Special Addendum:  Final Crisis

T he same words apply as when I offered a detailed analysis of Infinite Crisis: “a great many fans and readers have expressed dismay online about the difficulty of determining a coherent reading order for the events of DC’s last universe-shattering epic and all its myriad crossover stories.”

While at first glance Final Crisis seems to stand apart on its own, largely separate from most other DCU titles, in fact the interconnections are myriad and dizzying. After considerable close reading, I have come up with the following. The entire sequence appears to span approximately five weeks. Key events are in bold.

History Notes and References
Day One April 27
[Overnight] Nightwing is injured safeguarding a federal witness from assassins. He is saved by Alfred’s surgical skills. Nightwing #147-48 <10-11.08>. Batman has not been seen since his crash into the river two or three days earlier [Batman #681 <12.08>, the climax of “Batman: RIP”], and although Dick tells himself Bruce is still busy with the Black Glove, under anesthesia he worries, “He’s really gone this time… isn’t he, Alfred?” (In fact, he’s not… quite yet.)
[Day] In Metropolis, Dan “Terrible” Turpin discovers Orion of the New Gods in his death-throes. As the skies turn red, Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan are quickly summoned to the scene of the “code 1011” (deicide), and the Guardians decide to seal off Earth for the duration of the investigation. Turpin talks to the Question (Renee Montoya), and gets a lead directing him to the Dark Side Club. Final Crisis #1 <7.08>
[Sunset] Dr. Light and Mirror Master retrieve Metron’s chair for Libra. Meanwhile in Metropolis, 30 villains stage a protest march against “vigilante brutality.” FC #1. Although it’s not mentioned in the story, the villains’ indignation could well be the result of their recent exile during Salvation Run <1-7.08>.
[Night] After nearly 24 hours of recovery time, Nightwing returns to protect his charge, but she is (seemingly) killed by Two-Face’s guns. Ntwg #148
Day Two April 28
[Overnight] The missing Batman returns to Wayne Manor, just long enough to reassure Alfred and then answer a JLA emergency signal. Batman #683 <2.09> [flashback scene]. The scene does not specigy how long he has been missing, but circumstances require it to be a few days.
Libra meets a group of high-powered supervillians in Central City, asking them to “hand over the reigns” of the Secret Society. As a show of force, Libra kills J’onn J’onzz. Meanwhile, Turpin locates Boss Dark Side, and succumbs to his will. The Justice League meets to confer about Orion’s death, and declares “condition amber.” FC #1
Superman, Batman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, and Gypsy feel J’onn’s mental death cry/farewell. Soon thereafter, Nightwing discovers J’onn’s body in New York City. FC: Requiem #1 <9.08>. Superman is aware of Orion’s death, and Batman is back in Gotham chasing hoods, both suggesting this falls after the JLA meeting.
[9:15 AM] The Monitors exile Nix Uotan (formerly charged with Earth-51) from their company, and he awakens in a mortal body on Earth, to news reports of J’onn’s murder. FC #1
GLs Hal Jordan and John Stewart are assigned to excort Sinestro from Oa to Korugar for his execution. The mission is disrupted by encounters with the Red Lanterns, then the Blue Lanterns, and finally Agent Orange. The Guardians reassert jurisdiction over the Vega system. FC: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 <12.08> and GL v4 #37-42 <1-7.09>. The story commences when Orion’s 1011 was “yesterday” and proceeds without a break. (Obviously, the GLs had a very busy day.)
Shiloh Norman (Mr. Miracle II) seeks Sonny Sumo in Japan. Meanwhile, Nix Uotan works at Big Belly Burger, and tries to recall his former existence. FC #2 <8.08>. The Japan scene is set at night, but that’s daytime in the western hemisphere.
Back in Gotham City, the Batman takes a final swing across the skyline with Nightwing and Robin. DCU: Last Will and Testament #1 <10.08>. Placement aproximate. Although originally announced as a FC crossover, this story dovetails with the larger one only with difficulty. It cannot be apocryphal, however, as its events have ongoing consequences (notably for Deathstroke). Most of its vignette scenes occur several days later, but this one is out of sequence, constrained by Batman’s limited presence in the story.
Day Three April 29
[Overnight] Hal Jordan and Green Arrow mourn J’onn at the Hall of Justice. Then the five heroes who felt his mental cry receive a final post-mortem message—and spend the night recording his memoirs, the history of Mars. FC: Requiem #1. Note that Bruce Wayne is sleeping in Wayne Manor when the mental signal arrives.
[Day] In Gotham, Dan Turpin beats information about Libra’s plans out of the Mad Hatter, and sets out for Blüdhaven. FC #2. Note that a television playing in the background refers to “President Horne,” confirming his status as U.S. president at this point in the DCU.
J’onn J’onzz’s funeral is held on Mars, with a host of heroes in attendance and Superman presiding. It is simulcast worldwide. FC #2, FC: Requiem, and FC: Revelations #1 <10.08>. This is the scene that provides the specific date on which the rest of this arrangement hinges—since Booster Gold v2 #1 <10.07> includes a flash-forward to Booster’s involvement in Final Crisis captioned “Week 104, Day 1” (i.e., April 29, following the dating scheme from 52). The panel is not actually representative of any scene from FC, but Booster’s only notable appearance in the story is at this funeral. It’s a tenuous clue, to be sure, but in fact it works quite well with surrounding events, so there’s no reason to disregard it.
Libra gathers the Society leaders again, leaving most of them convinced to follow him. Luthor remains cautiously skeptical. FC #2. Note that Dr. Light is present at this gathering. (How Luthor is able to attend this gathering and make later appearances in FC, rather than being a captive of Gen. Sam Lane as seen in contemporaneous Superman titles, is not explained. Perhaps his freedom was Libra’s doing. Things would be simpler if we could just move the entire Brainiac/New Krypton sequence to a post-FC setting, but that’s impossible, since we know Bruce Wayne was still alive in the wake of Jonathan Kent’s death.)
[Night] Flash’s enemies, the “Rogues,” return to Keystone City, and defeat a younger group of wannabe Rogues in their hideout. They decide not to work for Libra. FC: Rogues’ Revenge #1 <9.08>. Dialogue establishes that this is after Mirror Master’s mission with Dr. Light, but Light himself is shown still alive in this story. There is then a continuity gap before the scenes featuring Inertia; see Day 5, below.
The Spectre enacts final revenge on Dr. Light, reducing him to a melted candle. He then seeks out the minor villain Effigy and kills him as well. FC: Revelations #1. Both Dr. Light and Effigy assisted in J’onn’s murder. Although it is not depicted, by some means the remains of Light are immediately deposited at JLAS headquarters for safekeeping, as required by events below. There is a continuity gap before the subsequent events of this mini-series; see Day 5, below.
Day Four April 30
The JLA investigates Orion’s cause of death. Hal Jordan introduces his superior officer, the Alpha Lantern Kraken. FC #2
As he departs, Hal Jordan reassures the Flash (Wally West) that things will work out. DCU:LWAT #1. Placement approximate; another out-of-sequence vignette, constrained by character availability.
[Evening] The JLA is interrupted when the Shadow Cabinet takes Dr. Light II (Kimiyo Hoshi) captive, then invades the Hall of Justice seeking Dr. Light I’s waxen remains. The teams wind up using the candle to restore Kimiyo’s powers, then battle the Shadow Thief, thereby repairing the SC’s “shadowslide” teleportation system. JLofA v2 #27-30 <1-4.09>. This obviously must follow the death of Dr. Light I, above, but precede John Stewart’s injury and Batman’s disappearance, as both are featured in this story. Hence, the entire story winds up wedged between pages of FC #2. The “Milestone heroes” were not previously a part of the DCU, but as explained by Icon’s spiritual guide Dharma in JLofA v2 #34 <8.09>, Darkseid’s death “ripped the fabric of space-time,” and Dharma merged the two universes (and their histories) in order to survive.
[Night] John Stewart finds a mysterious bullet at the scene of Orion’s death, but then is attacked and injured. FC #2. Although it is not shown, both John and the evidence must be retrieved quickly by his teammates, as he is in “critical condition” soon thereafter, while the Batman studies the god-killing “radion bullet”—and tucks it into his utility belt, per Batman #683.
Day Five May 1
[Overnight] The Alpha Lanterns arrest a mysteriously amnesiac Hal Jordan for the attack on John Stewart. FC #2
[Day] Superman parts ways from Batman to check in on his civilian life. Batman discovers Kraken is John’s true attacker, but is kidnapped via Boom Tube. In the ruins of Blüdhaven, Turpin discovers the hidden “Evil Factory,” and is taken captive there. The Daily Planet offices are bombed, injuring Lois Lane. FC #2
[Night] The Spectre invades Libra’s base in Central City, killing the villainous Hangmen before he can recruit them. FC: Revelations #1. Libra thereafter abandons this base in favor of the “Hall of Doom” in an unnamed swamp, as shown in FC #3. Another continuity gap follows; see Day 6.
Flashes Wally West and Jay Garrick investigate Libra’s headquarters—and Barry Allen returns. FC #2
S.H.A.D.E. raids the Dark Side Club, only to find Boss Dark Side dead. They encounter the Question, and draft her at the direction of Checkmate. FC #3 <9.08>. Given the Question’s next appearance (in England, below), they presumably transport her to Europe (with a stop at the Checkmate castle in Switzerland). The reasons for this are not apparent.
In Central City, Zoom frees Inertia from the Flash Museum, seeking an acolyte. FC: Rogues’ Revenge #1
Day Six May 2
[Overnight] After four days tracking Two-Face, Nightwing locates and captures him in time to save New York from a deadly acid attack. Ntwg #150. The story specifies at its start that Dick has gone “96 hours” without sleep since his departure from Wayne Manor after surgery, above.
[Day] Nix Uotan is fired from his job. Jay Garrick tells Iris Allen of Barry’s return—and prompt disappearance with Wally, fleeing the Black Racer. At his swamp headquarters, Libra places a mind-control helmet on the Human Flame, and coerces obedience from Lex Luthor. FC #3. Luthor notes that “Superman… hasn’t answered a single emergency call for 18 hours.” Libra boasts that free will will disappear “in less than 24 hours,” perhaps getting a bit ahead of himself.
The Rogues battle and defeat a team of “New Rogues” working for Libra. They proceed to track down Inertia, who kills Weather Wizard’s son and restores Zoom’s crippled human form, before the Rogues defeat and kill him. FC: Rogues’ Revenge #2-3 <10-11.08>. Iris has heard from Jay in #2, and Libra is shown in his swamp HQ.
Clark Kent, on a vigil beside Lois’s hospital bed, is drafted into time by the female Monitor Zillo Valla. Superman is dragged across the Multiverse and the Bleed to Limbo, alongside many Superman analogues, and winds up glimpsing a threatening larger reality (the Overvoid) in which he battles Ultraman, the corrupt Monitor Rox Ogama, and the powerful Mandrakk, the Dark Monitor. He returns immediately after his departure with a cure for Lois. FC #3, FC: Superman Beyond #1-2 <10.08, 3.09>. Note that “Superman hasn’t been seen since yesterday,” the date of the explosion. Readers differ as to whether Jimmy Olsen still knows Superman’s secret identity in this opening scene; IMHO the dialogue can certainly be read to indicate that he does, but is keeping it quiet. This Ultraman appears to be the one from the antimatter universe, not the new Earth-3. Ogama may well be the same Monitor called “Solomon” during Countdown. Depending on how one reads the story, Mandrakk is said to have been either Dax Novu, the Monitor of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, or a part of him that split off after being “contaminated.” As for the events themselves... well, it’s a hugely symbolic meta-story open to many interpretations. (As is all of FC, really.)
Hal Jordan is taken to Oa in emerald chains. Alan Scott and Wonder Woman decide to gather all of America’s heroes by invoking “Article X… the draft for super-heroes.” They recruit Oracle to handle communications. FC #3. Diana comments that “Superman is at the bedside of his injured wife, Batman is missing” as the crisis escalates. “Article X” has never been mentioned anywhere before.
Superman warns his fellow heroes of the looming Multiverse-scale threat. DCU:LWAT #1. Referred to [“people think the world’s going to end… we heard it from Clark”], but not actually depicted. His return from FC:SB is a logical point for this to happen.
Superman and Green Arrow visit Wayne Manor seeking the Batman, but find only ruins in the Batcave. Outsiders v4 #11 <11.08>. It’s hard to place this issue, but this seems the most reasonable spot. Other members search as well: Batgirl questions the Penguin, Geo-Force and Katana talk to Jim Gordon, and Thunder reports back to the JLA via her father, Black Lightning. There is then a continuity gap before the conclusion of the issue, since Thunder in badly injured therein, but intact throughout the balance of FC.
Superman is summoned to the future by the Legion of Super-Heroes. Legion of Three Worlds 1-5 <10.08-8.09>.
[Night] In Portsmouth, England, the Question stows away aboard a boat belonging to the cryptic, Crime Bible-influenced “Order of the Stone.” FC: Revelations #1. Another gap follows; see Day 8 next.
Day Seven May 3
[Day] Heroes get draft notices. FC #3. Supergirl, Ollie and Dinah, and Shazam are depicted; others are implied. The sun is shown to be shining. The notices as drawn appear to have arrived by mail, but I think we can safely disregard that unlikely detail.

[Afternoon] Geo-Force confers with Black Lightning about what to do when facing the end of the world. Meanwhile…

  • Diana and Donna visit Valhalla cemetary
  • Starfire looks for Nightwing
  • Grace Choi (of the Outsiders) confesses her fears to Rocky Davis of the Challengers
  • Captain Cold stops a petty crime

[Night] …and Geo-Force successfully captures his sister’s killer, Deathstroke (see 1999/Yr11), at great injury to himself.

DCU:LWAT. This is described as the second day without a sunrise. However, that aspect of the crisis is not mentioned anywhere else in the story, and may be dismissed as artistic license. (It is certainly possible that the increasingly widespread storms and red skies cast a pall that hides the sun, however.) The gathering of heroes is scheduled for “tomorrow.” Out of all this story’s vignettes, the most out-of-place one is the scene between Clark and Pa Kent, which must occur at least a couple of weeks earlier—likely during Clark’s visit to Smallville in Action #867 <9.08>, during the Brainiac story.
Day Eight May 4
A host of heroes gather, hoping to hear a plan from Alan Scott. FC #3. Geo-Force is depicted in the background of the crowd scene, but that can be dismissed as an oversight. He plays no significant role in the story.
Investigating the outskirts of Blüdhaven, Wonder Woman is attacked and infected by a corrupted Mary Marvel. FC #3
[5:30 PM EST] Darkseid’s minion Mokkari uploads the Anti-Life Equation as a worldwide e-mail. Oracle desperately shuts down the Internet… too late. More than a billion people are immediately infected. FC #3; time and number afflicted from FC #4 <11.08>. In one panel Mr. Terrific says he is at the Castle in Switzerland, but that seems to contradict events below.
In the mid-Atlantic, the Order of the Stone finds and retrieves the Spear of Destiny. The Spectre is drawn to the scene, rescuing the Question and teleporting them to Gotham City, where they encounter Radiant, the “spirit of mercy.” FC: Revelations #1-2 <10-11.08>
In Antarctica, Darkseid’s ALE-influenced “Justifiers” overrun Checkmate’s bunker—except for one safe room in which Mr.Terrific and the Black King, Taleb, take refuge. Sasha Bordeaux is forced to shut down when her nanotech is compromised. FC: Resist #1 <12.08>. The day the ALE is released is described as “Total Defeat,” making this “TD +0.”
Day Nine May 5
[Overnight] The Order of the Stone uses the Spear to possess Vandal Savage with the essense of Cain, the first killer. He leads his forces to Gotham, attacking and subduing the Spectre. The Question takes refuge in a cathedral alongside many uninfected civilians, aided by the Huntress. The Question manages to purify the Spear by using it to resurrect Crispus Allen’s son (who as the Spectre he had been forced to kill), and the Spectre reintegrates and defeats Cain. FC: Revelations #2-5 <11.08-2.09>. In issue #2, Savage is viewing the ALE on a laptop just before his possession. In #3, the Question remarks that she knows the scope of the problem because she had been “in the Checkmate castle,” a mysterious reference seemingly not accommodated in this story, but see Day 5. In #4, Huntress remarks that “Alan Scott’s the only one still coordinating a response.”
Day 12 May 8
Checkmate ally Snapper Carr (working from the Antarctic base) uses his teleportation powers to disable a S.T.A.R. bioweapons lab. FC: Resist #1, “TD+4”
Day 13 May 9
Snapper escapes from Firehawk on the JLA satellite, with help from the Cheetah. FC: Resist #1, “TD+5”
Days 19-31 May 15-27
Snapper undertakes more missions, seeking resisters. FC: Resist #1, “TD+11/14/19/21/23”
Day 33 May 29
On a quest for medical supplies, Snapper resuces Cheetah from Grodd and takes her back to Antarctica. FC: Resist #1, “TD+25”
Day 34 May 30
Mr. Terrific figures out how to activate the latent OMACs around the world, and summons them to help escape Antarctica. FC: Resist #1, “TD+26”
Day 35 May 31
In Washington, D.C., Tatooed Man III (Mark Richards) helps Black Lightning escape from Justifiers; he receives Metron’s sigil from him, and heads for the Hall of Justice. FC: Submit #1 <12.08>. Earliest possible date, allowing Mr. Terrific and company at least some time to return to the Checkmate Castle. Richards notes that he and his family “survived these two weeks on our own”; what they did before that is not mentioned. We know that Richards was not preivously in D.C., however, so he may be referring back to when the family reunited, and we need not assume the ALE broadcast was only two weeks earlier. The hardcover reprint of FC explains how Black Lightning got posession of Metron’s sigil: it “began to appear all over the world before all this started.”
Ray gets the Tatooed Man into the Hall, where a small group of resisters has gathered (Green Arrow, Black Canary, Oracle, Joan Garrick, Linda Park and her kids). The Justifiers soon penetrate the Hall, capturing Green Arrow while the others escape to the Satellite. FC #4 <11.08>. The heroes are communicating via the Calculator’s “ünternet,” and are in touch with six “Watchtowers” holding out against Darkseid’s forces: 1=the Castle (where Mr. Terrific is now located), 2=unnamed, 3=the Fortress of Solitude, 4=Gorilla City, 5=Superbia (which falls to Justifiers), 6=the Great Wall of China. Alan Scott is coordinating, and his plan involves a renewed attack on Blüdhaven at dawn of the following day.
The Flashes arrive through time, having “run a few weeks into the future,” and escape from the new Female Furies (led by a possessed Wonder Woman). Barry returns to Iris. FC #3-4. They were last seen on Day Five, above, just over four weeks earlier.
Darkseid finishes incarnating in the body of Dan Turpin. Turpin finally gives in, and Darkseid gives a “thumbs down” to the fate of humanity. FC #4
Hal Jordan is tried on Oa. Kyle Rayner and Guy Garnder help clear him, exposing Alpha Lantern Kraken as possessed by Granny Goodness. The Guardians identify Earth as the center of a "doomsday singularity,” and Hal is given “24 hours to save the universe.” FC #5 <12.08>. The singularity has apparently compressed time, causing it to flow faster around Earth (exactly the opposite of how a real singularity would work, but never mind), so Hal and his fellow GLs have experienced only days, not weeks, since his departure on Day Six.
Day 36 June 1
The dawn attack on Blüdhaven is launched, while the Checkmate Castle defends itself from Justifiers. Nix Uotan is captured, but has his memories restored by Metron. Justifiers find the President’s secret bunker. FC #5
The Batman escapes his long captivity at the hands of Simyan and Mokkari, turning their mind-sifting agent The Lump against them. Batman #682-83 <1.09>
Darkseid kills his minions, and links his mind to all three billion of his followers around the planet. FC #5
The fighting continues in Blüdhaven (with Mary Marvel matched off against Supergirl, and Tawky Tawny against Kalibak, among others), but the heroes cannot penetrate Darkseid’s base. The JLA satellite falls to Justifiers. Checkmate plans its “Black Gambit, the Omega Offensive,” seeking to open an escape route into a parallel universe. Libra attempts to execute Calculator for colluding with the heroes, but is betrayed by Luthor and Sivana. Using the radion bullet that killed Orion, the Batman shoots Darkseid, but then is struck by the beams of his Omega Sanction. And Superman returns from the future, just in time to find Batman’s charred corpse. FC #6 <1.09>. Several heroes are working with Checkmate: Hawkman and Hawkgirl help defend the Castle; Mr. Miracle and his allies arrive there as well; Zatanna is leading a search for the Spectre (inexplicably missing); and both Atoms are working on the Omega Offensive project. The Question is also back at the Castle, and is recruited by Amanda Waller (who is actually no longer associated with Checkmate, but never mind) to lead the mission across universes as head of an ad hoc “Global Peace Agency.” Note also that contrary to the effects depicted for Batman here, Darkseid’s Omega beams ordinarily do not leave a body. In that regard, see 38,000 BCE.
The Flashes (and the pursuing Black Racer) overrun the wounded Darkseid; the Ray draws Metron’s sigil on the Earth; Luthor takes control of the villain army and orders them to stand down; the Black Gambit fails when its portal collapses, but the Question escapes into the Multiverse, where she sets about recruiting a batallion of Superman analogues. FC #7 <3.09>
Day 37 (approximately) June 2
Spacetime folds down around the JLA’s Watchtower, the only surviving fragment of Earth. With the help of a few other survivors, Superman builds a replica of the Miracle Machine he saw in the Legion’s era. Time slows toward a stop, distorting everyone’s experiences. Superman sings at Darkseid to cancel out the vibrations that are all that remain of him. Mandrakk returns; the gathered Supermen arrive and confront him; and the Green Lantern Corps arrives in time to drive an emerald spike through him. Nix Uotan destroys Ultraman. Finally, Superman uses the Miracle Machine to wish for a happing ending, and Earth and the Multiverse are restored. FC #7
In the aftermath, humanity celebrates and rebuilds (and wonders about the worlds of the newly discovered Multiverse, now public knowledge)… while the Monitors withdraw from contact with those worlds, and surrender themselves to the Overvoid. FC #7

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This page last updated 07/10/2009 .

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