Friday, 11 July 2008

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #20 Final Crisis: Requiem

It was a sad day when Libra killed the J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter back in Final Crisis #1. Not just because one of my favourite heroes had been killed but also because of the way he was killed: done away with in a single panel, with no fanfare and little build up.

It's unfortunate but that's the way many people die in the real world: there's no drama to many deaths, particularly murders or accidents, no matter what the TV or films tell us. Many deaths are pointless in life which is why, perhaps, there's almost a need in fiction for a character's death to have meaning, to be big and leave us with an impression that the character mattered.

I'm thankful, then, for Peter Tomasi bringing us Final Crisis: Requiem which could be seen as a shameless tie-in to Final Crisis or some sort of admission by DC that J'onnz's death in #1 was given short shrift.

Whatever the reasons for the book's existence, I'm glad it's out there.

Tomasi gives us, thankfully, not only a fuller account of J'onnz's murder which shows him as the true hero he was, fighting to the very end. He also offers us a look back at J'onnz's history and I'm glad to see he picks up on several things introduced in John Ostrander's run on the Manhunter's title from a few years back.

The thing that surprised me most, though, was the humour that was evident in a comic dealing with the death of a character with huge amounts of history. It could have been very easy to have everyone wandering around, sobbing into their capes, swearing vengeance upon the criminals responsible.

Instead, even in the midst of his death, J'onnz himself elicits a wry grin if not a chuckle from the reader as he introduces his "super-friends," a line that riffs not only on decades old Justice League cartoon but also Scarface.

As his death approaches, J'onnz uses his telepathy to alert his friends amongst the superhero community that he is about to die, sharing his last memories with them. A side effect of this shows the heroes bursting into flame which allows Tomasi to once again throw out a couple of nice one-liners.

Even though this is a book that deals with death, those little snippets of humour are handled well, with respect and deference, and are true to the characters as well.

But this is a book about death and the Manhunter's funeral - all one page of it in Final Crisis #2 - is expanded here, as his death is. It's touching, genuinely, and Tomasi deserves to be applauded for writing something that brought a fitting end to the story of J'onn J'onnz.

1 comment:

  1. This really was a great issue. Is it going to be included in your annotations? I'd like to see a full list of attendees at the funeral! I can't seem to recognize some of the feet sticking in from off panel.


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