You’d never have known the DC universe was in the midst of its most radical change in the history of comics.
And yet, it was.
When Crisis on Infinite Earths #2 came out, the rest of the DC line-up gave it no mind. They kept on keeping on the way they always had. It’s shocking, really, and it got me thinking about modern day events and how regular, monthly comics respond to those. Look at how Marvel is handling the lead-in to Secret Wars: its books are doing a whole “this is the end” type thing. DC had its creators finish their current story lines in advance of Convergence or, more specifically, in advance of the minor relaunch that is coming after it.
Crisis was going to dramatically alter the DCU, far more than Convergence (which technically isn’t going to alter it at all). So wouldn’t DC’s regular titles be doing exactly what they did in advance of Convergence? Shouldn’t they be wrapping up story lines and the like?
Well, yes and no. No, in the regard that this was 1985 and extended story lines had yet to become the norm. While DC’s writers surely knew what was coming down the pipelines, a lot of the titles didn’t even reflect the changes from Crisis until months after the series ended. Crisis may have been meant to streamline the DCU, but the individual titles didn’t seem to get that memo.
There was one title, though, that was clearly impacted by the coming of Crisis, whose story line was modified as a direct result of the event. That title was The Flash. Crisis #2 came out the same month as The Flash #345 and the two stories contradicted each other.
In his own title, The Flash had been embroiled in the infamous “Trail of the Flash” story in which he was accused of murder. Barry Allen had killed Professor Zoom while defending his fiance, Fiona Webb — no, not Iris West. Zoom had actually killed Iris earlier in the series, although she was resurrected and returned to the future (comics!). But all of this meant that Barry had just cause to kill Zoom instead of simply protecting Fiona.
The main reason the “Trial of the Flash” is infamous is because it went on forever. This was because the story had to be padded so it, and the series, could end with Flash #350.
But while the Flash was standing trial in Flash #345, he was appearing as a wasting vision to Batman (and the Joker) in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2.
You have to imagine that, given the size of the event, everyone who was then reading the Flash (and there weren’t many) was also reading Crisis. In fact, this one scene in Crisis probably created more interest into the fate of the Flash than anything that had happened to the character in a decade. I just wonder how many Crisis readers decided to pick up Flash #345 based on this one scene only to be completely confused.
Who’s Who #3
Unlike last issue, Who’s Who #3 doesn’t feature any references to Crisis within the entries themselves. This is particularly notable for a character like Brainiac, who would receive a new origin and a new first appearance post-Crisis.
Brainiac’s entry does serve to underscore how bizarre the timing of this series was, given how many of the entries would need to be updated within the coming year.