Comic Book History: DC’s Infinite Crisis

Infinite Crisis is a strange comic event. The actual event itself was pretty ho-hum, but everything leading up to it and after was pretty amazing. This story is largely a sequel to 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Many one-shots and tie-ins led up to the main event, with many more series and stories spilling out of the conclusion. The main book was written by Geoff Johns with art by Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez, and Ivan Reis. There’s a lot of ground to cover here, lets see if we can get through it all.

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May 2005 saw the release of Countdown to Infinite Crisis, and 80 page one-shot showing the death of a shadowed character on the cover. Ted Kord, aka Blue Beetle, was a Batman like character (money as a super power). Investigating the disappearance of his fortune, he infiltrates the base of Checkmate in Switzerland. There he finds Maxwell Lord (previous bankroller of the Justice League International, of which Beetle was a member). Lord was using Justice League files and Batman’s satellite, Brother MK I, to watch the superheroes, whom he considers a threat to humanity. Beetle refuses to join and Lord blows his brains out.

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This was to be the spring board for four six-issue mini-series, though it really only serviced one. The OMAC Project, Rann-Thanagar War, Day of Vengeance, and Villians United. OMAC (One Man Army Corp – it’s a Jack Kirby thing) picked up where Countdown left off. Brother Eye controlled over 200,000 sleeper agents (OMAC’s) that is awoke. Rann-Thanagar War (Thanagarians are the bird people like Hawkman and Hawkgirl) was about some space war that was really boring to read and didn’t amount to much. Day of Vengeance had the Spectre (spirit of vengeance) destroying magic and stuff. Crazy yo. Villains United showed all the villains in the DCU banding together save six, who wanted nothing to do with it and were hunted down for it. This eventually lead into the amazing Secret Six series years later.

While all this was going on, many current DC books had spillover and specific plot points happening in there book. Two of the biggest moments occurred in JLA and Wonder Woman. JLA’s “Crisis of Conscience” showed many of the villains seeking revenge after having their wiped memories restored (see Identity Crisis) by Despero. The story ended with the watchtower being destroyed. A four part Superman story showed him losing his mind as he fought for his life against Darkseid, Mongul, and Doomsday, only to be revealed he was mind controlled and actually fighting Batman. Maxwell Lord had mentally taken control of him. Seeing no way out, Wonder Woman snaps Lord’s neck. It’s televised the world over by Brother Eye. Crossover madness!

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All that was prologue. Ready for the main event? Superboy-Prime escapes the pocket universe he, Earth-Two Superman and Lois Lane, and Earth-Three’s Alexander Luthor were all trapped in since Crisis on Infinite Earths. They think all the heroes are bad natured, and they feel they saved the wrong earth. Superboy-Prime punches his way out, causing ripples in time. Doing things like bringing second Robin Jason Todd back to life (people are still bitter over this), and other weirdness. Earth-Two Superman revealed Power Girl was actually his cousin (Supergirl) accidentally left on this world. Conner Kent/Superboy fights Superboy-Prime, stopping the creation of the perfect world at the hands of Alexander Luthor, but dies in the process.

The giant villain army marches on Metropolis. All the heroes go to battle, with Superboy-Prime killing heroes and villains alike. Prime takes off to destroy Oa, the Green Lantern homebase and center of the universe, to collapse and recreate the universe in his image. Our Superman and Earth-Two Superman stop him, with them flying through Krypton’s red sun, depowering all of them. Superman defeats Prime, Earth-Two Supes dies. The Green Lantern Corps imprison Prime in a red Sun-Eater. Back on Earth, Wonder Woman decides to take a year off to find herself, and so does Batman, taking Tim Drake and Dick Grayson with him. Superman takes time off time because he’s powerless. The series ends with Prime carving an S into his chest bare handed, saying how he’s escaped from worse prisons than this.

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That was a lot, wasn’t it? Spinning out of this after issue five, every mainline DC book jumped ahead one year, creatively called One Year Later. When Crisis ended, a weekly series debuted called 52 written by Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Greg Rucka, and Geoff Johns that filled in the missing time. It was an amazing story.

Reading this story as it came out was a lot of fun, considering it lasted for about two years. DC really went for it with all the lead-ins and crossovers. Did all of it work? No, but a majority did. They really swung for the fences and nearly hit a perfect game. The whole is stronger than any part. I think this is a crossover done right, having several disparate threads culminate into one story. This was a lot better than having an entire line encumbered by one plot that didn’t fit everything. Again, not everything worked, but considering all the moving pieces involved, I was surprised the car ran at all, let alone well.

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Did you read Infinite Crisis as it came out? What was your favorite moment? Comment below!

“And let’s face it, ‘Superman’ … the last time you really inspired anyone was when you were dead.” – Batman

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22 responses to “Comic Book History: DC’s Infinite Crisis

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