Crisis On Infinite Earths [1985]

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Crisis on Infinite Earths

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Crisis on Infinite Earths

Cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths #1.

Art by George P¨¦rez.

Publisher DC Comics

Schedule Monthly

Format limited series

Publication dates April 1985 - March 1986

Number of issues 12

Main character(s) The whole DC Universe

Creative team

Writer(s) Marv Wolfman

Penciller(s) George P¨¦rez

Inker(s) Dick Giordano, Jerry Ordway, Mike DeCarlo

Creator(s) Marv Wolfman, George P¨¦rez

Crisis on Infinite Earths was a 12-issue American comic book limited series (identified as a "12-part maxi-series") and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 to simplify their then-55-year-old continuity.[1] The series was written by Marv Wolfman, and illustrated by George P¨¦rez (pencils/layouts), with Mike DeCarlo, Dick Giordano, and Jerry Ordway (who shared inking/embellishing chores). The series eliminated the concept of the Multiverse in the fictional DC Universe, and depicted the deaths of such long-standing superheroes as Supergirl and the Barry Allen incarnation of the Flash.

The title of the series was inspired by earlier crossover stories involving the multiple parallel Earths of the Multiverse, such as "Crisis on Earth-Two" and "Crisis on Earth-Three", but instead of lasting two to five issues and involving members from as many superhero teams from as many parallel worlds, it involved virtually every significant character from every parallel universe in DC's history. It in turn inspired the titles of three subsequent DC crossover series: Zero Hour: Crisis In Time (1994), Infinite Crisis (2005), and Final Crisis (2008).


* 1 Overview

* 2 Origins

* 3 Plot summary

o 3.1 Tie-In issues

* 4 Post-Crisis

* 5 The "Post-Crisis" Crisis

o 5.1 Deaths during Crisis

o 5.2 New characters and changes

* 6 Continuing continuity issues

* 7 Infinite Crisis

* 8 Spin-offs

o 8.1 Action figures

o 8.2 Novelization adaptation

* 9 Bibliography

* 10 Parodies and homage references

* 11 See also

* 12 References

* 13 External links

[edit] Overview

Prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC was notorious for its continuity problems.[2] No character's backstory, within the comic books, was entirely self-consistent and reliable. For example, Superman originally couldn't fly (he could instead leap over an eighth of a mile), and his powers came from having evolved on a planet with stronger gravity than Earth's. Over time, he became able to fly, his powers were explained as coming from the sun, and a more complex backstory (the now-familiar "last survivor of Krypton" origin story) was invented. Later it was altered to include his exploits as Superboy. It was altered further to include Supergirl, the bottled city of Kandor, and other survivors of Krypton, further watering down the original idea of Superman having been the sole Kryptonian to survive the destruction of his world. There was also an issue of character aging; for instance, Batman, an Earth-born human being without super powers, retained his youth and vitality well into the 1980s despite having been an active hero during World War II, and his sidekick Robin never seemed to age beyond adolescence in over 30 years.

These issues were addressed during the Silver Age by DC creating parallel worlds in a multiverse: Earth-One was the contemporary DC Universe, which had been depicted since the advent of the Silver Age; Earth-Two was the parallel world where the Golden Age events took place, and where the heroes who were active during that period had aged more or less realistically since that time; Earth-Three was an "opposite" world where heroes were villains, and historical events happened the reverse of how they did in real life (such as, for instance, President John Wilkes Booth being assassinated by a rebel named Abraham Lincoln); Earth Prime was ostensibly the "real world," used to explain how real-life DC staffers (such as Julius Schwartz) could occasionally appear in comics stories; and so forth. If something happened outside current continuity (such as the so-called "Imaginary Stories" that were a staple of DC's Silver Age publications), it was explained away as happening on a parallel world, a premise not dissimilar to the company's current "Elseworlds" imprint.

Some have said that, over the years as new readers were introduced to the DC Universe, the "multiverse" theory ? with its attendant multiple versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, et al. ? served to confuse those who did not have a working knowledge of DC's history. The editorial objective of Crisis on Infinite Earths was to streamline all of these parallel worlds into a single, consistent backstory, and thus hopefully make the DC Universe more "approachable" to new readers. It was also to free the company's writers from the "baggage" of 50 years of (dis)continuity.

The series was highly successful from a marketing standpoint, generating renewed interest in the company's books, enticing readers with the clich¨¦d ? but in this case accurate ? tagline that "the DC Universe will never be the same." The story itself was rooted firmly in the clich¨¦ of "superheroes battle to save the world", but its unprecedented scope and its great attention to both drama and detail satisfied readers with its story. Along with Alan Moore's Watchmen and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, it contributed to the commercial and creative revitalization of DC Comics, which had been dominated in the market by rival publisher Marvel Comics throughout the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.

Crisis also helped popularize the formula of the line-wide "crossover" comic book series, a concept first seen in Marvel's Contest of Champions (1983) and Secret Wars (1984). Since 1985, superhero publishers such as DC and Marvel have had frequent "summer crossover" series designed to tie many of their comic book titles together under a single storyline (and thus sell more comic books).

[edit] Origins

The title was originally conceived to be a celebration of DC's 50th anniversary; however, Marv Wolfman and Len Wein saw it as a chance to clean up DC's rather convoluted continuity (which was thought to have put many new readers off buying DC titles) that had built up over that time. The term "Crisis" was a word used frequently in DC Comics of the time, as it denoted an inter-dimensional crossover, such as the yearly Justice League/Justice Society crossovers that began with "Crisis on Earth-Two".

Wolfman came up with an idea which would reach across the entirety of the DC Universe and its 50-year history. First of all, he came up with the character of the Monitor who was initially a faceless character used in many of DC's titles over the course of a year. The Monitor supplied DC's villains with equipment in order to test its heroes for the Crisis ahead. As a result, the character was seen to be a villain himself and his real reasons were not revealed to the reader until Crisis #1.

[edit] Plot summary

The Anti-Monitor fights heroes from eight Earths. Cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. Art by George Perez.

The Anti-Monitor fights heroes from eight Earths. Cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. Art by George Perez.

The story introduces readers to two near-omnipotent beings, the good Monitor and the evil Anti-Monitor, who had been created as a result of the same experiment that created the Multiverse. The Monitor made cameo appearances in various DC comic book series for two years preceding the publication of the series and at first appeared to be a new supervillain, but with the onset of the Crisis, he was revealed to be working on a desperate plan to save the entire Multiverse from destruction at the hands of the Anti-Monitor. The Crisis series highlighted the efforts of DC Comics' superheroes to stop the Anti-Monitor's plan. Under the initial guidance of the Monitor, a select group of heroes was assigned to protect massive "tuning forks" designed to merge the surviving Earths into one that could be protected from the antimatter that had already annihilated untold numbers of alternate Earths. Eventually the conflict grew, and nearly every DC hero became involved in the battle.

The Monitor is murdered by his own assistant, Harbinger, while she is temporarily possessed by one of the Anti-Monitor's "shadow demons," but he expected the attack and allowed it to happen so his death would release enough energy to protect the last five parallel Earths (the homes of the known DC Universe) long enough for the heroes to lead an assault on the Anti-Monitor, under the guidance of the Monitor's assistants, Harbinger, Alexander Luthor, Jr., and Pariah. The villain is forced to retreat, but at the cost of Supergirl's life.

This lull in the war provides some breathing room for the heroes, but the various supervillains join forces under Brainiac and Lex Luthor to conquer the Earths, while the Anti-Monitor causes chaos on the Earths by forcing the Psycho-Pirate to manipulate the emotions of their inhabitants. The second Flash dies stopping the Anti-Monitor's backup scheme of destruction (to use an anti-matter cannon to penetrate the protective aura). The Spectre halts the hero/villain conflict, warning that the Anti-Monitor is traveling to the beginning of time to prevent the Multiverse's creation. Heroes and villains join forces in response with the heroes travelling to stop the Anti-Monitor, and the villains traveling to the planet Oa in antiquity to prevent the renegade scientist Krona from performing a historic experiment that would allow the Anti-Monitor to succeed in his efforts.

The villains fail, and Krona proceeds with his experiment, while the heroes support the Spectre, whose battle with the Anti-Monitor creates an energy overload that shatters space and time. With that, a single universe is created and all the superheroes return to a present-day reality where the various elements of the five Earths were fused into one, with no one except the people present at the battle at the dawn of time remembering the original reality.

The Anti-Monitor attacks one last time, transporting Earth to the Anti-Matter universe and summons a massive horde of shadow demons. However, he falls to a carefully planned counter-attack, culminating in a battle with Kal-L (the Earth-2 Superman), Alexander Luthor of Earth-3 and Superboy of Earth-Prime, with some unexpected last-second help from the New Gods' adversary, Darkseid. As the Anti-Monitor crashes into a star and dies, Alex sends himself, Earth-2 Superman, Earth-2 Lois Lane, and Earth-Prime Superboy into a paradise reality.

The aftermath of the crisis plays out a few pages later, including Wally West becoming the new Flash. The final page shows the Psycho-Pirate, who was now imprisoned in Arkham Asylum, talking to himself in a monologue: "I'm the only one left who remembers the infinite Earths. You see, I know the truth. I remember all that happened, and I'm not going to forget. Worlds lived, worlds died. Nothing will ever be the same. But those were great days for me... I had a good friend in the good old days, really. He was the Anti-Monitor. He was going to give me a world to rule. Now he's gone, too. But that's okay with me. You see, I like to remember the past because those were better times than now. I mean, I'd rather live in the past than today, wouldn't you? I mean, nothing's ever certain anymore. Nothing's ever predictable like it used to be. These days... y-you just never know who's going to die... and who's going to live."

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