I'm Just Sayin'…#45
by Greg Manuel on January 29, 2009

Hello everybody, and welcome to this latest edition of…

Please forgive me folks, I don’t even know how this week’s entry is going to come off. As I write this, there’s been some big changes at the day job and despite the fact that I’m not even halfway through the week, I am feeling all sorts of wiped out. And it probably doesn’t help that, after reading FINAL CRISIS #7, my brain is now working overtime, so I hope this comes out somewhat coherent. So do bear with me; I promise you we’ll get through this together.

But before I get into DC’s Big Event Finale, I feel like I’m gonna need a bit of a running start so let’s see what else there is to discuss this week…

Looks like producer Michael Uslan has some ideas for the next film adaptation of THE SHADOW:

From 1994. Ever see it? It was actually pretty decent...and Magneto's in it, and Ray Barone's Dad, and even Ricky Tan from Rush Hour 2...

The quote in question: “I think the one thing going in is we all see The Shadow as more of a force of nature than a specific person in a secret identity,” Uslan told MTV in an exclusive interview. “The Shadow may actually be many people.”

“We’ve gone back to the pulp roots, the comic book roots of The Shadow, with a dash of the radio roots,” added Uslan. “But we’ve deeply ensconced ourselves in the world of pulps and comics.”

Well, I’ll tell ya, folks – I really wish I had some prime, choice, crushing snark to lay down here. You know, some really, off-the-hook Grade-A sarcasm referencing the fanboy cred Uslan’s “clearly” amassed following the release of THE SPIRIT…but I just don’t have the energy. But I will say this much: I kinda wish I had my own research staff right about now, because this approach sounds really familiar…

How funny would it be if Uslan were actually a gofer on this show?

Here’s a shocker – DC editor Bob Shreck is a casualty of Warner Brothers’ company-wide layoffs. If you read the article, you’ll see that he has contributed plenty to the comic book world over the years – including being the editor on ALL-STAR SUPERMAN so that should tell you plenty about how serious this economic situation is, when not even a guy who’s list of accomplishments included “helping to keep Grant Morrison’s ideas in a coherent narrative” is safe!

Is anyone watching THE BRAVE & THE BOLD? Apparently, Aquaman can control water in this series! Seems to me like that’s what’s been missing from his repertoire this whole time, although admittedly I don’t know a whole lot about the character. Has he ever been able to control water? Hit me up comic book heads, and let me know okay?

Alright…I’ve dawdled long enough – now, I think I’m ready.

As we anticipated FINAL CRISIS #7 with bated breath and trembling fingertips, COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD’s Brian Cronin had this suggestion for just what was missing from FINAL CRISIS #6:

Which would’ve been cute, but as anybody who picked up a copy this Shipment Day would’ve learned…doing that would’ve given this away:

And that right there, is about the only thing that happened in FINAL CRISIS #7 that I actually understood.

This isn’t to say that the comic wasn’t full of some pretty cool stuff…

…like a peek into an alternate universe where Superman is not only black, but President of the United States…

…and a script full of dialogue that, like the previous six issues, makes everything feel dire and important…I also like that we see just when and where Darkseid fired the bullet that killed Orion…

…and I also like that Superman is ultimately the one who saves the day – I think…

If only Darkseid had possessed Simon Cowell instead of Dan Turpin...

But there’s also a moment where the heroes fight robotic dopplegangers for some reason, and Dr. Sivana and Lex Luthor are there, and for a split-second it looks like they’re turning on the heroes, or are they helping them? Much like the scene where Thor mercy-kills the Wasp in SECRET INVASION #8, I have no idea what I’m looking at here. What’s more – I don’t even think this was important. This is the finale, man – you’re supposed to be wrapping stuff up, not throwing in new crap!

And I’ve read this issue some two or three times at this point,  and I’m still not sure just what Superman and his fellow heroes did with the surviving population…or even how many survivors there are! But I guess the page-space that could’ve been devoted to making that part clearer was already reserved for an apparently obligatory fight scene involving robots.

I mean it – can somebody help me with this? And while we’re at it…

What’s this Mandrakk so-and-so doing in the main narrative when, for pretty much the entire time, it seemed to be about the DC heroes vs. the evil New Gods? I thought Mandrakk and Ultraman (now with 666% more eeeeevil!) were relegated to SUPERMAN: BEYOND. What’re they doing here?

Don’t get me wrong…I like a comic book that you can read and re-read any time you want, and come away with that same sense of enjoyment you got the first time around. All the better if you discover something new each time. But I don’t like a comic book that I have to read and re-read just to understand what’s going on in the finale. So if you ask me, FINAL CRISIS #7 is the final word on the debate that’s been roaming through the comic book world over the last coupla years: if you need to give an interview on a comic book site to explain just what happened in your comic, then you didn’t do your job.

Maybe Chuck Dixon is right, and ambiguity is the new “hip” in comics… I dunno. Still was better than SECRET INVASION, though. Just not by much.

You know, it’s funny. A personal hobby of mine is reverse-engineering idioms, sayings, proverbs, etc…and looking at that last sentence, I think I now understand what it means to damn with faint praise. Hunh.


Til next week – I’m Greg Manuel, and I’m just sayin’, is all…

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