It’s been years since I read Crisis on Infinite Earths (hereafter Crisis) so I thought I’d revisit it after the way Convergence ended. Crisis is credited as the first mini-series event that resulted in a line wide change to a publisher, in this case, DC comics. Since Crisis, DC and other publishers have tried to replicate what Crisis achieved – an overhaul of its properties done in a way that is commercially successful.
Marv Wolfman, writer of Crisis, explained that his idea for Crisis was initially shot down because at the time (the 1980s) comics numbering low did not sell well. The audience was less likely to take a chance and buy a new #1 issue due to their belief that it wasn’t as historic of an issue like the ones numbering in the hundreds. Thirty-five years later, it is evident that readers are more likely to buy an issue with a big #1 on it rather than an issue numbering in the tens. I blame the 1990s for this change in attitude because everyone still thinks that a $3.99 comic book with a #1 on it will be worth thousands of dollars later on. There is some truth to that thinking – just look at what Walking Dead #1 is going for on EBay and its only twelve years old.
Today, publishers are more eager to reboot and/or have shorter runs of their series in order to pump out more issues with a #1 on them so that they can draw higher sales. Not only do issues with a #1 on them sell well, but also cataclysmic comic events that promise to change everything. Since Crisis, DC comics has published numerous events that I plan on reading (and reviewing) sequentially in the coming months.
Before I review issue #1 of Crisis there is something that you need to know, if you don’t already. In the 1980s, the comics being published by DC were becoming increasingly complicated making it difficult for new readers to comprehend what was going on. The DC Multiverse was full of alternate Earths, characters, and odd storylines that alienated new readers. For example, on Earth-3 Lex Luther was married to Lois Lane and a good guy. To simplify things, Crisis was crafted as a way to remove Earths and characters in order to produce a simpler Multiverse that would be more accessible to new readers.
I found Crisis #1 to be a pleasant, nostalgic read. Most of issue dealt with the villains from Earth-3 trying to stop their Earth from being destroyed by a white force called the anti-matter, and the gathering of heroes from different Earths to work for The Monitor, who hopes to stop the spread of the anti-matter.
A casualty of this issue was Earth-3. Everyone on the planet died except for the child of Lex Luther and Lois Lane who was jettisoned in a rocket (baby Superman style) to Earth-1. Those heroes that are gathered by Monitor’s right-hand girl, Harbinger, find themselves on Monitor’s satellite being attacked by shadows. The Monitor easily defeats the shadows and is revealed to our heroes on the final page of the issue.
George Perez, who drew this issue and all of Crisis, was a well-respected artist of the time. I found his art in issue #1 to stand the test of time and to be impressive to today’s standards. Perz’s design of the Monitor, a character that was created for the series, was very impressive indeed – far better than the Michael Jackson looking Beyonder of Marvel’s first event Secret Wars.
Consume. Review. Repeat. gives Crisis on Infinite Earths issue #1 a nine out of ten moon-walks to the back issue boxes at my local comic book store.