New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books; explaining, breaking them down and reviewing them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium.
This time around, we’re looking at the middle chapter in the Crisis Trilogy, wherein, after the huge shakeup of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC decided to shake things up again so they could unshake some things they previously shook up.
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Phil Jiminez, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez & Ivan Reis
Collects: Infinite Crisis #1-7
WHAT’S THE STORY?
There are several recurring themes you’ll find in the writing of Geoff Johns. Redemption. Restoring hope. What a superhero is.
You see them in Flash: Rebirth. They’re even more prevalent in Green Lantern: Rebirth. There are also hints of it, but to a lesser extent, in his New 52 Justice League run. The DC Rebirth initiative (unrelated to those aforementioned stories) is pretty much founded on these principles. And so too is Infinite Crisis.
As well as telling a story about the nature of heroes and restoring some positivity to the DC Universe, Infinite Crisis also followed in the footsteps of its predecessor, in that it once again used this gargantuan story to streamline its unwieldy continuity and make subtle changes here and there. Things like bringing characters back to life and restoring previous aspects of characters that had been wiped away, like Clark Kent being ‘Superboy’ before ‘Superman’.
It wasn’t as full-on as the original Crisis on Infinite Earths changes, as in the end, the make-up of DC’s universe was largely the same, just with these additions and subtractions sprinkled throughout.
Still, it allowed writer Geoff Johns to play with the idea of multiple Earths, something that is very common in DC Comics, at a time when all parallel Earths weren’t around.
Real Name: Kara Zor-L
Affiliation: The Justice Society
First Appearance: All-Star Comics #58 (February 1976)
Born on the planet Krypton, Kara Zor-L was sent to the planet Earth by her father Zor-L, to watch over her baby cousin Kal-L in the wake of Krypton’s destruction. However, her rocket was forced to detour, and subsequently, when she too crashed on Earth, Kal had already grown up and been embraced by the humans as the adult superhero Superman. In order to integrate into Earth society, Kara was adopted by Kal in his alter-ego of Clark Kent and his wife Lois Lane, who raised her as their own. Choosing to follow in Clark’s footsteps, Kara began fighting alongside heroes such as Huntress and the Justice Society as Supergirl, the Last Daughter of Krypton. However, when tragedy struck, and Kara found herself trapped in another universe, she was forced to start her life anew for a second time. Taking on the name Karen Starr, Kara founded the R&D lab Starrware. With a Supergirl already present on this world, Kara decided to carve out a new legacy for herself as Power Girl!
WHAT’S THE PLOT?
On Earth, the rogue supercomputer Brother Eye is deploying O.M.A.C. robots to whittle down the superhuman population, as people have grown to fear superheroes.
The Secret Society of Super-Villains is making it’s move, lashing out and attacking any heroes they come across, and raising cities to the ground, while the Spectre – the supernatural embodiment of God’s vengeance – is on a rampage.
Meanwhile, in space, planets have been forcibly moved, causing war to break out across the cosmos, as something stirs at the new centre of the universe.
And outside of reality, the survivors of the forgotten multiverse, Superman and Lois Lane from Earth-2, Alexander Luthor from Earth-3 and Superboy-Prime, watch on, disgusted by the degradation of the world they helped save. Longing for a return to a time when heroes were heroes, the group decide to return to the fray, as they exact a plan to replace the Earth with one of the many better worlds destroyed during Crisis on Infinite Earths.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
I don’t want to diminish the importance of Crisis on Infinite Earths. In regards to DC and the comic industry as a whole, that first (big) crisis is hugely important and revered because it’s what set the stage for what is to come. It’s from its legacy that great things came about. At the time, it was no doubt a game-changing piece of storytelling. But in 2020? It’s a bit of an outdated read. In hindsight, it’s more of a jumble of exposition and dated art. It’s from a different era of comic-book storytelling. One that doesn’t hold up quite as well unless you’re really into classic comic books and DC lore.
This second outing, maybe due to it’s proximity to the modern-day, holds up a lot better.
Sure, at times, things can get a little messy. I struggle to think of a DC story that doesn’t when it gets to juggling the fates of multiple universes. However, whereas Crisis on Infinite Earths was long and meandering, Infinite Crisis is succinct, exciting and energetic. It’s jumping into things straight away and doesn’t let up until it’s nearing the finish.
While it does share heavy helpings of exposition and is full to the brim with random characters who you probably won’t know, at its core, it’s still about the characters – as opposed to Crisis, where things are more about what’s at stake, and the characters just happen to be the ones there as events move along.
The art, while fairly simplistic by modern standards, has that new-classic feel.
You can see what I mean by looking at the art of George Pérez. Pérez drew the entirety of the original Crisis and parts of the new one. And yet, the art itself seems fairly different. It’s got all the trappings of a classic comic book, but with a more detail behind it. It pops more. It’s bolder, as opposed to the more muted look of the classic crossover.
The other artists working on this book all share this similar style, so it gives the whole comic that somewhat familiar art style.
The art also has a real dynamism to it, as the fights on display really feel like clashes between superpowered titans, as opposed to just brawls. The characters in this comic really get to cut loose, and having a story where the stakes are high enough for characters to really show the limits of their powers just makes everything seem that little bit more exciting.
It’s not perfect, of course, and it may be quite accessible for new readers, but if you’re a growing fan of DC comics, and you want to read a ‘Crisis’ that’s not too dated (Crisis on Infinite Earths) and not complete jibberish (Final Crisis), then Infinite Crisis is probably the way to go.