I’m hyped for the upcoming crossover in the CW, so I’m gonna review the very book that inspired it in the first place: Crisis on Infinite Earths!
I compare Crisis on Infinite Earths to one of those classic, Victorian pieces of fiction that we all had to read in high school. This book, like Pride and Prejudice holds a lot of literary significance. They both inspired a good deal of fiction we consume in the modern day. It’s also a pain in the butt to read both of them. This is to be expected, considering the way people read and write has changed since the time they were first published. (Which is fascinating because the author of this book, Marv Wolfman, is still alive and is going to help write the CW adaptation.)
Strangely, the pacing is decently structured, but I still find myself looking at the clock every time I read this book. Technically Wolfman is doing everything right in constructing the story, but certain ways he goes about handling hinder enjoyment. It has too many obscure characters that I don’t care about, except for Firehawk. Her costume has no reason to look that awesome.
I mean it too. There’s a scene where Martian Manhunter is being smothered by fire, and Firehawk decides to take the time to design and create a rad new suit instead of immediately saving him. She deserves her own book.
Anyway. Another detriment to the book is the villain. He’s just so evil and boring. The Anti-Monitor is as compelling as a chicken with a bucket on its head. They both cause a great deal of disorder, but neither has any emotional reason for causing the mess. They just do because that’s just the way they are. He wants to destroy all matter because he’s the Anti-Monitor. He makes numerous speeches at people because he’s the Anti-Monitor. He adamantly refuses to use more than one empath to manipulate the emotions of multiple earths, when he could easily get more, because he’s an idiot – I mean the Anti-Monitor. I just can’t vibe with a villain with no understandable psychology or relatable trait.
Along with the superficial problems, it also lacks a prominent protagonist. Sure, Harbinger is fairly prominent in the story, but her whole arch ends ⅓ of the way in the plot. In those first four issues, we are told that she was raised by the Monitor and is given super powers. She eventually murders him, but, as he dies, the Monitor reveals that this was just all apart of his plan. After this, she downgrades to a glorified messenger.
I appreciate the afterwards at the end of each issue. They gave me some insight into the mindset of the author and the fans reading the series. Especially the fans who were really hung up on which world that blue beetle came from. Two fans, back to back were like, “So does Blue Beetle come from Earth 1 or 2?” and Wolfman was like, “We’re getting rid of Earth 1 and Earth 2. Leave me alone.”
One guilty pleasure I have with major events are the ridiculously over complicated plans that the characters conjure up. And kiss my grits because we got a whopper of a master plan. A long time ago there was this dude who saw the beginning of the everything and splintered the universe into multiple universes. Some time went by and another dude decided to take a peek at the beginning, reawakening the Monitor and Anti-Monitor.
Aware that the Anti-Monitor plans on destroying all life in existence, the Monitor creates machines to merge a select few earths. Somehow, even with the opportunity to send multiple Harbingers at different moments of space-time, the Monitor manages to run out of time. In a panic he slightly alters his plan. He then orchestrates events to provoke Harbinger into killing him. This results in his life-energy fueling his machines, causing separate earths becoming one.
You would think that this would solve everything. However! The merging of these different universes is actually killing the five earths. Instead, they have to go back to the beginning of time (because that worked out so well the first couple of times) and stop Kronas from creating the Multiverse in the first place.
Going back to the whole time travel thing really drives me nuts. In the beginning of the story, Harbinger had the ability to go to multiple places in different time periods. If she could do that, why didn’t she just go back to the time when the Anti-Monitor was created and kick the crap out of him. It’s not like it’s impossible. Supergirl was able to crack through his armor and heavily injure him. Just go back in the past with like four Supergirls and call it a day.
Who knows, maybe time travel will make more sense, after I read this book’s unofficial sequel, Zero Hour.