Every now and again, I have my fits of nostalgia. I reflect back upon graphic novels from yesteryear and even the not-so-distant-past. I know all of you have felt that way more times than you can count. Everything I’ve written thus far has been of graphic novels of the past – partly because I’m still catching up, and partly because there are so many fruitful ideas emanating from them. Reflecting back upon past events and how they lead up to the most current events is, I believe, crucial to understanding most aspects of a universe as a whole. However, deciding where to start reading is not an easy task.
With an ever-growing series of comics being published, finding a place to call home is overwhelming, intimidating and unnerving. When I was very young, I started becoming interested in comics and quickly fell into my niche with the comic, Bone. But afterwards, I found it extremely hard to get into anything else, because Bone was a standalone. After finishing the 1000+ page graphic novel, I was completely lost.
Sure, I was reading manga at that time, but that was different. It just wasn’t epic enough for me, I guess. I didn’t know what epic meant until I got my hands on Crisis on Infinite Earths – luckily, I found this gem in my high school library, and it changed everything.
**Pardon the spoilers**
Reflecting upon it, I don’t really recommend this graphic novel for a first read. It’s hard to follow and leaves you wondering who’s who, but the idea of it startles me even to this day. It was definitely a comic at the pinnacle of the DCU. Not to say that anything made nowadays is less effective, but I’d be lying if I said writer Marv Wolfman didn’t have incredible talent.
If you’re not familiar with the 12-issue limited series, here’s the back-story:
As the story began, the earth split an infinite number of times – otherwise known as the formation of the Multiverse – and created much hardship. After the Multiverse was formed, a cosmic battle ensued in which the villain, Anti-Monitor destroyed several alternate universes. Heroes of the last five universes along with other survivors from other universes held off the destruction of the last five long enough to defeat Anti-Monitor. Ultimately, those last five merged into one more-or-less cohesive world.
So the crisis came and went and all was right with the world. That is, until DC decided to add another crisis to the mix – no surprise there. This was a new era and needed a new crisis, so why not make it an Infinite Crisis?
Sometimes, I think the idea of the creation/destruction/re-creation/etc of the Multiverse is foolish, but ultimately it gives the people at DC as much freedom as they would like. Even so, it has changed our outlook on the old and the new/newer releases considerably.
Reading Infinite Crisis was similar in a sense to Crisis on Infinite Earths, but much easier to follow. However, there were many tie-ins to the graphic novel – some that I haven’t even read yet – that I would highly suggest. These include Day of Vengeance, Villains United, Rann-Thanagar War andThe OMAC Project. By no means do these have to be read to understand Infinite Crisis, but they do help. As does Identity Crisis – read my review of it here – a 2004 release which set the stage for Infinite Crisis.
If you haven’t done the pre-reading, here’s a bit of the back-story:
After the mind-swiping events of Identity Crisis, Batman constructed the Brother Eye satellite to keep tabs on his allies. However, Brother Eye became sentient and began dispatching entities known as OMACs for some diabolical purpose. Maxwell Lord, head of the government agency known as Checkmate, killed Blue Beetle and attempted to mind-control Superman before Wonder Woman decided killing him was the best course of action.
Afterwards, the JLA disbanded and DC’s ‘trinity’ – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – were at odds. The Green Lantern Corps were off in the Rann-Thanagar War and The Spectre went rogue and murdered Shazam the Wizard.
Even though there is a lot of back-story going on, Infinite Crisis is – for the most part – independent of it. Whereas Crisis on Infinite Earths was very much dependent of what the reader had already known about the characters. It’s extremely hard for me to explain it in any other way, so I hope this takes some meaning.
So now onto Geoff Johns’ labor of love, Infinite Crisis:
A group of characters that survived the earlier Crisis – Alexander Luthor (the heir of a good Lex Luthor from Earth-Three), the original Superman and Lois Lane (Earth-Two) and Superboy Prime(the only super-powered being from Earth-Prime/‘our’ world) – found themselves in a less than peaceful world and attempted to unify it. The three heroes then decided that in order to create order, the current “corrupted” Earth must be forgotten to allow the “right Earth” to return. However, upon doing so, the Multiverse reformed and all hell broke loose.