Which remains one of the worst things I have ever read in my life.
Despite a multiverse teeming with thousands of an interesting characters with decades-worth of reader-resonance, the plot is instead based on five add-ink-and-stir "Living Plot Points" (a term I learned here from an Asorbascommenter): the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, Harbinger, Pariah, and Alexander Luthor (plus, for no apparent reason other than someone's sexual fixation on Suzanne Powter, Lady Quark). Why did an editor not stop this insanity?
"Oh, but the beautiful moment of X was so touching I still cry when I think about it!", someone reading this now is about to type. For those who haven't COIE, I'll review those beautiful moments for you...
Supergirl's heroic sacrifice teaches Batgirl what it means to be a hero, inspiring a Steely Resolve to follow in her footsteps.
Flash's heroic sacrifice teaches Kid Flash what it means to be a hero, inspiring a Steely Resolve to follow in his footsteps.
Supergirl's heroic sacrifice teaches Dr. Light what it means to be a hero, inspiring a Steely Resolve to follow in her footsteps.
Wildcat's heroic sacrifice teaches Yolanda Montez what it means to be a hero, inspiring her to stagger around drunk in a Catwoman costume on rooftops, saying everything once in choppy Spanish, then again in English, as if she's on ?Que Pasa, USA?. "Yo soy el *hic* neuvo Wildcat!"; tee-hee, of course you are, dear!
Oh, there's also 256 examples of "X throws himself into the anti-matter wall" or "Y stops X from throwing himself into the anti-matter wall", both of which are considered nobly brave, except when they are criticized as stupidly futile.
Dialogue (but only because I have no other word for it)
Marv Wolfman, Dean of the Magna Kahn School of Dramatic Monologue, writes dialogue which is alternatingly so mind-numbing and so grating that one can only survive reading it by imagining yourself in a less stressful situation; I manage to read it by picturing myself as a baby seal being clubbed to death by a sadistic Japanese sailor. Wolfman handles DC's thousands of precious character gems by reducing them to exactly four styles of speaking: Herospeak, Doomspeak, Streetspeak, and Smartspeak. I can only assume Wolfman was born in the Baxter Building and raised by the Fantastic Four; there's no other explanation.
For variety within each type of "speak", characters get a choice of Stuttering Wonder, Wavering Self-Doubt, Sententious Speechification, and Steely Resolve. Wolfman should really work for the City of Heroes people, writing programs to generate generic word balloons based on the characters chosen profile; he'd be a natural.
MY Steely Resolve
Now, until I bought the trade yesterday, I had not read COIE for 20 years, since it first came out. Why would I, when there's been a new DCU to focus on? That would be likely filling your Wedding Album with pictures of yourself dancing in your underwear with a lampshade on your head with a 43 year old strung out stripper at your bachelor party.
But now with Infinite Crisis focusing so much attention on COIE, I feel the need to find some fun for myself and you all (but mostly myself) in the horror that was COIE, and that's what I'll be doing in the coming week. Marv, care to help me say that?
"Th-the awfulness! The vast sprawling horror of COIE, it's--it's like nothing I've ever seen!
I'm not sure I can handle it; I don't know whether my snarking powers will work against it; I don't see how I can prevail, it seems hopeless.
Yet, in all my years, if I learned one thing, it's that one person can make a difference -- just so as long as he's with other good people, trying to do the same.
So I must try! Too many have died, too much is riding on this; I must NOT give up hope, I will not, for them-- I == MUST == DO IT!"