Commence Ouroboros: DC’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Part 4

This is where we start getting some forward momentum.  We’re building towards the “Big Bad.”  The Monitor is gone.  And, ultimately, the heroes are failing.

But that’s the point.  They keep fighting because they are heroes.  Even looking ridiculous with that headband, Supergirl shows herself to be a true hero, an inspirational hero.  And how great is it to see her with Batgirl?  That’s one relationship I would love to see return to the DCU.  Those two have so much in common that they should be the best of friends again.

And speaking of wonderful moments featuring female characters, we meet the new Dr. Light, a character whose name is totally fine in 1985, before DC decided to publish the worst series in the history of comics and turn a two-bit villain into a monster, tarnishing the name “Dr. Light” beyond repair while they were at it.

Dr. Light being Dr. Light

Still, what a great introduction.  It’s hard to not like a character who makes her costumed debut yelling at DC’s most prestigious superheroes.

Constantine makes an appearance and I thought it was someone else named “John” at first, that’s how out of character he is.  In Wolfman’s defense, Constantine had literally made his first full appearance a month earlier in Swamp Thing, so at this point he was still roughly defined.

It does speak to DC both a) wanting to incorporate ALL of their titles into this event (even Swamp Thing) and b) them wanting to take advantage of anything Moore created.  I mean, does Constantine really NEED a scene here?  Probably not.  But he was meant to be the new face of magic in the DCU, so establishing him in this series would at least introduce people to him post-Crisis.  Magic would be cool in the DCU!

One thing I feel the need to point out is the fact that Earth’s Green Lantern in this giant, universe changing event is John Stewart.  We constantly see creators bringing in “classic” or “iconic” characters whenever they want to tell a big story, yet here is perhaps the biggest story in DC’s history and Wolfman and Perez didn’t find some hamfisted way to make Hal Jordan GL again.  You would never see something like that by, say, Geoff Johns.  He would want the cast of characters from his childhood, current continuity be damned.

The fact that Stewart regularly gets hidden beneath Jordan’s shadow these days is ridiculous because, again, he’s Earth’s Green Lantern DURING CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.  The series that was ostensibly meant to reset the DC for a new generation of fans did not feature Hal Jordan.

Besides Dr. Light, there’s another new character introduced in this issue: Lady Quark.  Her addition plays in nicely with the fact that John Stewart is THE Green Lantern in this series: Wolfman was trying to diversify the DCU in preparation for it’s bold, new universe.  That’s not to say he succeeded, but he was clearly making an effort.

Don’t get me wrong, the core of the DCU was still super white, super straight, and super male, but using the biggest stage DC had at the time to introduce new characters who weren’t dudes and who often weren’t white (which we’ll see more of in later issues) was important.

The end? Not even close.

They are, admittedly, introduced in a roughshod manner.  Why does Pariah save Lady Quark and not anyone else after all this time?  Why is Dr. Light wearing Dr. Light’s costume, setting herself up to a) be called Dr. Light and b) have everyone think she’s a bad guy (I just answered my own question, didn’t I?)?  It’s not going to get any more organic going forward, either.  But, come on, this was 1985, the fact that this was even happening was surprising.

The Tie-Ins

I’m a completionist.

I suppose we all are, to a certain extent.  It’s part of the appeal/misery of reading comics.  Once we decide we love something, we completely invest ourselves in it.  Spider-man is great, so I need to read every appearance he’s ever made.  Back issue bins only exist for people like us.  We need to complete that run.

I say all this because I am determined to write 13 columns on both the main series and the tie-in issues for Crisis on Infinite Earths.  I did so for those comics that led to the series and I have done so for each of the first three issues.  The problem that I’m running into is that there just aren’t really any tie-ins, not yet, at least (but they’re coming, so prepare yourself).

I could mention that, just like last month, The Flash is still going through a trial for the murder of Reverse Flash, so his appearances in Crisis don’t make a ton of sense, particularly given that Crisis #4 makes it clear that the image of the Flash is, in fact, the Flash himself and NOT just an image.

There were two books published by DC this month, All-Star Squadron #47 and Infinity, Inc. #16, that were penciled by some guy named Todd McFarlane.  While McFarlane’s style has yet to really develop, his pencils are sadly buried under the heavy inking hands of Vince Coletta on All-Star Squardon and Tony DeZuniga on Infinity, Inc.  Interestingly enough, both of these titles would be among the hardest hit by the events of Crisis.  In fact, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that All-Star Squardon and Infinity, Inc. were changed by Crisis more than any other DCU books.

Who’s Who #5 did come out this month and, as usual, featured a few hints about Crisis.  Congo Bill/Congorilla is one of the entires.  He was currently hanging out with a group called the Forgotten Heroes, who were specifically introduced to play a role in Crisis.

Who’s Who #5 also featured the entry for the Crime Syndicate, and if you were a month behind your reading of DC books you were in for a surprise.  The entry mentions that the Crime Syndicate and their world had been destroyed by “a power that dissolved entire universes,” but exactly who or what that power is, we don’t know (this is a nice example of DC keeping on top of when these issues were published).

All in all, though, Crisis maintained it’s non-event event status even 1/3 of the way through the series.  This wouldn’t last, though, as the tie-ins were coming in full force.

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