Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Favorite Comic Storylines: Crisis on Infinite Earths


Iconoclastic image: the death of Supergirl

 "Worlds live! Worlds die!"

By 1985, the continuity of DC was a convoluted mess. Multiple and alternative earths were established to explain continuity lapses, but even then, editorial feared that the whole multiverse concept was already too complicated. Therefore, they decreed that a major revision of some sort had to be made.  This monumental task of house-cleaning was handed over to then-hot New Teen Titans creative team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Thus, the complex saga spanning over 12 issues was born.

The whole narrative hinges on intrinsic duality of nature: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The Monitor has his own antithesis blatantly and unimaginatively named the Anti-Monitor, and their machinations causes catastrophic repercussions across the multiverse. The Monitor is killed in the middle of the series, but the superheroes from the remaining 5 Earths take up the cudgels against the Anti-Monitor. In one clean sweep, the battle between the Specter and the Anti-Monitor at the dawn of time unleashes unimaginable energies that cause the remaining Earths to be recreated into a single Earth. On this new Earth, various histories, locations, and elements were incorporated from the previously surviving Earths. Fittingly, Superman of the now non-existent Earth-2 then delivers the coup de grâce on the Anti-Monitor. Kal-L (emphasis on the L, not El), along with his wife Lois Lane and the Superboy of Earth-Prime, go off to live happily ever after in the paradise provided by Alexander Luthor of Earth-3.

Muddy mess all tidied up, ey?

Not quite.

The resulting cannon-fodder notwithstanding (including major characters from Earth-1 such as Supergirl, the Flash, and Wonder Woman), the aftermath of the Crisis provided a fresh start for DC. They cashed on heavily on the opportunity to launch new titles and to update various storylines.

In some aspects, they were very successful. Case in point was with the character of Wonder Woman. She didn't die after all, but was de-evolved into clay, and the time table re-set on her along with the Amazons. George Perez headed the creative team that launched her into the new (and single) DC-verse, strengthened the ties of her Greek mythological origins, and provided a very plausible insight into her ironic characterization as the warrior-princess seeking peace in a man's world.

On the other hand, while John Byrne's re-imagining of the Man of Steel was initially received with unanimous praise, it spawned massive continuity glitches in its wake. This time, there are no Kryptonian survivors from the barren and sterile planet save for a lone baby space-warped to Earth in a birthing matrix. He grows up with the Kents somewhere in Middle America as a normal kid and teenager. No superheroic capers for Clark Kent, and he only dons the Superman costume in his adulthood.

That would've worked out fine, except for one, not so-slight problem: the Legion of Superheroes. A huge fan-favorite title enjoying brisk sales, the whole concept hinged on the idea of teenagers, 1,000 years in the future, forming a band of heroes with the exploits of Superboy as their inspiration. But wait, Byrne said that there was no Boy of Steel anymore, right? The resultant explanation of Byrne involving pocket Earths and dimension hopping proved too much of a headache to handle for both the editorial staff and the readers. Sales quickly plummeted, and several years later the title had to completely re-booted from scratch to provide new origins for the group.

But taking the opus as it is, Crisis on Infinite Earths stands the test of time in its majestic breadth of story-telling. True, Wolfman's dialogue may sound awkward and clunky at times, but that can be attributed to the writing style of the period. The George Perez look may also be anachronistic from the modern point of view, but for my money's worth, no artist approaches him in terms of detailing something even as minute as the background. And with literally cast of thousands, he makes a breath-taking and magnificent job in each panel and spread of the comic book. His artwork is even more spruced up by the inks of the veterans Dick Giordano, Jerry Ordway, and Mike DeCarlo, formidable artists on their own right.


  1. i read about this at our library a few weeks ago & its pretty good. especially that part where Wonder woman gets eaten by that big-white-sucking thing.

    it was priceless. Ive always wondered how that bitch will die. I mean, cmon- invisible plane? thats bullshit! &&&& I still consider her dead. LOL


    i have this love&hate relationship with her

  2. wandie is it possible that i borrow your copy of the book? if you have one.

    haven't read that one as well.

    yeah i know, for a self-professed comics geek, i've never actually read a real classic.

    sucks to be me.

  3. Herbs: I truly think nothing is campier than roping a villain with a magic golden lasso atop an invisible plane (used to be propellers, but version 2.0 became a jet).

    thank goodness Perez scrapped that shit when he relaunched good 'ol Wondie ;)

    Rude: oh shush, hunny. I bet my dalisay, busilak, and mayumi ass you enjoyed EVERY page of it!

    Engel: sure, it would be my pleasure :)

    I was about to say something about the "suck" word, and it's waaay too tempting, believe you me.


  4. its what we all know these days as 2-D suicide LOL

  5. George Perez is legendary. Grabe I remember naming every characters he draw in one splash to another.

  6. Herbs: hahahhaha

    Xtian: geek alert!

    (ginawa ko rin yun. apir!)


  7. this is the first time that i heard about this storyline.

    pabasa!! *wink wink*

  8. Max: sure. you and engel both.

    then maybe we can pet engel's parrot at the same time ;)


  9. @LT: hahahaha! flirty, flirty ternie!

    *wink wink*

  10. Max: me, flirty?

    goodness gracious, whatever gave you that idea? ;)

  11. haha obvios ba pagka geek ko?

    I have pa the avengers vs justice league grabe napanganga na naman ako sa pagka amaze kay George Perez

  12. Xtian: ay hahahah inunahan mo ako! will write about that one of these days kasi love ko rin yung mini-series na yun :D

  13. OMG certified geek nga tayo haha

    sorry should have waited ternie

    mwuah ayan hope makagaan sa loob mo hehe

  14. Xtian: ay. kinilig ako doon. pwamis! hihihihi

  15. Cool post! I don't own any comics but am always interested to read about whatever happened to all these superheroes.

    All in all i think the shift from multiverse to one single world was a good move. Hehe.

  16. Rey: hey, thanks for dropping by! do feel free to look around my blog for anything you might find interesting :D

    a singular earth was a good idea for a time, but like i said, it caused major problems for some characters' histories.

    but i guess it moot already since dc has brought back the multiverse concept again ahahaha