Those who’ve been keeping up with my Last Ride reviews know that I’ve been critical of this series. There were a number of elements I’ve disliked—most prominently Superman’s characterization. The penultimate issue, which came out last month, was a little more to my liking. But can the creative team stick the landing with this finale? Let’s have a look.
This finale ties the loose ends together. That, in itself, I like. What I dislike, however, is that all of it comes to pass so quickly and easily, like the heroes don’t even really have to try. For example, in the previous issue the League was up against various villains, but don’t blink because they’re all defeated incredibly fast here, with the exception of Darkseid. But even though Darkseid is wielding a Green Lantern ring and can conjure up an entire army of light-construct Parademons, I’m not feeling any sense of threat, despair or stakes because none of the characters or even the story itself is taking him seriously enough.
See, this story is very disjointed. In previous issues, there’s a lot of conflict within the League, which causes them to be less effective and which made certain scenes in previous issues a real slog to read. Then, last month, we did a 180 and now the League is back to being friendly with each other again, just like that. They’re working together so well that there’s absolutely nothing the creative team can write or draw that will make me doubt the outcome even the slightest bit. I know the heroes will win and, as much fun as it is to see these Superfriends beating up bad guys, I just don’t really care about the ending anymore. Darkseid, who seemed really cool with his green ring, has become a boring, mustache-twirling villain and, despite being technically over-powered, just seems like a bit of a nuisance instead of a fearsome demon.
There’s some fan-service here that I think a lot of readers will appreciate, such as the return of a hero and some of the interactions between the main characters. But the dialogue and the plot feel uninspired to me. It’s like we’re just going through the motions, from panel to panel, page to page. I don’t feel like there’s any life or excitement behind these things. This is mainly because I think this type of story has already been told much better, a hundred times before. Earlier in the series I thought that maybe this comic would lead to an unexpected or dark conclusion, especially since the title is “Last Ride” and most of the themes were about frustration, grief and friends that were falling out, but none of these themes are actually developed throughout the series so the resolution can be achieved naturally.
As for the art, the character renditions, the poses and the combat sequences are all solid. But even though these things are all executed well, the backgrounds are still bland and the action isn’t very imaginative. Really, it’s just a superhero slug fest, and even Darkseid with his ring fails to inject some much-needed excitement into the visuals. Darkseid, a monstrous tyrant who always comes up with mind-boggling masterplans, the ultimate villain in the DCU, one that the heroes should be genuinely, deeply terrified of, simply creates a bunch of parademons before getting his ass kicked. Here, the artists had the chance to go completely wild with light constructs and fight choreography, but they chose a safe and straightforward approach instead. Seeing as most of the issue is really just that final fight, I see this finale—both in terms of writing and artwork—as a big missed opportunity.
- You are looking for some light reading about cool heroes beating up bad guys.
Overall: Look, I wish I could praise this issue! I wanted this to be good. But I just don’t like this comic. I hate using this word, and I don’t mean any offense, but this finale feels lazy to me. Heroes win too easily; Darkseid is criminally underused; the story concludes much too fast; and all the conflict between the heroes is kind of just swept under the rug rather than actually resolved. After seven months of following this series, I just feel let down, and so I can’t recommend this issue or this series.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.