Cover to Infinite Crisis #1.
Art by George Pérez
|Publication date||December 2005- June 2006|
|Number of issues||7|
|Main character(s)||DC Universe|
|Infinite Crisis (hardcover)||ISBN 1-4012-0959-9|
|Infinite Crisis (softcover)||ISBN 1-4012-1060-0|
Infinite Crisis is a seven-issue limited series of comic books written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Phil Jimenez, George Pérez, Ivan Reis, and Jerry Ordway. The series was published by DC Comics, beginning in October of 2005. Each issue was released with two variant covers: one by Pérez, and one by Jim Lee and Sandra Hope.
The series storyline was a sequel to DC's 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths. It revisited characters and concepts from that earlier Crisis, including the existence of DC's Multiverse. Some of the characters featured were alternate versions of comic icons such as an alternate Superman named Kal-L, who came from a place called Earth-Two. A major theme was the nature of heroism, contrasting the often dark and conflicted modern-day heroes with memories of "lighter" and ostensibly more noble and collegial heroes of American comic books' earlier days.
Infinite Crisis #1 was ranked first in the top 300 comics for October 2005 with pre-order sales of 249,265. This was almost double the second ranked comic House of M #7 which had pre-order sales of 134,429. Infinite Crisis #2 was also the top seller in top 300 comics for November 2005 with pre-order sales of 207,564.
The plot begins when, in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kal-L the Superman of pre-Crisis Earth-Two, the Superboy of Earth Prime, Alex Luthor, Jr. of pre-Crisis Earth-Three, and Lois Lane Kent of pre-Crisis Earth-Two voluntarily sequestered themselves in a "heaven". DC officially began leading up to the new Crisis with a one-shot issue Countdown to Infinite Crisis, followed by four six-issue limited series that tied into and culminated in Infinite Crisis.
Once the Crisis was completed, DC used the One Year Later event to move the narratives of most of its DC Universe series forward by one year. The weekly series 52 began publication in May 2006, and depicts some of the events which occurred between Infinite Crisis and One Year Later.
Foreshadowed by references to this Crisis in DC continuity as the "middle Crisis", in 2008, a third and Final Crisis began a run in June 2008, and is set immediately following the conclusion of the 51-issue Countdown to Final Crisis.
Infinite Crisis was announced in March 2005. The event was kicked off with the release of Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Countdown to Infinite Crisis was followed by four six-issue limited series: The OMAC Project, Rann-Thanagar War, Day of Vengeance, and Villains United, as well as a four-part limited series DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy. These first four limited series each had a special tie-in issue, released at monthly intervals during the Infinite Crisis event.
As is the norm for a large-scale comic crossover, Infinite Crisis featured a large number of tie-ins. Before the announcement of the event, books such as Adam Strange and Identity Crisis were often described as being tied into bigger plans. After Countdown, a number of books were identified as tie-ins to the four mini-series. Thus, although Infinite Crisis itself is only seven issues long, dozens of publications dealt directly or indirectly with the plot elements.
Some of these books (such as the JLA "Crisis of Conscience" storyline which ended with the Justice League's lunar Watchtower being destroyed, leading directly into Infinite Crisis #1) were of direct and major importance.
DC Comics executive editor Dan DiDio stated that Infinite Crisis was being hinted at in various stories for two years prior to its launch, starting with the "death" of Donna Troy. The leadup was mostly understated until the release of the Adam Strange limited series in 2004, at which point industry press began to report that DC was planning a very large event, mentioning the titles Teen Titans, The Flash, and JSA, all written by Geoff Johns.
With Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Infinite Crisis began to visibly affect DC's editorial policy. Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison moved into editorial positions in addition to their writing duties, respectively to coordinate coherence of the DC Universe and to handle reimaginings of several characters. Mark Waid signed exclusively with DC, receiving a similar editorial role. DC replaced its official decades-old logo (the "DC bullet") with a new one (the "DC spin") that debuted on the first issue of DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy.
Aside from marking a major editorial shift within DC Comics, Infinite Crisis was a return to large company-wide crossovers of a sort that had been uncommon since the downturn of the comic industry in the 1990's.
The story begins in the wake of the four lead-in limited series, with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman feuding, the JLA Watchtower destroyed, and the heroes of the world all facing a variety of menaces. Over this backdrop, Kal-L (the Earth-Two Superman), along with Earth-Two Lois Lane, Earth-Three Alexander Luthor, and Superboy-Prime escape from the pocket universe where they had been left at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Kal-L seeks out his cousin, Power Girl, also a survivor of Earth-Two. Believing Lois' health will improve on her native world, he hopes to replace the current Earth with Earth-Two, which he considers perfect.
Kal-L tries to enlist Batman's support, stating that the Post-Crisis Earth's inherent "bad" nature caused Batman's recent mistrust and hostility. Batman refuses. Afterward, he learns Superboy-Prime destroyed the JLA Watchtower.
Alexander reveals to Power Girl that he and Superboy-Prime had been leaving their "paradise" for some time, manipulating events to help create an inter-dimensional tuning fork. Using the Anti-Monitor's remains and captured heroes and villains specifically attuned to former universes (Power Girl among them), Alex restores Earth-Two, un-populated except for the Earth-Two heroes transported there.
Superboy-Prime attacks Conner Kent, this world's Superboy. Multiple super-teams intervene. Superboy-Prime kills several heroes before the Flashes and Kid Flash force him into the Speed Force, assisted by speedsters already within it. Jay Garrick, the only speedster left behind, says the Speed Force is now gone.
Seeking to create a perfect world, Alexander restores many alternate Earths. The Earth-Two Lois dies, and an aggrieved Kal-L and the younger Superman Kal-El fight until Wonder Woman separates them. Bart Allen (wearing Barry Allen's costume and aged to adulthood) emerges from the Speed Force, warning that he and the other speedsters were unable to hold Superboy-Prime, who returns wearing Anti-monitor inspired armor that stores yellow sun radiation to empower him, making him even stronger.
Batman's strike force destroys Brother Eye. Alexander selects and merges alternate Earths, trying to create a "perfect" world, until Firestorm blocks his efforts. Conner, Nightwing, and Wonder Girl release the Tower's prisoners. Fighting each other, Conner and Superboy-Prime collide with the tower, destroying it. The multiple Earths recombine into a "New Earth" as Conner dies in Wonder Girl's arms.
When a horde of supervillains attack Metropolis, heroes, current and retired, fly off to the rescue. They are joined by the National Guard. The battle results in multiple deaths on both sides, including many by Superboy-Prime himself, who kills villains and heroes alike. During the battle, Superboy-Prime takes off to destroy Oa, planning to collapse the Universe, and recreate it with himself as the only superhero. Superboy-Prime breaks through a 300-mile thick wall of willpower, and then kills thirty-two Green Lanterns before Kal-L and Kal-El carry him toward Krypton's remains, now essentially a huge cloud of kryptonite. Flying through Krypton's red sun, Rao, destroys Superboy-Prime's armor and causes all three Kryptonians' powers to dissipate. Landing on the sentient planet (and GLC member) Mogo, they fight. Kal-El finally knocks Superboy-Prime out and the older Superman Kal-L dies of his injuries in the arms of his cousin, Power Girl.
Back on Earth, Batman, struggling with Superboy's death and Nightwing's severe injuries sustained during the Metropolis battle, contemplates shooting Alex. Batman is discouraged by Wonder Woman. Alex manages to escape.
Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman later meet up in Gotham. Wonder Woman plans to find out who she is. Batman plans a similar journey of self-discovery, revisiting the training of his youth, this time with Dick Grayson, now healthier, and Tim Drake joining him. Superman retires from superheroics until his powers return.
Hiding in an alley in Gotham City and making new plans, Alexander Luthor is found by Lex Luthor and the Joker. The Joker deforms him by spraying acid onto his face, then kills Alexander as Lex mocks him for making the mistake of not letting the Joker play in the Society.
The Green Lantern Corps imprison Superboy-Prime inside a red Sun-Eater. The series ends with him carving an S into his chest with his bare hands and declaring that he has been in worse places than his current prison and has escaped.
The series and tie-ins have been collected into individual volumes:
The hardcover collecting all seven issues of Infinite Crisis included changes in coloring, as well as, more significantly, alterations in dialogue, most of which relate to hints to the re-emergence of the DC Multiverse. Also changed is the two-page spread near the end of the book, where a new George Pérez image is substituted. Four additional pages of art by Phil Jimenez were added. An interview section included as an afterword explains the reasoning behind some of these alterations.
Identity Crisis, Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Infinite Crisis, One Year Later, 52, Countdown to Final Crisis, and Final Crisis can be looked at as a Mega-series. There are some aspects of continuing storylines, characters development, story layout, and similar marketing campaigns for all the maxi-series. Chronologically, they have been published back to back - each picking up where the last takes off.
A number of series were canceled with the one year later jump. Some ended outright, like Batgirl, Gotham Central, and Batman: Gotham Knights, while others were suspended and restarted later like JLA, JSA, Flash, and Wonder Woman. Additionally, Adventures of Superman returned to its original title of Superman, while the book that had previously been coming out as Superman since 1987 was canceled, thus making the Superman line's two books, Superman and Action Comics, match the Batman lines Batman and Detective Comics.
It is the second "Crisis" of a trilogy show different stages in the development of the DC Multiverse:
It is also the second in trilogy that comprise "an exploration of our heroes":
Ace Books, under the imprint of The Berkley Publishing Group and published by The Penguin Group, released a novelization adaption written by Greg Cox with an introduction by Mark Waid. (October 2006). Cover art by Daniel Acuña. Cover design by Georg Brewer. Text design by Tiffany Esteicher. ISBN 0-441-01444-5
The novel was primarily adapted from the seven-issues mini-series published by DC Comics (December 2005 to June 2006). Additional materials on the book was adapted from:
GraphicAudio produced an audiobook of the novelization of Infinite Crisis. The audiobook spans two volumes with 6 CDs each and features a full cast, music and sound effects. Volume 1 released May 2007 runs 6 hours, and Volume 2 released June 2007 runs 7 hours.