Posted - October 26, 2015
What Is Infinite Crisis About?
The Infinite Crisis event from DC is vast, colorful, and confusing. The creative team has gone into painstaking detail in crafting this event. Details jump at you from every panel. It is a fun, wild and dizzying ride. Underneath it all is the story, and it's easy to lose the thread of the story amidst the storm of details coming your way.
So the question: What is Infinite Crisis About?
Infinite Crisis is about Alexander Luthor's quest to create the perfect Earth. It is about his yearning for perfection. It is about our yearning for perfection. It is about the perils of perfectionism.
So how does one go about creating the perfect Earth?
Alexander's plan is audacious and terribly ambitious: He will bring back the multiverse. And with it, the infinite Earths.
From these infinite worlds he will choose, mix and match, sift and sort, combine and recombine. Like some mad scientist splicing genes together, combining traits from the 'DNA' of different Earths, Alexander will do this until he creates the Earth that he wants - the perfect Earth. At least, that's the plan.
Alexander Luthor is insane. He is also a "Luthor", meaning he is supremely brilliant. This combination of insanity and brilliance is at the core of Infinite Crisis.
In order to bring about the multiverse, Alex needs three things: (1) A tool to recreate the multiverse, (2) energy to power the tool, (3) a computer to keep everything organized and coordinated.
First: The tool.
A positive matter/anti-matter tower that draws it's power from the corpse of the Anti-Monitor. More than that, strung around the tower are survivors from the previous multiverse - their essence necessary to bring back what was lost.
Creating this tool, this tower, is a big project and Alexander Luthor can't go it alone. He needs allies.
One problem: He can't have any if he divulges his whole plan and he knows it. His yearning for the perfect Earth is a personal yearning shared by no one else. What to do? He has to trick people into joining him. It is fortunate for Alexander Luthor that he has access to exactly the kind of people he needs - Supermen. If there are "Luthors", there are "Supermen". In the DC universe, the first is intelligence incarnate, the second is power incarnate. Alexander Luthor has two such Supermen in close proximity.
One is Superboy Prime.
The other is the original Superman, the Earth-2 Superman.
It is curious that of these two "Supermen" only Superboy Prime will be enlisted to actively participate in Luthor's plans. The original Superman will simply be duped into staying out of the way. Luthor must know that his plan would be interpreted as "controversial" if not "wrong" by the first of all DC's heroes. Something that Superman will never condone. By the same token, Luthor knows that there is a seed of evil inside Superboy Prime. This one can be used. A "Superman" - a being of nearly infinite power. Alexander Luthor has his lackey.
The first job is of two parts. Sow discord in the current universe and change the universal center. This entails literally moving planets. Something that a "Superman" like Superboy Prime can, and does, do.
The next job is to obtain the corpse of the Anti-Monitor. Superboy does this one too.
Superboy Prime isn't doing this to bring about the perfect Earth. Superboy Prime doesn't care what Earth he finds himself in as long as that Earth worships him as its greatest hero. Since he isn't being lauded in the current Earth, he is perfectly fine in creating a new one were he gets to feel appreciated and loved. This is the bait which Alexander Luthor uses to "hook" Superboy Prime.
All very well and good except that if a being as powerful as the Earth-2 Superman gets wind of this, the whole operation can be shut down fast. Fortunately Kal-L can be distracted. First, there is the gravely ill Lois Lane then there is Kal-L's own dissatisfaction with the current Earth and his yearning for Earth-2. Both are used by Alexander Luthor to get under Superman's "radar".
And so the tool is made.
Next: The energy source.
And now we know the reason for events detailed in Day of Vengeance - the story of the Spectre going insane and attempting to destroy DC's magical universe. Like one domino toppling another, the catalyst for this event was the resurgence of Eclipso. Both the return of Eclipso and the "turning" of the Spectre was brought about by Luthor's latest henchman - the Psycho Pirate.
I'm sure Luthor didn't do anything elaborate to sway the Psycho Pirate to his side. The Pirate has the mindset of a lapdog - this guy pretty much requires himself to be somebody's foil.
Tool. Check. Energy. Check.
And now for the coordinating force - the computer.
Obtaining the computer is Alexander Luthor's greatest accomplishment because in order to do it he had to fool the Batman. I repeat: He had to fool the Batman. That's impossible. Nope. Alexander Luthor did it. First, a little "nudge" from the Psycho Pirate to increase Batman's paranoia. This paranoia made worse by the events of Final Crisis - the mindwipe fiasco. In response, and as a defense against the danger of mindwipe, Batman creates a security network called O.M.A.C. - the Omni-Mind and Community. Longtime DC readers will know this by another name - Kirby's One Man Army Corps. So it's a huge security system with a supercomputer as an overmind. A supercomputer. Perfect for Luthor's requirements - the whole takeover affair is detailed in the O.M.A.C. mini-series.
With the tool, energy and computer in place, Alexander Luthor is in a position to make his dreams come true. And so we have Infinite Crisis.
Just as Alexander Luthor get's his little "engine" humming, we get to see "cracks in the engine block".
You can only fool the original Superman most of the time.
And Kal-L, imbalanced by his concern for Lois and finally with grief at Lois' death together with his nostalgia for Earth-2, was fooled for a long time. So long that it even came to this.
It would take the death of Superboy, Conner Kent, to rouse the classic Superman from his "madness".
Unfortunately for Alexander Luthor, the wrath of DC's original superhero is something to behold.
Now let's go take a look at Batman. While the Rann-Thanagar war rages in space, problems on Earth are primarily caused by the malfunctioning O.M.A.C. system - the brainchild of the Batman. No wonder Bruce Wayne is being nearly ripped apart by guilt.
In this moment of weakness, the equally mind-addled Superman makes an offer.
A simple 'yes' would have put Batman in Alexander Luthor's team, I really like the reason why Bruce turns down the offer.
Yes, Mr. Wayne, Richard Grayson does deserve this level of loyalty (and love) from you. He really does. Well played, Batman.
The next crack in Alexander Luthor's plans comes about from an event in Day of Vengeance. When the Rock of Eternity was destroyed. That story hit me hard because it looked to me like the end of the Shazam mythos. I wanted the Spectre to pay a price for that destruction. But something happened from that terrible event. From the destruction of the Rock of Eternity a seed of Alexander Luthor's destruction will be born. The late Ted Kord's Blue Beetle Scarab, housed in the Rock would rain down on the earth together with the other debris. Said Scarab to be found by Jaime.
It would transform him into the new Blue Beetle.
The Scarab would give Jaime a very special power. It would allow him to "see" the space-based and hidden supercomputer controlling the O.M.A.C. system and providing coordination for Alex's multiversal plans. Score.
The unravelling continues with one Power Girl.
Power Girl is the universe-lost superhero. An original inhabitant of Earth-2, she should not be here, but she is. Also she is a "Superman". Think about what this means for Alexander Luthor. If he could have Superboy Prime and Power Girl. Definitely a position of advantage.
The hook that is used to reel in Power Girl is her own immense loneliness coupled with her relationship with Kal-L and Lois. But alas, Power Girl refuses the bait.
With Power Girl it's not so much an unraveling of Alex's plans as it is a missed opportunity to add a "Superman" to his side.
You know what I like about Infinite Crisis? It is the closest that Lex Luthor and the Joker will come to being heroes. Well, not "heroes" really. "Anti-villains" is the better word. Alexander Luthor becomes actively hostile to Lex and ignores the maniacal Joker entirely - these things cannot be done without some kind of backlash.
First: Luthor. Alexander almost, almost, kills Lex.
With Lex unarmored and vulnerable, Alex closes in for the coup de grace:
Ha! The legendary Luthor manages to teleport out of there.
Now the Joker. It all began during the events detailed in Villains United. Now in that Infinite Crisis prequel the Joker was- wha? Wait a minute, the Joker wasn't in Villains United? And that's the problem. As we can see here.
So let me get this straight. When the Joker laughs it's dangerous. When the Joker stops laughing it's still dangerous. Okay.
Come to think of it, not being invited by the Super-Villain Society is a kind of backhanded compliment. You know what? Going back to the events of Villains United, the Secret Six should have ran to the Joker for help. Clownface would've mopped the floor with the Society.
Anyway, Lex Luthor and the Joker will prove to be Alexander Luthor's biggest mistake.
Alexander Luthor dies with his dream to recreate the multiverse and create a new supposedly-perfect Earth. His tampering does create some changes to the DC Universe which I will be tackling next.