Michael Bettendorf: Crisis feels like a TV show that has gone on for 3 extra seasons. The heart of the story happened long ago, the major deaths (plot points) – you know, things people cared about – have already occurred. So, what’s left?
Tying up loose ends that don’t looked better frayed, throwing in extra surprises and plot points that are uninteresting that are seemingly only there to keep it moving forward. This reminds me of Burn Notice.
It’s unbelievable, created mostly for entertainment, but has its merits, but just when things have the potential to end on a good note (or as good a note as Crisis could end on) they throw us into another rabbit hole. Burn Notice is notorious for ending nearly every season with, “Ooops, the only person that could have helped me is dead…again…” and this sort of thing keeps happening with Crisis.
Last issue, ol’ Psimon came along to take over and immediately he’s given a big brain buster by the Braniac. I’ll give Wolfman this: he’s a master of puns. Good thing, bad thing, who cares. He has that going for him. It’s like an episode of C.S.I.
Beyond that though, it just drags. So, the heroes and villains were put here not to combat against each other, but to fend off the real bad guys…again!
Some of the presumed worthless information dumps from earlier issues are starting to creep back in, like why the hell Anthro is even in the story, so there’s that. Shows that Wolfman did have some sort of plan and intention for the plot. That’s the only thing keeping me somewhat interested anymore, is just seeing how he’s going to tie this stuff in (if at all). That and the puns. I’ll stay for some puns.
Did anyone else find the parallel stories to be entirely way too much? This story is so dense with fighting, narration and info dumps that I found trying to stay focused on both to be distracting.
Mark Stack: God help me, I actually started to take a liking to that parallel narrative running at the bottom of the page. My feelings about it are that it probably makes the issue better as a whole because it adds scale without weighing down the main story like previous attempts at showcasing the scope did in previous issues. You could skip that narrative entirely but you would miss out on some nice little moments detailing the scant victories amid a sea of defeats that are happening simultaneously across time.
It’s no secret that I didn’t like the previous issues that I’ve read with y’all. The over-writing, reliance on nostalgia I didn’t have as a reader, clunky storytelling, and whatnot really made those issues a tough sell. But I really liked this one. I can’t say I loved it but, damn, it really worked for me.
There’s still some spots of overwriting in the dialogue but there’s a substantially less amount of narration attempting to explain what George Perez was showing me. The narration actually enhanced the reading experience for the most part, especially in the Spectre’s battle at the dawn of time with the Anti-Monitor. The dialogue is still very outdated but it came across as fun this time around with little character moments set against a large event and much less dominant racism or sexism.
And, shit, I can’t lie and say I didn’t cry during the farewell scene between the Silver Age Superman and Lois Lane. I’m a pretty big Superman fan and I have a huge affection for the Silver Age Superman thanks to a DC Showcase collection my parents bought me on a trip to Borders when I was 10. So seeing these two characters part like that with no certainty that they’ll ever see each other again, it tore me to fucking shreds.
I’ve criticized this book for relying too heavily on nostalgia but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due for the way it played off of my feelings in order to get me emotionally invested in the climax.
Overall, I found this to be a really fun issue of comics. I wish the rest were as good as this one!
Daniel Elkin: That’s all well and good, Stack. It’s nice to see you wear your heart on your sleeve and give us insight into that which makes you cry. I promise I won’t use this information for nefarious purposes, tempting though that may be.
But I’m with Bettendorf on this one to the extent that I, too, feel that this thing, this Crisis, is dragging on and on and on with no real purpose other than to fulfill some sort of contractual obligation to run this thing for twelve issues.
A year of Crisis…
I mean, really, how long can we be invested in something that lost whatever emotional impact it seemingly could muster four issues ago?
So go ahead and mix together your “electricity based volunteers” and “our magnetic friends” and add a dash of “the sorcerers” all you want, but week-old bread still tastes stale and it’s hard to bite down on, let alone chew.
It’s a sad state of affairs when the only thing that stood out for me in this whole cockamamie thing was Uncle Sam’s “cornball” speech before this issue’s pseudo-climax. There he is, the living embodiment of The Shining City on the Hill that America believes itself to be, telling the gathering of heroes and villains that, ultimately, the fight they are about to engage in is all about fighting for capital “F” Freedom, “ …our FREEDOM to think as we do … to ACT as we do… to BE what we WANT to BE.”
I think it is no accident that Perez drew Sam holding his hat over his crotch while delivering this speech, because I’m sure our good Uncle was all throbbing with jingoistic patriotism while standing tall for the American Dream, if you know what I mean.
Because, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t Sam and his buddies punching the crap out of people earlier in this issue because they were acting as they did trying to be what they wanted to be? See, these kinds of vague blanket statements about the glorious nature of “Freedom” are, well, kinda dangerous. They put some sort of ill-defined moral structure in place that allows people to commit unspeakable atrocities in the name of preserving his or her right to censor someone who doesn’t follow his or her sense of right and wrong, hypocritically all in the name of preserving their very right to express whatever it is that they are expressing.
If Sam truly believed in the kind of Freedom he is espousing, then he is preaching anarchy.
But he’s not. He’s talking about everybody following a certain set of principles that he and his ilk have declared “right” and “moral” and “true”. And, by golly, he’ll put his fist in the face of anyone who says otherwise.
So you can get on the stage in Cleveland, Ohio and talk all you want about “Freedom” and “Values” and the “Promise of America” but know, that as you do so, you are not talking to everyone, and. by doing so, you are bullying and threatening and pushing in the mud those who would disagree with you.
And if this is what it means to be a “Superhero”, well then fuck them even more. They are not heroes to me, and they sure as shit ain’t super.
Ray Sonne: I can’t.
Elkin: I understand.
Kristopher Reavely: I’m back, apparently just to add some classic comic book love to the article
Crisis on Infinite Earths has so much going on sometimes that it’s very hard to understand what’s happening, and issue 10 is no different.
Psimon has destroyed Brainiac and is on the brink of killing Lex Luthor, a moment that is fantastic in that such a minor character truly has no chance of killing such a well-known villain. Psimon with his oh so traditional tendency to gloat takes far too long to kill Luthor, and as such dies one of the most brutal deaths I’ve seen in any series from the ’80s, having his brain blown off by the returned Brainiac. This leads to one of the most hilarious exchanges I’ve read in years. Brainiac informs Luthor that “Psimon is eliminated. Our Plan continues.” And Luthor responds with “It sure does, pal.” I almost fell out of my chair laughing, you see I’ve seen so many different versions of Lex Luthor over the years that I’m kind of a fan of his more modern interpretations, interpretations that would never ever use the term “pal”.
Issue #10 is another blur of chaos. There’s so much dialogue it takes away from the beautiful imagery that Perez has created, at the same time I do think #10 marks a low for backgrounds, at least in comparison to Mr. Perez’s normal detailed work.
There’s so much going on that it’s nearly impossible for me to name every character being shown, which is really saying something. Again I will try to say that I do think that this fact was the underlying problem with the DC Universe. They have too many characters, and too many versions of each character. How many versions of Lex Luthor can you have in a book, Crisis attempts to answer that. It’s truly a shame that such an event is really just an acknowledgement of the poor planning and organization that DC comics had demonstrated for the decades before Crisis.
I’m not saying issue 10 is horrible. It just falls into the same routine as many of the other Crisis issues, too much going on, too much dialogue, too much set up. The next 2 issues must have some amazing payoffs or I might find myself falling into my fellow writers’ negative reaction to this entire event. Then again, I do know what comes after this series, and I’d be a fool to not say how much I loved John Byrnes revamp of Superman. Without this series, that series wouldn’t have occurred. So I guess I’m kind of a glutton for the punishment that leads to one of the greatest eras in DC comic history.