Yesterday, issue #3 of Infinite Crisis finally appeared, having been delayed for a week. During the day, people I spoke to who had read the issue said that everyone had either one of two reactions: "Oh, wow," or, "I'm never going to read DC Comics again."
I fall firmly into the "Oh, wow" category.
That's not to say that I have a lot of problems with this story. In particular, the plot seems to be almost exactly the same as Zero Hour, the first follow-up to Crisis on Infinite Earths that took place in 1994. In that five-issue story, a villain who turned out to be the once-and-future-hero Hal Jordan used the residual chronal energy from the Crisis to destroy the universe so he could rebuild it as a multiverse. Well, in the current miniseries, a pair of former heroes have been revealed to be doing something that looks like an attempt to recreate the multiverse. And just like Hal Jordan felt that the ends justified the means, they seem to have the same philosophy. In a way, it makes Zero Hour feel almost irrelevant, like a first draft of this current comic. I'm hoping that something happens in the current story to acknowledge that Zero Hour happened and to show why this event is different.
I'm also fascinated to see that some of my predictions are turning out to be almost true. I didn't call everything they're doing -- after all, I didn't expect certain characters to show up the way they did -- but I think I can take credit for figuring out a lot of what this current Crisis has ended up being all about.
Join me, if you want, for my thoughts on Infinite Crisis #3. And we'll start with the Jim Lee cover.
Isn't that beautiful? The Superman of Earth-2 reaching out to the current Batman, with the Batman family of Earth-2 standing behind him...
Of course, the Batman family isn't really there, except by implication. What happens in the story is that Superman-2 approaches Batman and explains his plan to recreate the better, more joyful universe. He tells Batman about how Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle had married, and had a daughter, and how Superman and Batman were the best of friends -- a far cry from what the current ones are today.
This is a beautiful scene. Just before Superman-2 appears, Batman is shown to be at the end of his rope. He simply can't take it anymore. And then Superman-2 shows up to offer him a chance to start over...but Batman is suspicious, and refuses. Because Superman-2's offer implies that everyone in the current universe will have to die for the new universe to take its place. And true to his character, Batman will not allow anyone to die, even if it will result in paradise for new versions of all those people. The price is just too high.
And Superman-2 also shows himself to be somewhat deceptive in pursuit of his goals. He doesn't tell Batman that the Dick Grayson of Earth-2 is dead; and even when directly questioned by Batman, he doesn't tell him:
Batman: "And what about Dick Grayson?...Is he a better man on your Earth than on mine?"
Superman (looks away and down): "No."
So Batman refuses, and Superman leaves him behind...presumably to continue with his plans to bring back Earth-2.
But he's not the only one with universe-shattering plans. This issue is full of incredible revelations. The second Luthor who created the Secret Society in Villains United? Turns out the be Alexander Luthor of Earth-3. The villain who fooled the JLA Watchtower into thinking he was Superman before he destroyed it? Turns out to be the Superboy of Earth-Prime. While Superman-2 seems to be taking the high road in trying to restore the proper universe, his compatriots in the hidden dimension seem to be taking a more Machiavellian approach.
I can see why some people might hate this development. In the original Crisis, we saw Luthor-3 grow up from babyhood to adulthood in the space of a few days, and Superboy-Prime represented a simpler hero for a simpler time. These two characters in some ways were the embodiment of all that is innocent and good. To turn them into villains...well, it's like turning Hal Jordan into a villain, as they did in Zero Hour. There were howls of outrage back then; I would be surprised if there weren't howls of outrage now.
I mean, cast your mind back over the past year and think of the implications. Somehow, Luthor-3 and Superboy-Prime have been escaping from their dimension without Superman-2 and Lois-2 even knowing about it, and they've been infiltrating and manipulating the universe for over a year. Luthor-3, in particular, has been decidedly evil. He's "collected" one person each from different parts of the orignal multiverse, including former and current colleagues, and has plugged them into some giant machine, reminiscent of the antimatter cannons of the original Crisis, along with the corpse of the Anti-Monitor. He sent Sinestro after Lady Quark and has himself betrayed Black Adam. And he's even killed one of his former colleagues, because we saw "Luthor" (whom we now know to be Luthor-3) murder Pariah in the Villains United miniseries.
Meanwhile, Superboy-Prime, who first discovered with super powers with a great sense of wonder and joy, has gone from being the innocent teenager he once was to a resentful one. He becomes angry in a conversation with Power Girl when she doesn't agree with him immediately that the old universe must be restored. And, once again casting your mind back over the past year, as noted above Superboy was the one who not only destroyed the JLA Watchtower but captured the Martian Manhunter in order to use him in the great machine.
It's enough to send a chill down your spine.
Anyway, to finish off my thoughts for today, I looked back at my predictions round-up post and my followup discussion on issue #2 . I'm not going into the details now, but it looks like my 6-point prediction score of YES-NO-UNRESOLVED now stands at about 4-2-0.
So what do you all think? And if you're visiting from another site, please remember my request for no profanity or obscenity in the discussion, no matter how emotionally wrapped up you are in this story. (I certainly know that I am.)