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Infinite Crisis #3: Oh, Wow

[Spoilers for Infinite Crisis #3, of course; also for Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-6) and Zero Hour (1994). If you're not reading DC Comics, this post will probably be meaningless to you.]

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.



Infinite Crisis #3, 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.)

Comments

1. Since Alex Luthor and Superboy-Prime are such minor characters, I can't see too many additional fans getting up in arms. By this point, I think those who like to get angry did so a whle back. I like this twist so far, but reserve judgment till we see what went wrong.

2. The scene between Kal-L and Batman was great, yes. And you picked up on the one moment that I think might have hooked Batya the Wingnut.

3. I'm enjoying this, but it suffers from the same "too many things happen at once" feeling that most Big Event Comics give me. We get the set-up for the new Blue Beetle comic, the new Shadowpact comic, the end of the current Wonder Woman comic and the adjustment of Aquaman's book, but each comes and goes too quickly to matter to me. I would be happier if this comic had only the main events, but then I know that's not hopw it works.

4. Johns writes a great Batman. I want him to write Batman every month.
1. Agreed.

2. "...Batya the Wingnut?" I read this as understanding that Batya's a Nightwing fan.

3. They do that a lot, don't they? The original Crisis did the same thing.

4. Agreed. And as I said, so true to character.
/e begin ramble

Alex Luthor and Superboy...

I think that this makes sense for them.

Superboy is an idealist, who see's the world in black and white. This world is a shade of gray, so of course he is working against it.

What have we seen of their "home" since 1986? "The Kingdom" showed us Superman punching the sky over a pretty world. This series has shown us a pocket dimension made of crystal, not really the best place to hang out for 20 years. It's possible that Alex went crazy, or maybe he was never really all there to begin with.

It's not like Crisis back in 85 showed us much of his personality, and he is from the "Evil" world. Just because he's the Son of a Hero doesn't mean that he'll grow up to be a hero.

Bats and Supes had a great discussion. I really enjoyed that piece of dialogue. The Ring not bothering Kal-L explains why PowerGirl isn't affected by Kryptonite.

/e ramble
Sorry but... god, Van Gogh and Batman - my two loves combined in your one icon!!! Joy!!! ^_^
I'm still of a mind that the machine isn't perhaps to split the universes or to mindwipe anyone. I think it's intent is to basically resurrect the Anti-Monitor.

Alex Luthor (by absorbing some of the Anti-Monitor's essence in COIE #12) and Superboy-Prime (through something that happened when he went off-panel between his first appearance in DC Comics Presents and when he reappeared in COIE) are working to this end. Whether it's consciously as servants, unconsciously as pawns who think they're doing one thing while working towards another, or something else, I don't know.

I don't think E2-Superman is entirely aware of what's going on. Sure, he wants to "bring back Earth-2," but I think what he's doing is basically designed to keep him out of the way while Alex and S-Prime do their thing. How E2-Superman will be made aware of what's going on and how he's being duped, though, might take some effort, though if he sees the corpse of the Anti-Monitor, surely he'll know something's up...

I'm just curious. Obviously Alex was one of the driving forces behind Villains United; I have a feeling he'll also be tied into Rann/Thanagar War soon, at least via Donna Troy's space brigade. How he or S-Prime might be involved with the OMACs or the Spectre, though, I'm still puzzling out.
Hmmm....

I'm not sure what to think yet. Seeing the tower made me realize that things had made a turn to the much darker side. Though I was COMPLETELY shocked that Kal-L mentioned the Bruce was killed on Earth-2 (one of the most pieces of my collection), but Dick's death... that happened in Crisis #12... so if there was a reset, wouldn't Dick be alive again... and in love with Helena.

*chuckle* And am I only one that remembers America vs. The Justice Society... seems Bruce put Superman and the crew through the ringer... even from the grave.
Nice review, I want to know who is on the left of the Anti-Tower? A red and white costume...

The whole Luthor-3 and superboy being evil thing doesnt phase me, a crazed super evil thing attacks them in its death throws, why couldnt he taint them too? This willprobably all be the Anti-Monitor, The Magic stuff might actually be the Monitor though, He might be trying to get the Spectre to reveal the Earth-2 bunch, or use whatever the shadowpact creates to stop him on the Anti-Monitor.
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