Crisis on Infinite Earths – The First Epic Comic Book
DISCLAIMER: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you buy something from a Soda and Telepaths link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This is used to help maintain the site and create more content for you!
Worlds Will Live
If there’s anything DC Comics does more, compared to its competitors, it’s for rebooting its universe through large events at least once a decade. Starting with Crisis on Infinite Earths in the mid 1980s, DC has since done Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! in the ‘90s, Infinite Crisis in the 2000s, Flashpoint in the 2010s, and so on. No matter how many they do, the original will forever stand out.
Because DC’s multiverse made its history hard for new readers, this story was born to simply it. Whether or not this worked, at least there was an effort made.
Worlds Will Die
Crisis on Infinite Earths not only gets rid of the multiverse but dives into its origins. When Oan scientist Maltus glimpsed the birth of reality, the multiverse formed and birthed two powerful cosmic beings. The Monitor, who protected all positive universes, and the Anti-Monitor, ruler of the one antimatter universe. The latter craved power and sought to take over reality, but was initially unable to due to being equally matched with the Monitor.
Then another scientist’s glimpse of reality’s birth caused antimatter to spread and, thus, strengthening the Anti-Monitor and allowing him to break into and take over other universes. In turn, the Monitor saves the scientist, dubbed Pariah, and sets out to save the multiverse.
The Universe Will Never Be the Same
In the present, the Anti-Monitor has destroyed all but a few universes, including the main Earth-One and Earth-Two with Golden Age heroes. With his assistant, Harbinger, Monitor gathers numerous heroes and villains from the surviving universes and has them protect towers across space and time.
Unfortunately, the cosmic tyrant captures The Flash, Red Tornado, and Psycho-Pirate while influencing Harbinger, using the latter three to disrupt the Monitor’s plans and kill him. The Monitor, foreseeing his death, used his remaining powers to activate the towers, placing the surviving Earths in a pocket dimension.
With Harbinger regaining control of herself, she gathers the remaining heroes and has Alexander, a version of Luthor with antimatter powers, open a portal to the antimatter universe while Pariah leads them to the Anti-Monitor. A fight ensues and when the villain injures Earth-One Superman, Supergirl nearly ends him until a burst of energy kills her and the Anti-Monitor escapes.
The Final Fate of the Flash
Suffering losses and the surviving Earths slowly merging into one stronger universe, Supergirl is eulogized and the public is informed. Meanwhile, villains led by Earth-One’s Luthor and Brainiac seek to take over the merging Earths.
Barely surviving his fight, the Anti-Monitor activates an antimatter cannon to destroy the last remaining universes. Fortunately, Flash escapes and sacrifices himself to destroy the cannon.
The fight between heroes and villains ends once Spectre appears, warning them that the Anti-Monitor is at the dawn of time to recreate reality. While the heroes follow, he is now too powerful for them to handle. The Spectre, however, is able to take him on and the fight causes an explosion of energy consuming everything.
Those who witnessed the fight wake up to a reality wherein only one universe ever existed and with the histories and characters from the five Earths merged in some way. No one else remembers the multiverse or explain certain multiple characters.
Everything initially seems calm until the Earth is threatened by the Anti-Monitor, weakened by universes he once absorbed now never existing but a still powerful threat. Most of the heroes fight his minions while a small team, consisting of three Supermen, Harbinger, Wonder Woman, Lady Quark, and a few others, take on the villain. At the Anti-Monitor’s lair, they learn about the Flash’s fate. In both battles, several heroes are killed until Earth-Two’s Superman destroys the villain for good.
With everyone he knew gone, the older Superman wants to stay in the dying antimatter universe until Alexander reveals a pocket dimension that his Lois is in. All four and Superboy-Prime decide to live there in peace.
The rest of the heroes go back to Earth and experience time reversing itself, with history and their memories changing to fit the new universe. Everyone remembers the Anti-Monitor’s attack, the Flash and Supergirl’s death, and certain other details without the exact reasoning for them. Certain characters who died were erased due to already having other versions of them existing. The only ones who remember are Harbinger, Pariah, Lady Quark, and Psycho-Pirate.
The First of its Kind
There’s no denying that Crisis on Infinite Earths, having 12 issues and dozens of tie-ins, is an absolute epic. While Marvel has done crossover events like Secret Wars before this one, DC’s was more ambitious and risky. It focused on story first that immediately affected its universe whereas Marvel’s were about promoting toy lines with minimal effects to the setting.
The combination of Marv Wolfman’s writing and George Perez’s artwork excel at giving us something that could have easily failed but managed to become one of the most important works from any company. Wolfman, whose previous work included co-creating Blade for Marvel and popularizing the Teen Titans for DC, was the perfect choice to write this, especially since he always dreamt of having every DC character fight a villain like the Anti-Monitor.
If there are a few flaws in his writing is how some of the dialogue tended to be overdramatic and cheesy. Characters were introduced out loud by others and with their powers over explained, while some yelled out over the top exclamations in certain moments. There’s also the rather confusing way in which the antimatter wall is happening in the past, present, and future simultaneously.
But if there’s one aspect that doesn’t disappoint at all is Perez, who worked on Titans with Wolfman, and the monumental task of having to draw hundreds of iconic characters in great detail. His art, alongside the works of the inkers and colorists, is something to be admired and even studied.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is to comics what films like 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Godfather are to cinema, in that they’ve changed their mediums, have an impact still felt today, and hugely iconic.
You can read Crisis on Infinite Earths through Amazon and your local comic book store.