Crisis on Infinite Earths
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: George Pérez
Distributed By: DC Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I had first heard of the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, I was a tad bit skeptical. I figured that this was yet another attempt to force readers into buying comics from every single DC title in order to understand what exactly was taking place in the story. This has always been a pet peeve of mine (see The Comic Book Conundrum). Thus, I had resigned myself to ignore the series, thinking it a huge waste of money. Little did I know what effect that particular series would have on the DC Universe as a whole.
I was surprised to hear the rave reviews for the series. As I listened to others discuss the comics, it became apparent to me that although the series was indeed a tactic to increase DC Comics sales, the series also seemed to straighten out some truly confusing storylines. Also, many a superhero was killed in this series, thus culling the many duplicate heroes in the DC Universe. I was intrigued. When a friend of mine got hold of the Crisis on Infinite Earths trade paperback, I asked if I could borrow it.
The introduction of the story is written by Marv Wolfman in 1998. It discusses the need for such a series in 1985 and how it changed the way DC Comics presently operated. He explains how confusing the DC Universe was at the time the original series went into production. As he saw it, there was a need for culling of characters and trimming down of storylines, thus making the DC Universe easier to understand for both the comic book fanatic, and also for newcomers to the genre. Wolfman goes into detail about artist George Perez’s painstaking work in drawing characters that he had never drawn before, paying special attention to the accuracy in drawing these particular characters. It was interesting to read about all the work that went into creating this series.
The trade paperback is a compilation of Crisis on Infinite Earths 1 – 12. There are other comics that have side stories pertinent to the storyline, but they are only referenced to throughout the series. This is not a big hindrance because the main story is all contained in the trade paperback. As the story begins, the reader is made aware of the vast amount of duplicate Earths existing in space. The readers witness Earth after Earth being destroyed by some energy force. A man, known as the Monitor, observes the destruction and realizes that his long-time enemy is to blame. He sends out his soldier, Harbinger, to gather the most powerful superheroes and villains of the remaining Earths and bring them to his lair so that he can explain the danger to their worlds. These superheroes and villains combine their powers in an effort to destroy their common enemy, the Anti-Monitor. The trials for hero and villain are daunting and the loss is overwhelming. Just when you think that the enemy is destroyed, he returns, more powerful than ever before and the threat thought to be eradicated is now resurrected in a new form.
The storyline, while confusing at some times, is intelligently written and well-thought out. The artwork is amazing – kudos to George Perez for all of his hard work. The characters’ reactions to each other and to their shared plight are spot on. The deaths of renowned heroes, such as Flash, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman, are handled with style, the characters going out in a blaze of glory, protecting the citizens of Earth to their very last breath. Out of the ashes were born new heroes, such as the new Dr. Light, an interesting character who at first seems to be aloof and a loner, but after witnessing the death of Supergirl, changes into someone readers will gladly root for. Many duplicate characters were culled in this series, much to some comic fans’ regret. However, in my opinion, these deaths were necessary to “clean up” the DC Universe. They also created new storylines for surviving characters, thus ensuring the rise of DC Comic sales. Most importantly, by the end of the trade paperback, the reader is filled with a sense of completion. Too often, comic book series leave the readers hanging at the end of their run, but this series ties all loose ends.
Crisis on Infinite Earths, at 365 pages of beautiful art and incredible storytelling, is a definite bargain at the retail price of $29.95 (U.S. dollars). That may sound like a great deal of money, but after reading the trade paperback with an introduction by Marv Wolfman, an afterward by Dick Giordano, and sketches of newly introduced characters, you will understand that DC Comics could easily have charged more. Crisis on Infinite Earths is a must read for any DC Comics fan!
Read more about DC Comics! Check out these titles:
Batgirl: Year One
Batman in the Seventies
Birds of Prey
Black Canary / Oracle: Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies
Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
Birds of Prey: Batgirl / Catwoman & Catwoman / Oracle
Birds of Prey: Between Dark & Dawn
Birds of Prey: The Battle Within
Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003
Birds of Prey Television Series
Superman Family #211
Where Were You On The Night Batman Was Killed: Batman Issues 291-294