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Hibbs’ thoughts on INFINITE CRISIS #1

Brian Hibbs

INFINITE CRISIS #1: You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger DC fan than me, really — at least one that doesn’t work at DC (because, OK, I can’t beat, say, Mark Waid) I’ve always been a DC fan, even when it wasn’t very fashionable. I can recite you Pre-CRISIS continuity up and down and backwards and forward. I can tell you which character came from which earth and the ones who moved and changed, though, really, it wasn’t really that hard to keep it all straight.

I pretty much liked CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (although, reread all these years later it is a pretty badly constructed mess), though I didn’t, at the time, really think it was very necessary.

Post-Crisis, continuity became a bit of a mess (to understate things) — even years after Geoff Johns tried to fix Hawkman continuity, for example, I can’t really tell you which stories “happened” and to which version of the character. Really, the fundamental mistake they made was in not starting EVERYthing over with a brand-new no-previous-continuity #1, instead doing a “rolling” reboot where some characters restarted and others didn’t, and trying to patch holes “on the fly”.

So, one might think I would relish the return to pre-CRISIS continuity with multiple earths back in the mix.

One would probably be wrong.

“You can’t go home again”, they say, and I think “they” are right on target, at least in this regard — that was TWENTY YEARS ago. Things are different now, and there’s an accretion of two decades that almost certainly can’t be rolled over, and I think any attempt to recast old continuity today will make the immediately-post-Crisis attempt look like pure elegance.

That’s what I think, at least.

I’m assuming here, though, and you know what they say about assumptions — maybe there won’t be a reset of any kind, maybe it will be all forward movement of continuity just with a handful of new ground rules.

But here’s the thing: I can’t really do much BUT make assumptions because I read the first issue of INFINITE CRISIS #1, after something close to a year of build up, AND I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT THIS MINI-SERIES IS ABOUT.

How can you read the first issue of a 7-issue comic (14%!) and not have a CLUE as to what the story is ACTUALLY about? (Well, besides HOUSE OF M, I guess….)

We talk a lot about spoilers and how it “ruins it for the audience” or whatever, but does everyone forget that the “audience” knew a LOT about CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTS before it happened? Not just talking about the cover images being released long before, but even the tagline of the book spelled out the intentions of CoIE very clearly: “Worlds will live. Worlds will die.”

All we have here is “The Countdown is over!”, but since the “countdown” is referring to the event itself, that’s a pretty empty circular loop, right?

To a large degree, not a whole lot actually happens in INFINITE CRISIS #1 — it is mostly recap of all of the countdown stuff, with a smidge of character stuff. The “big 3” have an argument on the moon, there’s a big Mystery In Space post-RANN/THANAGAR WAR, the OMACS are doing something or another, the VILLAINS UNITE to kill the Freedom Fighters (50 cents says they’ll be back before issue #7, though), and Gotham is shown, slightly, post DAY OF VENGENACE (did you notice the other ones got double page spreads and build up, but DoV was kind of just “oh yeah, that happened too”?) — but excepting the last few pages, we’re not being shown anything that we didn’t already know.

Those last few pages were described to retailers (on the private CBIA bulletin board) by a high-ranking DC person as being “a 12 on a 10 point scale” when we asked (feeling stung by HOUSE OF M #1) “does anything happen”, but I don’t know about you, but I didn’t really think that was much more than a 7 or an 8. ESPECIALLY coming on the heels of VILLIANS UNITED #6 (more about that later), which sort of makes any “they’re here!” moment anticlimactic, because they’ve been here all along.

Certainly, I didn’t NOT like this — things zipped along, the art was pretty (though, I thought it was garishly over-colored, not wholly dissimilar to the way CoIE made our eyes bleed with the flexographic printing), there are good beats here and there (I quite liked the bits with the Human Bomb), and it more or less hangs together.

I just don’t know what’s happening, and after, what, close to 1000 pages of build-up in all of the assorted “Countdown” stuff, I expected this first issue to have a bit more of a solid direction and point.

The Savage Critic scale is good for certain forms of snark and snapshots, but it’s pretty useless in a case like this — on the seven point scale I’ll go with a pretty middle-of-the-pack OK, but that’s both too low and too high. I guess a better reaction might be “…that’s IT?”

I’ll try to be back later today with some thoughts on HOUSE OF M #7, then the rest of the reviews on the “usual” Tuesday.

What did YOU think?


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