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Author Topic: Infinite Crisis...A Very Late Review  (Read 6908 times)
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nightwing
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« on: October 12, 2007, 03:03:41 PM »

This is really late, but what the heck.

The price was finally right for the collected hardback edition of "Infinite Crisis" (free on loan from my local library), so last week I checked it out and read it.

Suffice to say it's a train wreck of a story, often near-impossible to follow thanks to the constant jumping from one location and group of protagonists to the next, dialog comprised almost entirely of non-sequiturs and the complete absence of any explanations as to who's who and how we got here. 

Without all the tie-ins, prequels and concurrent minis to flesh it out, this story does not stand on its own.  We see what looks like a hovering asteroid explode over Gotham.  Turns out it's the Rock of Eternity, and Captain Marvel lands on someone's windshield mumbling, "He did it...he killed the wizard."  As a long-time reader I know what a Rock of Eternity is, and who "the wizard" is, and even which "he" killed him, but if I were a new reader I wouldn't know any of that.  Thanks to following internet reports, I also know there was a mini-series that showed the murder and explained why the Rock blew up, but none of that is related in these pages.  This is just one of many, many such moments in the book.  Ted Kord has been killed, we hear.  Who is Ted Kord and why should we care?  You'll never know from reading this book.  One of the characters is called "Superboy-Prime."  Why "Prime", and how is he different from other Superboys?  No clues offered.  Who is this "Corrigan" who shot the black cop?  We never see him.  What's the black cop's name?  I don't remember if it's even mentioned.  Why is the Spectre stuffed into his recently autopsied chest cavity?  Never explained.  And so on.  Of course I know the answers, but the point is this book, like most comics today, is not at all friendly to new readers.  If you haven't been reading for years, and if you don't buy everything else DC puts out, you'll never know what's going on.  (And even then, I wonder...)

The art is execrable, generally, with E-2 Superman looking more diseased than old.  He and old Lois change so dramatically from one panel to the next that the only way I recognize them is by the clothes they wear.  Also it's never made clear why they think recreating Earth-2 will "cure" Lois.  Does Kal-L really believe the mere existence of a "perverted" Earth is killing her (when they don't even LIVE there)?  How does the Earth-1 Superman "hear" Kal-L's cries from Earth-2 and how does he manage to get there?

Anyway, the good part (?) is that between the constant shifts of scene, the nonsensical dialog and the disorienting art, I was much less disturbed by the violence than I expected.  Maybe it's because I'd already seen it before on various websites and had my negative reactions back then, so now I'm over it.  But really I think it's because when you don't give a hoot what happens and none of it makes sense anyway, a few dismemberments, decaptitations and impalings don't affect you much.  People are crippled, people are killed, at least two important characters die, but so what?  This book is utterly devoid of emotional impact of any kind.  (Also it's funny to see some things I never heard about, like Star Sapphire being killed by the Spectre, when I know she was alive again in the pages of Green Lantern almost immediately)

In the interest of fairness I should report that a few pages were ripped out of this book, apparently the Jim Lee "covers" between chapters.  Maybe those pages would have made for a better reading experience and made the whole book "come together".  But I think it's telling that it took me until around "issue 5" before I realized I was missing something, even though the stolen pages went as far back as page 38.  The way this thing was written, even when pages weren't missing, it felt like they were.

Bottom line, this book is a mess, useless without several hundred pages of other books to explain what's going on and who people are.  It's on nice paper, but it's hard to imagine readers 10 years, or even 2 years from now, still buying this book, whereas the stories in the Showcase Presents volumes will probably be getting re-printed in various forms for decades to come.

And finally, for anyone like me who's interested in what's going on in comics in spite of himself, I say support your local library. 
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2007, 03:16:03 PM »

Didn't they make changes to the hardcover dialogue to make it more consistent with the story they were telling?  I assumed that was to make it more comprehensible.  Oh well...


Ahh, yes, found the site that explains it all:

http://jigsawmen.googlepages.com/home


« Last Edit: October 12, 2007, 03:29:51 PM by Uncle Mxy » Logged
nightwing
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2007, 03:32:19 PM »

Well it's always possible this version is more comprehensible than the original.  Cheesy

What they really needed was a few pages of exposition to help non-DC fanatics understand the bigger picture.

In the end notes, between patting each other on the back for doing such a great job  Roll Eyes the creative team reveals that for a scene near the end, where Batman holds a gun to young Luthor's head  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes, they removed a "Chak!" sound effect because many readers thought it signified Bats actually shooting Alexander.  After I read that remark, I could see a few more places in the book where things were probably drawn one way, then changed with new dialog balloons at the last moment, or for this printing.  For instance, the scene where Nightwing is lying on the ground after being zapped by Alex was probably his death scene before someone somewhere had a change of heart.  Now it just says (more than once), "Oh, he'll be fine."  Which kind of doesn't add up considering how often we're brought back to the image.  There's Nightwing on the ground again, folks.  Remember, he's going to be fine. 

Anyway, if nothing else, the original Crisis proved you can tell a story with dozens or even hundreds of characters and multiple Earths, and make it, if not exactly logical then at least capable of being followed.  Apparently that task was beyond this new crowd.


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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2007, 10:16:41 PM »

I thought the original Crisis was silly enough without a sequel twenty years later, frankly. With all due respect to continuity1, the only purpose of these Crises is a) to sell comics and b) to rectify a narrative that has become overly complicated or just plain dumb.

There's not much I can say or do about a), but there comes a time in all serial storytelling where you think "Oh heck, now I've got myself saddled with all that backstory", and what you do then is be a man about it and say "Hey, look, forget it, here's how it really happened" and you don't need to bog yourself down with Alex Luthor and the Controller and all that. In other words, when you think your prose has gone purple enough, you don't need more purple prose to rectify it. You're never going to get a good story out of the bit where you say "Hey, forget it", and unless you're a comics publisher who's in it for the money, you shouldn't even try.

Thanks for trying to make sense out of it, Nightwing, but why even bother? I'm pleased to hear that you got your copy out of the library - at least it didn't cost you anything. Personally, I'm far interested in your new avatar, which is way cool or whatever the kids are saying these days.

1Oh, relax, Julian.
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2007, 12:42:58 AM »

Didn't they make changes to the hardcover dialogue to make it more consistent with the story they were telling?  I assumed that was to make it more comprehensible.  Oh well...

Quote
Well it's always possible this version is more comprehensible than the original.

It was actually worst, as Johns kept calling Iron Age Earth, Earth-1! They removed that and other painfully obvious mistakes that "Mr. Sliver Age" and "the greatest writer of our time" made when writing this steaming pile of poop.

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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2007, 05:15:04 PM »

Poop! Thats a funny and apt term.

Ah I remember the age of DC when Plop! was more appropriate than "poop".  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2007, 04:40:42 PM »

Quote
Personally, I'm far interested in your new avatar, which is way cool or whatever the kids are saying these days.

I think the new word is "groovy."  Who can keep up?

Anyway, thanks.  I captured a few seconds from "Peril By Sea" and looked all over for a software to turn it into an animated gif.  Turns out I already had it -- Adobe Image Ready. 

Actually, I made another first, but decided it was a little annoying after a couple of minutes.  But I may go back to it at some point.  Here it is:

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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 02:32:44 PM »

My biggest criticism, DC allowed the heroes of CoIE to be the big bad villains of Infinite Crisis. Remember all the good they performed? Sorry, E-2 Superman's an emotional wreck, Alex Luthor's suddenly Lex Luthor, and Superboy "Punchy" Prime is insane. I guess it's easier to write today's heroes as heroes, if the heroes of yesterday are complete nutcases. Plus, what was the point of E-2 Wonder Woman's appearance? She shows up for a few panels and disappears?! The fact of the matter is, I was expecting E-2 Superman and the others to make a difference and show the current heroes a better way, instead of the Machiavellian tatics the current heroes were and still are using.

Perhaps, Grant Morrison will rectify this mess with his take. 
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