Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artist: Jill Thompson
4 issue miniseries from Vertigo in September of 1999.

It is hard to believe that this month marks the 5 year anniversary of the release of the first issue of the remarkable FINALS miniseries from Vertigo. At the time Vertigo was predominantly known for "adult versions" of former superhero concepts like Sandman, Swamp Thing, etc.

Finals gave me the first inkling of what the line could be, and perhaps is part of the drive that led to the line becoming more than just a home for eerie superhero stories that don't fit in the DCU.

The series focused on a group of seniors at Knox State University, who mandates that seniors who wish to graduate must have truly life and death or of Earth shattering consequence senior projects.

The core characters projects show this extremeness off, from the sorority girl who has turned her house into a cult with her as its messiah. To one guy building a time machine despite knowing its invention will lead to his death, while another robs local businesses in search of a unique perspective as a Criminal Justice major.

The stories start off strongly individually, but lead to connections as they progressed to an ending that left me speechless.

There is an overwhelming theme of the too much importance we put in grades, done in an over the top black humor fashion. Yet there is also the strong message that sometimes the most important things we'll learn at college, are from the people and situations around us, not the textbook knowledge we learn in the classes themselves.

With themes like terrorism, cults, robbery and the like, this story will likely never be collected. Which is a real shame, because it is such an energetic and thought provoking piece. Which should be accessible to the much larger audience a collection would offer.

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