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Waiting for the Trade - Final Night


Waiting for the Trade

by Bill Miller

The Final Night
by Karl Kessel and Ron Marz
collects Final Night 1-4 and Parallax Emerald Night 1

Why I Bought This: As someone who doesn’t read a lot of DC this was an event I was always curious about and at a recent comic show I attended the trade was being sold for $5. At that price why not?

The Plot: A creature called the Sun Eater shows up attempts to eat the Earth’s sun causing Earth’s heroes and a few villains to unite in an attempt to save the planet.

Chapter 0 - A mysterious alien girl arrives on Tamaria to warn them of the Sun Eater. The Tamarians are a warlike race and don’t trust her until its too late. Their sun and world dies but alien chick escapes and heads to the next planet in the Sun Eater’s path: Earth.

Chapter 1 - Alien chick crashes in Metropolis where she is greeted by Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes. Saturn Girl uses telepathy to teach alien chick English and she warns them of the Sun Eater. Earth’s heroes gather at Star Labs where scientists verify the threat will arrive at the Sun in six hours. Big Barda suggests using a boom tube to teleport the creature to the edge of the universe as plan A. Superman gather heroes with heat-based powers together for Plan B. Batman is put in charge of the more urban heroes in using them to keep order from the mass panic that will occur if the other teams fail. Mr. Miracle’s team which includes Captain Atom and Dr. Polaris along with some heroes I don’t recognize confront the Sun Eater (it looks a living dark cloud/black hole) first and attempt to create a vortex to pull it into a boom tube however the boom tube has no effect because the Sun Eater exists on multiple dimensions. Next up Superman’s team (with Firestorm, Ray, Fire and a few others) combine their powers to create a second sun that is held in check by Green Lantern’s (Kyle Raner) power ring in order to decoy Sun Eater away from the true sun. However it catches their mini-sun and eats it completely nearly killing all of the heroes in the process. The Sun Eater envelops the Sun causing the sky to turn black.

Chapter 2 – It’s been 27 hours since the sun went dark. Lex Luthor arrives in Metropolis to try and save the day with science. Meanwhile various heroes deal with fires burning out of control or criminals trying to take advantage of the situation. Superman’s powers are fading without sunlight. Luthor sends GL into the sun to get readings on what exactly the Sun Eater is doing, after which he abruptly disappears. The alien who warned everyone, now named Dusk, is attacked by an irate mob and decides humanity doesn’t deserved to be saved. She is then saved from the mob by new hero Ferro.

Chapter 3 – Demons from Hell offer to save the Earth if every inhabitant on the planet sells their souls but humanity turns them down. Gaea and Spectre are doing their best to keep the planet warm from the inside. The STAR Labs team realizes the Sun is about to go “hyper nova” in an effort to ward off the Sun Eater. Phantom Stranger shows Dusk the good side of humanity. Some of the heat-based heroes aid a village in Africa, while other heroes like Superman and Alan Scott go home to visit loved ones. Guy Gardner (currently in his Warrior cyborg identity) is getting drunk when he is confronted by a green flash.

Chapter 4 – Cyborg (the Superman foe, not the Teen Titan) is at the edge of the universe running from Parallax (Hal Jordan). Jordan kills him in vengeance for Coast City. Current GL Kyle Raner arrives and asks Jordan to save the Earth from the Sun Eater. Jordan looks in at the situation and realizes it may be beyond even his power. He then visits Gardener (hence the green flash from last issue) and Jon Stewart to make amends as well as his civilian supporting cast. He then finds Kyle and agrees to help.

Chapter 5 – With two hours before the Sun goes nova, Luthor has a plan to place a field of gizmos around the Sun that will use the energy of the nova to generate a force field that will contain the explosion and hopefully kills the Sun Eater. Luthor assigns the task of erecting the force field generators to Green Lantern but then GL gets teleported away in a green flash. With GL gone someone will have to manually pilot a ship to place the devices and that person will likely not come back. Superman volunteers with the hope that the nova will jumpstart his powers rather than killing him. However before Supes can leave Ferro steals the ship reasoning the world can’t lose Superman. Parallax shows up and offers to help. He notes he could jumpstart the Sun but the resulting melting of all the ice and snow will cause floods that kill lots of people. Of course he can bend time to avoid those affects too. This causes Batman to be a douche and accuse Hal of playing God again. So Parallax instead agrees to just take care of the Sun Eater and restore the planet’s natural equilibrium but not to save any lives already lost. Meanwhile Ferro fails to deploy the force fields properly and is killed in a nova blast; or at least he should be when Parallax freezes time and sends him back to Earth. Hal then absorbs the Sun Eater into himself and changes the nova energy into green light described as life force energy that heals the planet at the cost of his own life. Afterwards Superman and Batman debate whether Hal was really a hero.

Critical Thoughts: This is a quick read, so even when parts of the story don’t work it never fully spoils your enjoyment because you’re not investing a lot of time into it.  I like Hal Jordan a bit more than most of DC’s A-list and this is a good story of him trying to redeem himself from the events that preceded Zero Hour—probably the only other major DC crossover I’ve read and one I always felt Hal was kind of justified in to begin with, so in that sense I liked this story overall.

I like the idea of Lex Luthor being Earth’s best hope for salvation before Jordan shows up. It’s an interesting dynamic that you don’t get in Marvel: with Reed around the heroes will never have to turn to Dr. Doom for science help, but as near as I can tell as a casual fan of DC there is no heroic mind on a par with Luthor’s. I would have liked to see a little more of Luthor’s plan in action before Jordan steps in to save the day but with the nature of the Sun Eater (despite its sentience it is more or less presented as a natural phenomenon throughout the story) that’s only a minor criticism.

The impersonal nature of the villain also makes this a bizarre event story. On the one hand you don’t have the sort of big epic cosmic evil plan you expect in this kind of story, on the other hand the stakes are certainly high enough and the challenge facing the heroes unique enough to qualify as a major threat. Still without true villainy this becomes more a tale of how the heroes (and Luthor) react to a natural disaster than the kind back and forth rising action you expect in an event story. The human touches with Superman and the Green Lanterns play out well in this environment; while the urban riots, African subplot and Dusk learning about humanity don’t ever achieve what the author wants them to evoke.

I will say I don’t know who the hell Ferro is, or even if he has super powers, but he seems way out of the place in this story. I assume he was some new character they were pushing for a solo book at the time because his debut gets the Chapter 2 cliffhanger spot (prompting an anti-climatic ‘who the hell is this and why should I care?’ moment) and then of all the heroes on Earth he’s the one who thinks Superman is too valuable to lose and is left to deploy (and screw up) Luthor’s plan. If this story was supposed to be his big push it fails, because after reading it I could care less if I ever saw him in a comic book again.

Grade: C+. The Sun Eater is an interesting concept in terms of a global threat for the heroes to face but the action itself lacks dramatic tension. Still the character work on Jordan and Luthor is interesting enough to earn this a slightly positive grade.


  1. Ferro was a Legion of Superheroes thing, best not to worry about it.

  2. I like some little bits like how Vandal Savage tries to steal the Mona Lisa (who he personally knew) before leaving Earth. Plus, have to enjoy how Kevin Smith used it all as the excuse to bring Oliver Queen back in his Green Arrow run later and was the first step to redeeming Hal after the whole Parallax mess.

  3. Yep. He was an older character they brought back during this event. I recall LoSH fans at the time were pretty excited.

  4. I liked DC's annual crossovers back then, even if they haven't aged well. Between and Underworld Unleashed, it was fun to see all their titles get involved for one month. Back then, there weren't many books that would have their story interrupted for one month to take part. Plus, you could tell a lot of creators had fun with them.

    But what I liked most about these events over the ones we get today? They're self-contained. You can still read Underworld Unleashed and Final Night from beginning to end without really needing to read much before or after. They don't end only to set up another event in the future.

    Things still occurred that affected certain books. For example, the upgraded Blockbuster became a major force to be reckoned with in Nightwing (similar for Dr. Phosphorous to a lesser extent in Starman). The big thing from Final Night was Superman losing his powers, which culminated not only in his and Lois' wedding, but his big change in powers to the now not-so-fondly remembered "Electric Superman." I liked it at the time and still do to a point, but I'm a huge Superman fan.

  5. Ferro Lad's biggest claim to fame is sacrificing himself to stop a Sun-Eater during his short stay in the Legion.

  6. Why were the Legion of Super Heroes in the present era?

  7. Plus, it helped to get rid of Superman's damned mullet!

  8. It's not explained in the trade at all, in fact on first reading it seemed like we were in the future until the other heroes showed up at Star Labs

  9. For that alone, Final Night is the greatest thing in comics EVER.

  10. Because COMICS!

    (Or, you know, something about them time travelling back to do...something. And then getting stuck in the past.)

  11. LEGION LOST! j/k

    I never read that era Legion. Is that the "Grim n girtty" Legion that lost their "Lad/Lass/kid" parts of their names?

  12. No, that came later. I think you're thinking of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's reboot.

  13. Naw, Waid/KItson is the "threeboot" from 04. They all had the Lad/Lass/Kid names. Thats the LEgion I followed immensely and the basis of my DCUO character.

    The 94 version is when they fought the Dominators and Batch SW5. Thats the grim n gritty Legion, same time around Final Night.

  14. This was the Waid/Peyer/Stern reboot that replaced the darker Giffen/Bierbaums Five Year Gap Legion post-Zero Hour. Really nice art by Jeff Moy and Cory Carani. Half the Legion was in the present because of the Emerald Empress and the Fatal Five (also, because the creators split the characters across the two titles; sound familiar, wrestling fans?).

  15. Ah. There's been so many bloody reboots for LoSH that I can't keep track of them. Never been a fan of the comic, honestly.


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