Greetings from the Odinson,
Ten years ago, DC Comics delivered one of the best and well executed epic stories in its illustrious history. The hero community was fractured, villains were uniting, the cosmos was in chaos, and magic was out of control. It was the perfect storm, a time of great trouble the likes of which had not been seen in the DCU since Crisis on Infinite Earths. Writer Geoff Johns, artists Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning, and cover artists Jim Lee and George Pérez delivered a 7-issue masterpiece. Infinite Crisis was a direct sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths and the exciting climax to DC Comics’ Post-Crisis era of storytelling.
The Odinson Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Infinite Crisis
Pre-Crisis DCU – The DC Universe was born in 1938 in the pages of Action Comics #1. Over the course of the next nearly fifty years, DC would build a stable of iconic heroes and villains and create a multiverse in order to tell an endless array of stories across an infinite number of worlds. By the time Ronald Reagan took office in the White House, the DC Universe had grown exponentially with a very complex continuity that was difficult for even the most seasoned comics fan to follow and next to impossible for new fans to understand. This Golden/Silver Age of DC was brought to a close in 1986 with the seminal tale Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Crisis on Infinite Earths – Crisis was a 12-issue extravaganza and one of the first companywide crossover events in history. Its purpose was to reset the DCU, and it did this in grand fashion. Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, known at the time for their classic run on New Teen Titans, orchestrated an epic story that included every single character who resided in the DCU and even added a few new faces. The embodiment of evil known as the Anti-Monitor begins to systematically destroy the multiverse until only two remained. Our desperate heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-2 are joined by multiverse refugees Harbinger, Pariah, Lady Quark, Alexander Luthor of Earth-3, Superboy of Earth-Prime, and the Golden Age Superman in their titanic last stand against annihilation. Many heroes and villains make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the DCU, most notably Supergirl and the Flash (Barry Allen). By the end of this mega-event, the multiverse was no more. There was only one Earth and the DCU relaunched from the beginning for a whole new generation of fans, the Odinson’s generation.
Post-Crisis DCU – From that point on, the DCU’s continuity was much tighter and in the pages of Man of Steel, Batman: Year One, Wonder Woman, Flash, Justice League International, and SHAZAM: The New Beginning, fans, old and new, were treated to updated modern takes on classic heroes. It was wondrous to watch this new era of DC unfold from the beginning. Their origins were explained in the tales above, but the birth of DC’s new shared universe happened in the pages of Legends. Over the course of the next twenty years, DC would orchestrate some of the most compelling and memorable stories in the history of comic books. Superman would face his own mortality at the hands of Doomsday (see Death of Superman), Lois and Clark would finally tie the knot (see The Wedding and Beyond), and the Man of Steel would face one of his toughest challenges yet, living in a world where Lex Luthor is the President of the United States! Batman would suffer through the death of Robin (see A Death in the Family), a broken back (see Knightfall), and the destruction of the city under his protection (see Cataclysm and No Man’s Land). During this time, fans would witness the fall of an icon and the rise of a new hero in Emerald Twilight/New Dawn, the loss of Aquaman’s hand (see Aquaman #2), and the Death of Wonder Woman. Fans would also see the emergence of new and exciting heroes like Booster Gold, Superboy (Connor Kent), Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Impulse, and Steel. This era was also peppered with universe-shaking events like Millennium, Cosmic Odyssey, Zero Hour, Final Night, and Our Worlds at War. The Post-Crisis DCU was rocketing along, and it was all leading toward an unbelievable climax!
Prelude to Infinite Crisis – There’s a disturbance in the force. Truer words could not describe the months leading up to Infinite Crisis. In the pages of Countdown to Infinite Crisis, a much beloved and oft taking for granted hero of the Post-Crisis era embarks on an investigation that uncovers a conspiracy to unravel and destroy the very fabric of the super hero community. As the ominous cover for this issue shows, this hero pays for this discovery with his life. In Lightning Strikes, Superman and Captain Marvel discover a force for darkness making a power play. And, in Planet Heist, a cataclysmic event occurs that will cause the galaxy to erupt into intergalactic warfare. By time the heroes discover that something is wrong, it is already too late, and events are set in motion. Day of Vengeance sees the Spectre gone mad and using his divine might to bring about the end of magic. The OMAC Project sheds light on the Caped Crusader’s darkest secret and foreshadows the end of the Age of Heroes. In the Rann-Thanagar War, the center of the DCU is shifted from OA and the cosmic heroes have their hands full trying to stop a conflict that will make World War II look like a balloon fight. In Villains United, the super villain community begins to consolidate their evil might and prepare for an all-out coup. And, in the middle of all this, the DCU’s greatest heroes – Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman – find their trust in each other and friendships fractured and at an all-time low. Thus, amid complete and utter discord, the Crisis begins!
Infinite Crisis – A mysterious group of heroes from DC’s past returns to pass judgement on this Post-Crisis DCU. They feel this new Earth has become a dark place with heroes that are only a few shades lighter than the villains they battle. This was commentary on the state of the comic industry as a whole, more specifically the decade of the 90s where it seemed dark and gritty trumped over heroic and positive. This mysterious band of heroes, survivors of the Pre-Crisis DCU, found themselves thinking that maybe the wrong Earth survived the original Crisis. Amid villains uniting, a conspiracy to eliminate the heroes, a war brewing in outer space, and magic gone wild, the heroes were faced with their greatest challenge yet. Just when all seemed lost, and the morale of the World’s Greatest Heroes was at an all-time low, a beacon of hope emerged. Dick Grayson, the original Boy Wonder now Nightwing, showed up and reminded everyone just what it is to be a hero. He was the guiding light to show the way and remind the super hero community why it is they do what they do. Unfortunately, it is another 2nd generation hero who would fall from grace and show the world just how corruptible ultimate power can be. And, it takes the heroic sacrifice of another hero to awaken the DCU’s champions from their funk and rally in time to stop the destruction of the DCU.
The Aftermath – The aftershocks of this mega event would be felt for years to come. The Spectre was made to pay the price for his rampage and a new Spirit of Vengeance was born. A New Flash would emerge from the Speed Force. Uncle Sam would assemble a new team of Freedom Fighters to honor his comrades that fell during the opening shots of Infinite Crisis. The universal upheaval would lead to the Sinestro Corps War, a campaign that saw the return of Superboy-Prime, who also continued his sinister quest for universal annihilation in the pages of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds. And, the DCU would spend a year without the protection of their three biggest icons in the pages of 52 Weeks.
With the launch of DC Comics The New 52 in 2011, DC closed the door on its Post-Crisis era of storytelling. It was a tumultuous era with some of the most compelling stories in the history of comics. It was an era kicked off by Crisis on Infinite Earths and bookended perfectly ten years ago by one of the best comic stories of the modern era – Infinite Crisis.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell