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Final Crisis
Greg Cox
Multi-cast production, adaptation
GraphicAudio, 8 hours

Final Crisis
Greg Cox
Greg Cox is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous Star Trek novels, including The Eugenics Wars (Volumes One and Two), The Q Continuum, Assignment: Eternity, and The Black Shore. His short fiction can be found in such anthologies as Star Trek: Tales of the Dominion War, Star Trek: The Amazing Stories, and Star Trek: Enterprise Logs. His first Khan novel, The Eugenics Wars, Volume One, was voted Best SF Book of the Year by the readers of Dreamwatch magazine. Cox can also be found as a bonus feature on the Director's Edition DVD of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

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A review by Steven Brandt

Let me see if I have this straight. In some future battle, Darkseid is defeated and is sent hurtling backward through time. Eventually, he lands on Earth in our own present day. This causes an imbalance in our world, and also in the 51 other universes that hinge upon our own, and the whole big mess begins to slide into a black hole. There's also something about the anti-life equation, a mathematical proof that shows Darkseid is the true ruler of all. Darkseid broadcasts the anti-life equation all over the planet to enslave all of humanity, and a few super-heroes as well, claiming a victory of sorts in his own impending death. All the super-heroes of the world, and a few not of this world, will have to band together to save the 52 universes.

Okay, I know there was a lot more to it than that, but Final Crisis has a few things going against it. First, it's based on a comic book mini-series. If you know anything about comics, then you already know that it is nearly impossible to get the whole story by reading a single series or mini-series. The genre is lousy with cross-overs, tie-ins, team-ups, and all manner of hyphenated monstrosities.

Second, Final Crisis is one of those messy non-continuum story lines that deal with variable times, dimensions, and realities. It gives me a headache just thinking about it. Even if you are not a comics fan, you have probably seen the Back to the Future movies and know what I'm talking about. Third, the perspective of the audiobook jumps around a lot between times and universes, and it's hard to keep track of where and when you are. Some elements of this story originated in other books, like the 52-issue mega-cross-over, Countdown to Final Crisis, and some elements are continued in other books. It's a big mess.

So far, I have made it sound like I really hated this audiobook, but that's not the whole story. As much trouble as I had following the plot, I still enjoyed the audio production quite a bit. The music and sound effects were simply awesome. Graphic Audio's slogan is "A Movie In Your Mind," and the sound is cinema-quality to be sure. This is a full-cast production, featuring a main narrator and a long list of voice actors playing the parts of various characters. It's a pretty long list, at least two dozen I would guess, so I won't name them all here, but there is a full reading of the credits at the end of the audiobook, telling who played each character. I liked that because full cast productions like this sometimes neglect to tell you who the voices were. The narrator and character actors all did a good job, and I especially liked the voice of Batman, it was kind of rough and gritty, the way you would expect Batman to sound.

The music and sound effects were especially stirring during the battle scenes, which make up almost this entire audiobook. The battles are fought on several different fronts, with different groups of super-heroes at each location. Every DC hero and villain you've ever heard of, and probably a few you haven't, showed up at one time or another, and the climax featured the Supermen from all 52 universes teaming up together -- pretty exciting stuff.

Final Crisis was originally written by Grant Morrison and published by DC Comics as a seven-part mini-series. The issues were published between July 2008 and March 2009. The limited series was collected and published as a hardcover graphic novel in June 2009, and adapted to audio by Greg Cox in 2010.

Oh, I wanted to mention one more thing. In one of the parallel Earths, there was a Japanese team of super-heroes called the Super Young Team. The members had really funny names like Most-Excellent Superbat, Big Atomic Lantern Boy, Crazy-Shy Lolita Canary, Shiny Happy Aquazon, and Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash. I had to laugh every time I heard those names. These characters were created by Grant Morrison specifically for Final Crisis.

I don't think Final Crisis will appeal to a wide audience of audiobook readers, mainly just comic fans. I know I didn't make the story sound very good, but honestly, it's worth a listen just for the music and sound. Also, if you've never listened to an audio production of a comic, you should give it a try, it's a pretty amazing experience. GraphicAudio did a top-notch job with this one.

Copyright © 2011 Steven Brandt

Steven Brandt spends most of his waking hours listening to audiobooks and reviewing them for his blog, Audiobook Heaven. When not reading or reviewing, Steven is usually playing the saxophone for the entertainment and amusement of his family.

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