Tuesday, May 16, 2006


INFINITE CRISIS, the latest epic storyline for DC Comics wrapped up the other week. It was a thematic and at times direct sequel to CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, their first such event in 1985. I was all about that previous series and it introduced me to many characters I didn't know yet while also wiping out their multiple Earths (along with multiple Supermen and Wonder Women and so forth)in order to streamline the DC Universe (or DCU). IC briefly flirted with the idea of restoring the multiverse but settled for once again streamlining the DCU. How successful they were is a topic for another time. Or not.

The end result of the series is that, for varying reasons, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman disappear for a whole year. This has lead to DC publishing their comics under a banner of "One Year Later," which started in March. All titles had a change in the status quo of the series via this concept. I haven't read many of them, so I can't offer much comment. You may wonder what happened during that missing year. Well, DC is telling you one week at a time.

52 is a comic that will be published weekly and offers a real time look at what happened in the DCU during that missing year of continuity. A weekly series is a massive undertaking and part of my interest in this series is whether they will be able to meet that schedule. I appreciate the risk involved and like that they are willing to try something like this. How are they doing it? Four writers - Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Greg Rucka, and Geoff Johns. A rotating cast of artists assisted by breakdowns on every issue by Keith Giffen. All under covers by J.G. Jones, whom I think is one of the best in the business. The first issue came out last Wednesday and I thought I would offer up my weekly thoughts on the series for as long as I stick with it.

#1 opens up by checking in on three people - Ralph Dibny (better known as Elongated Man; his wife Sue was killed during the opening salvos of the current DC direction in the IDENTITY CRISIS); Renee Montoya (a cop for the Gotham P.D.; her partner was recently killed in the pages of GOTHAM CENTRAL); and John Henry Irons (also known as Steel, he was one of the replacements for Superman during the big "Death of Superman" storyline more than a decade ago). The first two are depressed and not coping very well and Steel is working in relief efforts around the world after the events of IC.

Next we see Booster Gold, who has returned to the corporate ways of his debut 20 years ago. Not only is he pitching drinks while beating up bad guys but he has also rented out space on his uniform. Booster and his robot companion Skeets also happen to be from the future, which they are using to their advantage. Booster plans on being a part of the brand-new Justice League, which he is confident will be announced at a hero's funeral at the end of the week. I was a fan of Booster when his comic series was around and then through various titles like Justice League, though I was glad when he seemed to gain more substance. Not sure how I like this new/old take on him.

There were other parts of the issue that didn't do much for me - Steel and his niece; a look at Black Adam, the ruler of Khandaq; the fact the fate of Wally West, the Flash, was dealt with in such an off-handed matter. Seems like you would want one of the main parts of your big series, IC, to be dealt with in another way. Yes, I know I'm losing you.

Here's why I'm coming back for #2...Ralph gets an interesting message concerning his late wife; mysterious things are afoot with Dr. Sivana; the memorial for the fallen heroes and how things go awry from Booster's perspective; and the brilliant appearance of The Question at the end of the issue. I'll let you know how the new issue goes in the next couple of days...

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