Part One: DC's Infinite Crisis
It seems that nearly every year for as long as I can remember, Marvel
and DC have both had big summer events, usually in the form of
obnoxiously contrived crossovers that annoyed more than they
entertained. Some years the events are bigger and more annoying than
This year Marvel and DC both have huge events that demand an insanely
exorbitant amount of money be spent in order to fully understand the
whole story. This frustrates me to no end since both big events interest
me a great deal, and I know that with the money I'm spending to keep up
with them I could buy a shiny foreign sports car, or lots and lots of
But, seeing as how I have nothing better to do with my money than spend
it on shitloads of comics, and given that I don't mind sharing what has
transpired in these stories, you readers have the lucky opportunity to
benefit from my status as a sucker easily parted from his money.
I'm going to be flat out talking about the plots for both of these big
events here, so if you haven't read them yet and you are worried about
spoilers, this isn't the right place for you to be. But seeing as how
all this material has already been published and you could have read it
if you wanted to, I don't really consider any of it to be all that
spoilerish anyway. Don't worry, I'm not going to give away anything that
hasn't already appeared on the comic store shelf yet; I haven't glimpsed
the future or gone to the astral plane with Doctor Strange to see what
will transpire, so any discussion about events yet to come is pure
speculation and hearsay off the internets.
So let's break it down then and discuss the two major comic events of
2005: DC's "Infinite Crisis" and Marvel's "House of M".
DC: Infinite Crisis
DC's "Infinite Crisis" event is most likely going to turn out to be one
of the most ambitious (read: destructive to the loyal reader's wallet)
events in comic book history. This supposed sequel to 1986's "Crisis on
Infinite Earths" has allegedly been years in the making, if you believe
the editors at DC. They say that they've been dropping clues for a long
time if you just know where to look. I haven't checked myself, but I
hear that if you go through "Mr. Mytzlplk's Bikini Special" with a fine
tooth comb, you just may find some important clues dangling around. The
actual event itself hasn't even started yet, and the 30-some issues of
prelude titles leading up to the event are actually quite a lot longer
than the 7-issue event itself will be.
The most obvious and direct genesis for this story was DC's biggest
event of last year, "Identity Crisis". DC just can't get enough crises,
apparently, and it only gets all the more confusing when they give them
similar titles. Anyway, to summarize the relevant events of this story,
way the fuck back whenever, when the villainous Dr. Light discovered the
secret identities of some of the Justice League heroes and made threats
regarding the lives of their loved ones, a small faction of the team
said "Oh, fuck no!" and used Zatanna's magic powers to erase that
knowledge from his mind, which more or less lobotomized him (oops!) and
turned him into a goofy villain best left foisted on Teen Titans.
Batman stumbled in on this hot brain rape action and said "Oh, no you
di'int!" and tried to discipline the naughty faction of JLA members with
Batman catches his super friends being naughty
and prepares to pummel the shit out of them.
So after a brief scuffle, the Lobotomy Crew subdued Batman and decided
to wipe his mind too, because he's like the angry dad of the JLA who
just caught them stealing cookies out of the Justice Jar. Batman has
since rediscovered the fact that his mind had been tampered with,
basically said "fuck you guys" and more or less quit the league.
JLA member Zatanna makes Batman forget about the cookies.
That's a bit of background. The proper buildup to the "Infinite Crisis"
event officially started in special "Countdown to Infinite Crisis"
issue, which was only $1 for 80 pages of material. This was DC's way of
saying, "Hey, we realize that you're going to have to take out a second
mortgage on your home or sell a couple vital organs to follow this whole
story, so we're going to give you guys a little break! Aren't we nice?"
Anyway, to summarize the story, a crappy hero that nobody cares about,
the Blue Beetle, was investigating some funds that had been stolen from
his company, nearly bankrupting him.
The Blue Beetle really kind of sucks.
He tries to get the Justice Leaguers to help, but no one cares. After
doing some investigation on his own, he learns that Maxwell Lord, the
head of an organization called Checkmate, has hijacked Batman's Brother
I spy satellite and is spying on all of the major superheroes, whom he
has decided must be eliminated. The story climaxed with Max Lord
shooting Blue Beetle in the head, killing him. As if it didn't suck
enough to be the Blue Beetle already.
Now the Blue Beetle sucks even more.
Spinning out of this event are four 6-issue mini-series that showcase
different aspects of the DC universe that are all supposed to interweave
and directly tie together into the events of the Infinite Crisis series.
I'll talk about each one separately below.
The OMAC Project (or Maybe Batman's Computer Where He Had Detailed Files
on How to Kill All His Friends Was a Bad Idea After All)
First off, the claim that this is a six-issue series is a blatant lie,
since if you don't get a 4-issue Superman/Wonder Woman crossover that
takes place in between issues 3 and 4 of OMAC, you won't know what the
fuck is going on and why everyone suddenly hates Wonder Woman. I DID
read it all and I can't figure out why everyone hates Wonder Woman, but
more on that later.
Like I said already, Max Lord, head of the organization of chess
enthusiasts with ambitions of world domination known as Checkmate, has
taken control of Batman's spy satellite and decides to use the knowledge
contained therein to destroy all of the superheroes. It turns out that
the Blue Beetle managed to hack into Batman's satellite database and
delete all of the files just before being shot in the head. But it
doesn't really matter, since Max Lord pretty much knows who all of the
major heroes are by this point anyway.
Batman discovers his computer has been hax0red
while trying to load a game of FreeCell.
Batman's Brother I satellite is also capable of creating deadly blue
robotic drones with fins on their head, called OMACs (Observational
Meta-human Activity Construct), which are being used to attack and kill
some of the heroes who turn out to be Russian, so nobody really cares.
Batman takes on Cyclops from the X-Men with a blue fin on his head.
But Max Lord has also managed to take over Superman's mind with the
amazing power of LSD, making him hallucinate that his wife Lois Lane is
in trouble and causing him to attack innocent people who he believes to
be villains like Brainiac or Darkseid who have just killed his wife.
Green Lantern John Stewart watches a holographic security recording of
Superman kicking Batman's ass. (Not the same Jon Stewart of the Daily
Shit, Superman beat up Batman!? Where's Frank Miller when you need him?
After Supes beats Batman to within an inch of his life, believing him to
be the villain known as Ruin, Wonder Woman decides this shit has got to
stop. She learns that Max Lord is behind the whole thing and in her
attempt to try to stop him, she is attacked by Superman who believes her
to be someone a lot uglier and more villainous. After an intense battle,
she realizes that if Max Lord isn't stopped, Superman will end up
killing all of the heroes of the DC universe. She slaps the lasso of
truth on Max Lord, asks how she can stop him and he responds with a
sneer that the only way to do so is to kill him, knowing that she is far
too heroic to have the balls to go through with that.
Unfortunately for Max, he forgot that Wonder Woman in fact does not have
balls at all. Upon hearing his solution to the problem, she pretty much
says "Alrighty!" and snaps his neck without a second thought, leaving a
gaping mouthed Superman staring in shock at what she has done.
OMG! WTF! Wonder Woman has crossed the line, man!! SHE'S CROSSED THE FUCKING LINE!
Now what is really stupid about all of this is that the rest of the
Justice League pretty much seems to hate Wonder Woman now. They're all
pretty much like "Fuck you for saving the world, Wonder Woman!" and
continually give her hollow rhetoric about how she's "crossed the line
and there's no going back". I had thought comic books had matured past
the point of simplistic black-and-white morality, but apparently I was
Day of Vengeance (or The Spectre Becomes Momentarily Confused and Thinks He is The
In this series, the Spectre, an undead spirit of vengeance supposed to
represent the wrath of God, has gone insane and is wreaking havoc across
the DC universe in an effort to destroy all magic. He has no host ever
since Hal Jordan recently went back to being a Green Lantern, so the
villain Eclipso has easily influenced his mind and convinced him that
all magic is evil and must be destroyed. So off he goes, killing any and
every magic-wielding hero or villain in his path.
Spectre and Eclipso make out in outer space in
between slaughtering thousands of innocent people.
But fortunately a team of mystical heroes calling themselves the
Shadowpact, led by a talking chimpanzee who dresses like Sherlock
Holmes, are out to stop him. Part of their team splits off to find some
random teenage girl who apparently has the power to stop the Spectre,
while the rest of the group try to channel their magical powers into
aiding Captain Marvel, who, at the behest of the wizard Shazam, has
stepped up to the plate in an effort to pummel the Spectre into giving
up and going home.
Captain Marvel consults with the wizard Saruman before going into
The fight isn't going so well for Captain Marvel until the Enchantress
channels the magical energies of nearly every willing magical character
in the DC universe to feed Captain Marvel more power, allowing him to
beat the tar out of the Spectre. But the power drives her insane and
evil, and she attacks the rest of the Shadowpact until they manage to
knock her out. In the aftermath of this, a very wounded Spectre and
Eclipso escape to regroup.
Captain Marvel prepares to drop the Atomic Elbow on the Spectre.
While the heroes are recovering in the Oblivion Bar, in a secret pocked
dimension between worlds, they learn that Black Alice, the teenager they
picked up to help their cause, can temporarily steal the magical powers
from other people. They set a trap for the weakened Spectre and Black
Alice steals his powers, only to discover that without his powers he is
completely incorporeal and no one can hurt him. So now they're at
something of a standoff and they haven't quite figured out how to defeat
Black Alice steals the Spectre's powers while the artist steals most of
Villains United (or Lex Luthor's Got a Posse)
In this series, the villains do what they should have done years ago:
team up so that they can more easily kick the heroes collective ass.
Former US President Lex Luthor has decided to form a fraternity of
villains so that not only can they hang out in a cool clubhouse and play
cards together, but they will also be able to stop getting their asses
handed to them by lame heroes like Aquaman. Naturally, a lot of villains
didn't want to go along with this, so Luthor sent his enforcers
Deathstroke and Black Adam out to whoop the ass of anyone who decided
they'd rather remain solo, until all but the most badass and stubborn
have signed on board.
One of the perks of joining the Society of Villains
is playing games like Metropolopoly among friends.
There's one rogue faction of relatively lame villains called the Secret
Six, comprised of Catman, Deadshot, Cheshire, Parademon, Scandal, and
Ragdoll (guess it's not much of a secret anymore! Whoo!) who have not
joined Luthor's fraternity, because they've all been blackmailed by a
mysterious character calling himself Mockingbird into doing his dirty
The deadly Catman leaps into battle. I'm not making this up.
Luthor didn't like the fact that they refused to join his little
fraternity, so he had them captured and tortured in an effort to learn
who this Mockingbird is.
One of the more insidious tortures was being strapped
into a chair and forced to watch "Battlefield Earth".
After being tortured for a day or two, the Secret Six manage to break
free and vow that Lex Luthor will die by their less than capable hands.
I'm sure he's just a'quakin' in his big green ridiculous power armor.
How can you not laugh when THIS is staring you in the face?
Rann-Thanagar War (aka War Between the Space Nerds and the Bird People That Nobody
This is the series I care least about. I've never been interested in
keeping up with all the various cosmic happenings or ridiculous alien
races in either the DC or Marvel universe, and this convoluted story
certainly isn't going to make me start caring either. But, I'm buying
it, mainly because I'm a tool, but also because I'm hoping it'll at
least give me some greater understanding of the events to come in the
Infinite Crisis series.
Basically there's a space war going on between the Bird People (Thanagarians,
of which Hawkman is a member, even though he looks human) and the
Rannians (of which Adam Strange is a member), who look like they're
dressed to appear as extras in a Devo music video. The war got started
because a crazy rogue religious group of Bird People somehow transported
the planet Rann into their solar system, which caused their planet of
Thanagar to fly into the sun and be destroyed (whoops!). So now there's
a big war between the surviving Bird People and the Devo Extras for
possession of the planet Rann. There's a lot of flying around and
zooming from planet to planet in space ships and shooting things with
lasers, for those who are interested in that sort of thing.
While all this is going on, the crazy religious cult is busy
resurrecting some golden statue who happens to be some evil death god
who plans to eat the universe or some such.
If I was a god who looked like C-3PO, I'd probably want to kill everyone
Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and Generic Space Guy are investigating this
and end up battling the golden death god, but the death god ends up
running away instead of eating them because apparently he's not yellow
enough to defeat the Green Lantern with his least favorite color.
Honestly, I'm pretty confused and end up putting down each issue
wondering what the hell just happened and why the hell I keep buying it.
Thank god Generic Space Guy is here to help!
A truly epic battle of both sides zapping each
other and the rays just bouncing off harmlessly.
As for Infinite Crisis itself, DC is promising that it will have lasting
repercussions on the DC universe and will change things for decades to
come. Considering that a lot of the events in "Crisis on Infinite
Earths" were pretty major in scope and still hold true nearly twenty
years later, it seems likely that DC isn't just blowing smoke up our
asses and actually does intend to shake up the status quo a bit.
Some of the things they're promising are that the alliances between a
lot of the heroes will be broken and they won't all be friends anymore.
The Justice League as we know it will end (though I doubt the title will
be cancelled, they'll probably just be replaced with a new lamer team),
heroes and villains will die or retire, and a lot of current titles will
end and new ones will spring up in their place. I don't so much mind
that they're placing a lot of tension on the heroes' relationships, but
honestly this whole deal with Wonder Woman "crossing the line" seems
awfully contrived and pretty damn weak as a foundation for the heroes no
longer talking to each other (if indeed that is the single event which
leads to this).
What worries me is that a lot of people are suggesting that Bruce Wayne
will retire as Batman as a result of all this, and Nightwing's Dick
Grayson might take his place. If DC ever thinks they can get away with
replacing Batman or Superman and still retain readership, they are
insane. Bruce Wayne IS Batman. Accept no substitutes.
One cool idea that DC has is that between issues 6 and 7 of the series,
they're going to release all their major books with a "One Year Later"
banner, where you'll get to see the after effects of the Crisis a month
before you actually see the climactic event that brings on said
aftermath. Then the books will just carry on a year down the road and
you'll slowly have to figure out what happened in between. It's a neat
gimmick now, but years down the road it won't amount to much for people
going back and rereading the books because they'll just read the Crisis
series straight through anyway.
But what REALLY pisses me off about this is that DC just
announced a series called "52", a weekly title that will be published
next year and will fill in the gaps of the missing year following the
Crisis in great detail. So this brings the total number of issues for
this story, if you count tie-ins and spin offs, to well over 100. Given
that the normal cover price is $2.50 per book, with the larger Crisis
issues certainly being more expensive, it's going to cost more than $250
to follow this entire story. And who says that comics are just for kids?
What kid could afford THAT? Hell, how many adults who live
outside of their parents' basement would be willing to spend that kind
of money on this?