Doubtless one of the most significant publications in comic book history the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths was a true game changer for the industry. Twelve glorious issues produced with ardor and gusto by Marv Wolfman and the spectacular George Perez transformed not only the landscape of the DC Universe but also the landscape of how comic books were conceived and manufactured.
|World War II Heroes Before The Crisis|
|World War II Heroes After The Crisis|
I will not bother with spoilers, but if you haven't yet read Crisis you really need to, and don't read further because I will assume everyone has a thorough knowledge of the events now thirty years gone.
I am just going to comment on events which stood out for me in individual issues.
I loved Earth-3 and the villainous Crime Syndicate was given a pretty heady send off. Loved seeing Blue Beetle in a new comic book and drawn exceedingly well by George Perez.
Loved seeing the original Superman on the team sent by the Monitor into the past. His presence gave the whole affair a real gravity.
The battles are furious and it's hard to keep track, but the western heroes were fun to see assembled and the deaths of The Losers was a harbinger (pun intended) of things to come.
It all ends, and we for the first really get a sense of the scale of this epic. The new Doctor Light never really gelled for me, but I admit her acerbic tone does add some nice spice to this story, her heroism not certain by any means.
George Perez at his mightiest with a spaceship full of heroes. I cannot think of a single other artist who could've done this series so well. (Many have tried, none have succeeded.)
One of the weaknesses of the series is that the Anti-Monitor is a rather bland uber-villain. He wants the end of everything, but that seems such a callow desire it is difficult for me as a reader to find resonance with it. Of course compared to later examples of his ilk (Onslaught comes to mind) he was a giant among pygmies.
The passing of Supergirl is seen as a watershed moment for the series and comics as a major character dies, really for the first time with a sense of finality. It stung.
But not as much as the death of the Flash which was so much more tragic since one of my favorite heroes died mostly alone and unnoticed. He gets his just recognition later of course, but the decision to have him pass so far away from his peers was staggering. Flash was a my favorite DC hero, so his demise was an apt time for me to leave the fold.
The villains are plentiful and this issue shows they are true to form. Often in these big events the prosaic motivations of the baddies is difficult to reconcile with the larger threats to reality. The Joker works well throughout, that I'll grant you.
The climatic battle does seem a bit underwhelming since so much has been spent in its set up, but that's almost inevitable. Given the power of the Spectre in these kinds of things, it's hard sometimes to get too worked up about the threats. He's so totally over the top in terms of what he can do.
Death comes so quickly and often in the final issues that much of the effect is lost. I've always assumed that was intentional, the fog of war and all that.
The Crisis left a world behind which to my mind was less rich than the one that preceded it, save of course of the addition of the Charlton heroes of Earth-4, as briefly as it existed. But otherwise the DCU for all its energy was a lesser place, though as we all know now from this vantage point that didn't last.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a dandy story, there's no disputing that. Folks dislike the results, I dislike some of the results. But like any great yarn it moved you to care about what happened and in the DCU once upon a time that was a rare thing indeed.