An unqualified disaster on a million different fragmented levels. I really don't even know where to begin. I guess the main thing wrong with this book is its erratic nature. I don't care how many artsy people post that Morrison intended to do it that way because of the way time itself was falling apart, etc. That's the drivel of fanboys. And I LOVE DC. I love Superman, Batman and, for the most part, I think Morrison is brilliant and one of the best writers in comics today. I think the scope of this one just was too wide for Morrison to control. Every other page bounces you back and forth between a whole host of characters, many of whom were inconsequential and haven't been seen in a serious role or title since the 70s. The story has no coherence, settles epic battles between hundreds of superheroes in single two-page spreads and has distractingly laughable dialogue. There are several moments that should have been heart-warming or rending that appear ridiculous, and it's a shame, because this single event is pretty much the hinge upon which most of the DC universe's storylines have swung over the past couple years - the return of Barry Allen, the "death" of Bruce Wayne. Both of these events receive trivial treatment in this massive tome. Batman is introduced early in the story, disappears, then reappears, somehow in the heart of Darkseid's new lair of rebirth only to be shot a single panel later, buried and mourned in the two following panels and then forgotten for the next 60 pages. Any emotional impact the story might have had was totally blown.
By the middle of the book, which has beautiful art and presentation by the way, I was beginning to wonder if it was just poor editing, and not necessarily Morrison's fault. The story arc did span several DC titles and lasted for quite some time, and in spite of the impressive page count of this collection, maybe there were threads that were just unwisely cut out of it. It definitely feels...jumpy. But the dialogue is no excuse, and when you boil down the plot itself, it's kind of a disaster as well. While other Crises in the DC universe were used by writers to tie up loose ends and make contradictions that developed over the company's long history resolve themselves, it feels like this "Final" Crisis makes things more complicated. In previous crises alternate realities and alternate versions of superheroes were eliminated. In this one, Morrison zooms out of our contemporarily well-known character set to introduce 52 universes in the multiverse, all of which are threatened, by who or what always felt unclear. A monster at the end of time? Darkseid's revival and the anti-life equation? Who knows.
Do yourself a favor and just Wikipedia this storyline, it makes more sense that way. The writing is better too.