Monday, March 06, 2006

I need Crisis Counseling!

Okay, gang; I need some help with the most recent (#5) issue of Infinite Crisis. I've loved the series, on the whole, but 5 left me saying "what the fo?" far too many times not to seek some "crisis counseling"... .

1. "They want to hold a Mass for everyone with a cape." Wait, so the world is falling apart, heroes are needed everywhere, and they all stop for a wafer break? What the fo? Also, I assume DC editorial is sufficiently godless not to understand that a Mass is a specific Catholic ritual with mystic transubstantiation and deophagy and not just "a hand-holding session in a cathedral". I'll just pretend "mass" is a typo for "service", and leave it at that; or maybe Mister Terrific was just being snide.

Oh, and DC? Showing us that there are people painfully excluded doesn't make their exclusion any less tacky. Still... it was nice to see somebody use the Gotham Cathedral for a change.

2. So, Hal ... when did flying inside the cathedral seem like a good idea to you? Is your leg broken that you couldn't walk the 30 feet to the door? Afraid of tripping?

3. Stripe -- you need a Ricki Lake makeover. You look like Frankenstein Junior.

4. "Why do I get the funny feelin' in my gut that we ain't the only ones here?" Gee, Ted, no reason, except because that's the kind of awkward transition phrase someone thought was needed to get us to the next sequence with Lois and Clark at the Daily Star. Note to writers on Wildcat's dialog: Ted Grant was almost a licensed physician; he's not Ben Grimm. I'll just pretend Johns let Wolfman write that panel.

5. So, Booster ... do you not have Bruce's phone number? Or was it more fun to go creeping around the Batcave, knowing your butt will get caught in some byzantine bat-trap? Or did someone just think that would be cool to draw?

6. Okay, Biker-shorts Superboy floating unconscious in a giant test tube is very hot. But, even though I read the Titan issue where they taking him to Luthor's Lair to get fixed, I have next to no idea when Luthor showed up, where the Titans are, or, for that matter, what the fo. At least I finally figured out why Lex was fondling Connor's jeans... .

7. Golden Age Superman is a total moron. Well, at least it makes our Superman look good.

8. Enough with the veneration of Golden Age Lois. Some of us, you know, have actually read the stories she appears and know full well that she was a vicious emasculating witch. I will believe a man can fly; I will not believe that Lois's poop don't stink.

9. Hi, Golden Age Wonder Woman (a.k.a. old lady in an age-inappropriate bathing costume)! Nice of you to sacrifice your eternal existence (and your husband's life) for a pointless guess spot playing Dr. Phil/Space Cabbie for Diana. Oh, by the way, your name isn't Diana Prince; that was someone else, whose identity you stole (or, rather, bought).

10. Earth Eight. Heh. I like that; I want to know who else really belongs on Earth-8. Is Earth-S Earth-5 or Earth-7? I guess the S (Shazam!) stands for 7.

11. Batman's Anti-Eye Team. Nice. Good group. I noticed Batman picked a crew of people who understand what it's like not to have superpowers. Smart, both emotionally and strategically, given the opponent.

12. Okay, I can accept that we needed the two-page spread of the alter-earths floating in the sky. But did we need to precede it with a two-page spread of Nightwing standing in an empty room? Who came up with that ... Devin Greyson?

13. Oh, hey, there's Superboy. At Titans Tower. Um, I guess he got out of the tube, changed out of the biker shorts, and flew over. I guess. Maybe he's still wearing the biker shorts, under the jeans? That's hot.

14. Dr. Light the hero? Didn't you just have all the power sucked out of her by Dr. Light the villain? Is there explanation of this, or did someone not know, or did someone say, "It's Crisis, we have to have her in it somewhere?" It's really not a good idea to have a hero and villain with the same name; kill her off or depower her, which would be a nice bookend to her creation in the first Crisis.

15. Barry's back. Good. Let's just leave it that way.

16. Oh, Superboy Prime -- dear. Shoulder pads?!? You are such an '80s character; go see Blockade Boy right away.

P.S. I don't care how super your hearing is, Clark; sound doesn't travel across the void of space between Earths 1 and 2. In space, no one can hear you scream "Lois!"...


David C said...

So, Booster ... do you not have Bruce's phone number?

Actually, my thinking is that he probably doesn't.

When reading the story, I figured Booster's knowledge of the Batcave came from "future knowledge," and was *not* information present-day Bruce entrusted Booster with.

Batman also doesn't seem to give his cell number out to... pretty much anybody. More often than not, heroes needing to contact him seem to just go to Gotham, loiter on a rooftop and/or conjure up an impromptu Bat-signal....

Scipio said...

I'd buy that...

if Booster didn't have everyone ELSE's number on the team. Bruce Wayne isn't exactly a hard man to find.

jamawalk said...

don't the JLA have communicators? i seem to remember them having communicators.

and what the f is superboy doing back so quickly? didn't all the flashes die to stop him? that means nothing? in the original crisis, the death of one flash meant the end of the threat, and the great sacrifice was felt far past the events of the series. but in this one, he comes back the next issue. in shoulder pads.

with his LOGO on them.

what a complete tool

Axel M. Gruner said...

Well, since an Angel held the service, we should probably aknowledge, that the DCU now seems to be a judaeo-christian Universe. Most people did NOT get the point when Morrison plundered the judae-christian mythology as just another pile of amazing whacky concepts.

Question: can you be an atheist when you had an Angel in the Justice League?

Probably Hal understood that, and since his allegiance is to the false blueskinned man-gods of Oa, he had to leave, before the crosses fell off the wall. Or maybe it was the brain damage done...

Isn't that theophagy, not deophagy?
And, people, that has nothing to do with hags or phags... it's the antient magickal art of God-Eating.


Anonymous said...

If you look closely the shoulder pads and get up Superboy Prime is wearing are the Anti-Monitor's old clothes.

and hey! let's not go trashing on the Golden Age Superman, shall we? You live in a pocket dimension with whiny Superboy Prime and Alex Luthor for what? 20 years and let's see how that tweaks you. sheesh!


Anonymous said...

Ted Grant was almost a licensed physician; he's not Ben Grimm.

One word rebuttal:



Michael said...

Earth-8 is a new one that we had never heard of before (I like how it was casually mentioned that some of the post-Crisis heroes would have come from other Earths). Earth-6 was Lady Quark, and 7 was the home of Dark Angel (Donna Troy's evil twin), we haven't heard yet of an Earth-5. It has not been revealed yet whether Earths A, B, C, C-minus, D, S, X, and Prime are still lettered and not given a number. Check out the Wikipedia for some good info, or the Cosmology Compendium for several hundred more DC Earths.

Anonymous said...

I would like Superman Classic(TM) better if he seemed like an actual comic character rather than a mouthpiece for grumpy old comics fans who wish superheroes were back they way they used to be in the good old days.

He's a step away from becoming Dana Carvey in his SNL skits. "That's the way things were, and we liked it!" (slams fist)

Nice way to treat the cornerstone of your comic book universe...

CalvinPitt said...

Rather than kill of the good Dr. Light, why not kill off the evil one? In prison, dying of, oh I don't know, what sort of death could they give him in prison that would fit his recent characterization?

Jeremy Rizza said...

Thanks for the plug, Scipio! And also, HAW! You're right, Superboy-Prime is one big fashion DON'T in that ridiculous ensemble. If the Anti-Monitor couldn't make that shit work -- and he couldn't -- I don't know why the Dwight Schrute of the Multiverse thinks he could. He is working the Halloween party contact lenses, though. Spooky!

Just posted my design for a gender-reversed Scarlet Witch on my site. Enjoy!

Marc Burkhardt said...

Forget 52. I want Tales of Earth-8, complete with the adventures of Kyle, Jason, Helena, Breach, Son of Vulcan and barbarian Aquaman!

kyle said...

Note to writers on Wildcat's dialog: Ted Grant was almost a licensed physician; he's not Ben Grimm.

Amen. I've been watning someone to cotton onto Ted's breains for years. Not to mention that he's shown at (judging by the sweatshirts of the guys watching him box) "[...]ALE [...]NIVERSITY" in his origin.

Then again, I knew some pretty dopey wrestlers at Ale Niversity.


Earth-8. That I liked. And of course, it leads to speculating: Would Az-Bat, Artemis, and Steel have been the Big Three of that Earth? Would Bart have been it's Flash? Is that the dimension of the Hawkworld Hawks and the Adam Cray Atom?

I'm with Marc..I want more Earth-8, dammit.

Scipio said...

Heavens! A YALE man! And I thought Ted was intelligent... my error!

Oh, and sign me up, too, for the Earth-8 imprint titles, because you KNOW Vibe is still alive there and leading the Justice Elite or the Insiders.

Jon said...

That car is freaking gigantic. It's a good foot taller than Superman-2 and it grew considerably from its appearance on the page before. I shall blame this on the obvious vagaries of Earth-2 physics, where sound can span both the vacuum of space and the interdimensional vibrational barrier, as that is much more fun than blaming the artist.

David C said...

"the Dwight Schrute of the Multiverse"

Oh, that is *so* perfect for Superboy'!

Anonymous said...

So, Earth 2 has old stupid Superman, young stupid Superboy, dead Lois, geriatric swimsuit model Wonder Woman, and carrot-top Luthor.

Earth 2 sucks.

I'm another reader enjoying IC, but confused every other page. I had no idea that was the Anti-Monitor's armor, or what the heck is going on with most peripheral characters (or even Earth 1 Superboy, a major player). Is there any guide to IC out there?

Captain Infinity said...

Yeah, Ted was almost a doctor, but he has spent the last 60 years getting punched in the head in both his civilian and superhero identities...

Anonymous said...

1. It's pretty common for soldiers about to go off for battle to take a moment to reflect and to remember fallen comrades.

2. Obviously his ring alerted him to some danger that he needs to leave quickly for.

3. Yeah, not a good look for STRIPE.

4. He just got teleported from one planet to another unexpectedly. Maybe we shouldn't expect haiku.

5. Pretty good theory above. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if this Booster is not quite the same as the one that went Back To The Future earlier.

6. Yeah, rough transition. I believe he's in Titans Tower. How did Luthor get there? HE'S A FREAKIN' EVIL GENIOUS!

7. He's also shell-shocked from the death of his wife. I'll give him a pass.

8. Love is a funny thing.

9. Snark, snark, snark. I miss the invisible plane.

10. I bet "our" Superman would have been the Earth-8 Superman, but who knows?

11. Agreed.

12. Devin Greyson? You cut to the bone, sir!

13. Yeah, he woke up earlier in the issue. I imagine he can get out of the tube and dry off like a big boy.

14. Obviously the "power sucking" thing was temporary. Plus is happened in a Winick book, so who cares?

15. Er... can we not? At least not at the expense of Wally?

16. As someone noted, he seems to be wearing the Anti-Monitor's armor... so yeah, 80s.

P.S. Is there a void of space between the two? There's obviously some convoluted comic book science keeping the two (and later, infinite) Earths from breaking apart, perhaps that's what allowed Superman's cry to be heard to the other Earth.

Weeeee! Comic books are fun!

Jeff R. said...

The earth-8 prime super-team has to be Extreme Justice. You just know it... (I mean, we know that Earth-8 has a Firestorm, a Captain Atom, and a Blue Beetle for sure. All it needs is Earth-8 versions of Booster, Plastique, and Amazing Man...)

Jeff R. said...

Oh, and I'm fairly sure that the Birthright superman is the Earth-8 one, having subtly replaced the Byrne version (which would have to have come from some other earth; maybe earth-5.)

kyle said...

Scipio said...
Heavens! A YALE man! And I thought Ted was intelligent... my error!

Ah, I knew I was in dangerous waters here dropping the Y word.

Earth-8: Vibe is, no doubt, the center of a vast heroic dynasty there, with Kid Vibe, the Vibratrix, and Shakey the Vibe Hound.

Ragnell said...

Here's the thing on #1. Zauriel is the Least Religiously Offensive Cocnept in the DC Universe. He knows the Judeo-Christian diety, he's stood at the throne has lived in the city. I've never seen Zauriel on the street corner with a pamphlett. He worked with Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Aztek in the JLA and I never once saw him preaching. He believed in god as a Presence that conformed mostly to the Judeo-Christian pantheon, but he never seemed to have the slightest problem with any other pantheon. He never saw a need to proselytize anybody. I did see him tell off a nun for being close-minded, but that's the biggest argument he got into.

That's why Zauriel has become like the army Chaplain of the DCU. A Baptist army Chaplain, at war, still needs to know how to hold a Jewish service on Saturdays, do Last Rites for Catholics, and even administer to Wiccan troops when necessary. Now, Zauriel seems to be of a specific faith, but is able to cater to all spiritual types and keep an open-mind. Anyone who actually read what Morrison wrote with him, with the pantheism and the "Humans can't define the divine" concepts that Zauriel spouted will understand how he can handle that. So, when Zauriel holds a mass service, despite the fact that he's an angel (and, it's worth noting that while Zauriel himself a white winged being who comes from an ancient Hebrew hierarchal structure, Christianity does not have a monopoly on angels. Neo-pagans regularly work with them. The winged appearance is pretty in keeping with the ancient Greek ideal of divinity), he does administer to eveyone.

That said, I'm with Scipio about him holding a service instead of a Mass. Because this is Zauriel, so you know that when he does communion the wine and wafer actually transubstantiate -- the wine turns to blood and the wafer turns to flesh. And while I'm amused by the idea of superheroes performing ritual cannibalism before a battle, you'd think the scene would have more people spitting their food out.

David said...

Kyle, the Vibatrix totally sounds like a sex toy...

Anonymous said...

I believe they skipped Earth-5 in cannon because it looks too much like Earth-S. Not every earth gets a number, some get letters. In fact, I'd rather they all be called something less ordinal, like Earth-Blue or Earth-Reggae.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I am not reading this.

I got Volume III of the JSA/JLA team-up to read tonight. I got The Seven Soldier of Victory and the Freedom Fighters to look forward to.

Neener neener neener!

Phantom Lady ROCKS! (for about two panels.)

Anonymous said...

5) You act like Batman would do anything with a Booster phone call besides telling Booster to go away.

8) Was she really? My impression was that GA Lois was fairly sane, while Silver Age Lois was the soul-devouring one.

10) Earth 8 is one of the coolest concepts in IC 5. The Will Payton Starman was the Starman of Earth-8, I bet. And I like the suggestion made above of Azrael, Steel, and Artemis as the big three of Earth-8.

14) There's no explanation. Let's kill evil Dr. Light and leave her this way.

PS) Dude, it's old-timey Superman. OF COURSE sound travels in a vaccum in any story involving him.

-- John Biles

Michael said...

Dan DiDio has the latest Crisis Counseling, going through the issue panel by panel, and while he answers some of your questions, he raises a few more.

David C said...

8) Was she really? My impression was that GA Lois was fairly sane, while Silver Age Lois was the soul-devouring one.

I'd say she was a lot saner, but also... well, "vicious emasculating witch" isn't a bad description. For all Silver Age Lois' faults, she at least treated Clark Kent like a good friend most of the time; in the Golden Age, Lois was often horribly cruel to him.

Anonymous said...

I believe in COIE, Earth-5 was identified as the Earth of the Charlton heroes - Captain Atom, Question, Blue Beetle, Nightshade, Peacemaker, Thunderbolt, etc.

Michael said...

Scott - no, Earth-4 was the Charlton guys.

Anonymous said...

I would like Superman Classic(TM) better if he seemed like an actual comic character rather than a mouthpiece for grumpy old comics fans who wish superheroes were back they way they used to be in the good old days.

Has is occurred to you that maybe those "grumpy old comics fans" are just about the only ones today who (A) can afford comics at, what is it now, $2.99 a pop? and (B) are willing to spend their disposable income on comics rather than iPod music downloads and X-Box games? It sure seems to have occurred to DC...

Scipio said...


Axel M. Gruner said...

Just a probably stupid idea:
Would grumpy old comics fans name the Earth of Kyle Rayner et co "Earth-8" because it is the Earth of the people they HATE?


It rhymes...
Or another DC in-joke?

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't hate Kyle Rayner for himself. I hate what was done to Hal Jordan to make room for him. A complete reversal of 35 years of established continuity and characterization.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that Mr. Terrific was just clueless about the technical defintion of "mass." I was raised Presbyterian and had no clue. I've been using "mass" as a generic term for Catholic church service for 30 years. (No offense folks, but Catholocism seems so unnecessarily complicated, what with all the technicalities, and rules, and saints, and ...)

Anonymous said...

Thing of it is, back in the 70s a writer (Levitz?) gave Wildcat 'color' by having him talk punch drunk. It was sooooooooo awful that the next writer had to have a story where it turned out Wildcat had a brain tumor which caused his speech to slur and his buddies in the JSA never figured it out.

So more brain damage, i guess.