The Final Crisis begins with mysterious appearances by the Anthro, Kamandi, various supervillains, Monitors and New Gods with the murder of a longtime DC comics mainstay as the centerpiece of the issue.
This isn't a very flashy comic. In fact, most readers will be mystified by what is going on. We soon discover that Libra is gathering DC villains together and that Darkseid has mysteriously survived but what they are up to is still unrevealed. Although the Justice League, particularly the Green Lanterns make an appearance, they are largely on the sidelines. The only heroic character who appears to be closing in on the villains is old ex-Metropolis cop Turpin. It is all very understated. Even the death of the DC mainstay (and a few second-stringers) is done so casually that it fails to shock the reader. If anything. he will be left wondering "did that really happen or is this just another trick?"
The story is different. It is intriguing. It is original, no doubt about that. But it still lacks excitement and leaves people scratching their heads instead of panting in anticipation for the next issue.
What makes this story even less exciting is the lack of connection towards any of the big miniseries that were supposedly linked to the Final Crisis. The events of COUNTDOWN don't seem to have any impact to the big Crisis. And the DEATH OF THE NEW GODS miniseries is hardly referenced. Superman even acts like he barely knows who Orion is, even though they recently shared an adventure together. It all looks like sloppy editing as though the various DC writers barely consulted with each other before coming out with all their stories.
The art is gloomy and noir-ish, better suited for a detective story than an explosive hero-adventure. Of course, this story is more of a gloomy detective story than a hero adventure so it actually fits quite well. Still, the human figures do look a bit stiff and posed although the human faces are very expressive and well done.
By itself, this issue doesn't really grab you but it does leave hints of greater things in the coming days.