Saturday, October 15, 2005

Infinite Crisis 1: Stop Picking At It!

So, you may have heard that Marvel and DC are doing big "event" comics right now. And, as a twist of fate would have it, two pretty important "event" issues came out on the same day this week. I read them both in the store, and I have my thoughts on them, which are worth sharing. Or, at least I think so, and since it's my blog, what I say goes. So nyeah.

Anywho, let's start with Infinite Crisis 1, and how it relates to the one thing I really learned from the Boy Scouts.

IC 1 is, for the most part, a summing up and continuation of the trend over the DC Universe for the past year and a half, that trend being it really sucking to live there. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman argue whilst the Watchtower burns, the four summer minis get recapped, and cannon fodder dies in order to prove, in the words of Dan Didio, "we mean business."

There are a lot of things in the narrative itself I could talk about that rankled me. I could get 1000 words out of the psychosexual ramifications of Phantom Lady's death alone. But the truth is, not much that happens in this comic really matters. There are, pretty much, two events of actual import in Identity Crisis 1. The first is Donna Troy and her merry band leaving Earth for New Chronus. This is marginally important because it's pretty much the only instance of any of Earth's heroes taking positive measures against the coming Crisis, whatever it is. But the big event is, of course, what happens on the last page, which I'll get to in just a little bit. First, a digression.

During my brief tenure with the Boy Scouts (which went about as well as can be expected, which is to say, not at all), I went on a few camping trips. On these trips, I acquired anywhere from ten to thirty chigger bites on my legs, arms, and posterior, on average. For those of you who grew up in the city, chiggers are invisibly tiny little insects who hate you and want to see you suffer. The itching from their bites is hard to describe, but let me try: You're waiting three hours in a doctor's office in Inwood where the TV is stuck on Fox News. And you're there for hemmorhoids. And the radio plays Dawn Carolyn Johnson caterwauling "So Complicated" every fifteen minutes. It's like that, except under your skin.

So, I scratched those things like a motherfucker. And, as happens when you remove a several layers of skin via fingernail, scabs eventually formed. Little obsessive-compulsive that I am, I picked them. I picked them in the shower. I picked them on the school bus. I picked them at lunch. I picked them watching TV. I picked them at the movies. Look, I've got issues, OK? The point is, I was like a rat pushing the cocaine button with those little things. And no matter how many times my mom told me to stop picking at it, I couldn't. It's just in my genes. I'm a born scab-picker.

All of which explains why, to this day, I have little round scars on my arms, legs, and ass. They're covered by hair these days, but I know they're there.

If you're still reading this, you're doubtless wondering what my point is. My point is, DC has spent the last 18-30 months picking at this one scab in their universe, to the point that there's blood everywhere and the entire rest of the class is looking at them like they called Jesus a pedophile, and they expect that a dab of Neosporin and a dot Band-Aid are going to get rid of the scar.

Infinite Crisis 1 actually tells you everything you need to know about the series, in one issue. It's a nice little microcosm. We have 29 pages of this:

And they expect this:

To make it all better.

I'll admit, I want to believe it can. But I don't. I've got scars on my ass that say otherwise.

(Thanks given to the gang at CBR for the scans. As for just who those people in the second scan are, the uninitiated are urged to head to Newsarama for everything they ever wanted to know about Infinite Crisis, but were afraid to ask.

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