Grant Morrison is a very divisive writer, and I believe the reason for that is complexity. Whether you love or hate Morrison’s work, everybody at least agrees that is is complex. One camp loves the brain food that Morrison’s comics supply, but the other camp thinks that their comics are jumbled and messy. I’m somewhere in the middle, and the reason for that has to deal with the difference between a story and a plot.
Some people might know this, but I didn’t until a couple of months ago, so I think that it is worth stating. A plot is what happens in a particular work of art, however, the story is what the plot is actually about. For instance, the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring is the titular Fellowship’s adventure to destroy the One Ring, but the story is about power, temptation, and friendship. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, onto the good comic.
Final Crisis is brilliant, in my opinion, for it’s complex story, rather than it’s complex plot. Final Crisis is essentially Grant Morrison asking what evil would look like if it was a person, and it’s Darkseid. The idea is fascinating, and I found it to be explored excellently, albeit subtly. The idea, however, was implemented under a layer of mystery, as well as a dark and foreboding atmosphere. This comic might not be for everyone, but I believe that it is complexity at it’s finest.
Now, you may be wondering what The Rock of Ages is about, and I am genuinely not sure. The closest thing I could find to a message is that being a good person is good, but being a bad person is bad, and The Rock of Ages never goes deeper than that. While Final Crisis’ tone and story benefitted from complexity, complexity is what kills The Rock of Ages, because what should be a straightforward plot is unnecessarily jumbled.