So here we are. The finale of the maxiseries. We left each miniseries with the Sheeda invasion of New York having just begun. Can Grant Morrison pull off a satisfactory conclusion to each character's arc, plus depicting more backstory and historical context and a mega battle and its aftermath? Well, no not quite, it's here that Morrison's reach finally exceeds his grasp. Oh it comes very close to completely working, thanks to a phenomenal art job by JH Williams III, but in the end there is too much going on in too short an issue, and in places it lapses into incoherence. Plus unforgivably I had to look up some up on wikipedia because it is not at all obvious what had happened. Some characters like Shining Knight and the Manhattan Guardian get a very good wrap up. Others, most obviously, Frankenstein get screwed over and barely appear. I would have liked it better if all the historical background had been spread across the miniseries and the final issue completely devoted to the fight against the Sheeda. That said, we would have been robbed of JH William's riff on Kirby's art style plus his lavish Frank Frazetta style Athurian fantasy sequences. He also blends the seven characters we have seen portrayed by very different artists together in a way that keeps them looking unique while also being of the same overall style. Basically JH William's owns this final issue and that it still manages to satisfy as much as it does can be laid in a large part at his door.
The issue begins with one of the Seven Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp telling the story of the Seven Soldiers destined to save the Earth but never meet. It seems like he is breaking the fourth wall and addressing the reader, but it later transpires that he is dealing with the rogue "Eighth of the Seven" Zor, as detailed in Zatanna's mini, who put the whole Sheeda plan in motion.
|Now that's how you make an entrance.|
Narrator: "40,000 BC. The Sky Tribes bring structure to a savage world. The refashioned it in their own image...The primitive inhabitants of a primordial Earth. And gave them fire, inspiration and magic"
We then rattle through history, the most important element being the introduction of the red haired Aurakles, the Earth's first superhero, who appeared in Mister Miracle's mini. He holds the Seven Treasures, the Sword (Caliburn), The Cauldron, The Hammer, The Merlin Sprite, the winged horse Pegazeus and an enchanted spear that can "carry death across time and strike a target a millenia away".
|Metron and the New Gods, Kirby style.|
And a little further on in the issue, but I'm doing it here as it fits in better, is the wrap up to Manhattan Guardian's storyline.
Luckily Ali-Ka-Zoom arrives on the scene and wakes Zatanna up, handing her the little guy in a jar, revealed to be the Merlin Sprite, one of the Seven Treasures. Klarion meanwhile is out on the streets, revelling in the chaos - ominously he wonders "which side shall I..." before being distracted by Misty. We get yet another text heavy page, which to sum up sees Klarion steal Misty's magic die, using it along with his own to complete the "Fatherbox" another Treasure. He then flies off on a giant Sheeda insect mount, leaving Misty distraught, and telling the recently arrived Zatanna that no one can stop Gloriana now.
Father Time: "He says the Sheeda are the pinnacle of natural selection...the last living species clinging to a dying Earth! Consuming their own history to survive,,, They're not fairies, not aliens. They're us. One billion years from today. The Sheeda are what man will finally become!"
Frankenstein is still in Castle Revolving's control room. Suddenly Klarion appears and as Frankenstein is a "grundy-man" he takes control of him and orders him to take the Castle back to the Sheeda-side. Zatanna meanwhile uses the Merlin Sprite to power a spell that does something to power up or protect the Seven, it's not totally clear frankly. (Wikipedia says "In the final battle against the Sheeda, Zatanna casts a spell to move time and space, retroactively positioning the Seven Soldiers to overthrow the Sheeda." but that's not at all obvious from the issue itself, ah well) Shining Knight and Gloriana are still locked in combat, Gloriana gets the upper hand and knocks Justinia off the high spot the are fighting on.
|Zatanna uses Overpowered Magic. It's Super Effective!|
Darkseid: "I promised the Sheeda a world to ravage in return for Aurakles, beloved of the New Gods."
Darkseid agrees to Mister Miracle's terms, now that Mister Miracle has become the Avatar of Freedom he holds more value. He shoots Mister Miracle through the head. Outside, Vanguard catches a falling Sir Justin. Then I Spyder, having changed sides again, shoots Gloriana through the head with an arrow. She falls into the road below and with Aurakle's now free the Spear that was throw thousands of years ago can find it's mark in the form of Alix's out of control car (she being a direct descendent of his, the hair you see), and it hits Gloriana and explodes, finally killing her for good. And with that the Sheeda attack on New York is over.
|A battered and badly hurt Gloriana, finally taken out by the most reluctant of the Seven.|
|"Wise Fwom Your Gwave!"|
So, What Happened Next...?
Before I sign off on this series finally, lets have a quick look at the post Seven Soldier's careers of these rebooted, reimagined characters.
SHINING KNIGHT: She appeared briefly in Infinite Crisis, the year long weekly series 52 and the Teen Titans. But when the 2011 New 52 reboot launched, she became a regular member of the "Demon Knights" in the titular series which takes place in the Middle Ages. Her background was altered a bit and although biologically female, he was gradually and sensitively revealed as trans-man, however the series was cancelled after thirty issues or so and I'm not sure if he is active in the current DCU.
MANHATTAN GUARDIAN: Sadly DC prefer the original concept of the Guardian, so Jake has been reduced to bit parts in major crossovers, although a team-up between him and the original Guardian may be on the cards in the future.
ZATANNA: She remains a hugely significant character in the DCU, with appearances constantly in the last ten years. Most recently she is a member of the New 52 series Justice League Dark, a collection of magic orientated DCU characters.
KLARION THE WITCHBOY: Like Manhattan Guardian mainly reduced to bit parts in major crossovers, but it seems he is to be given his own series, it remains to be seen how much his Seven Soldiers history and powers will feature in it.
MISTER MIRACLE: The Shilo Norman Mister Miracle recovers from his nasty bout of death (thanks to his merging with Motherbox). He plays a key role in the battle against Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation in Morrison's Final Crisis. He also plays a major part in Blackest Night/Brightest Day. But as far as I can see he has not so far appeared in the New 52 DCU.
THE BULLETEER: Despite quitting the superhero business, she was back in action with a lot of guest appearances in many different series. But again, does not appear to have been used post the New 52.
FRANKENSTEIN: Although his fate was left up in the air in the finale issue, he also makes guest appearences in various crossovers. During Flashpoint, he got his own alternate universe mini-series. Then was given his own title once the New 52 launched. Sadly this only lasted for sixteen issues, with Frankie going on to become another member of the Justice League Dark after its cancellation.