By Steve Morris
There’s a lot of talk nowadays that comics are too confusing: that there’s no way to get into them, and that all the “jumping on” storylines are actually massively dense and reliant on the individual reader’s understanding of prior decades of obscure and impossible continuity. With comics having been around for such a long time, the “discussion” online is that there’s actually very few opportunities for semi-interested new readers to get involved with the mainsteam medium – and that the opportunities which are made available are actually solely made for the audience who are already reading every month and don’t need to be tempted into new purchases.
Two or three times a year, publishers like Marvel and DC put out an “event” storyline to counteract that claim – simple, accessible stories which feature all the major characters and give readers something basic and mainstream which they can try out as a way of branching out into the wider continuity of that particular universe. From Crisis on Infinite Earths through to Final Crisis, these event storylines are heavily marketed, and are used as a way to slowly help new readers into the deep end of superhero continuity. Readers picking up a #1 issue find they’re taking a baby step into something effortlessly engaging, and accessible for any and all new readers. You don’t need to know anything before you pick up a comic like Identity Crisis, because everything you need is right there on the page.
And yet still you consistently hear people say “event comics are inaccessible”. They claim that these big blockbuster events are actually the most impossible and dense stories that publishers put out, and essentially put a giant “do not enter” sign on the gateway to entering their respective superhero universes.
Nonsense! Event comics are for everybody!
To prove it, Shelfdust are proud to introduce this new series, which in only seven parts will comprehensively and encyclopedic… ally explain absolutely every single thing about Infinite Crisis, a series which we have no prior knowledge of. By engaging with the text surely and methodically, this guide will make sure there’s not a single thing in the comic which could possibly be considered to be confusing, difficult, or obtuse.
Event storylines are marketed as a wonderful way for anybody to get involved in superhero comics – they feature all the big characters, and they make all the major changes which affect each and every other book in the line. If somebody dies or gets lost in another dimension, it happens in an event story – making them essential for readers who might be reading a previously self-contained series. Where did that side-character go? Why is the sky red? These are answered in the event books only, so it stands to reason that event comics would be the most important and self-explanatory stories of any of them.
Infinite Crisis was no different! It was an event which changed the course of the DC Universe, I’m told – so without further ado, let’s jump straight in with issue #1 of this seven-part series and make sure the whole thing makes complete sense to everybody!
Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez, and Ivan Reis, Infinite Crisis was inked by Andy Lanning, Oclair Albert, Marlo Alquiza, Marc Campos, Wayne Faucher, Drew Geraci…. Jimmy Palmiotti, Sean Parsons, Norm Rapmund…. and Lary Stucker. Amongst others. That’s a curious number of inkers, eh? Anyway, it was coloured by Jeromy Cox and Guy Major. And Rod Reis. Oh, and Tanya & Richard Horie. Nick J. Napolitano and Rob Leigh lettered it.
Quite the cast of thousands! Luckily I’m sure the inside of the series will have far fewer characters that the creative credits! Ha!
Published between 2005-2006, the series spanned seven issues, which had repercussions across the rest of DC’s line at the time – and resulted in several comics being cancelled or relaunched by the time the final issue came out. When the first issue came out in October it was easily the best-selling comic that month as it sold almost 250,000 copies! That’s a lot of readers! Luckily the story itself is easy to explain, so those new readers wouldn’t be completely lost and confused as soon as they looked at the first page.
Phil Jimenez was the main penciller for the series as a whole, and was well-known for his work on characters like Wonder Woman two years earlier, as well as comics like New X-Men for Marvel. A widescreen artist, he’s well-known for his ability to show scale within comics: if you ask him to draw five characters, he’ll draw you fifty in the same space, and they’ll all be just as detailed as each other. He’s got a real ability to create epic scenes, but his storytelling is wonderfully human and emotional. As you can see on the cover above though, this is a story with just the main three characters involved, so he won’t be drawing anything too epic here.
As writer, Geoff Johns had previously written just about everything at DC: from JSA through to The Flash and Teen Titans. If there’s a character that exists in the DC Universe, then Geoff Johns has written them at some point. Nobody knows more about the obscure, although with an event series like Infinite Crisis you obviously want to make sure you’re focusing mainly on the well-known, famous characters, who readers know and will want to read about.
So that covers the primary creative team for the series. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the very first page, as The Complete Infinite Crisis starts!!
Nice and simple, this one. We have Superman – you all know Superman! The main hero of the DC Universe, an alien immigrant from another world who landed in America and learned truth, justice, and the American way as his principle core values. He has the ability to fly, which he’s using here to go visit the Moon. Of course, he’s gone to visit the Moon because… erm.
Has something… exploded there?
It… it looks like something’s exploded. I’m not quite sure what that is, or why Superman knew to go take a look at it. I’m sure it’s nothing important, but… but it is the first page, so maybe it is something we should be aware of. I wonder if this was something which happened in a previous comic? That doesn’t seem likely, because event storylines are meant to be big jump-on points which explain everything.
Y’know, I wouldn’t normally do this, but I might just… I might just have a word with someone about this. Maybe consult with one of my fellow experts about what’s happening here, and what the page refers to. Before we turn across to page two, let’s just… let’s just make sure we’re all onboard and happy with page two, eh?
Give me a day to have a quick word with someone, and THE COMPLETE INFINITE CRISIS will return and conclude on Wednesday! Erm, yes.
Yeah, we’ll be back shortly…
Steve Morris runs this site! Having previously written for sites including The Beat, ComicsAlliance, CBR and The MNT, he can be found on Twitter here. He’s a bunny.