By Koppy McFad
November 8, 2008 - 01:58
Black Lightning and the Tattooed Man flee the legions of Darkseid in this tie-in to the big FINAL CRISIS event.
This may look like a standalone story, showing what is happening on the sidelines of the mammoth crisis. But it is actually an integral part of the big story. Readers who pick up the latest issue of FINAL CRISIS may be wondering how Tattooed Man got into the JLA headquarters or why he suddenly appears to be keeper of a vital secret that could turn the war around. This issue explains some of that.
Basically, Black Lightning tries to help Tattooed Man and his family escape the tightening grip of Darkseid. But Tattooed Man's intense hatred for superheroes complicates things, especially since he has transmitted some of that hatred to his family. There is even a racial component here as all the characters are Black and Tattooed Man's rants against superheroes could just as easily be seen as attacks against Whites.
Parts of this story seem a lot like the George Romero's "zombie" movies with the humans trying to stay ahead of a growing army of mindless stalkers. One bright spot is that all the characters seem to have believable, relatable personalities. We may not agree with them but we can see the reasons for their behaviour. The art is largely quite good, creating a sense of suspense and desperation.
Two major drawbacks: the Tattooed Man's powers are never depicted well. In fact, they aren't even explained well. Old-time readers understand the part about tattoos coming to life but the art is too stylized so we can't really see what is happening. Additionally, the tattoos on Tattooed Man's body don't really stand out. Partly, that may be due to his dark skin but even under other artists, this guy just looks like someone with weird colors on his body.
Second major drawback: the story still doesn't fully explain how the 'secret' weapon was obtained by Black Lightning and given to the Tattooed Man. Maybe there is another comic out there that gives the details but I didn't see it here.
In fact, those who picked up FINAL CRISIS # 4 without picking up this comic first will likely be wondering why the heck the Tattooed Man is suddenly playing such a major role in that book. This story really deserves to be part of the main FINAL CRISIS miniseries.
Morrison and DC simply aren't making it easy to read their comics.
Rating: 7 /10