Final Crisis: Requiem Review
Final Crisis: Requiem review by Armeka Jackson
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Doug Mahnke
The Martian Manhunter never had the crossover appeal of the rest of the Justice League, but among readers, he is one of the most beloved, and undeniably powerful, heroes in DC. As we saw in Final Crisis #1, the Martian Manhunter met his end when the Human Flame requested that Libra kill the hero that had ruined his life. Though MM's death was limited to one panel and a final call to his late wife, Grant Morrison and DC knew that a hero of J'onn J'onnz caliber deserved a fitting send off and eulogy. Final Crisis: Requiem takes us to his last minutes, his friend's mourning, and a celebration of the life of one of the most famous characters in comics.
Peter Tomasi has been on a roll lately. The one-time DC editor has been given high-profile writing work for Nightwing, Black Adam, and Green Lantern Corps, and now he has written one of the best single tributes to a hero's life in quite some time. The issue, which jumps from the burial, to the death, to the burial again, tells a rather full story for a one-shot, but Tomasi's story is so satisfying and complete that one can't help but wonder why MM had never been written like this before.
The book is, above everything, a celebration of both a hero's powers and life. This is illustrated early on, before the inevitable death. Without giving too much away, Tomasi shows why, with just his mind alone, the Martian Manhunter is one of the most dangerous beings in the DC Universe. Tomasi uses this last stand to remind us of what an amazing character we are about to lose.
The second half of the book takes a more reflective look at J'onnz's role in the history of DC. No one could tell the story of the Martian Manhunter better than himself, and as a final goodbye, he chooses five conduits to be the keepers of the history of his life and his home planet of Mars. Tomasi cleverly uses this as a retelling of the Manhunter's history in the DC Universe, as well as giving him a new, slightly-altered post-Infinite Crisis origin.
Doug Mahnke's thick, dark pencils look as good here as they did in Black Adam's series. His detailed focus on facial expressions is absolutely necessary in a story such as this. Every single close up and face, whether filled with hate or love and mourning for the deceased, look beautiful. Mahnke is truly in top form, down to the last, incredibly moving panel of the book, showing the Martian Manhunter finally at peace, reunited with his lost loved ones. If you're not at least somewhat moved by it, as well as Batman's final goodbye to his fellow detective, you may need to have your pulse examined.
In the early previews of Final Crisis, we learned that heroes would die, but legends would live forever. We learn the meaning of that phrase in this issue. Final Crisis is a story that may be a little too much to digest for the casual reader, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be one of the most moving and exhilarating one-shots in all of FC. While looking at the corpse of his late friend, Oliver Queen says that J'onn J'onnz was his favorite Martian. After reading this issue, he may become yours too.