Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reading Crisis, Part 2: Time And Time Again!

Crisis on Infinite Earths -- Part 2: Time and Time Again!

The temporal wonkiness from the beginning of this issue reminds me of the temporal wonkiness from the beginning of Zero Hour, which was the first "crisis" I ever read.  I am assuming that Jurgens put that in as a nod back here, whether consciously or otherwise.  I am also now convinced that Dr. Polaris was in Infinite Crisis solely as a wink from Geoff Johns back to his presence here.  Furthermore, having Anthro and Kamandi in the same book, gee, I wonder where Grant Morrison got that idea from in the first issue of Final Crisis?  Funny how you find the precedents for later works when dig back into history.

I liked the scene on Monitor's satellite (including Firestorm telling Killer Frost to stop groping him, heh!) because it gives Wolfman a chance to show us everyone's character and do the plot exposition at the same time, something the best writers of this era were always good at.  (Besides Wolfman, Claremont and Barr also spring readily to mind.)  Earth-2 Superman especially rings true.

One character who seems somewhat strangely handled is Geo-Force.  He initially argues with Psimon that they have to hear the Monitor out, then the next page is threatening to leave.  Not sure if this is Wolfman using him as a mouthpiece, or a very subtle demonstration of Brion's personality ("I'll hear you out... okay, I think you're lying.").  Either way I think it's amusing that the two people he interacts with (Psimon and Cyborg) are the two which he met in the Outsiders-Teen Titans crossover which featured a pre-COIE Monitor appearance.

I am very glad to see some follow up on the stuff with Harbinger being corrupted, because it makes a lot more sense in this issue than the last.  I'm still a little confused on exactly how it worked but I can buy it with some hand-waving.  Monitor still sounds like a fortune cookie but that's his thing.  I think I knew that Alexander Luthor aged rapidly, but looking at the panel the first time I thought Perez just drew the baby too big!

The two temporal adventures were pretty short, I am guessing mostly to get people in place.  Kamandi mistaking Solovar for an ape from his time period made legitimately laugh.  The bit in Atlantis was mostly a setpiece to get Psycho-Pirate on the other side of the board but I thought it was neat to see the sword & sorcery stuff.

Another enjoyable (albeit short) scene was the meeting of Superman and Batman in Metropolis.  While I understand and can appreciate the merits of having Superman and Batman not trust one another, there's something inherently charming and enjoyable about having the Big Two being colleagues like this.  It also makes perfect sense in the plot; if Batman thinks the world is in danger, he's going to contact Superman first.  

I am not sure what to make of Pariah.  He seems like a character Jack Kirby would have created, especially in his VERY DRAMATIC MANNER OF SPEAKING!  I figure he has got to play a role later on in the story but for now he seems like an oddball anomaly.

As far as art, Perez's stuff looks amazing so I am only going to point out stuff I really like.  The first shot of the Great Disaster with Kamandi climbing the tower was gorgeous, as was the final page with Harbinger's face superimposed on the universe.  I also really like the subtle work with Psycho-Pirate's facial features, and the general use of black space, in space itself, when the Anti-Monitor (I assume?) abducts Psycho-Pirate and  with Obsidian at Atlantis.

Overall, I thought this issue did a really good job of introducing Monitor's plan and getting things into motion.  But more enjoyable to me as a reader was the shadow stuff going on with Harbinger, Psycho-Pirate and Anti-Monitor (again I am assuming), especially the threat at the end that "When I am done, all his universes shall be destroyed... while mine shall rule supreme!"  Pretty chilling stuff.  Big thumbs up on issue #2.

Next: Oblivion Upon Us!


Diabolu Frank said...

Pariah had a solid origin story that played well as part of COIE. Then, he needed to die, and didn't, and just would not go away for the next few decades. Marv Wolfman, and only Marv Wolfman, mistook a device for a character.

Luke said...

Well, he was a plot device that at least had my interest by the end of the story. It seemed like the perfect setup to off him, too -- in the Anti-Matter Universe in the big fight at the end, he takes everyone to the scene and then BLAM incinerated by the Big Bad.

Frankly the fact that he stopped crying meant I liked him tenfold more at the end than at the beginning.