07 August 2013

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part VIII: Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition

Comic hardcover, n.pag.
Published 2005 (contents: 1985)
Borrowed from the library
Read July 2013
Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciller: George Pérez
Inkers: Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo, Jerry Ordway
Colorists: Anthony Tollin, Tom Ziuko, Carl Gafford
Color Reconstruction and Enhancement: Tom McCraw
Letterer: John Costanza

I've read Crisis on Infinite Earths twice before, I think (see a lengthy review here), but this is my first time reading the absolute edition, and also my first time reading in in context-- I've just come off reading seven volumes of Crisis on Multiple Earths (unfortunately, not eight; I had to skip the latest one because it came out too recently to get hold of via interlibrary loan). That context, to my surprise, really did add something beyond the fact that I recognized many more of the characters this time out: when Earth-3 bit the dust in the first chapter, I knew what  their deaths meant, and the demise of Ultraman was surprisingly touching.

Looking over my old review, though, I must say I have little to add, other than that the earlier chapters dragged for me more than they did last time-- man, is it clear that Wolfman did not know how to stretch this story out to twelve issues. And the later chapters are stuffed with continuity gubbins. On the other hand, the larger size shows that delicious Pérez artwork off even better than before-- man, can he do layouts like no other. There is some absolutely killer page design here. And to think he was working from dialogue-less plots!

Now that I've read more, it's a little odd how the timeline changes happen here. Once Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-4, Earth-S, and Earth-X are all integrated, no one's history seems to have really changed: Captain Marvel is still around, Supergirl still existed, &c. It's only later, apparently, that they were wiped from continuity. Poor guys-- one imagines a desparate Captain Marvel watching his family slowly wiped from existence, one by one, as the way is paved for Roy Thomas's Shazam! The New Beginning. Or that one day, Superman wakes up and discovers no one remembers Supergirl... and then the next day wakes up and he doesn't remember her, either.

I do have a new favorite moment. When Brainiac and the Earth-1 Lex Luthor create their time-filling alliance of evil, the Earth-2 Luthor is offended that he wasn't picked. Brainiac just disintegrates Luthor-2, which made me laugh, but what nails the whole thing is the way Luthor-1 doesn't even really react. He gives a small smile, says, "Good," and is on with the business of plotting multiversal domination. I love you, Lex.

"...THE DARKNESS IS ALIVE!" is still one of the most chilling things I have read, though.

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