You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it.
Just as we were really starting to explore the story, however, we’ve had to ask for a bit of help about the first issue from an expert in the area… there was something on the first page which caught me a bit off-guard – but luckily august (in the wake of) dawn has agreed to come help us out, and explain what’s going on! Thanks August! Let’s take a look:
So, august, this is a bit embarrassing. I’m on the first page of Infinite Crisis and the JLA Watchtower has been destroyed? What happened?
august (in the wake of) dawn: Steve! Welcome to Infinite Crisis, hope you survive the experience! To explain what just happened to the JLA Watchtower, we have to step back to JLA #119. This issue was the fifth and final part of the “Crisis Of Conscience” storyline which served as a bridge between Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis. See, in Identity Crisis, it’s revealed that there has been a conspiracy at the heart of the Justice League for years that threatens to rip them apart and when Batman learns about that conspiracy that’s exactly what it does to the League. In “Crisis Of Conscience”, the League is grappling with the ramifications of what was revealed in Identity Crisis as well as the morality of powers like telepathy and magic manipulation; how much are the League willing to affect the basic human rights of supervillains to stop them from further destruction?
It’s a question that brings them directly into conflict with a mind manipulating villain called Despero (who actually first appeared in the original Justice League Of America #1 way back in 1960!) whose powers to influence the minds of others turn the League upon one another. While Despero is barely defeated with the help of Zatanna and Red Tornado, the continued existence of the League hangs by a thread. Only Superman, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern (the John Stewart one) remain active members.
Martian Manhunter returns to the Watchtower to begin assembling a new roster for the League when a figure the Watchtower computers recognise as Superman enters. However, the Martian Manhunter recognises the figure to not be who we think it be moments before the Watchtower explodes, leading to the wreckage found in the first issue of Infinite Crisis.
We’ll come back to that in a second. Why do they have a Watchtower on the moon anyway? I thought they had a Hall of Justice they used?
dawn: So here’s a fun fact you can take to your next trivia night: the Hall Of Justice didn’t appear in the comics until after Infinite Crisis. Specifically, Justice League Of America #7 about a year after the events of Infinite Crisis, when Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman rebuild the League.
The Hall Of Justice was originally created for the Hann Barbera cartoon, the Super Friends, itself styled after early Justice League Of America stories, but very much in the vein of a childish Saturday morning cartoon. While the Super Friends were based out of the Hall Of Justice, which was based on the Union Terminal in Cincinnati, and while the Hall made several leaps to other animated properties, it never made its way to the comics. The original incarnation of the League was based out of the Secret Sanctuary, a massive cave system in a mountain in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. From there, the League has been variously stationed in a bomb shelter in Detroit, United Nations Embassies, the pre-Crisis satellite and, until the events of Infinite Crisis, the JLA Watchtower.
The Watchtower was introduced in the fourth issue of JLA, the series where Grant Morrison took the reins as writer of the League. Prior to the JLA, the Justice League had been operating out of a satellite they called Refuge: an escape pod from the Overmaster’s ship that was jettisoned during the Judgement Day crossover event that was retrofitted to become the League’s base of operations. In the first issue of JLA, the Hyperclan crash refuge on the moon and in the fourth issue, after defeating the Hyperclan, the League rebuild the crashed ship as the new Watchtower, upgrading it along the way. That Watchtower remains their base throughout JLA until #119 – in which it is blown up with only Martian Manhunter inside.
So was anybody else in there when it exploded?
dawn: What you have to understand about Infinite Crisis is that, at this point in time, the existence of the Justice League is in tatters. Inly Martian Manhunter, Superman and Green Lantern remain active members of the League after recent events. The very fabric of time and space is being torn apart by ripples from beyond this universe and there is no Justice League to stand united against the coming Crisis.
So, in a sense, Martian Manhunter was there by himself, but the events that lead to him being there by himself were recent enough that he was living there by himself. He just happened to be building the new League roster by himself after the recent breakup when whoever blew up the Watchtower appeared… in order to, y’know, blow up the Watchtower.
Okay, that’s great! Thanks august, that clears it up. I think I’m ready to head back into writing the rest of this guide now now… just as soon as I find out what happened to Martian Manhunter. He’s been blown up? Really?? I’m going to have to call in a real Martian Manhunter expert on Friday to help explain everything, I think!
august (in the wake of) dawn is a writer and critic often seen writing for websites like Multiversity, as well as for their Patreon subscribers – you can pledge here! You can also find them on Twitter here!