The second issue of Infinite Crisis focuses less on the various Countdown miniseries that lead up to it – or at least, integrates them better – and instead explains the plight of the Earth-2 Superman. His origin will be a revelation to casual readers, though there’s not much new or surprising here for steady DCU aficionados. Then again, there’s just something about seeing George Perez draw Krona and the Oans in the Perez-penned flashback tale that always gets my nostalgia blood flowing. For the second issue, Infinite Crisis still creeps just a little too slowly for me, but I’m interested, even as I’m wary of the direction the story is headed.
The Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane, Superboy-Prime, and Alexander Luthor have all broken through to our Earth, in an effort to stem the rampant corruption that they see here. But rather than having a stern talking to with our Superman, as I surmised last time, it seems instead that the Earth-2 Superman wants to replace our world with his. Which seems to me kind of Parallax-evilish, but it’s tough to tell from the artwork how we’re supposed to react to this. My hope is that Power Girl’s first line in the next issue is “You’re crazy!” so that it’s not just I the reader who thinks so.
If I were a Golden Age fan, I’d be getting a mite bit concerned right now. Because it certainly looks like we’re headed for a knock-down, drag-out fight where the Earth-2 Superman is in the wrong. I appreciated this time that his reasons for dismay about our universe were more than just Countdown-related items, instead including the death of Superman, Knightfall, Wonder Woman: The Contest, and Emerald Twilight. But I can just as soon see the good points to our universe that Superman glossed over: Superman’s rebirth, Bruce Wayne forgiving Jean Paul Valley, Wonder Woman’s friendship with Artemis, and Hal Jordan’s redemption. And for our Superman to defeat the Earth-2 Superman – heck, even for the Earth-2 Superman to play the misguided bad guy for a while – it does seem to spit down the necks of Golden Age fans just a tad, maybe enough that it would have been better not to go there in the first place. Me, I’m rooting for our universe, but I imagine some people are just on the border of deciding whether or not they should be offended.
Frankly – and I could be very wrong – I can’t conceive of an outcome to Infinite Crisis where the Earth-2 Superman becomes integrated back into our universe. Would we have two titles, one with old Superman, one with new? Would they team up? Will new Superman go to old Superman for advice in defeating Brainiac? Will they share leadership duties during the next universe-wide crossover? To me, it seems repetitive and redundant, even if that’s the way it actually was for nearly forty years. I’m open to being convinced that it could work again, but I’m having difficulty picturing it myself.
At the same time, let’s pause for the conspiracy theory: at one point, Power Girl asks Superman if his other dimension started to decay because of us, and he doesn’t really answer the question. The center of the universe has shifted because of something crossing over, and meanwhile we have three Lex Luthors running around. I get the sense something more is going on – whether the Earth-2 Superman has something to do with it or not, I’m not sure.
And no doubt the Anti-Monitor is around here somewhere.
I do like the idea of a truly cohesive DC Universe, where the characters know that once upon a time there used to be a Multiverse, but now there’s not. It’s not such a difficult concept to introduce; the JLA in Crisis Secret Files from a while back presented that same sort of timeline (here’s a link with more info on that Secret Files). I heard on Comic Geek Speak about a scholar who’s writing his dissertation on why we needed Crisis on Infinite Earths in the first place, and it’s a fascinating question – consider, comic book fans are such that when DC decided they wanted to start some of their titles over, they had to come up with a fictional story to gloss over the reasons for a mostly financial decision – and it’s even more interesting to see that same knot work itself out in Infinite Crisis. No longer, really, would we have pre-Crisis and post-Crisis; instead, it’s "from the Multiverse" and "not from the Multiverse." No less confusing, perhaps, but at least then all the events of the DC Universe actually did occur to someone, somewhere, somewhen.
So I’m looking forward to the next issue of Infinite Crisis, in hopes that things do finally hit the fan instead of just leading that way. Controversial reading, sure, but good reading, too.