The right thing to write, I guess, is that this was a landmark series that forever changed DC Comics.
Not to be a contrarian, but this limited-series of seven issues didn’t exactly rock my world. Was it good? Mos’ definitely. Was it great? Not by a long shot.
That’s my review in a nutshell. Shall we discuss the particulars?
Infinite Crisis is a sequel to the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths. This volume collects Infinite Crisis #1-7 (December 2005 – June 2006). This was a huge crossover event in the DC universe, though. There were four six-issue mini-series leading up to this one series: The OMAC Project; Villains United; The Rann-Thanagar War; and Day of Vengeance. I hadn’t read any of these prior to diving into Infinite Crisis, and I never intend to read them now. I can only imagine that those twenty-four issues preceding these seven would have made the action of the story a little easier to understand in the beginning. I wasn’t on the back foot for long, since sequential art is repetitive and self-referential in nature.
At some point, DC made a hard left turn into the darker side of superhero storytelling. As I have said before, I was a fan of the DC heroes years before I moved on to Marvel. Back in those days, DC featured smiling heroes who were all friends and got along. Super-friends, if you must. Over at Marvel the heroes might fight each other and bicker constantly, but that had never been my experience with DC. When junior-high-school peer pressure forced me to switch my allegiance over to Marvel, it was with the feeling of leaving more childish reading material behind.
So, DC continued to evolve in my absence. Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and changed everything, and at some point later it became fashionable to point out the clay feet of our superheroes. As this volume kicks off, the Earth is under attack, and no one trusts our superheroes because, for reasons I will never know, Wonder Woman murdered the villain Maxwell Lord, on live television apparently. The JLA has also been disbanded, their satellite destroyed. Something called OMACs are hunting down metahumans, and it seems that Batman is somehow at fault for creating some sort of satellite AI called Brother Eye. Plus, something I never quite understood is going on with Power Girl and the Spectre seems to have lost his supernatural mind.
And this is all backstory, not the main plot of this series. Well, maybe it all somehow figures into the main plot, but it’s all confusing and, frankly, makes my head hurt. The original Crisis on Infinite Earths could sometimes be confusing to me as well because of all the characters from different Earths crammed into the story. But that series was pretty well self-contained within its twelve issue run. This one is not.
The main storyline of Infinite Crisis begins with four characters from the previous “Crisis”: Kal-L (the Earth-2 Superman with the weird “S” on his chest shield), and his Lois Lane, both of whom are older characters; Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-3, and the Superboy of Earth Prime. At the start, it seems that these characters, who sequestered themselves in their own pocket universe paradise at the conclusion of Infinite Earths, are stand-ins for those readers who miss the simpler days of DC. They believe that the current roster of DC heroes are all flawed and mostly irredeemable, and they intend to replace this world with a better one. This involves using the corpse of the Anti-Monitor from the first series, along with using metahumans as “batteries” to power this new act of creation. Along the way, some characters die and at least one former hero becomes a major super-villain.
The artwork by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Ivan Reis, Andy Lanning and Jerry Ordway is very well done. And I trust that Geoff Johns knows what’s going on in the story, even if I think he fails to communicate it satisfactorily to this reader. Considering that the conclusion of this event led to a one-year time jump in all of the comics, and eventually to “The New 52” and, now, “Rebirth,” I’m not even certain that the events of Infinite Crisis have had any lasting effect upon the DC Universe. I know there is at least one more event book, Final Crisis, written by Grant Morrison, that I feel compelled to read at some point. I don’t feel sufficiently motivated to buy it yet, though.
The bottom line. Do I recommend that you read Infinite Crisis? Eh. It certainly exists out there, it’s something that happened, and if you’re a diehard DC fan or just a completist, it has value. Maybe for the artwork alone. But, if you skip this one, I don’t feel like you’re missing much.
Firewater’s Crisis-Mode Report Card: C+