Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Observations: Infinite Crisis #7 and Civil War #1

Well, I've finished reading both DC's Infinite Crisis #7 and Marvel's Civil War #1. I read them in that order and I have a feeling my opinions on these two titles may have been different had I flipped the reading order, but who knows. So, let's get to it (WARNING: Major Spoilers below, so if you haven't read either book do so and come back):

Infinite Crisis #7: I'll talk more about my overall feeling on the series as a whole later in this post, but for now we'll concentrate on this chapter. Right from the beginning I see a problem with this issue that has come up once before in this series. For those that hadn't read the Villians United special that came out last week you will be lost immediately at the first page. In the special the Secret Society broke every person out of all the prisons around the world, creating the hero vs. villain battle royal that opens up this chapter on Page 2. DC did this once before (that I remember, there may be more) during this series when Superboy Prime took on Superboy the first time and the story spilled off into Teen Titans. DC made it a point to portray that IC would be standalone and for the most part it is, but there have been parts here and there that flood into IC.

Early on it is obvious that both Alex and Superboy Prime are still alive post Tower blow up from last issue. Alex makes the observation that some things have changed in the new unifed Earth, such as the fact that Wonder Woman was a JLA founder again, that Batman still fought the Gotham criminals even though his parent's killer was caught and that there are recorded rumors that there were Superman events before he was in Metropolis (meaning he may have been Superboy, something he never was after the original Crisis). DC has said that the reframing of characters will be answered during the backup stories in the 52 series that starts up next week.

Lots of bit characters die early on in the massive hero vs. villain fight in Metropolis. We finally find out who was in the Flash suit at the end of Infinite Crisis #5...and the rumors were true, it was Bart. He took Barry's clothes and evidentally had just enough speed left to take on Superboy Prime one last time in this issue. At the end of the book he hands the costume off to Jay Garrick and says he isn't going to be the new Flash and also says he was gone for 2 years in the future and that Wally, Linda and the twins disappeared.

In the end there were a few surprises and a few foregone conclusions. Earth-2 Superman ended up dying taking on Superboy Prime with Superman, but Prime ends up not being killed (the surprise) and is now trapped by the Green Lanterns and makes the statement that he's gotten out of situations far worse than that before. Superman and Earth-2 Superman end up pushing Superboy through the Sun near Oa (Prime was going to destroy Oa and create a new Big Bang) and that burns off his suit he was getting his powers from. Superman loses his powers, which explains the current run One Year Later. Bruce goes with Nightwing (who got hit by a blast from Alex, but evidently survived) and Robin. Wonder Woman goes off to find herself and that begins the year without the big 3. Alex escaped capture and is seen in Gotham City, but he ends up being killed by Luthor and Joker because, as Luthor says, "You didn't include Joker in your plans". In the end it leaves Prime alive and it should be interesting to see if he escapes or not.

Civil War #1: It may be a consequence of reading this book last out of the 2, but I just wasn't overly excited about this issue after reading it. Millar has done political intrigue before in the pages of what is (so far) the vastly superior Ultimates series. I have a feeling this book may have been pumped up too much by hype and it didn't seem to grab me as much as it could. Unlike IC I think Civil War is not going to be contained just within the core book, but will spill out to the crossovers..the biggest of all being the Amazing Spider-Man 7-parter.

The coolest thing about this issue is that Captain America goes rogue on the US Government and that Iron Man, Reed Richards (?!) and Hank Pym (I'm guessing he's in the Yellowjacket outfit) is helping the government. The art is easily better in this book than in IC, but I think Marvel may have set itself into a sitaution that is too big to handle. Obviously the big story will be which side Spider-Man takes as news points to him being the central character with a decision to make. It is interesting he says in this book that he won't give up his identity because he could come home and MJ is impaled on an Octopus arm and Aunt May is begging for her life. Daredevil also makes an appearance here and I am guessing that is the one currently loose in New York while Matt Murdoch is in prison. Word is the identity of the new Daredevil will be spilled in the next issue of Civil War (note the overall crossoverness of it all).

Overall this issue didn't impress me, but much like Infinite Crisis #1 it is only the build up.

Overall Infinite Crisis Thoughts: This is a tough one. Overall I enjoyed the series, but I do think they could have pushed it to a 12-part series like the original in order to pack more story into it. It seems nowadays that special events are framed around a 7-part series (Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis and Civil War prove this theory) and that just condenses the overall story from my perspective. I think Identity Crisis would have been better had it been longer and there was less to work with from a character perspective with that series. In the end I don't think IC is going to stand up very well when compared to the original Crisis. I will say that I was only 9 years old when Crisis was going on and I remember how awesome that was. Now I'm 29 and am reading this Crisis and am obviously looking at it from a different perspective. The major deaths were not as big this time around (Superboy and Earth-2 Superman/Lois versus Barry Allen and Supergirl in Crisis) and there just was never the shock value that could have been there honestly. I certainly enjoyed reading the whole series and look forward to 52 starting next week, but in the end I feel it just wasn't as defining a moment as the original Crisis on Infinite Earths was. Feel free to e-mail me and tell me your feelings.