Infinite Crisis Omnibus

Finally! After a week of posts leading up to this moment, along with countless storylines slowly converging, we’re here!

And you know what? I have no idea where to even start.

Let’s begin with the practicalities.  This omnibus is MASSIVE.  Like, over 1,400 pages massive.  It hurt my arms just trying to support it, and the book left indentations on my legs from where it was resting (nobody can say I don’t suffer for comics).  The volume also contains the Infinite Crisis storyline in its entirety, along with every tie-in issue.  Therefore, I didn’t actually read this whole book. I read all of the stories collected within it, but most were read in their own, separate trades. Thanks to Mistah J’s handy dandy post-its, I was bouncing back and forth between this and all of the tie-in trades, attempting to read the story in order.

Having read it, I honestly don’t even know where to begin.  So much happens.  I could probably write a post about each and every issue in the mini-series and still not do the story justice.  How then do I attempt to sum up the entire trade?

Frankly, the easiest way seems to be by focusing less on what happened and more on what changed.  After all, isn’t that what all these crises are about? Serving as a catalyst to a shift in the status quo?  So much of the story takes place in the previously discusses trades anyway, that this seems like the most organized way to approach it.

A New Spectre

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After floating around without a body for a while, The Spectre has finally been relegated to a new host: Cris Allen, the tough-talking murdered cop from Gotham Central.  This scene was unexpected and yet fits the story perfectly, and I’m particularly a fan of the 4th panel shown above, in which The Spectre is trying to escape his new host’s body.  I was really upset when Allen was killed in Gotham Central  Book 4,  and knowing his story will continue makes me really happy (and also gives me hope that Allen will get revenge against Corrigan, the dirty cop who killed him).  It wasn’t a huge part of the Infinite Crisis storyline, but it’s clearly ushering in the next era of The Spectre’s story, and I’m sure it will be interesting to watch unfold.

Sasha Bordeaux, Take 3

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First she was Bruce Wayne’s bodyguard.  Then she died, was revived by Checkmate, and became an odd human/android conglomeration.  After sacrificing herself to destroy the fallen Brother Eye satellite, the nanobots that covered her body were destroyed, allowing her to be reborn yet again.

Sasha’s a character who sort of sprung up out of nowhere for me.  I didn’t read very many comics of when she was in the employ of Bruce, but I read her entire storyline and have enjoyed seeing her change as she became involved with Checkmate.  The comic doesn’t specify what’s going to become of her now; if I had to guess, I would think she’d be sticking with Checkmate to help bring some stability back to the organization. Maybe she and Bruce will reunite, or maybe she’ll just be a part of his past that he has occasional interactions with.  I’m hoping this isn’t the last we’re seeing of Sasha Bordeaux, because she’s quickly grown into an incredibly complex and interesting character.

An Iconic Death

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In what is easily the most poignant and moving scene in the entire comic, Earth-2 Superman fights to save the world, and while he’s successful, he isn’t strong enough to survive.  As Kara tearfully looks on, Clark tells her that he finally understands that the ones they love are never truly gone, and with a final call out to Lois, he dies.

I’m not going to lie, I cried. It was incredibly sad to see the original Superman pass away, and although his dying words indicate that there’s at least the remote possibility that he could return one day, at least in some form, it still felt like the ending of an era.  The writers weren’t ready to let go of him completely during Crisis on Infinite Earths, choosing instead to let him and Lois retreat to a quiet existence in a separate dimension.  Here though, it seems they were finally willing to let them rest, allowing the characters to pass on and be reunited in death.  It’s a bittersweet ending, but for me it was the climax of the entire series.  It’s not a major paradigm shift for most of the characters, since Earth-2 Lois and Superman haven’t been part of any storylines for a few decades, but it feels like a major shift in the way writers are willing to tell stories.  This Superman was the first superhero for DC, before DC was even a thing.  To be willing to definitively kill him off, even if you’re providing an out should future writers ever want to bring him back, speaks volumes as to the mindset of the company and how they handle their own iconic characters.  At this point it feels as though all bets are off, and basically anything could happen moving forward.  Superman’s death ushers in a new age of the comics, and it will surely affect the way future stories are told.

Trinity in Retirement

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As the comic closes, we see Clark, Diana, and Bruce going their separate ways, vowing to take some time off from saving the world to reconnect with the human sides.  Bruce is leaving Gotham to retrace the steps he took to become Batman, but this time he’s bring Dick Grayson and Tim Drake along with him.  Clark, having lost his powers, is going to focus on being a husband to Lois.  Diana is taking time off as well, being alone on Earth now that her gods and sisters have left this world.  The world is to continue without the core three heroes, at least for the time being, while they each regain their sense of self and try to reconnect with their true selves.

Moving Forward

I’m always surprised when I read a big “Crisis” event. I go in expecting to see so many changes to the story, and somehow I’m always left feeling like there haven’t been enough.  It’s insane of course, since Infinite Crisis saw the creation of “New Earth” which will undoubtedly usher in a host of new changes for any number of characters. I suppose I always expect the “Crisis” to elaborate on these changes, even though that’s not what the story is for. Infinite Crisis explains the war, not the aftermath.  That being said, I’m extremely excited to read 52, the year-long special that fills in the gaps of what happened to everyone after Infinite Crisis.  I’ve learned that these are the stories I like most of all; not the end-of-the-world crises, but the quieter “now what?” storylines that flesh out all the changes that have occurred because of the crisis.

Infinite Crisis was an incredibly elaborate undertaking, and I must say DC pulled it off wonderfully.  The fact that they were able to connect so many storylines so flawlessly speaks wonders to the writing team.  Nothing felt unnecessary or extraneous, and there were enough major twists and shakeups revealed, with plenty of opportunities for future changes.  I must admit I’m happy to finally be through this massive undertaking, but I’m so glad to have read it.  I’m loving this recent line of trades, specifically how they all connect to help build upon the larger story arc.  Although I still have plenty of trades to get through on “the shelf”, I feel as though I’m finally beginning to get into the modern era of comics. I want to dive into the next batch of trades head-first, and although I had originally planned on taking a little break after completing Infinite Crisis, the story is just too damn good to stop reading.

Damn comics. Once they grab you, they don’t let go.

-Jess

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