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Crisis on Infinite Earths

July 28, 2008

I finally tackled one of the most important stories from the DC universe and will give you several pointers to help you get through it yourselves. In 1985 the DC universe had grown so much in size that it had become almost impossible for new readers to get into any of the storylines without a degree in comics history. There were several different universes that constituted the multiverse in which all of the current storylines took place. There was Earth-1, the place on which Superman, Batman and all the others from the weekly comic series were stationed. Then we have Earth-2, where Superman arrived decades earlier, fighting in World War II and formed the Justice Society of America. Batman became Commissioner of the Gotham Police department and was killed later, leaving Robin and his daughter Huntress to fight crime alone. But that’s not all, we have Earth-3 (Luthor is the only superhero here), Earth-4, Earth-S (home to the Marvel family), Earth-X, Earth-Prime and others. No wonder nobody knew, what was going on anymore. A fairly good introduction into the whole storyline can be found here at Alan Kistler’s Universe, featuring both an map of all the universes and a helpful prologue, showing us what has happened to the heroes previous to the crisis.

DC decided to reboot their whole mythology and give new readers a chance to become acquainted with these heroes without having to get into the complicated fifty year old continuity. The storyline was supposed to get rid of all the different universes and leave us with a single one, Earth-1. For this purpose the other universes had to die and this was done by introducing a new supervillain. At the same time, there was however also a new character called “The Monitor”, gathering heroes from all the different universes to stand in the way of the destructive force and prevent the end of all life. Crisis on Infinite Earths had an enormous impact at the time it was released. The twelve issues were spread out over one year, featuring multiple tie-ins in all the major publications. Several heroes died or disappeared forever during the battles against the Anti-monitor. Barry Allen, the Flash from Earth-1, Wonder Woman from Earth-1 (although she technically doesn’t really die), Supergirl and Aquagirl are only a few of the victims. Superman from Earth-2 and Superboy from Earth-Prime disappear and the newly created Earth-1 features now several “new” superheroes from other Earths. All the universes were merged together in the end and the heroes that survived had found a new home with the old inhabitants from this Earth.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Pérez and is still one of the most interesting stories ever written. It features so many different heroes and a truly epic battle. The destruction of all life in every single universe is not that common after all (not even in comic books). The artwork might not keep up to modern standards, but that is not important in my opinion. For the time it was very good and also pretty detailed. It is also remarkable, if you realize how many different characters the artist had to include in his panels and he got them all spot on. With its over three hundred and fifty page, you will stay entertained for more than just a few hours. It is one of those stories that every comic book fan should have read.

High Quality cover picture

Story                  10

Art                       7

Reread Value     10

Overall rating    10/10

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