Looking at the Crisis
If there’s one thing DC loves more than making fanboys and fangirls shell out their cash for their products, it’s a good old fashioned crisis. I mean, come on, what’s not to like? It’s hitting two stinking nerds with one stone. First, they get to instantly change whatever problems they have with their fictional universes, thereby streamlining it and making it more manageable for future creators and creative teams and, second, nothing makes those nerds wet themselves and empty their wallet like a good old comic book event that has about five issues in it and about 3933 tie-ins. “Hey, you either buy them all or the story won’t make any sense!” said the DC executive – not that it superhero comics made any sense at all in the first place. And if there’s one crisis among the numerous crises that proves to be the most monumental in DC’s long history (and that’s saying a lot considering the publisher has, and will probably continue to, come up with these cash grabs), it is none other than the legendary 1986 crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths. So much so, that it is even sometimes known as the granddaddy of all large-scale comic book events, which means it’s the one to credit (or blame, in some cases) for all the Final Secret Civil War on Multiple Earths we have, which is always advertised as “the one that will change so and so forever!” Spoler alert, though: it doesn’t, because the comic book industry goes by a very different language that just sort of sounds like English where “forever” really means “until sales go down again”. But enough of my righteous (yes, righteous. My site, my rules) anger against publishers’ manipulative practices, let’s go into why – despite all my ranting – I like Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Probably the primary reason for my fondness of the crossover event comes from the fact that it provided one of the most memorable and, if I’m not mistaken, first major character deaths in superhero comic book history. Well, that is if I don’t count Bucky Barnes. Regardless, when the Flash (Barry Allen) sacrificed himself for the whole DC universe in epic fashion, not to mention it being portrayed spectacularly by none other than George Perez, it gave the whole industry something that it has not seen before, and probably won’t be seen ever again: a character death that actually stuck. Unlike the death of Superman, Barry Allen’s death really meant that the character wasn’t coming back. In fact, it wasn’t until Geoff Johns brought Barry back 20 years later that the Flash mantle was carried by a whole different character. That’s something we won’t be seeing again, of course. On a side note, I think Wolverine (James Howlett/Logan) will be coming back by the end of the year. Hell, that guy can’t even be considered “dead” by any standard, considering old man Logan filled in his role.
Still, good or bad, crossover events have their moments at times: ones that make fans actually enjoy reading these capes and tights stories.