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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Crisis Time! - Favorite Crisis to Least Favorite Crisis


Now that I’ve looked at Final Crisis, I think it’s time to see which of the four Crisis events is my favorite one. I’m including Zero Hour in this as well. After all, it was a “Crisis in Time,” and it should be here. As you can tell, Identity Crisis isn’t on here. I haven’t completely read it and it’s not really a cosmic story like these are. Before I made this list, I decided to re-read the other three events. I also went and looked at what I wrote about them. One thing can definitely say is that my writing is much better than it was back then. I’m looking for which one was not only good (they all are by the way) but also which one just hit the spot for me. What had the best story, the best use of characters, best villains, and best art? I might as well start off with the one about that mad Green Lantern.

4. Zero Hour
Zero Hour gets this spot for a few reasons that I’ll get to later. In the event, former Green Lantern Hal Jordan, aka Parallax, tries to wipe out all of time and space in order to build it anew.  His hometown, Coast City, was wiped out during an alien attack and he was willing to do anything to bring it back. He literally destroyed the Green Lantern Corps and amassed a lot of power. Time itself was unraveled with people from other time periods showing up in the present day. After five issues, the heroes were able to stop the universe from being destroyed.

There are some good things to the event. The art was pretty good and consistent throughout the main series. It was done by some of my favorite artists, Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway. I liked the urgency with time counting backwards plus the fact that it has a twist with the main villain. While there are a lot of GL fans that hate what was done to Hal Jordan, I kind of like it. His reasons were noble but the way he was doing was wrong. We also get the unfortunate dissolution of the JSA, the introduction of Impulse, and the quick introduction of Jack Knight (Starman). We also got some pretty interesting tie-ins especially on Superman’s side of things.

Now, there are things I don’t like about the event. A lot of stuff goes unexplained in the main issues. Examples include the weird stuff with the Legion of Superheroes, Extant (who really went unexplained), and all of the “wibbly wobbly, timey wimey” stuff. I also wasn’t a big fan of some of the dialogue. While I like Jurgens artwork, his dialogue in general can not be so good sometimes. There were also times where the tie-ins themselves were a little better than main series. Even though it has its faults, I like the event especially with what came after with “Zero Month.”

3. Final Crisis
This was a tough one to put here. While I like the event in its feel, there are things I’m not big on. In the event, the forces of Apokolips basically stage an invasion on Earth. They’re able to take out the main heroes and basically take over the Earth. Also, there’s weird stuff going on with the Monitors. All of this stuff coincides with the Multiverse being in danger. Barry Allen also makes his grand return from the dead in order to help his friends out. Lives are saved and lost as the heroes fight to save all of existence.

I like how Darkseid and the New Gods are used here. It’s different to anything we’ve seen before that involves them. I also like how the event wasn’t big on action at the beginning. It was a mystery for a bit until the Apokaliptian gloves came off. The urgency is knocked up to 11 since Darkseid’s forces basically win for a little bit and that was a nice change of pace. We also get some heroes like Superman, Batman, Barry Allen, Tawny the Tiger (I know, I know), and others getting cool moments. While I’m not a big fan of the artists, the art was consistently good for the most part. I also like that it’s a love letter to Jack Kirby’s work at DC.

Now, it does have its problems. First off, it does a lot of showing and not a lot of telling. It’s a problem throughout the event but it gets ramped up in the final issue which was annoying. The event is also not really accessible. Like other events, it feeds off what came before, but the event doesn’t even mention most of the stuff. You really have to know your DC history in order to get it all. Also, some plots don’t pan out well. Some plots start out interesting but get resolved too quickly. Libra’s plot, the Green Lantern frame-up, and Mandrakk are examples.

New characters that are introduced here are not used well. My best example of this would be the Super Young Team. They seemed interesting but we really didn’t know much about them. We even don’t learn most of their names until the sixth issue. I get that they were supposed to be the New Forever People, but they really didn’t amount to much. The Monitors and Mandrakk plots were okay but they also needed more of something. Overall, I just wish the event was longer. Morrison had a lot of interesting ideas, but he didn’t have the space to really make them worthwhile.

2. Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis is more of a sequel than Zero Hour was. It includes characters and concepts from the first Crisis. In the event, Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime aka “PRIME” (oh yeah) want to basically recreate Earth. They see the current universe as being a horrible place, so they want to bring back the Multiverse and find the perfect Earth. Meanwhile, Superman’s, Wonder Woman’s, and Batman’s friendship is being strained because of all the stuff that’s happened to them. The heroes do their best to stop Luthor from basically destroying their universe and Superboy (Conner Kent) makes the ultimate sacrifice. The event ends with DC’s continuity being messed with again.

This was the event that got me into buying comics more. Thanks to this and the Internet, my interest in comics increased in college. While it is a big event, there’s enough backstory in the series to have it all make sense. I hadn’t even read Crisis on Infinite Earths at this time to know what was what. Johns threw in enough backstory with all of the characters to keep someone who has only a little DC knowledge satisfied. I liked the stuff that was going on with the Trinity. I also liked how Superboy’s story entered into all of the craziness. While I don’t like the idea of heroes becoming villains for little reason, I did like Alexander Luthor as the villain. I also liked how everything was connected to him.

The artwork was good for the most part. While it didn’t have the consistent look of Final Crisis, it was pretty good. We had Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Jerry Ordway, and Ivan Reis doing some pretty good work. The event also set up a lot of stuff for the DCU. We had 52 which was a good maxi-series. We also had the One Year Later phase and that was okay for the most part. There was some crap in that phase, but the Superman and Teen Titans books were good.

While I like this event, I did have some qualms when re-reading it. I wasn’t a fan of the over-the-top violence. PRIME’s scene with the Titans/ Doom Patrol/JSA team-up and Black Adam’s treatment of Psycho Pirate are the biggest examples. There was some bad art especially in the final issue. It wasn’t from any of the guys I mentioned though. I also thought there was some stuff that didn’t get much mention in the main series. All of that stuff in space kind of felt tacked on especially towards the end of the event. Then, there’s Superboy-Prime who I just like to call “PRIME” for some reason. Man, he was a whiny prick. I’m glad Superman beat the crap out of him at the end!

1. Crisis on Infinite Earths
Well, you might have guessed this would show up here. Besides, it’s the only left. In COIE, the Anti-Monitor is trying to destroy the Multiverse by turning it into anti-matter. The Monitor recruits heroes from the surviving Earths in order to help save the remaining Earths. While the heroes are dealing with time and space falling apart, the supervillains band together in order to take over everything.  Eventually, the heroes and villains eventually settle on a truce when it’s revealed that the Anti-Monitor is trying to change the past. They go back in time and stop the Anti-Monitor but make it so that all of the remaining universes get folded into one universe. Lives are lost and people are saved as the heroes then face the Anti-Monitor for one, final time.

There is a lot I like about this event. First, you don’t have to know a lot about the DCU in order to enjoy this. You pretty much get every character in the DC universe here. Every hero and every villain show up. Since it was DC’s 50th anniversary, they wanted the Multiverse to go out with a bang. The story itself is simple enough for one to get into. You get a lot of standout moments for characters like Supergirl, The Flash, Earth-2 Superman, and many others.  I also liked some of the new characters that show up like Dr. Light (the good one), Harbinger, and Alexander Luthor. I also thought that the Anti-Monitor was a cool villain with a cool look.

The writing may be verbose, but it carries enough heart to keep you reading. The artwork is impressive. It may be George Perez at his best. It stays consistent throughout the 12 issues. We also had a lot of stuff set up for the DCU. We got a new Superman, a new Flash, a new Wonder Woman, and a crapload of other things afterwards.

There isn’t a lot I don’t like about the event. There is a part of me that feels like the villain war was there to take up space and show a crapton of villains. I don’t hate the part, but it is one section of the event that’s only “meh” to me. Also, the writing can be pretty long-winded at times. Still, it’s a quibble since most dialogue was written like this back in the day. Lastly, I still can’t stand Pariah at times throughout the event. Man, he’s so whiny! Other than those things, COIE is the best Crisis event of these four.

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Now that I’ve gone through what I liked and didn’t like, it’s time to give my five worst highlights (lowlights?) from these events. They are the things that didn’t make sense or were just pretty dumb to begin with.

5. Pariah, the Whiner
There’s nothing really wrong with Pariah, per se. He’s just a whiner. The guy thought he brought the Anti-Monitor into existence, so some of it is justified. Unfortunately, he’s an annoying whiner.  It’s like all he’s saying is “Guilt, guilt, suffer, suffer” through most of the event.

4. Hawkman weirdness 
One reason Zero Hour came about was because of some weird continuity with characters. The worst one was Hawkman. They did something that I can’t even put into words. Suddenly, we get a new Hawkman... I don’t get it.

3. The Not-So-Super Young Team 
The Team was introduced in Final Crisis. Unfortunately, they didn’t amount to much. We really don’t learn much about them either. They got lost in the shuffle that was Final Crisis especially towards the end. This brings me to the next one from Final Crisis: Mandrakk.

2. Mandrakk, the Ultimate Evil... Not! 
“Hey, it’s a big bad that shows up for no reason in the final issue that was featured in a tie-in!” If there was one thing about Final Crisis that wasn’t good, it was Mandrakk. You’d think that someone who’s called “The Ultimate Evil” would be of importance in an event. Mandrakk wasn’t that at all. He was featured in a tie-in (which should have been in the main series) and was vanquished in a couple of pages at the end of the event. Yes, Mandrakk was pretty lame.

1. Superboy-Prime aka “PRIME” and his punch to reality 
Finally, we have the whiny boy known as PRIME. I call him “PRIME” for a couple of reasons: he’s no real Superboy and he’s easy to make fun of. If you thought Pariah was whiny, watch out because PRIME is worst. Yeah, he lost his world, but that doesn’t mean he has to be a d-bag about it. Then there’s his “Reality-changing Punch.” It’s really silly. In fact, it’s too silly even for me.

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Well, this is it for me when regarding DC’s “Crisis” events. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t look at any more DC events. There are some that I do want to get to eventually. There’s even one mini-series that involves that “PRIME” guy. For now, it’s time to give those events a bit of a rest. One wishes that Marvel would do the same since they release epic crossovers every five to six months. Well, I’m out. Peace and God Bless.


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