Kyle Garret: If you were to point to any single issue in this series and say “here is evidence that Wolfman and Perez were tasked with showcasing as many characters as possible before most of them are erased,” this would be the issue. Because for even the most tried and true Crisis fan, Crisis #9 feels insignificant or, perhaps more accurately, unnecessary.
Although, if I’m being honest, it might be worth it just for that cover.
Zack Davisson: There are a few star moments here and there. Some nice little character moments. But yeah–even as the most ardent fan this isn’t the best issue. Lots of stage setting and seeding of plots for things that aren’t going to matter until after this series.
But the cover is sweet.
Daniel Gehen: The cover might be the only thing from this issue worth revisiting. In all seriousness, why does this issue exist? In a maxiseries that spawned several over-sized issues, there shouldn’t be any filler, and that’s exactly what Wolfman gives us here. There are some big things here (sorta) that mean to resonate emotionally for readers (they don’t).
Jason Sacks: Well, they don’t because the series has no time for hesitation. It’s gotta go, go, go, and never ever stop, like a group of speedsters racing on a time sled to save the world. Run, Wally! Run, Jay! Actually, there are some wonderful moments even in these massively overloaded pages. Just look at the contrast between Wally’s and Jay’s faces in the middle tier. That’s Perez being subtle and intriguing and if it’s kind of undercut by Hawk being an anticommunist, well, that adds spice. (Hey, kids, in case you didn’t know, America used to hate the Commies! We wanted to bomb them back to the stone age.
ZD: That is a REALLY nice subtle moment in a loud and noisy series. In fact, it might have been too subtle for Perez’s own good. I never noticed until this exact moment that Jay Garrick starts running first, but the hesitant Wally soon overtakes him. Wally has it all over him in power, but Jay is proving to be the true hero. That’s some strong storytelling just using feet. But it just goes under everyone’s radar. Mine included.
And then there’s the bad guys …
KG: The villains of the DCU have noticed that their remaining worlds are in chaos and, you know, chaos makes taking over the world(s) much easier. So the famous Luthor/Brainiac team decides to unite the bad guys to take advantage of the distracted good guys. You can probably guess how that goes.
I also feel the need to point out that there’s an entire page devoted to checking in on a New Teen Titans story line that has fuck all to do with Crisis. Seriously, it has nothing to do with anything that is going on, yet there’s an entire page for it. I suppose this is Wolfman and Perez taking advantage of the extra eyes reading Crisis in hopes they’ll check out New Teen Titans.
DG: That was just Wolfman setting the precedent for comic events incorporating subplots and story arcs from tie-ins that make no goddamn sense in the context of the main event. Thanks for showing publishers the way on that one, Marv.
JS: At least it isn’t a red sky crossover, and it adds some character to Starfire to see here with her peeps!
ZD: You’re reaching here, Jason. That little story slice is an unnecessary distraction.
DG: As much as I enjoy revisiting classic comics, the one-note villains can make the least jaded reader roll their eyes. Besides the dialogue surrounding the death of Earth-Two’s Lex Luthor (“We do not need two Luthors”) being a not-so-subtle metaphor for this event, this subplot made me feel like Wolfman was insulting my intelligence. We get it Marv, the DC Universe is in dire straits, and these are not the nicest people.
ZD: I disagree with you there. That Luthor death was pretty shocking at the time. I think it might have been the first actually callous murder I saw in comics (aside from Batman’s parents … ). The “white wall” deaths were all just clean fade-aways, and the rest were in the sort of good-vs-evil struggle I could expect. But this was just … murder.
Chemo killing Aquagirl was even more impactful reading this for the first time. I didn’t know who either of the characters were, but that affected me. Much of that was character design–Chemo’s massive, unfeeling face as he poisoned the waters. Aquagirl’s death chocking on poison. That had a resonance to the era as well, when the environmental movement was first taking off. Chocking to death on poison waters seemed more real and terrifying than energy blasts and anti-matter walls.
I realize comics deaths are dime-a-dozen nowadays and in modern comics Chemo could have literally ripped her in half and flung her internal organs at Aqualad, but at the time … it was different. And the humanity of her death still makes it more real. To me, at any rate.
DG: Where the hell is the Spectre? Following up on that cliffhanger would be a better use of time, energy, and resources.
KG: Shit, yeah, where the hell is the Spectre? Things were about to get Biblical at the end of the last issue and we get none of it.
ZD: I’ll give you that. I remember being annoyed at that too. And the end of issue #8, we had this big, screaming giant that was clearly some serious stuff. Then issue #9 … a bunch of other stuff. Bad timing on that cliffhanger.
DG: I know, right? Speaking of plot elements cast aside for several issues, remember the Guardians of the Universe? You know, those smurf-looking things in Green Lantern? Yeah, they’re dead now. Sure, they had about 4 pages of exposure (give or take) in the first 8 issues, but now? Dead. I’m sorry, but after the powerful deaths by Supergirl in issue #7, and then The Flash in issue #8, these deaths have no impact, emotionally or in relation to the narrative. Also, I forgot how boring Guy Gardner was before Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire took hold of him.
ZD: Yeah, Guy was really a big nothing in this series. I thought his character design was cool. Dug the belt and the jacket flap. But other than that, just a zero.
KG: Well, he was supposed to be Earth’s Green Lantern, so if he was going to top Hal he’d have to be really, really boring (zing!).
JS: Boring like the rest of this issue? You’re calling boring a comic where planets explode, where villains posture and monologue, people are killed, where about a zillion heroes guest-star, where we get a cool scene of a world enslaved, where the United Nations is the stage for the whiniest super-hero ever to get beamed God knows where?
If this is boring, yay! Give me more boring!