Superman: Infinite Crisis trade paperback review (DC Comics)

Superman: Infinite Crisis is a very short trade paperback — in terms of the story span, that is. The brunt of the story takes place between just three or four punches in a fight between two incarnations of Superman, and quite a fight it is. The two Supermen literally punch through reality, causing each to live out the experiences of the other, with plenty of Superman history and trivia sprinkled throughout. This is a trade, like many things written by Joe Kelly, is one that I had to read twice: once to understand what the heck was going on, and a second time to fully appreciate all the great nuances.

Essentially, this book — crossing over with the fifth chapter of DC Comic's recent Infinite Crisis series — is something of an Elseworlds or "what if" tale, imagining what would happen if the modern Superman and the Golden Age 1940s Superman existed in the others' world. The modern Superman, known as the Earth-One Superman, finds the classic Earth-Two deceptively simple, while the Earth-Two Superman imagines taking a no-nonsense approach to a fight with Doomsday, the monster responsible for 1992's Death of Superman and champions the mind-wiping of villains by Earth's heroes as seen in the recent Identity Crisis series.

Predictably, each Superman finds out that the other's life is not as easy as they thought, but as "what-if" stories go, this one is especially enjoyable. Both scenarios feature a nice retrospective of modern Superman events — including the first time Superman meets Lois Lane and Batman, and his early battles with Lex Luthor — serving as an epilogue to the final issues of the Adventures of Superman comic book collected here. As a special treat, especially for long-time modern Superman fans, we have art cameos not just from recent favorites Ed Benes, Karl Kerschl, and Ed McGuinness, but also 1980s and 1990s Superman artists Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, and John Bogdanove, among others.

For hard-core fans of DC's Infinite Crisis, this trade is worth it (it also contains the Infinite Crisis Secret Files). It's especially interesting how even though Geoff Johns wrote Infinite Crisis presumably without the full script for Joe Kelly's stories in-hand, you can now re-read some of the dialogue between the Supermen — both around their fight and later when they battle Doomsday in Infinite Crisis — and there's an extra level to it when you know what they've experienced in these pages. Worth a look.

[Contains full covers, profile pages from the Infinite Crisis Secret Files]


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