Yes, it has finally happened: at the halfway point of Crisis on Infinite Earths, we finally have official tie-ins!
What’s that saying? Be careful what you wish for?
There are two comics this month with the brand spanking new “Special Crisis Cross-Over” banner across the top and neither of them are particularly good, but I suppose they are notable for other reasons.
Yes, that’s right, this issue features Helix! I would think you all know the cover of this issue, given how important and valuable it is. They were the hit super villain team of the 80’s and all.
Wait, no, that’s right, they’re actually the most ridiculous collection of characters perhaps ever assembled. Here’s the line-up:
Arak the Wind-walker
Get it? Tao Jones? Baby Boom is literally a little girl that looks like a doll and Kritter is a cartoonish dog. They are unbelievable. Mr. Bones is reborn years later, but the rest are about as bad as they get.
This issue is basically about Helix attacking Beverly Hills and Infinity, Inc. responding even though two of their members are currently being held captive by Tao Jones.
If this issue is actually known for anything (aside from being awful), it’s that it’s pencilled by a young artist named Todd McFarlane. It’s really early, really rough work. The level of detail isn’t there yet, but the exaggerated poses are, which makes the ridiculous characters seem all the more ridiculous.
It’s an official Crisis tie-in because there’s a scene where Harbinger who, by this point in Crisis is no longer actually Harbinger, arrives to recruit Obsidian. That’s it.
It’s interesting to note that Infinity, Inc. is an Earth-2 book and it, like All-Star Squardon, would undergo some extreme changes when it’s forced to fit in to the new, single Earth DCU. Roy Thomas was the writer on both books and he got the worst of Crisis more than any other writer.
This is kind of the classic pseudo-tie-in that Crisis is famous for. There are red skies in this issue. That’s pretty much it. Sure, the red skies wreck havoc on Wonder Woman’s invisible plane, but she sorts it out and everything is fine, aside from her feeling of dread but, hey, it’s a blood red sky; you’d have a feeling of dread, too.
The main story involves Wonder Woman fighting another obscure, all powerful god, the kind of story line that is generally responsible for WW’s low sales. I appreciate that she has a unique origin that’s connected to old gods, but submerging her in those stories or, more specifically, pulling her away from mainstream DCU superhero stories, is how she ends up being irrelevant to the average comic book reader. Even the most reason run failed to deliver all that impressive sales and, again, it was mired in non-DC mythology. That’s not to say it wasn’t great, as it often was, but it’s not a recipe of the kind of commercial success that a Wonder Woman book needs.
Mindy Newell is the writer of this issue, so at the very least it’s nice to see a woman writing WW. Don Heck provides the art and as much as I like his work in general, it’s dated. Heck drew the Avengers in the 60s after Kirby and his style didn’t change a great deal in the two decades leading up to his run on Wonder Woman. Comparing Heck’s work to George Perez, who would take over to co-write and draw WW post-Crisis, is like night and day.
The main reason this is a Crisis tie-in, though, is that it’s the beginning of the end for Wonder Woman. This series, which had run 300+ issues, would end in two months, and Wonder Woman would be rebooted. The Crisis banner isn’t on this comic so much because it’s essential to the main Crisis story (it’s not remotely important), but because it’s marking the historical importance of the end of this run.
Next: We got from two tie-ins to TEN. Things are getting crazy in the DCU!