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Saturday, October 15, 2005

INFINITE CRISIS IS HERE!!!


(Good Sex, Bad Lex? Part II can wait...because....)
It's finally here...the biggest event in DC Comics in two decades....THE COUNTDOWN IS OVER: INFINITE CRISIS HAS BEGUN!!! as the headline says atop Wednesday's Infinite Crisis #1, DC's unofficial follow-up to the "classic" Marv Wolfman/George Perez Crisis on Infinite Earths that rebooted DC Universe continuity in 1985.

LOOK OUT! HUGE, WHOPPING SPOILERS ARE AHEAD!!!!

Taking over the writing chores is DC's Golden Boy, Geoff Johns. From JSA to The Flash to Hawkman to Green Lantern to Teen Titans to, most recently, JLA, everything this man touches turns to gold. He is one of the most successful writers in the industry, and for good reason. Johns is a d@mn good writer. He is able to tell stories that pay an immense amount of respect to the characters' pasts while still keeping things fresh and original.

The art is handled by...well, really the only person who could have a fighting chance of following George Perez's gorgeous "Crisis on Infinitie Earths" art....Phil Jimenez. This is, without a doubt, his best work to date, and will no doubt skyrocket him to the forefront of the artists business.

Everything in the past three years at DC has been leading up to this event, from Graduation Day to Identity Crisis to the most direct lead-ins, Countdown to Infinite Crisis and it's four offspring miniseries: The OMAC Project, Villains United, Rann-Thanagar War, and Day of Vengeance. Now that these four minis have come to a close, the event that every DC fan has been eagerly awaiting can finally happen.

Infinite Crisis #1 is a fantastic start, and really gets you excited for the direction this miniseries is headed in and the ramifications it will have throughout the DCU. The division between DC's Big Three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) comes to a head in this issue; Batman is responsible for the creation of a super-spy sattelite called Brother I that fell into the hands of the evil Maxwell Lord, Superman was tricked by Lord into beating Batman almost to death, and Wonder Woman--in order to stop Lord from controlling Superman again--murdered the man.

On top of all this, Brother I has grown a mind of its own and has unleashed an army of 300,000 nigh-unstoppable androids known as OMACs to eliminate any metahumans on the planet, The Spectre has gone on a hunt to destroy all of the magic in the DCU (and has succeeded in killing the wizard Shazam), the world's villains have banded together to destroy the heroes, intergalactic war has broken out, and the JLA watchtower has just exploded. (Whew!) Talk about the worst day in the DCU...

Infinite Crisis has promised big changes, and it's delivered. The kill count in issue one alone amounts to 6 characters, however minor they might be in some eyes. The main story of issue one takes place on the moon in the ruins of the JLA Watchtower, where Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman not only confront each other, but also an eavesdropping Mongul. Meanwhile, a group of shadowy figures observe what the other heroes of the DCU are up to. Who are they? We don't know..yet.

The art is absolutely gorgeous. The spread of all the OMACs gathering in the sky above Nightwing is amazing, but pales in comparison to the double-page spread of the group of villains surprising the Freedom Fighters....it's absolutely breathtaking. The story ain't half-bad, either. In fact, I loved every second of it...except for that final page, where the shadowy figures are revealed to be...Earth-2 Superman, Superboy, and Lois? Uhh....no thank you. The reason I said Crisis on Infinite Earths was a "classic" (emphasis on the quote-unquote) is because, although it is generally referred to as such, I think it really kinda sucks. Don't get me wrong, Perez's art is fantastic, but the story...it's just there. It doesn't rank among the best of anything...maybe it's up there for the best of widespread crossover reboots, but it doesn't really have much competition in that category...It does what it was meant to do, and nothing more. It's so confusing, so grand in scope, and involves so many characters that it's easy to get lost when you read it. On top of that, none of the characters introduced in it are very compelling.

So, the fact that Infinite Crisis appears to be a pretty direct sequel to that in the sense that the "multiple earths" are returning again does not bode well, to me. But I'm willing to give Geoff the benefit of the doubt, seen as he's never dissappointed me thus far, and the other 31 pages of the issue were brilliant. I'm hooked, DC, what can I say? You're marketing strategy worked...I'm with you guys for the long haul.

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