Friday, October 14, 2005


A few months ago, I think I would have reacted to this issue with a good bit of vitriol and some withering sarcasm. Because, really, it's deserving of it. The logical loopholes are quite maddening, the convenient forgetting of all recent canon that doesn't jibe with the story is frustrating coming from DC's official Kontinuity Kop, the plot -- such as it is -- is entirely reliant on having read fifty other series and their crossovers and being familiar with Pre-Crisis I history, and Geoff Johns's mad-on for Wonder Woman, which has long vacillated between misogyny (yes, I am going to go there) and unimaginativeness, has come to full fruition.

In short, Infinite Crisis #1 was everything that has ever pissed me off about Geoff Johns, but with mostly gorgeous Phil Jimenez art. (I still don't like the way Jimenez draws angry people talking.)

So why no kicking and screaming? Why no sharp teeth and claws? The Shrew is not The Shrew without tatters and blood and viscera spread out upon the stage...

Because my first reaction to reading this book was to be vastly and completely underwhelmed:

That's it?

The entire DCU has been dragged into this black hole for the past... year. Every book, no matter how irrelevant to the story, has been affected. Storylines were submarined, gratuitous cameos engineered, entire books hijacked, and characters turned into strangers for the sake of build-up. We had the four prequel series, one of which (Rann/Thanagar War) had its own prequel (Adam Strange: Planet Heist) and a couple of longboxes worth of tie-in issues. Every reader of a DC book has been frogmarched toward this bottleneck of a story....

... and it started with a whimper and not a bang.

What we were (okay, what I was) hoping for was to be rewarded for managing to tread water and keep up with eighty mostly irrelevant characters and a dozen pedestrian storylines and a pathetic case of reverse engineering an origin for a cataclysmic event when they decided to make Identity Crisis the primum mobile of the New World Order.

What I wanted out of Infinite Crisis was Armageddon on the half-shell. What I got was the first part of the book of Revelation done in the style of George Lucas.

Especially the part with him messing up the original house-of-cards storyline that used to be sacrosanct and is now being stripped for parts.

Either because of burn-out or residual addlepatedness from last week's flu shot, I utterly failed to get excited about the return of the Multiverse. I am perfectly happy to leave Pre-Crisis I continuity to 1986 and Elseworlds and the odd wink-wink-nudge-nudge reference. I've got buddies who are delirious with joy at the return of folks like the Psycho Pirate, but I'm not. And I say this as someone who has deep and abiding love for parts of Pre-Crisis I continuity: it should have stayed in the past.

Sure, it's only the first issue, but I can't imagine this turning out any kind of okay because I don't trust Johns and company to do anything worthwhile with this newly accessible storehouse of material. As Johns has proven for years over in JSA, where he added a new character every three issues because he couldn't build a team or set up a self-sustaining microcosm for the book, more isn't necessarily better. Sometimes it's just more.

This first book was inauspicious in the extreme. It was talky, it was largely irrational, it was clunky, and it was boring. It binds Diana in a trap made of Lincoln Logs and bubble gum so that she may pay for what she did in Sacrifice. It makes both Batman and Superman into sanctimonious, hypocritical, unlikable jerks. It fails comprehensively when compared to Identity Crisis and probably equates with the turgid Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, which is no great compliment. All we have to look forward to is some more character assassination, some clumsy maneuvering, a wealth of references nobody under the age of 25 will understand without the DC Encyclopedia, and a new DCU where everything is bright and shiny and nobody kills anyone ever because there's never a just cause and if we're just better behaved, people won't hate us as much. And here I'd thought I'd freed myself of the X-Men.


Blogger Andrew Burton said...

I stand by my opinion that Geoff Johns "fixes" things by the same measure a vet "fixes" a male cat. Glad to know I'm doing well to steer clear.

Sat Oct 15, 07:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jeff Lester said...

Interesting review, sweet Shrew. I find it intriguing how it dovetails with some of Hibbs' comments over at the Savage Critic.

Sat Oct 15, 09:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

I noticed the similarity to Hibbs, too. Great minds think alike? Or at least weary minds do....

Sat Oct 15, 10:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jeff Lester said...

I'll choose "great minds" instead of "weary" ones. What's interesting is that I think of Hibbs as an "old school" fan, and you as more of a "new school" fan, so seeing some of the areas where the two of you agreed was, as I said, really fascinating.

Mon Oct 17, 08:57:00 PM EDT  
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