Monday, January 30, 2006

Just The FAQs: Infinite Crisis

You MUST read this entry before reading tomorrow's. Because I want a large number of repeat visitors every day.

Q: I went to the comic shop, and everyone was talking about something called "Infinite Crisis." I am shunned and out-of-place among nerds. What's it all about?

A: Sit down, and get some coffee; we're gonna be here awhile. "Infinite Crisis" is DC's big marketing/publishing event that, in some ways, has been going on since 2003, and will continue into 2007.

Q: Jesus-jumping-Christ-on-stilts.

A: Just wait; it gets better. The "Infinite Crisis" miniseries is itself a sequel to "Crisis On Infinite Earths," the original giant-crossover-event from 1985/86.

Q: Oh, dear Lord. Okay, hit me. I'm tough, I can take it.

A: Sure you can. Making this as brief as possible, prior to the original "Crisis," the DC Universe was in fact a multiverse, made up of an infinite number of positive matter universes and one anti-matter universe.

Q: Like in that show "Sliders."

A: Right. From a publishing perspective, this was so that DC could have stories where the Golden Age Flash meet the Silver Age Flash, without there being two guys on the same Earth calling themselves the Flash. They also created various Earths for the characters they acquired through various lawsuits or hostile takeovers; the Fawcett characters were on Earth-S, the Charlton characters on Earth-4, the Freedom Fighters on Earth-X, and so on. The original "Crisis" came about because DC decided that this was all too complicated, and they wanted to get back to just one universe, one Superman, one Batman, etc.

Q: So what happened?

A: In "Crisis," the ruler of the anti-matter universe, the Anti-Monitor, was going around destroying positive matter universes, because doing so increased his own power. His positive matter counterpart, the Monitor, and his protégé, Harbinger, gathered the heroes of the surviving Earths (there were 5, plus some stragglers who had escaped their own universes' destructions) in a series of last-ditch attempts to save the positive matter universes and defeat the Anti-Monitor once and for all. At the end, they won, but not without costs, and not without great changes.

Q: Such as?

A: The big one was, as advertised, that the remaining Earths (1, 2, 4, S, & X) had been merged into one, with one history, and for the most part, one of every hero. Most of the Earth-2 heroes, who had fought in WWII, survived, explained away as having retired in the 1950s, and the Silver Age versions being "legacy" heroes, but Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin and Green Arrow from Earth-2 were superfluous, and either erased or conveniently killed off. Also among the casualties…

Q: Hang on, I'm still writing the last part. "Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Green Arrow, Earth-2." Okay, go on.

A: Also among the casualties were the Flash and Supergirl of Earth-1, both of whom sacrificed their lives at various junctures to save the universe. Conspicuously, Supergirl's Earth-2 counterpart, Power Girl, survived, although nobody knew what her origin was anymore. Nobody knew what the hell was up with Hawkman. The Superman of Earth-2, along with his own Lois Lane, the Superboy of Earth-Prime, and Alexander Luthor (the son of Lex Luthor and Lois Lane from Earth-3, the obligatory "mirror Earth where the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good), left the universe at the end of the story for a nebulously defined "somewhere" where they would be happy. This left Harbinger, along with two refugees named Lady Quark and Pariah, as the only people who remembered the multiple Earths.

Q: And how long did that last?

A: Let me put it this way: DC applied another continuity patch in 1994 with "Zero Hour," which had precisely three effects: Some more JSA-ers got killed off, the Legion of Super-Heroes had its continuity erased and rebooted, and nobody still knew what the hell was up with Hawkman, but all the different versions of him were dead, so it didn't matter. And such was the state of things before "Infinite Crisis." Or rather, before the buildup to Infinite Crisis.

Q: Right, you mentioned that. So, what happened in 2003?

A: Donna Troy died.

Q: Who?

A: The first Wonder Girl. It's a long story.

Q: Yeah, I'm getting that.

A: Then, in 2004's "Identity Crisis," it was revealed that members of the Justice League had been mindwiping villains who learned their identities, and also trying to alter their personalities so they wouldn't be so mean anymore. And they mindwiped Batman when he caught them at it.

Q: What the fuck?

A: Yeah, there's a lot of that going around. The fat from that hit the fire in "Countdown to Infinite Crisis," where the Blue Beetle discovered that Maxwell Lord,

Q: Wait, who are the Blue Beetle and Maxwell Lord?

A: It doesn't matter; they're both dead. Maxwell Lord, with the aid of the government organization Checkmate, had appropriated a satellite Batman had created to keep track of all superhumans on Earth, mixed in some advanced nanotech, and created an army of superhuman-hunting sleeper agents called OMACs.

Q: What's the acronym for?

A: Stolen from Joe Rice: "Oh Man, Awful Comics."

Q: Right. So what happened to Beetle and Max?

A: Well, at the end of "Countdown," Max shot Beetle in the head. We saw the brains.

Q: Ew.

A: Then came what we'll call "the lead-in minis." Four of them, actually five, that served as a ramp-up to "Infinite Crisis." In "The OMAC Project," the OMACS killed or beat the crap out of a lot of C-list heroes, Wonder Woman killed Maxwell Lord, a bunch of OMACS were deactivated, but as it turns out, not enough. In "Day of Vengeance," the Spectre fucked Eclipso…

Q: I don't even know who those people are, and that sounds wrong.

A: Imagine how I feel. After that happened, Spectre went nuts and tried to wipe out all magic, several magical people got together to try and stop him, he fought Captain Marvel and the wizard Shazam, killed the latter, crushed the Rock of Eternity, and caused shitloads of magical chaos. In the "Rann-Thanagar War," the planets Rann and Thanagar went to war, and a bunch of Green Lanterns and Hawk-people got involved. In "Villains United," an imposter Lex Luthor used the fear of mindwipes to bring all the supercriminals on Earth into one big Society, except for the Secret Six, six dissenters who were taken on by the real Luthor to screw with the fake's plans.

Q: Who were they?

A: Catman, Cheshire, Ragdoll, Parademon, Deadshot, and Scandal Savage. They got their asses kicked, Parademon and Cheshire died, the fake Luthor killed Pariah and abducted Lady Quark, and Catman punched Green Arrow in the face. Finally, in "The Return of Donna Troy," Donna came back to life, and along with the Teen Titans and the Outsiders, learned that there was a big Crisis coming. Oh, and in the pages of JLA, somebody blew up the Watchtower.

Q: And all that's just the buildup?

A: Yep. In the four issues of "Infinite Crisis" published to date…

Q: Fuck it, I don't care anymore.

A: Too bad. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman acted all pissy to one another; the Society beat the hell out of the Freedom Fighters and kidnapped The Ray; Donna Troy assembled a group of heroes to fight the oncoming Crisis;

Q: Stop talking.

A: The four "survivors" from the original Crisis bitched about all the darkness recently, then re-entered the world to set things right; Power Girl was revealed to be… the same person she always was, Kara Zor-El from Earth 2; the surviving OMACs attacked Paradise Island;

Q: I'm leaving.

A: Captain Marvel rebuilt the Rock of Eternity and took Shazam's place as its caretaker; Alexander Luthor was revealed as the Luthor at the helm of the Society; Superboy-Prime beat up the normal Superboy and a bunch of other heroes;

Q: *sound of a door slamming*

A: Kid Flash, Wally West Flash, and Golden Age Flash took him into the Speed Force; The Society dropped Chemo on the city of Bludhaven; and Alexander Luthor hit the giant switch on the machine that brought back the alternate Earths, which was his plan all along. And now you're ready for Infinite Crisis 5, on sale in three weeks!

Q: *pregnant silence*

A: Hello?

1 comment:

Yeoman said...

Now *that's* funny.