In Final Crisis, Darkseid, the evil New God from the cosmic world Apokolips, has managed to perfect the Anti-Life Equation; which would enable him to control the entire cosmos. Investigating the death of the benevolent New God Orion, Superman and other heroes of the multiverse slowly uncover Darkseid’s plan. Can they stop him and prevent reality from disappearing into nothingness?
Where do you begin with this work? Ulysses, of the comic book genre, can be a good starting point. Final Crisis is a dense and frustrating read. It encompasses many continuity tie-ins from other stories across nearly four decades. It will leave you tangled in knots. The rub is that you may become so engrossed by the power and magnitude of the story and its gorgeous artwork you may end up loving it despite its ultra confusing meta-narrative.
The internet has plenty of articles to help the reader unlock the Rubik’s cube plotline but for a simple guideline to understanding the comic one has to know a bit about D.C. writer Jack Kirby and his ‘Fourth World Saga’, which he wrote forty years ago in ‘Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen’ # 133. Here the mythology of the Crisis series’ takes root. Readers were introduced to the New Gods who replace the ancient Greek Gods. They inhabited two worlds, New Genesis for the good gods and Apokolips for the bad. Instead of using magic these gods used technology to govern the cosmos.
Fourth World was woven across multiple comic book titles and the crux of the story was the gods’ battle over reality and free will. If Darkseid could master the Anti-Life Equation it would allow him transform people into ‘justifiers’ whereby they would be forced to think and act as he wishes. In 2008 the ‘Fourth World Saga’ ended in, ‘The Death of The New Gods’ which led into ‘Final Crisis’ which shows that Darkseid has mastered the Anti-Life Equation.
Final Crisis is not for everyone. It is a post-modern, existential, minefield that needs close reading and patience. If you have the time to research the story you may enjoy it, if not let the pretty pictures enthral you instead.