- Writer: Grant Morrison
- Artist: J.G. Jones
- Colorist: Alex Sinclair
- Letterer: Rob Leigh
- Cover Artist: J.G. Jones
- Editors: Eddie Berganza & Adam Schlagman
Page 1 – Panels 1 to 3: The members of SHADE, the Super Human Advanced Defence Executive, raid the Dark Side club in New York; the figure with the sword on his back is Frankenstein as he was introduced in the Grant Morrison written FRANKENSTEIN series.
Page 1 – Panel 7: The mummified – or at lease dessicated – corpse of Boss Dark Side who, in previous issues as well as MISTER MIRACLE, was being used as the vessel for Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips. The speaker is . . .
Page 1 – Panel 8: . . . The Question, formerly Gotham City Detective Renee Montoya who obviously thinks the death of Boss Dark Side is more that just a “gangland killing“.
Page 2 – Panel 2: Escaping from the SHADE operatives, The Question mentions Danny Turpin, the Metropolis Detective who, unknown to her and shown in the previous issue, appears to have been possessed by the spirit of Darkseid.
Page 2 – Panel 3: A spark of light in the sky which we’ll come to in just a moment.
Page 2 – Panels 7 and 8: Montoya sheds her identity of The Question by peeling off the blank face and casting it aside.
Page 3 – Panel 1: Something comes shooting out of that spark of light in the sky.
Page 3 – Panels 2 and 3: Frankenstein and the SHADE operatives watch a computerised hand icon writing a message on the wall. With the emphasis on the New Gods within FINAL CRISIS, this is a new version of how messages were written on the Source Wall.
Page 3 – Panel 4: The man in the hat is Father Time, the man on the screens is Taleb Beni Khalid, the Black King of Checkmate. Father Time appears here as he did in FRANKENSTEIN despite suffering injuries in WORLD WAR III and having changed into a different version that appears in THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN and UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS.
Page 3 – Panel 5: That something that’s falling through the sky crashes through a building.
Page 3 – Panel 6: Despite Frankenstein’s comments in Panel 3 about the letters disappearing once written, they’re obviously staying long enough to read KNOW EVIL.
Page 3 – Panels 7 to 9: Taleb informs Father Time of the problems in Bludhaven (some of which were seen in the previous issue) and that Montoya is to have a role in SHADE and/or Checkmate. Montoya, meanwhile, rushes to the crater formed by whatever has fallen from the sky.
Page 4 – Panel 2: The falling object is revealed to be Überfraulein or Overgirl, a Nazi version of Supergirl, possibly from Earth-10. She’s the same character that Nix Uotan, the exiled Monitor, was drawing in the previous issue on Page 9 which lends credence to her Multiversal origin.
Page 4 – Panel 3: Her dialogue is, naturally, in German and translates as “No. It’s the . . . the bleeding heavens. Hell . . . is . . . is here.” This is a reference to The Bleed, the interdimensional space between the universes that make up the Multiverse.
Page 4 – Panel 5: And SHADE operatives catch up with Montoya.
Page 5 – Panels 1 to 6: Nix Uotan is fired from his job at Big Belly Burger.
Page 5 – Panel 7: A news report shows the discovery of cave art – it’s Metron’s symbol which is likely the one painted by Anthro at the end of issue #1. The discovery has been made by Calvin “Cave” Carson who stands in the foreground looking pleased with himself. To the left of him is Johnny Blake and behind Blake is Bulldozer Smith; sitting next to the symbol is Christie Madison.
Page 5 – Panel 9: As Nix watches the report he is unaware of being watched by the Monitor Zillo Valla who, at the end of issue #1, comforted Nix’s lover Weeja Dell.
Page 6 – Panel 1: The extended families of The Flashes. From left to right are: Jai West, son of Wally West and Linda Park; the first Flash, Jay Garrick; Iris Allen, the wife of the second Flash, Barry Allen; Linda Park, wife of Wally West; Joan Garrick, Jay’s wife; Iris West, daught of Wally and Linda.
Page 6 – Panels 2 to 4: Jay recounts what happened after the end of the previous issue when Barry Allen reappeared shouting, as he does here in Panel 3, “Run!“
Page 7 – Panel 1: The Flashes (Wally, Barry and Jay) race the Black Racer who appears above and behind them.
Page 7 – Panels 2 and 3: Barry Allen has returned chasing a bullet fired backwards through time.
Page 7 – Panel 4: Unable to stop it, however, it strikes Orion whose death was seen in issue #1.
Page 7 – Panel 5: Iris has picked up on the fact that Jay is referring to another Flash other than himself and Wally.
Pages 8-9 – Panel 1: The Black Racer hovers above the corpse of Orion as it’s discovered by Dan Turpin. This was shown in issue #1.
Pages 8 and 9 – Panels 3 and 4: The Black Racer chases after the three Flashes.
Pages 8 and 9 – Panel 7: “It’s a little-known fact that death can’t travel faster than the speed of light.” Find me a better line in a comic and I’ll eat this issue!
Pages 8 and 9 – Panels 8 to 10: Iris knows what Jay is driving at – and what we, the readers, have already seen but Jay spells it out: Barry Allen, the Flash who died in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, is back.
Page 10 – Panel 1: : This is the Hall of Doom which the Secret Society appear to have moved to after abandoning the strip club in Central City.
Page 10 – Panels 2 to 4: Libra gives the Human Flame a new costume, including a helmet that whispers the Anti-Life Equation directly into his head, turning him into a subservient soldier. Seems Libra isn’t quite so generous after all.
Page 10 – Panel 5: Lex Luthor steps out of the shadows, surprising Libra. On the left may be his long-time bodyguard Mercy Graves; I say may be as she has recently left his employ in INFINITY, INC. but as this series appears to be ignoring most, if not all of COUNTDOWN and the DEATH OF THE NEW GODS, why not INFINITY, INC. as well? The other bodyguard appears to be a generic bodyguard.
Page 11 – Panels 1 to 3: Luthor mentions Libra stopping Superman – this references the bomb Clayface placed in the offices of the Daily Planet in the previous issues which resulted in the injury of Lois Lane, which we’ll come to in a moment. Rather than be grateful, Luthor prepares to remove Libra from the Society.
Page 11 – Panels 4 and 5: Libra, however, gives Luthor a choice of serving as a mindless servant like the Human Flame or joining Libra in worshipping the god of Apokolips, Darkseid.
Page 12 – Panel 2: This is Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Clark Kent following the bomb in the Daily Planet.
Page 12 – Panels 3 and 4: The conversation between Jimmy and Clark is a little confusing due to the events of COUNTDOWN #37 where Jimmy knew Clark was Superman and basically blackmailed him into sponsoring Olsen’s try out for the Justice League. But, again, FINAL CRISIS seems to have ignored COUNTDOWN as did most of the DCU. To my knowledge, the events of COUNTDOWN #37 weren’t referenced anywhere else.
Page 13 – Panel 1: “My heat vision’s the only thing keeping her heart beating.” Now I’m no doctor but does that seem likely to anyone? Heat vision is keeping Lois’s heart beating? Superman is keeping her alive by keeping her heart warm? Really?!
Page 13 – Panels 4 and 5: Zillo Valla, the Monitor last seen spying on Nix Uotan, approaches Clark and offers to save Lois by leaving this world. But who will keep Lois’s heart warm and beating, Zillo?
Page 14 – Panel 1: Left to right are: Green Lantern Alan Scott; Alpha Lantern Boodikka; Green Lantern Hal Jordan; Alpha Lantern Green Man; Alpha Lantern Kraken; Black Lightning; and Wonder Woman. Jordan was arrested in the previous issue for the murder of Orion and the attack on Green Lantern John Stewart.
Page 14 – Panel 2: Kraken dismisses Wonder Woman’s suspicions of “evil gods’ involvement” in the death of Orion as there are no traces of the gods’ “emissions” . . . which sounds kinda rude . . .
Page 14 – Panel 3: Kraken says “Jordan’s guilt will be established in tribunal on Oa.” Oa is the location of the Guardians of The Universe, rulers of the Green Lantern Corps. Note that Jordan’s presumed guilty rather than innocent – intergalactic justice in action, folks.
Page 15 – Panel 2: Alan Scott mentions that Checkmate – in which he serves – is attending to Bludhaven rather than Orion’s murder.
Page 15 – Panel 5: This is the first mention of Article X that I’m aware of.
Page 16 – Panel 1: This is Oracle – Barbara Gordon, once Batgirl, is now the communications centre of the DCU heroes and served as such for the Justice League. She mentions a “mysterious new Aquaman” . . .
Page 16 – Panel 2: . . . who then shows up riding a giant sea-horse.
Page 16 – Panel 3: Seated is Freddie Freeman who used to be Captain Marvel Jr but, following the TRIALS OF SHAZAM, became known simply as Shazam . . . unless FINAL CRISIS is ignoring that series as well. Behind him with the tea is Mr Tawky Tawny. Freddie mentions “Mary’s disappeared…” in reference to Mary Marvel who went ever so slightly bad in the pages of COUNTDOWN . . . which FINAL CRISIS seems to be paying attention to for once.
Page 17 – Panel 1: Supergirl preparing to leave after having received her letter of draft re: Article X. In a world of the internet, e-mail, mobile phones, not to mention telepathy, for some reason a printed letter is deemed the best and quickest way to get all the heroes of the DCU together? I admit it’s a little more visual as a device than reading an e-mail but come on . . .
Page 17 – Panel 2: The flying figure reflected in the window Mr Tawky Tawny is looking out of is Shazam, the transformed Freddie Freeman.
Page 17 – Panel 3: Black Canary and Green Arrow. Arrow mentions the murder of J’onn J’onnz who was killed by Libra in issue #1 and whose death was elaborated upon in REQUIEM. I’m a little surprised at Black Canary’s choice of underwear; I would have thought something more practical such as a sports bra would have been a smarter choice . . . not that I spend that much time thinking about her underwear . . .
Page 18: The first big crowd scene of the series. The image to the right has been numbered – click for a larger version – and the key is as follows, working left to right and top to bottom:
1) Unknown 2) Bombshell 3) Cyclone 4) Firestorm 5) Raven 6) Blue Beetle 7) Starfire 8) Batgirl 9) Shift 10) Geo-Force 11) Blue Devil 12) Red Devil 13) Amazing Man 14) Zatanna 15) the mysterious new Aquaman 16) Red Arrow 17) Supergirl 18) Thunderbolt 19) Wildcat III 20) Green Arrow 21) Liberty Belle 22) Hourman 23) Black Lightning 24) Vixen 25) Mr Terrific 26) Animal Man 27) Enchantress 28) Black Canary 29) Wildcat I 30) Sasha Bordeaux 31) Dr Mid-Nite 32) Katana 33) Hawkgirl 34) Ragman 35) Citizen Steel 36) Damage 37) Nightwing 38) Supergirl 39) Red Tornado 40) Atom 41) Robin 42) Stargirl 43) Flash 44) Power Girl 45) Argent 46) Donna Troy 47) Huntress 48) Shazam 49) Hawkman 50) Green Lantern Alan Scott 51) Detective Chimp 52) The back of, I’m assuming, Wonder Woman’s head.
Page 19 – Panel 1: Shilo Norman and Sonny Sumo about to take a flight. Norman mentions crawling out of his grave – check out MISTER MIRACLE for more information.
Page 19 – Panel 3: The “PING” is the sound of Motherboxxx sensing danger.
Page 19 – Panel 5: Norman’s plane is destroyed . . .
Page 20 – Panels 1 and 2: . . . by attackers wearing the same type of helmet as The Human Flame was forced to wear by Libra back on Page 10.
Page 20 – Panel 4: Big Atomic Lantern Boy and the rest of Super Young Team arrive to rescue Norman and Sumo.
Page 21 – Panel 1: The Super Young Team, with the exception of Big Atomic Lantern Boy, are seated and, left to right, are Shiny Happy Aquazon, Most Excellent Super Bat, Shy Crazy Lolita Canary (the small, winged figure on Super Bat’s shoulder) and Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash. I can’t help wonder if Sonny Sumo’s last piece of dialogue is referencing The Blues Brothers.
Page 21 – Panel 4: Now that’s a rescue!
Page 22 – Panel 1: This is Wonder Woman on the outskirts of Bludhaven which has been a wreck since INFINITE CRISIS when Chemo was dropped on it.
Page 22 – Panel 2: The Atomic Knights who made their first appearance in this guise in Bludhaven in the pages of THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN. The one doing the talking is Gardner Grayle.
Page 23 – Panel 1: The Knights mention Command-D and a crimelord who has taken control of it; this was seen in the previous issue.
Page 23 – Panel 3: The corpses are all the same man – Replika who appeared in FRANKENSTEIN.
Page 24 – Panel 1: As one of the Knights examines Replika’s corpses, Mary Marvel flies in.
Page 24 – Panel 2: Mary Marvel, once a good-hearted heroine, has now been corrupted into a villain – you can tell by the black outfit. This appears to be one of those times where FINAL CRISIS is sort of tying in with COUNTDOWN as, during that series, Mary was corrupted by Eclipso, then restored, then returned to her evil ways of her own free will. It’s not the first time she’s appeared as a bad girl – issue #8 of JLA CLASSIFIED showed an alternate dimension version of Mary which you can see here.
Page 25 – Panels 1 and 2: Mary attacks Wonder Woman and kills Marene Herald, one of the Atomic Knights, literally tearing her in half.
Page 26 – Panel 2: Wonder Woman breaks Mary’s arm.
Page 27 – Panel 1: Mary admits she is under Darkseid’s control and reveals the New Gods of Apokolips have been hiding in human bodies.
Page 27 – Panel 2: Wonder Woman realises that’s why the Alpha Lanterns couldn’t detect those celestial emissions mentioned back on Page 14.
Page 27 – Panels 3 to 5: With the Anti-Life Equation about to be released upon the world, Mary infects Wonder Woman.
Page 28 – Panel 1: Mokkari releases the Anti-Life Equation over the internet. The heroes draft the superheroes by sending out a letter, the Gods of Apokolips use the net. This is why evil wins.
Page 28 – Panels 2 to 11: Mr Terrific communicates with Oracle as they both realise something has been released from Bludhaven but are unable to act soon enough to stop it.
Page 29 – Panel 3: The two Flashes, Barry Allen and Wally West, return from the timestream.
Page 29 – Panels 5 and 6: Wally is pleasantly surprised to see Barry and realises that they have appeared in the future.
Page 29 – Panel 7: Barry questions why he had to return and displays knowledge of his own death.
Page 30: Beneath a red sky – a sure sign of a Crisis – are the results of Darkseid’s domination of Earth: corrupted versions of heroes as the new Female Furies. Left to right are: Batwoman in the role of Mad Harriet; Wonder Woman in the role of Bernadeth; Giganta in the role of Stompa; and Catwoman as Lashina.