Final Crisis: Submit (#1) – Grant Morrison

1 out of 5

Event tie-in books are a thankless task.  You’re often at the whims of whoever’s writing the main book, or, even if it’s your book, at the whims of editors / publishers who need to fill a scheduling gap.  Because whatever it is isn’t part of the main series, moving the needle on anything significant isn’t likely, and these books also often seem rushed, suggesting that the creatives are given minimal time to put them together.

As jam-packed with mayhem as Final Crisis already was, and given that writer Grant Morrison had shown his ability to use tie-ins to equally jam-packed mayhemness, Final Crisis: Submit is a truly puzzling addition to the related stories, as it’s a rather dunder-headed, stretched out justification for getting a character from the point A of bad guy to point B of good guy, suggesting that this was maybe just cutting room floor between-panel stuff that Grant couldn’t manage to fit in to the main book.

It’s already pretty bland as is – Black Lightning tries to convince the Tattooed Man to fight the good fight – and hardly reads like Grant at all, with very pedestrian dialogue extending one snooze of a conversation across the entire comic.  Matthew Clark’s art matches that rushed sensation mentioned above, relying on his worst Image-like tendencies and some nondescript action ‘splosions.  This would be enough to mark the book as a lesser-than title, but then… there’s the attempt to add what I think is subtext, and I only put that in italics because maybe it was meant to be context? and then DC editorial wouldn’t allow it to be actually be spoken to, so they stripped out all of the specifics in the language…?  Either way, Morrison takes a weak-willed ‘rah rah don’t submit to Darkseid’s anti-life’ speech and makes it ostensibly about race (both our leads are black), saying things that really don’t seem to be about Darkseid or superpowers, but also don’t say anything explicitly, like the concept was copyrighted and they had to use alternative language.

Okay, okay, lame messaging in comics is nothing new.  But then… the conclusion offered seems to be “you should just deal with it,” which, if we’re reading it framed as an opinion on racism…?

I’m happy to be corrected on this, or shown something obvious (or not obvious?) that I’m missing.  But this turned, for me, a pointless, sloppy tie-in issue into something very ill-conceived.