Blogging The Crisis #1

First off, Crisis #1 has a hell of a cover. Click on the image above to see an enlarged version. That's awesome. I use "awesome" in the sense of "actually awe inspiring". I mean, look at that! You've got a sampling of 1985's finest super-beings floating around The Earth as it gets TORN ASUNDER BY ENORMOUS PINK LIGHTNING BOLTS!

But wait! It's not just one Earth. It's, like, a zillion of them! Holy monkeys! Those Earths just go on forever (one might even say, "infinitely") and they're all getting the crap kicked out of them.

The foldout cover has nice design. You've got Harbinger in one corner and cosmic sad sack Pariah in the other. In the middle youve got some of the most powerful beings in the multiverse being tossed around like leaves in a hurricane. This cover lets you know that DC's not pussyfooting around.

The first few pages live up to the cover's promise. After a "First, The Multiverse Cooled" beginning Wolfman starts right in on wiping out huge swaths of it. In fact, it looks like everything's being erased. As if each universe is part of a comic book or something and the Great Artist is rubbing it out bit by bit. I bet no one has ever pointed that out before. I am a genius.

Then there's a nice scene where the Luthor of Earth-3 sends his son off in a spaceship before everything's destroyed. See, Earth-3 is where the Crime Syndicate live and they're evil versions of the Justice League. So, since everything's wacky, Luthor is the only superhero on the planet and he sends his son away just like... you get the picture. Anyway, it's actually quite well-written and touching interspersed as it is with images of the Bizarro League trying to save the world they have kept under their bootheels all this time.

Next we meet Lyla who is about to undergo a transformation sequence which rivals Sailor Moon. She turns into Harbinger who has the ability to split herself into many copies each of which is able to travel through space and time. Handy! The Monitor (who is just a shadowy figure and a voice at this point) sends her all over the multiverse to get the people he needs to help him save the few earths that are left.

So, where's the first place she goes on her recruitment trip?

Gorilla City

That's right! Talking gorillas, baby! If I had the power to go anywhere I'd hit the enlightened apes first, too. They are shown to be wiser than man. For example, King Solovar sentences a convicted murderer-gorilla not to death (as the barbaric men would do) but to "convesion". I don't know what "conversion" involves but it sounds about as scary as death, to me.

Anyway, Harbinger freaks out the gorillas and grabs the simian monarch while one of her replicants goes to the 31st century to pick up Dawnstar of the Legion of Super-Heroes in a place called Suicide Slum. Cheery! Also collected are Firebrand from 1942, Psycho Pirate from the nuthouse and Blue Beetle from Charlton Comics.

Some creepy-ass shadow creature infects one of Harbinger's replicants right before she collects Arion who looks like one lonely dude. He's pretty much just wandering around the Ice Age casting spells and stuff. Anyway, the shadow thing can't be good. Mark my words.

Speaking of bad omens, Harbinger uses Psycho Pirate (man, I can't express the pleasure I get just from typing "Psycho Pirate") to turn Killer Frost from Firestorm's deadliest enemy into his love slave. Morally questionable!! And she had to browbeat Psycho Pirate into it. I guess Monitor's philosophy is that to save the multiverse you've gotta break a few wills.

There's a beautifully-drawn one-page interlude during which The Monitor drops a little bombshell: Lyla's gonna kill him. So, he probably knows about the little shadow thing back in the Ice Age. I'm sure it's all going to work out fine.

The next scene is the kind of thing people read these big crossover events for. Lots of superheroes who aren't supposed to be together all in the same place. We've got all of the ones mentioned above along with Psimon the telepathic asshole, Dr. Polaris the magnetic asshole, Geoforce, Cyborg, John Stewart, and Obsidian. Oh, and the old, fat Superman. I know all their names because this is a comic book and they spend the entire two-page spread calling each other by name or thinking about themselves in the third person.

So, everyone gets to wander around a bit before they are attacked by a pile of those shadow guys. They discover that they can't do jack against them. My favorite line from Superman: "Punching them doesn't stop them!" Dawnstar, at one point, is shocked, SHOCKED! to discover that King Solovar is a talking gorilla. I've read a lot of Legion of Super-Heroes and I'm pretty sure they've got whole planets full of sentient refrigerators so I call bullshit on her freaking out about a super-intelligent ape.

Monitor shows up and dispels the shadow guys with a blast of light (their natural enemy) and then tells the assembled superheroes that the end is Extremely Fucking Nigh.

And that's the end of issue #1. Damn good start. It establishes the events, kills billions of people and lets us know the stakes are unbelievably high. Nice stuff.

See also: The pulse-pounding Introduction

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