14 April 2014

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part XVI: Prelude to Infinite Crisis

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2005 (contents: 2004-05)
Borrowed from the library
Read February 2014
Prelude to Infinite Crisis

Writers: Judd Winick, Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Jeremy Johns, Greg Rucka, Bill Willingham, Marc Andreyko, John Arcudi, Bob Harras, Gail Simone, Andy Diggle
Artists: Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund, Alé Garza, Trevor Scott, Marlo Alquiza, Lary Stucker, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Matthew Clark, Nelson DeCastro, Andy Lanning, Mike McKone, Don Kramer, Keith Champagne, Damion Scott, Sandra Hope, Rags Morales, John Dell, Carlos D'Anda, Shawn Moll, Kevin Conrad, Jesus Saiz, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justiniano, Livesay, Walden Wong, Ray Snyder, Drew Johnson, Patrick Gleason, Christian Alamy, Marcos Martin, Alvaro Lopez, Ed Benes, Mark Propst, Ethan Van Sciver, Prentis Rollins, Pascal Ferry
Colorists: Beth Sotelo, Jeromy Cox, Dave Stewart, Richard & Tanya Horie, John Kalisz, Guy Major, Steve Buccello, James Sinclair, Nathan Eyring, Javier Rodriguez, Moose Baumann, Dave McCaig
Letterers: Richard Starkings, K. L. Fletcher, Nick J. Napolitano, Pat Brosseau, Phil Balsman, Rob Leigh, Todd Klein, Jared K. Fletcher, Clem Robins

What's amazing isn't that DC Comics eventually did yet another "Crisis," but that it took them so long to do it. There's a ten-year gap between Zero Hour and Identity Crisis. I won't be covering Identity Crisis on this blog, though, as I've already reviewed it, and so we're on to Infinite Crisis. What's markedly different about crossover events now that we're in the 2000s is the ridiculous scale of them: there are at least ten, if not more, trade paperbacks cover-branded with "Infinite Crisis," and I'm here to review all of them.

The first is a weird one. Designed to catch readers up, I guess, before they plunge into all the various "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" collections, Prelude to Infinite Crisis contains significant panels from a multitude of DC comics, ranging from Teen Titans to Birds of Prey. These context-less snippets are rarely illuminating, even with the cursory captions: why do I care that Donna Troy died (and came back to life?), or that "Optitron is actually a subsidiary of Wayne Industries. Wayne Industries is owned by Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is Batman." Whoa, whoa, whoa-- really?

There are two complete stories included here. The first, "Suicide Watch," shows us how tough it is for Pete Ross to be President of the United States with all these secret government organizations in his way. It's not very interesting except as it seems to join some continuity dots. The second, "Truth or Dare," sees Wonder Woman and the Flash teaming up when Cheetah and Zoom do. What are these villains up to? Why are they teaming up? It's all just spooky foreshadowing! I also don't know why Wonder Woman is blind.

The best of all the whole book is a snippet where Mr. Mxyzptlk makes fun of the whole deal. In response to Superman asking what terrible thing is coming, he answers, "Hush! The Zero Hour approaches! There will be a crisis on Earth! Time will need ritalin, it's gonna be so hyper! And a war, ohhh there will be a war, so secret that years will pass before it concludes! A dark age is coming my friend, that shall cast you into a no man's land of despair! I mean, really dark, talking like, an obsidian age here. Honest." Which I think just about sums this whole mess up.

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