The story begins with a Human Alien named Dusk, whose job is to warn planets about the arrival of the Sun-Eater, a cosmic entity that devours stars. Inevitably, the heroes of Earth try to prevent the Sun-Eater from, well, eating the sun. They don't succeed, and the world is plunged into darkness.
Our heroes now have to deal with the rapidly-decreasing temperatures and skyrocketing crime rate due to apocalypse panic, while the great minds come together to figure out a way to prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
The story as a whole is surprisingly down-to-earth, and far more believable than one would expect from a superhero tale about the sun getting extinguished. The story is arguably best known for featuring the death of Hal Jordan, the long time Silver Age Green Lantern who had controversially been turned into the insane anti-villain Parallax, sacrificing himself to save the world. This would then lead to Hal becoming The Spectre before his eventual return as a Green Lantern in 2004's Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Tropes Appearing In Final Night:
- A Hell of a Time: Etrigan makes the world an offer of sanctuary that includes the world's population taking refuge in Hell to stay warm in the wake of the endless winter caused by the sun being snuffed out, but the fact the population has to give up their souls to Hell after death as the price for refuge. The Earth's population immediately refuses.
- A Million Is a Statistic: How Hal Jordan views Earth dying, at first. Although Kyle points out that losing the Earth would be like losing Coast City several times over, Hal doesn't commit to helping until after he reconnects with some of his loved ones and sits in Coast City's ashes.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Carol gives one to Hal before he makes his Heroic Sacrifice. It's preceeded by a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech that implies she knows that he won't be coming back.
- Apocalypse How: Class 6. When the sun goes out, you've only got so long before the earth freezes over.
- It is later revealed to be a Class X-2, the sun's mass collapsing upon itself would cause it to go supernova, wiping out everything.
- Artistic License Geology: It's implied that, without the sun (and the help of The Spectre), the Earth's core would freeze over.
- Big Bad: Subverted, this is actually one of the few Crisis Crossover storylines without an overarching villain. At first, the Sun Eater does seem to be a straight example, with Dusk following it throughout the universe to warn its potential victims. However, as the story continues, it comes to be portrayed as more of an environmental catastrophe or mindless force of nature than a living creature.
- Big Good: The Phantom Stranger asks The Spectre to become this. Spectre declines, because he's worried about overruling God's will. He does try and keep the Earth warm to give the heroes more time, but otherwise disappears from the events of the story.
- Brought Down to Normal: Remember, Superman is a solar-powered hero. As time goes on, he gradually loses potency as a Flying Brick. He is reduced to sub-In a Single Bound levels, having to jump multiple times to reach his destination, and using great strain to lift a single automobile. He stays normal for long enough to get married to Lois Lane but that's after this story.
- C-List Fodder: Starfire's entire supporting cast — including her husband, her sister, and the remaining population of New Tamaran — are killed in the prologue following the arrival of Dusk.
- Death Equals Redemption: Hal Jordan, formerly of Green Lantern fame, tries to atone for his sins as Parallax by sacrificing himself to save the world.
- Deus ex Machina: Hal Jordan appears at the end of the story as a miraculous if not trustworthy solution to the problem of the Sun Eater and easily saves Ferro Lad before restoring the sun to full health.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Sun-Eater, a colossal cloud of black energy that eats suns.
- Enemy Mine: We're talking End of the World as We Know It here. It's only natural that guys like Lex Luthor bump heads with the heroes to try to figure something out.
- Forgot About His Powers: Dusk initially was unable to communicate with people because her translator had been destroyed by hostile Tamaranean forces who mistook her for a spy in the prologue. It's a shame that none of the Tamaraneans have the anything like, say, the ability to understand any language upon physical contact with the speaker, which would've been very useful, certainly.
- God's Hands Are Tied: The Spectre decides not to save the Earth since he feels that if God has decided the Earth should be destroyed by the Sun Eater, then he should not interfere. However, he does choose to keep Gaea's life force alive so the Earth can stay alive long enough for the heroes to have a fighting chance.
- Heartbroken Badass: Hal Jordan still grieves for the loss of home Coast City, the tragedy that sent him down the dark path to becoming Parallax in the first place, and is wracked with guilt over his crimes as Parallax.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Batman tries to pull this on Hal. The rest of the League decide to give him another chance.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hal Jordan. Ferro attempts this prior to Hal Jordan's turn.
- He's Back: This storyline marks the return of Lex Luthor to the public, who had his clone body paralyzed during The Fall of Metropolis storyline and had recently regained his full health via Underworld Unleashed. Former Green Lantern John Stewart would regain the use of his legs as part of Hal Jordan's final acts.
- Internal Homage: Superman lifts a car to throw at his armored enemies, an homage to the cover of Action Comics #1.
- Mythology Gag: In the second appearance of a Sun-Eater in the Silver Age, it was destroyed by Ferro Lad, who gave his life. Ferro is reintroduced in Final Night; he draws an homage to his iconic death scenenote while trying to help brainstorm a solution. Later, he volunteers himself for the heroes' last-ditch mission to contain the shockwave when the Sun goes nova, sacrificing himself to save the world, but is told by Hal Jordan that he is going to send him back home and is quickly teleported back to Earth.
- The Night That Never Ends: What occurred when the sun was snuffed out to the point that those whose powers depended on sunlight quickly started to fade.
- No Endor Holocaust: Hal Jordan explicitly states that he was going to repair the damage caused to the Earth's ecosystem during the crossover; Batman has to persuade him not to try resurrecting human casualties of the disaster since it would mean he was repeating the same folly of remaking reality to fit his wishes that got him in trouble in Zero Hour.
- Not Himself: Green Lantern: Rebirth retcons Parallax as a fear entity who manipulated and possessed Hal Jordan. Despite this, however, Hal is truly himself here, his mind shining through despite Parallax being in his soul.
- Original Generation: Dusk. This was her only appearance.
- Redemption Equals Death: Hal Jordan, aka Parallax, formerly aka Green Lantern, gave his life to reignite the sun. This was the end of his fall into evil, followed by the beginning of his redemption as The Spectre.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: Hitman #8, which features five ex-cons at a bar trading war stories from The '60s. Can also count as a Red Skies Crossover. Nevertheless, the issue adds mood if not plot to the story in general.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Hal is on the receiving end of this speech from his longtime Love Interest Carol Ferris and the guardian Ganthet. They both tell him that even though he made mistakes, he will always be a hero. It's part of what leads to his decision.