title: "Darkseid Says." Darkseid says. What's the difference between that and Darkseid is? If you'll recall, that's how part four of "Rock of Ages" ended: Darkseid finally arrives on Earth and says, "DARKSEID IS" in response to the question of who is our god and ruler, etc. Here, Darkseid also arrives on Earth and gives us the thumbs down with the narration of Turpin/Darkseid saying, "GIVE IN."

Now, the comparisons between those two stories have been many for obvious reasons, some saying that Morrison is ripping himself off--I view it as Morrison retelling the story in altered form, because the JLA prevented the horrific future of "Rock of Ages," but they didn't stop Darkseid... not for good. They saved the Worlogog from destruction at the hands of Electric Superman... but did they save it forever? From what I gather, the Worlogog was dismantled or something by android Hourman who later died. It was given to him by Metron, who also gave a weapon to Anthro in issue one and has popped up through the Tattooed Man here... the Worlogog is necessary to defeat Darkseid and does humanity already have it? Notice the patterns showing up on the faces of Miracle Man and the Super Young Team... it also looks like a repeat of the end of "World War III" (the first one, not the one from 52) and Flex Mentallo...

But, that final page... what is the difference between "Darkseid says" and "Darkseid is"? It's obviously not a coincidence that the fourth part of each story ends with the arrival of Darkseid, but that difference between says and is... There's an obvious difference in power between the two. With "is," Darkseid simply exists, he has already won, he is already supreme... he doesn't need to DO anything, because his will is reality... With "says," Darkseid hasn't quite won yet, he still needs to act, he is not all powerful... It also references the idea of Darkseid's word is law, but that is still weaker than the Darkseid of "Rock of Ages," because, as I said, there, his simple existence is law. His son, Orion was to destroy and remake reality to eliminate him... what will the heroes have to do to this Darkseid? In a way, the difference here is a subtle, optimistic message on an otherwise depressing comic book page. We know that the good guys will win, but this almost suggests that all is not as bad as it was in "Rock of Ages." At least not yet. Although, Green Arrow is gone here, while he was instrumental in defeating Darkseid in "Rock of Ages"... again, surely not a coincidence.

And because I've been listening to a lot of Lou Reed this week, I can't help but make the connection between five of his songs and the title "Darkseid Says." After all, Reed has five songs where someone "says" in the title, "Candy Says," "Stephanie Says," "Lisa Says," and "Caroline Says" parts one and two... all are depressing songs, all about powerlessness and the influence of drugs/others overpowering the title character... That connection suggests that this comic should have been titled "Turpin Says" or "Dan Says," but since Turpin is Darkseid, there's no real difference. Throughout the issue, he fights and he fights and he fights against the darkness, but it's not enough. He's beaten down in the end. Okay, the connection between Reed and this comic isn't really there, most likely, but I can't help but see it a little bit. (And, hey, if Morrison is referencing Bowie over in Batman, it's not that much of a leap to Lou Reed...)

The similarities between "Rock of Ages" and Final Crisis grow, but I think the emphasis on the Worlogog will be much greater here since it wasn't actually used in "Rock of Ages." It was referenced, it was protected, but since Darkseid ruled an Earth where it didn't exist, it was never used. So far, Morrison seems to be pointing towards its emergence as the key to defeating Darkseid... I guess we'll see.