A book by Dan Slott
The 'event' storyline that started it all - collected for the first time! Back in 1985, when huge multi-part crossovers and 'event' storylines were unheard of, Crisis on Infinite Earths rocked comicdom with a literally Earth-shattering epic that impacted … see full wiki
The multiverse is in great peril when a dangerous anti-matter cloud appears, and begins to erase the alternate Earth's that inhabit the universe. Billions die while planets are consumed, and a being called the Monitor is set on putting an end to it. The Monitor dispatches his assistant Harbinger to gather powerful heroes from each of the surviving realities, to do battle with the mastermind behind the anti-matter catastrophe, named the Anti-Monitor. Soon, many heroes become involved to prevent the possible extinction of life as they know it. -summary
In 1985, DC decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary by putting together an epic tale. After all, 50 years in the business is a very long time, and they truly needed something that will not only set off an explosion of sorts, but something that would appeal to new readers, as well as maintain a balance with their rival Marvel Comics, who all but pretty much conquered the comic book world. To put the plan in motion, they called Marv Wolfman to the carpet to put together something mind blowing, and he didn't fail to deliver that's for sure.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a 12 part epic series that features every known character of the DC universe; past, present, alternate futures and pasts, presents, everything. As they seek to put an end to the all powerful Anti-Monitors plan and avoid total annihilation. During this story, you will see up to three versions of Superman, two or three Wonder Woman's etc, and they're all working together. For a seasoned vet of the DC Universe, it all makes perfect sense. For the newbie reader, "what the hell is going on here?"
The first five chapters deals with the heroes being sent to different realities, with their mission being to defend some type of towers from the Anti-Monitors minions called the Shadow-Beast. Admittedly, these are the hardest chapters to get through because so much is taking place, and so many things are being thrown at the reader, that it's very possible multiple reads can be necessary. In addition, even though there is a single clear threat, there's not a single main character because the focus is constantly shifting to someone else. Fortunately, the last 7 issues clear things up a little more, and the plot has more of a focus.
Wolfman's story is indeed dialogue heavy but it's very well written, and once the reader can get a grasp of what's going on, then the story is much easier to absorb. Along the way, heroes go into battle and major characters are even killed off, and two of them die heroes deaths. Later, a second plot forms when the android menace Brainiac, joins forces with Lex Luthor in an attempt to gather up the villains, and take over the Earth's for themselves. Everything is cleared up eventually, and the series delivers one of, or quite possibly the most memorable endings in comics. The artwork by George Perez, although dated, is fantastic with some nice character designs, and his incredible ability to jam pack so many characters on one page was just something else.
Now what was the purpose of this story?
Earlier I mentioned DC's 50 years in the comic business being a very long time, and that was something to admire then and still now. However, that amount of time in the business would also prove to be their achilles heel. Long time heroes; Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, to only name a few, had been around since the late 30's to 40's. There were even stories with them fighting in World War II, but these characters never seemed to age, and newer audiences that came around in the 60's apparently wasn't that interested in all of them. I mean you can only suspend disbelief so far, so they thought. To patch things up easily, these Golden Age heroes were placed in a different reality, or a world that would be called Earth - Two, where they could grow old. The Silver Age characters that we all know, such as the Barry Allen Flash and Hal Jordan Green Lantern were placed on Earth - One. Due to legal rights, DC would obtain Captain Marvel (the guy who says Shazaam!), and he was placed on Earth - S. There would soon be other worlds created, at times, these characters would cross-over, but in the long run this presented problems such as continuity issues.
Crisis on Infinite Earths was meant to rectify the matter, by destroying most of these Earth's, and combining the surviving Earth's into one Earth. In other words, DC obliterated 50 years of history with the intention being for these new stories to be easily accessible to new readers. Great move! And I do mean that because all of these different worlds were just too silly. In the aftermath of all of this, Wonder Woman of Earth 2 was killed, Supergirl and the The Flash both died, with Wally West picking up the mantle to become the new Flash, and Superman and Batman received reboot stories. I'm trying to simplify this as best I can without writing a book.
In closing, the story did its job that's for sure, and its presence would be felt for way over 20 years.Crisis on Infinite Earths is an important piece of comic lore. However, serious fans with knowledge on the DC Universe will have a much easier time getting through it. Unfortunately, brand new readers will find it very hard to follow, and many will be very confused as to what's going on. But if you can make it pass the first five issues, then everything will be made clear for you. Only recommended to serious comic fans and the graphic novel is 364 pages.
-Intricate narrative, truly an epic tale
-Hard to follow at first and many will be confused
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A book by Dan Slott
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