Current Reviews


Prelude to Infinite Crisis

Posted: Friday, June 17, 2005
By: Michael Deeley

Senior Editor: Robert Greenberger

Reprinting material from: Superman Secret Files and Origins 2004, Flash #219, Wonder Woman #214, and various comics taking place in the DC universe.

Price: $5.99 USD/$8.00 CAN

This 98-page comic summarizes recent events in the DC comics universe that relate to the upcoming Infinite Crisis. Included are:

The return of Hal Jordan;
The resurrection of Donna Troy;
Recent battles of the new Teen Titans;
The reformation of the Outsiders and the Secret Society of Super-Villains;
Identity Crisis;
The disappearance of the planet Rann;
Dr. Lightís re-emergence as a threatening villain;
And the growing scope of Checkmate and its OMAC project

Three complete stories are also included. Pete Ross is ďpersuadedĒ not to seek re-election as President of the United States by a Checkmate agent disguised as Sarge Steel. A Suicide Squad is sent to kill Amanda Waller, who refuses to tell what she knows about the people trying to kill her. Later, the Cheetah releases the new Reverse Flash to help her increase her speed. Wonder Woman and the Flash team-up to capture them. The villains ultimately escape and join the new SSoSV.

Iím of two minds about this. On one hand, it shows a great deal of thought and organization was put into Infinite Crisis. When it comes, it wonít be something thatís been thrown together for the sake of increasing sales. It will come from the stories and characters featured in DC comics since 2004. The Superman story conveys how subtly and secretly Checkmate has secured its power. The book creates the overall impression that something big is growing in the DCU. Hopefully the actual story will reflect the diverse story elements that have led to its creation.

On the other hand, such an event clearly came from DCís editors and requires their involvement. Geoff Johns is coordinating with other DC writers to ensure Infinite Crisis doesnít conflict with their series and vice-versa. Countdown to Infinite Crisis was written jointly by Johns, Judd Winnick and Greg Rucka. The mini-series leading up to Crisis are being written by Gail Simone, Dave Gibbons, Bill Willingham, and Rucka. At this point, it looks like the story of Infinite Crisis will be written by a committee of writers and editors, all of whom will contribute something. Comics written by committee have never been as good as comics written by one or two people.

The Flash/Wonder Woman team-up has little to do with the Crisis. A paragraph and the last page of WW #214 would have been enough. And while it mentions recent developments like Eclipso possessing Jean Loring, it doesnít say that Ruin was revealed to be Pete Ross. That would have followed the Superman story and the note about Ruinís work for the Society.

One thing missing from the Prelude is a list of all the comics it cites. Creator credits for the excerpts are given, but not the specific comics they came from. I know there are collectors who want every Crisis-related comic, or maybe a reader would like to see these scenes in context. I was looking forward to a checklist. Thought that was a gimme for a crossover special.

But the Prelude does convey the scope of the upcoming Crisis. Itís raised my expectations for the story. It also makes me wonder what could unite such diverse elements as an organization of super-villains, a secret anti-superhuman conspiracy, an interplanetary war, and a mystical civil war? And what roles will Donna Troy, the Titans, and Dr. Light play in the Crisis?

As for the stories themselves, the Superman story is well done. It shows the manipulations of Lex Luthor extend all the way back to his days in Smallville. The Flash/Wonder Woman comics are entertaining. I only browse through the books occasionally, but they are worthy of all the good press theyíve received. If you havenít been reading them, give this a look. Both series are involved in fairly long and complicated storylines right now.

I just wish the packaging wasnít so cheap. Really, the cardboard cover was flaking on the shelf and the paper is of a lower quality than monthly comics. Itís the kind of scratchy newsprint they used to use on comics in the 1980s. Itíll smell great in 20 years! Nothing like that old comics smell.

If youíre buying one or more of the Countdown mini-series, youíll be interested in this book. Itís also a handy reference guide for the crossover and for the biggest events in recent DCU history. While the Flash and Wonder Woman comics are good reads, they donít really connect with the overall theme. A list of comics cited would have been nice. What we get does provide readers not familiar with the DCU with lots of helpful information and three good stories. Iíd say that was worth 6 bucks.

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