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Infinite Crisis (Review/Retrospective)

This month I’m taking a look at DC’s massive “Infinite Crisis” Event. Although it was all published in one massive omnibus, I’ll be breaking down the lead-in to the series to tackle each thread individually, culminating in a review of the event itself. Check back for more.

Infinite Crisis is a fantastic concept with a somewhat muddled execution. The idea of reflecting on the way the DC Universe has evolved since Crisis on Infinite Earths is a fascinating hook for an event miniseries, and writer Geoff Johns does an effective job of exploring how times have changed. However, the original Crisis on Infinite Earths had a tendency to seem too vast and too all-encompassing for its own good, randomly jumping between a cast of hundreds lost in a maelstrom. Given that Marv Wolfman had twelve issues to tell that story, and still occasionally ended up a little confused, it seems a little unfair for Geoff Johns to attempt a similar effort in only seven issues.

There are times when Infinite Crisis feels less like one cohesive story and more like a series of vignettes based around a theme. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of interesting stuff going on here – or that Johns doesn’t have something compelling to say about modern superhero comics – it just means that Infinite Crisis is a bit of a mess. A bold and ambitious mess, but a mess nevertheless.

A smashing success?

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Infinite Crisis: The OMAC Project (Review)

This month I’m taking a look at DC’s massive “Infinite Crisis” Event. Although it was all published in one massive omnibus, I’ll be breaking down the lead-in to the series to tackle each thread individually, culminating in a review of the event itself. Check back for more.

Infinite Crisis was certainly an ambitious project in scope. With the bulk of the major tie-ins collected in a gigantic 1,500-page omnibus, you really get a sense of just how expansive this gigantic crossover was. It’s remarkable how thematically consistent (and yet tonally distinct) so many of these tie-ins were, but The O.M.A.C. Project makes for a suitably grand opening to this gigantic epic crisis crossover, perfectly encapsulating a lot of the core themes that DC seem to have been striving for, while setting up an interesting central conflict.

What do you call a Corps of One-Man-Army-Corps?

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Brightest Day (Hardcover Vol. 1-3) (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” This one’s not so much an “event” as a bi-weekly miniseries, but let’s count it anyway…

Balancing the internal storylines is a tough task for any anthology, especially one running over the course of an entire year. In this respect, 52 feels like the exception rather than the rule. It’s a fairly fundamental problem with Brightest Day that not all of the plotlines are interesting (and certainly not all of the time). It’s a rather strange phenomenon: the early issues try to balance the characters somewhat evenly across the issues, and feels somewhat awkward in trying to devote an equal amount of space to stories that aren’t equally compelling; on the other hand, the second and final thirds seems more comfortable devoting large stretches of single issues to certain characters (and to have other members of the ensemble go unheard from for issues at a time), which has the bizarre effect of meaning that a cliffhanger or two isn’t picked up for two or three chapters. It’s a tough balance to get right, and I’m sad to say that Brightest Day doesn’t acquit itself particularly admirably. It’s a shame, because there are some interesting ideas here.

Everything burns...

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Justice League International: Volume 2 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

In light of the massive DC reboot taking place next month, launching with a Geoff Johns and Jim Lee run on a new Justice League title, I thought I’d take a look back at another attempt to relaunch the Justice League, emerging from the then-recent Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I loved the first collection of Justice League International (even though I don’t think the book was called Justice League International yet). It was the perfect example of fun self-aware superhero comics that didn’t need to wallow in grime and darkness to feel confident in themselves. It was wry and cheeky, but still sincere enough that it never seemed too cynical. And, in fairness to Giffen and deMatteis, they actually told some good stories with nice grasps on the characters involved. This second collection can’t help but feel a little bit lighter, somehow, less significant – too tied up in other things to have enough fun on its own terms. Which is a shame.

Built on a solid foundation...

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Justice League International: Volume 1 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

In light of the massive DC reboot taking place next month, launching with a Geoff Johns and Jim Lee run on a new Justice League title, I thought I’d take a look back at another attempt to relaunch the Justice League, emerging from the then-recent Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Once upon a time — there was a Justice League of America. But that was another era, when the world could afford borders and boundaries. When heroes could claim national loyalties and feel justified in their claims.

But in today’s world there’s no longer room for borders or boundaries. The walls between nations have to fall if our planet is to survive. So, for the new era — a new league: Justice League… International!

– Introducing the Justice League International, Justice League #7

Unlike the upcoming Johns/Lee relaunch of DC’s most famous superhero team, or even Grant Morrison’s tenure on JLA, it’s clear from the outset that Justice League: International was never going to be a powerhouse team. As the introduction states, in the wake of the massive restructuring of the DC Universe following the near-reboot of Crisis on Infinite Earths, many characters were tied up in events in their own titles. George Perez was working on Wonder Woman, while John Byrne was putting his own slant on Superman in Man of Steel. So the only returning iconic Justice League founding members were Batman and the Martian Manhunter. The team had to make do with Guy Gardner as the resident Green Lantern. It wasn’t exactly an all-star line-up, to be honest.

The Unusual Suspects?

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