Posted - November 2010 | Updated : August 14, 2011 | April 23, 2012 | August 18, 2015


Crisis on Infinite Earths



Crisis on Infinite Earths

What is Crisis on Infinite Earths?

During the early 80s, the hottest creative team in DC was Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Their book, The New Teen Titans was number one, and deservedly so.

When Crisis On Infinite Earths came out, it was hyped as an event that would forever change the DCU. All well and good, I dutifully bought nearly every issue, missing only 8 and 11, which I hunted down later. I bought those issues for a simple reason: I wanted to see George Perez draw every single character in the DC universe. And he did. Doing it in such a way as to rival even my highest expectations.



DC has had many events since then, but for me this remains the event. For a long time, I lent out those twelve issues to people I wanted to attract to comicbooks, it was like 'Read this, this is how good comics can get'.

Crisis on Infinite Earths presents the DC Universe circa 1985 in all its detail. Because of this, it's easy to lose the main plot points of the story. What I'll do as we go into the story is:  I'll highlight the text that point to the main plot of the story so that it will be easy to see how Wolfman's tale moves along. Let's get started . . .

The series starts with a wave of destruction destroying all the Earths/Universes. One Earth/Universe after another. Just like this one.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : earth getting destroyed by antimatter energy

I love the way Power Ring corks up a volcano with his ring, a welcome respite from the traditional giant hand that Hal Jordan was always coming up with during this time.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : power ring corks up volcano

Power Ring is the villainous equivalent of Green Lantern and a member of the Crime Syndicate. The Crime Syndicate operates on Earth-3 and has a member equivalent to each major member of the classic JLA save Martian Manhunter; they are all villains on their world. And who's the lone hero? Lex Luthor . Ha!

Look at Power Ring's gear up close. Not an Oan ring for sure.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : power ring and his ring

On Earth-3 Batman is Owlman.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : owlman costume

Owlman also brings to mind the Batman-like character from the Watchmen .

Here's Alexander Luthor, the son of Lex Luthor of Earth-3, still a baby, with Mom crying before they send him out, to save him from the anti-matter wave sweeping the planet. 


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : baby luthor with mom

Many, many years from hence he will play a key part in yet another big DC event - Infinite Crisis - as a villain!

This panel, and the dialogue to go with it, explains why I absolutely detest Pariah.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : pariah whining

His power : whining and crying.

babeshot : Dawnstar of the Legion of Super-Heroes


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : dawnstar standing

Here's Blue Beetle in the middle of a fight.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : blue beetle style fighting

Blue Beetle is not an original DC character. He became part of the DCU when DC bought Charlton Comics. I had the good fortune to read some of the Blue Beetle issues . This is the exact way he moves in a fight even then. It's a good decision for DC to continue the signature fighting style.

The DC Blue Beetle is actually Blue Beetle II. The first Blue Beetle was a character from Fox Features Comics. Here he is.


original blue beetle

Lastly, here's the Monitor. Not a good look, in my opinion. I mean, compare this look with, oh . . . Darkseid . . . or Eclipso.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : closeup of the monitor

babeshot : Harbinger


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : harbinger full body shot

The Monitor sends Harbinger to gather all the heroes, and villains, to defend the Multiverse.

DC shows some Perez designs at the end and it's Pariah. They really love this guy. I think he's the Jar-Jar Binks of Crisis.

Here's a first indication of a major change from this event.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : stricken flash appearing to batman

Here's a roster showing a small sampling of the heroes and villains in this event.

Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : hero/villain roster with names an pictures enlarge

The Anti-Monitor is the villain of the series. He sends out these shadow creatures to attack everybody else.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : shadow creature

Soon there are only five universes left. In these universes the Monitor has set up a defence : Tuning forks designed to combine the universes into one defensible universe.

Check out one of the Monitor's Tuning Forks courtesy of George Perez. The guy climbing it is Kamandi . In the DC universe Kamandi is the first Homo Sapien and comes from an earlier age.  In Crisis, not only the universes but the timelines also temporarily merge with each other.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : tuning fork

The big villain is called the Anti-Monitor but he isn't revealed this early so they simply show black in the panels when he talks.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : antimonitor talking to harbinger

See how the Flash's speed is rendered below? They don't do it this way anymore. Current rendition shows the lightning of the speed force which, I must admit, is a superior rendition. But this rendition of speed brings back memories. This is the kind of Flash drawings I grew up with.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : flash running

To defend the five tuning forks against the shadow creatures the heroes are divided into five teams.

Next panels feature the Teen Titans. They were the hottest group coming into the mid-80s.

Nightwing.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : nightwing on his bike

Starfire


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : starfire releasing starbolts over the city

Changeling


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : changeling charging in as an elephant

Kole


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : flying cole

Wonder Girl


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : wonder girl on top of building

Jericho.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : jericho standing

The only ones missing are Kid Flash, Raven and Cyborg.

The New Teen Titans under Wolfman and Perez are some of the best examples of comics. Arguably the best New Teen Titans story is 'The Judas Contract'.

At the time, Brainiac and Luthor went through some kind of revamp before the Crisis. Check out Brainiac and his ship.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : brainiac and ship

There used to be an old war comic featuring a haunted Sherman tank. Here's tank commander Jeb and the ghost of General Stuart (inside the black cloud). Note the Confederate flag.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : jeb stuart talking to the ghost of general stuart

Blue Beetle is the Spider-Man of DC (Steve Ditko created the Beetle and co-created Spider-Man). He was given his own comicbook right after the Crisis event. Unfortunately, years later, he got murdered and a new Blue Beetle took his place right before the Infinite Crisis event.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : blue beetle avoiding shadow creatures enlarge

Everybody's here, even DC's Western heroes. I recognize Scalphunter (leftmost) and Jonah Hex (rightmost).


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : dc's wild west heroes

This is the Legion of Super-Heroes I know and love. Wildfire (with the dialog) is my favorite.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : wildfire, cosmic boy, lightning lass and sunboy blasting antimatter wave

I particularly like the concept of the shadow creatures merging into one dark giant in each of five locations defended by a group of heroes. It's a structure that accommodates what otherwise would be too many combatants.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : shadow creatures merging into a shadow giant

Perez drew small but detailed figures in small panels. The overall effect is giving the reader a sense of the immensity of the event. Here are some samples.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : george perez detailed artworks
enlarge

There is a two-pager showing most of the heroes. I've never seen anybody pack in this many bodies in two pages. Here is a detail of just part of a page. The big guy is Colossal Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : colossal boy and other heroes on the monitor's ship

Did I say heroes? The villains are here too.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : villains inside the monitor's ship

Evidently Oa is not going to be any help here, the explosion below is the second one in Oa but this time the victims are the Guardians themselves.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : arisia and an explosion involving the guardians of oa

This fist is from the original Superman, the Earth-2 Superman. The dead giveaway? The sweater cuffs on the uniform.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : superman fists punching sabretooth

During the days of the cold war, DC gave Russia one super-hero - Red Star. Here he is.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : red star lifting a boulder

Here's a nice multi-panel shot of the magic based heroes. The last panel is of Dr. Fate, a big favorite of mine, look at his pectacularly rendered mystic blast, the shield shape is wonderful.

Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : zatanna, johnny thunder, sargon and dr. fate enlarge

The two Supermen(with Lois). Note how Perez makes them distinct visually.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : lois kent with the supermen of earth-one and earth-two

babeshot : Phantom Lady


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : phantom lady standing

Here is the anti-Monitor. As villains go, he looks like a poor man's Apocalypse. Considering the buildup of not showing him during the past five issues, this is pretty underwhelming.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : closeup of the antimonitor

Is it me? Or are the small panel art getting much better without sacrificing detail. Look at this!


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : some george perez panels

Brainiac's ship also looks much better now. Perez is hitting his stride.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : brainiac's ship

Here are the heroes DC inherited by purchasing Charlston Comics:

Captain Atom


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : captain atom flying

DC had plans of making Captain Atom a major villain in one of it's events but readers had become quite fond of the Captain, who would eventually become a member of the popular Justice League International, and Hawk was used to replace him as a bad guy.

Blue Beetle and the Question


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : blue beetle and the question inside blue beetle's ship

Like the Beetle, the Question would also be replaced. He would die of cancer and be replaced by former Gotham City Police Department detective Renee Montoya.

Peacemaker and Nightshade


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : peacemaker and nightshade

Judomaster


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : judomaster throwing katana

There was a time when DC (then National Periodicals) sued Fawcett, the owners of Shazam, because they felt the Big Red Cheese was a copyright violation of Superman. Now Captain Marvel is part of the DCU.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : supergirl punching captain marvel

This is a sample of Kole's power.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : kole's crystal barrier in the middle of the city

In this issue the last five universes have been drawn together but not yet unified.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : symbolic representation of the five remaining earths

It all comes down to a select group of heroes:


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : the supermen, blue beetle, lady quark, uncle sam and captain marvel

Lady Quark is nuclear powered so it's the Beetle on the lowest rung of the power scale. Considering there are two Supermen and Shazam here I'd feel pretty safe.

This is Krona and his mad scheme to look into the forbidden : the beginning of time. Krona is a familiar figure to long time readers of DC. His actions still continues to surface as an integral part of the DCU mythos.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : krona looking into the beginning of time


Here we get into the history between the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. The problem with villains specifically created for events is that readers do not have a strong emotional bond with them so they lose a lot in terms of substance. I mean, if I see the Joker, I become aware of the many times I've read him, and the Joker becomes the Joker, you know, real, substantial. This instant histories just don't create that kind of connection. The solution would be to use an established villain - no, I won't say Darkseid anymore.

justice league comics


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : monitor and into-monitor oppossing each other enlarge

The construction of the Manhunters by the Guardians are shown here. Precursors of the Green Lantern Corps, the Manhunters went amok and killed those they should have protected (are you listening Hal Jordan?). In doing so they inadvertently created the Red Lanterns, the epitome of rage. 'Millenium' is the DC limited series that tackles the final resolution of the Manhunters.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : construction of the manhunters by the guardians

The heroes of the afterlife are here too.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : deadman talking to the spectre and phantom stranger

With the earths temporarily stabilized, the heroes decide to attack the Anti-Monitor in order to protect the precarious victory.

And here's my first critique of George Perez. He could have done the Anti-Monitor HQ better. It looks like slum housing.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : antimonitors home base with heroes flying in

The big battle scene in the Anti-Monitor's place is a must see. It establishes the Anti-Monitor as a definite powerhouse. Here are the most powerful heroes of the DCU: the Superman family, Shazam, Firestorm, Alan Scott to name a few and they are getting creamed. Do not miss.

Here's a teaser.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : firestorm, the ray, wonderwoman and mon-el under attack enlarge

The Anti-Monitor retreats.

This is the battle that would kill Supergirl.

Brainiac 5 is particularly hard hit. He was courting Supergirl.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : brainiac 5 grieves at the loss of supergirl

A little poem at the end to close a fantastic issue


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : closing poem of the issue

I'm not too keen on the design of the Anti-Monitor, his base, and, as shown below - his ship. You're one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse and you ride a flying rock.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : antimonitor's rock ship

After he was forced to retreat, the Anti-Monitor commands the weaponnaires of Quard to create an anti-matter cannon to destroy the last five universes.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : antimatter cannon being created by the weaponnaires of quard

Fortunately, Barry Allen is here to stop the construction.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : flash attack's a weaponnaire

After getting stopped by the Flash, the Monitor isn't finished. He goes to plan B : Absorbing the energy of a million worlds from his own anti-matter universe.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : antimonitor absorbing energy

This would piss off the most powerful DC hero of them all. And here he is.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : closeup of the spectre

In the meantime, other things have been happening, here Cyborg and the Atom check out the Red Tornado. T. O. Morrow, who created the Tornado is on hand.

The atom is on the inside, checking things out and he is stunned by the engineering.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : atom inside the read tornado

T. O. is quick to take the compliment


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : closeup of t.o. morrow

But it seems that the Anti-Monitor was doing some reengineering of his own inside the Tornado


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : stunned t.o. morrow

The Martian Manhunter is vulnerable to fire. Here's a great shot of Firestorm using his power to create some water to shield the Manhunter.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : firestorm douses martian manhunter with water

Here's more of DC history, the Challengers of the Unknown.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : challengers of the unknown in their base

He's mellowed down these days, but back in '85 Guy Gardner was such a boor. The only one with more attitude was Lobo.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : guy gardner with power ring

The villains, ever the opportunists, organize under these two.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : luthor and brainiac

I'm no fan of Luthor's armor and I would've bet it wouldn't make it to the twenty-first century. But he's still wearing that thing as of Infinite Crisis, twenty years later.

The villains take over three of the five earths.

And just like that, the original Luthor, the Luthor of Earth-2, meets his end.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : death of earth-two luthor

Once again, look at Perez's detailed pen. This is a landscape that shows the timelines mixing up.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : landscape showing time disruption

babeshot : Wonder Girl


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : wondergirl standing on top of building

Oh, it is so nice to see the Creeper again. I love this character. He had a backup series in World's Finest Comics in the 70s. This guy's pretty awesome. He's agile and has superhuman strength (just very strong,  not even Spiderman class) and can climb walls (powers very closely resembling X-Men's Beast who could lift 2,000 pounds). Aside from that, he had a healing factor strong enough for him to recover from gunshot wounds. Hearing him laugh can make people comatose.

With the villains rampaging on three earths, the heroes rig a cosmic treadmill to go and take them out.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : jay garrick and kid flash with other heroes on the cosmic treadmill

The next pages show all the heroes fighting all the villains. Just total enjoyment. Here are some choice scenes.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : underwater fight with aqualad and tula

Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : green arrow and black canary fighting on land

Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : lead of the metal men attacks villains

babeshot : Phantom Lady again.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : phantom lady in floronic man trap

The battle rages on. I particularly love the way Negative Woman handles Chemo.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : negative form of negative woman wrapped around chemo

Black Adam is whiter and leaner than I'm used to seeing him


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : black adam in a brawl

babeshot : Phobia


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : phobia using her power

Suddenly, The Spectre stops the fights.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : spectre shown above the five remaining earths calling for the hero/villain fight to stop

Ok, here's the thing: In the latest in a series of efforts to destroy the positive matter universe, the Anti-Monitor (who was hired by Marvel Comics) plans to journey to the beginning of time and prevent Krona from conducting his experiment and creating the multiverse. Logical, clear so far. The heroes form a team to stop him. The villains form another team to stop Krona. Now that's weird, because stopping Krona is exactly what the Anti-Monitor wants. Now Luthor says that stopping Krona will stop the creation of the multiverse and the anti-matter universe and introduce a single universe. Now the villains' mission makes sense. But this time it is the Monitor's intent that doesn't make sense; if he stops Krona, his anti matter universe will not exist. The only logical explanation I can think of is that the Anti-Monitor has a way of preventing the multiverse to be created while ensuring the creation of his anti-matter universe.

Anyway the heroes get to him and anybody with any level of blasting capability let's him have it.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : all the heroes blasting antimonitor together

Wonderful to see but, obviously, it's not enough. The villains too, fail to stop Krona.

It's all up to the most powerful hero in DC (ok, most powerful occasional hero, since he's known to go crazy once in a while). It's . . .


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : the spectre pushing down the hand of the antimonitor at the beginning of time

That hand is the Anti-Monitor's hand so this is along the lines of a cosmic-level arm wrestling.

Behind the Spectre the magical heroes are giving him more juice.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : some of dc's magical heroes focusing their energies

This is heartbreaking - and symbolic of the wide displacement caused by the Crisis. The original Clark Kent, who is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet on Earth-2, goes to the office as usual only to find out that Perry White is the Editor, which is the case in Earth-1. This is because the Earth-1 Daily Planet survived. With the unified universe there is no more Earth-2, there never was.

There are many other changes to a lot of other heroes but his is impactful because this Clark Kent happens to be the original Superman.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : perry white shows clark that he is the daily planet editor

These are the two Supermen. One way to tell them apart is by the different stylized 'S' on there chests. The 'S' symbol means 'hope' in their native Krypton.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : superman of earth-one and superman of earth-two flying

This panel further shows Jay Garrick, the golden-age Flash, explain how things are going to be post-Crisis.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : jay garrick explains the new normal of a singular universe

The discovery of Brainiac's ship by a group led by the Timemaster, Rip Hunter. The ship was floating lifelessly in space with Brainiacs robot body inside it. The angle of the shot reminds me of the scene in the movie 'Alien'.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : braniac discovered lifeless in  a chamber of his ship

Harvey Bullock from the Batman family of books is here. Bullock is iconic because of his many appearances in the Batman books.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : close up of harvey bullock

This is Amethyst , the most powerful magic user on her world.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : amethyst being mobbed

This is Dr. Occult, a detective specializing in mystical crimes. He was kidnapped at a young age to be used as a sacrifice by a Satanic cult but he was rescued and trained in the mystic arts. The disc he is holding is the Symbol of Seven, it allows him to focus his magical energies.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : dr. occult floating in the air showing the sign of seven

In spite of the singular universe, it's not over, as the shadow beings arrive en masse.

Here are two of the best mystical power manifestations:

Etrigan with flames coming out of his mouth.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : etrigan emitting flames from his mouth enlarge

Dr. Fate's power blast.


dr fate power blasts

In addition to the original Superman, the original Wonder Woman has also lost her universe.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : wonder woman of earth-two standing beside wonder woman of earth-one

What was established in Crisis was that no one outside of the battle with the Monitor remembers the multiverse.

At the end of this issue the Monitor absorbs the unified Earth into the anti-matter universe for the purpose of destroying it.

babeshot : Dolphin


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : dolphin

I'll let Harbinger announce the plan at this point.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : harbinger's plan

In the fight against the shadow creatures, I like these two shots in particular:

Green Arrow.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : speedy attacks shadow creature

Black Lightning.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : black lightning attacks shadow creature

Because Japan is known as 'The Land of the Rising Sun', the three heroes DC gave them are all solar-based. Here is Sunburst and Rising Sun.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : sunburst and rising sun fighting shadow creatures over japan

The third hero is the new Doctor Light - also solar-related.

DC's Dr. Fate has a domicile almost as good as Dr. Strange's Greenwich Village sanctum over at Marvel. He has this one tower with no doors or windows.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : dr. fate's tower

The magic based heroes gather to focus their mystic energies. Front and center among the mystic artifacts are Dr. Occult's Sign of Seven and the original Green Lantern's Power Battery.

Unlike the cosmic-based power of the Oan Green Lanterns (Hal Jordan, John Steward, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner), the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is a mystical hero. The original inspiration for this hero was Aladdin and his magic lamp.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : alan scott and dr. occult focuses mystic power through the sign of seven and the green lantern

The mystic power of the heroes creates a powerful energy net, obviously based on the Green Lantern energy, that takes care of the shadow creatures.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : mystic energy net around the shadow creatures



How to kill an Anti-Monitor

Step one : Have the most powerful heroes hit him together.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : heroes attacking the antimonitor

Step two : Have the new Dr. Light absorb the power of a star and pummel the Anti-Monitor with it.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : dr. light hitting releasing the power of a star against the anitmonitor

Step three : Let the Negative Woman do to him what she did to Chemo.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : negative woman wrapped around the antimonitor

Step four : Have the heroes hit him again.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : all the heroe's blasting the anitmonitor together

That should do it.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : the antimonitor takes a major hit

Ah, nope, he's still up.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : anitmonitor threatens the heroes

This is a job for Superman. The original Superman.


Crisis on Infinite Earths panel : superman punches the antimonitor into oblivion

The Anti-Monitor is at last destroyed.  We will all see his corpse again in the pages of Infinite Crisis.

The last panel of Crisis of Infinite Earths involves an institutionalized Psycho Pirate babbling about the multiverse. It's an often quoted classic.





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