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Infinite Crisis #1 Review
Direct hit or radish? I decide.
I've been highly critical of this whole Infinite Crisis malarkey
since after Identity Crisis started being milked. Identity Crisis was by and
large a small, personal story; whereas Infinite Crisis is purported to be, well,
infinite. I enjoy superhero comics, but I prefer comics whose editorial strings
are not readily displayed for all to see. From my point of view, Infinite
Crisis was born from Dan Didio wanting a new car and thus
The story is half arguing and half chaos. The half arguing comes from Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman meeting on the Moon amongst the wreckage of the JLA Watchtower (see JLA #119!). And the half-action comes from everything else. It's a cacophony of guest cameos, from Ratcatcher to Supergirl to Donna Troy, all of whom I still hate. There's not a lot of plot progression, but let me recap it for you:
Everything is in chaos. Heroes are going off to save all parts of the world while some unknown entity talks in red caption boxes. OMACs are everywhere. Our obligatory C-list casualties: The Freedom Fighters. They're going to an abandoned refinery to stop some villains, but trouble arises for the Freedom Fighters in the form of not just any villains, but the Society of Supervillains! There is a great double splash page of recognizable villains poised to attack the Freedom Fighters, with Bizarro's strangely badass line "Good-bye". Of course, the villains easily rout the heroes since the villains have Black Adam and the Freedom Fighters have a fucking guy who thinks he's Uncle Sam. Seriously, he was asking for it. The Green Lantern Guardians note that the Rann-Thanagar war is tearing the universe apart, and the Spectre is screwing Gotham royally. Meanwhile, the Big Three (no, not FDR, Churchill and Stalin) argue on the moon about mindwipes, killing and etc. The red caption box man, who, along with his friends, have been watching the proceedings, decides he needs to do something. He needs to save the heroes. Who is he? Pre-Crisis Superman! Along with a Lois, a Superboy, and Alexander Luthor. "Wait...what the fuck?" ask many disenchanted fanboys. They're the four characters that survived to go onto parts unknown after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Should you read a 20 year old story to figure out what's going on now? Yes, you should. I find it depressing that DC, and this is also the case with Marvel sometimes, makes events so huge that anyone off the street who picked up the issue would be completely confused. It'd be like if a TV miniseries was only accessible if you watched 4 other miniseries and a few ongoing TV shows. No one would stand for that shit.
Much of Infinite Crisis #1 is just showing the effects of the 4 Countdown miniseries: OMAC Project, Villains United, Day of Vengeance, and Rann-Thanagar War. Hence, Nightwing and various others are attacked by the OMACs (who bear a bit of a similarity to the Sentinels, don't you think?), villains run amok, Gotham is torn up by stuff seen in Ghostbusters, and Rann-Thanagar is still...um...happening. And as such, you'll be very lost if you haven't read aforementioned collection of miniseries. I read all of them, of course, so I knew what was going on, but I'd imagine others who didn't will be very lost. Perhaps DC could've adopted a Marvel staple - use a recap page. It'd definitely keep people from thinking, "What the fuck?" all throughout the issue.
One of my big problems, perhaps the biggest, is the falling out between the 'Trinity' of DC, that is, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I will try to explain as well as recreate the conflicts they have with each other.
I think Diana is fundamentally right. She killed Max Lord cause he could control Superman the only way to stop it was to kill him. Sure, she could've put him in the Phantom Zone or whatever, but when has that EVER worked long-term? Hell, death isn't even that successful but it's a better option than shunting them off panel to Deus Ex Location for a while. And Superman has killed before, when there was no other choice. But he's chewing Diana out for this? Seriously. And Batman...like Batman always is, he's a bitch. Batman should be dark, but not this angsty and whiny. That's why I have to watch Batman Begins, read All-Star Batman and the unused Batman: Year One movie script to get my Dark Knight buzz these days. He does have one great line directed at Supes, however: "The last time you really inspired someone was when you were dead." I think Johns wrote the entire issue based around said line. Yet there's still no real reason why they should be sniping at each other like this. So when the big part of the series' conflict is flawed, that's a problem.
The sole purpose of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the story this is a 20th anniversary to, was about destroying DC's multiverse and combining it into one cohesive universe without any Earth-2 or Earth-3 or Earth-S. Of course, they failed with that immediately when they brought back the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. And all the Wildstorm universe crossovers, what with Wildstorm having a multiverse concept within it. But a lot of what's contained in Infinite Crisis #1 leads me to think that DC is bringing back some vestiges of the multiverse (like, you know, THERE BEING MULTIPLE SUPERMEN). This confuses me, that they'd devote an entire event just to unreboot their universe. And it's quite the labored, confusing way to do it. The lack of trust among superheroes and the mindwipes are so tenuously linked to this, it's amusing.
The writing and art on this story was very good. I've always loved Geoff Johns for his work on The Flash and he doesn't disappoint here. But I do think he's not that suited for this huge epic storyline, as I've always thought the best quality in his writing was characterization, and you don't get much of that when OMACs are killing every metahuman in sight. The characterization that is in this issue, outside of the grating Big 3, is great, especially the little esoteric qualities he gives the villains. A few lines go a long way. Phil Jiminez's art is very strong, and certainly suitable of penciling event comics. There are double page splashes that'd impress even George Perez. The pages with Nightwing and the OMACs was perfect.
Infinite Crisis #1 is no doubt going to please any fan of DC's current direction, but as a dissenter I have mixed feelings on it. There are some problems and the lack of accessibility to anyone who doesn't have a high income is distressing, but the good writing and art will keep me onboard for the subsequent issues.