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. It turns out that there’s quite a lot that needs to be explained though… so we’ve had to bring in some real experts to help us out!
Last time round Emma mentioned some character I’ve never heard of before called “Jack Bauer”. Who is he, and what does he have to do with comics? This sounds like it could potentially be the MOST important thing if we’re ever going to crack the secrets of Infinite Crisis, and the only person I could trust with this is… David Brothers!
Emma said that 24 popularised stories where heroes have “no other option” than to do the worst thing – and that’s why we have Wonder Woman kill Maxwell Lord just before Infinite Crisis started. Would you agree with that?
David Brothers: Steve! It is good to hear from you. Emma is correct in that 24 leaned very hard on there being “no other option” to validate or enable all types of horrible behavior. It’s been quite a while since I read Infinite Crisis, but to my recollection, Wonder Woman killed Maxwell Lord because she was put into a situation where it was do or die, right? She figuratively took a bullet for Superman.
24 was very fond of that type of situation, where if Jack Bauer didn’t do (horrible thing), someone innocent somewhere else would definitely, definitely die. So isn’t it moral to do this horrible thing, considering the stakes? After all, he’s only hurting bad guys… That kinda storytelling hangs around 24 like a cloud
Aside from that, would you say that’s where the comparisons between Jack Bauer and Wonder Woman end? Has Jack ever had to fight a cheetah?
Brothers: I hadn’t thought about it before you asked this, but they actually do have a few points in common! Both Diana and Jack have a wide mandate to do “whatever it takes” to save the day, which in Wonder Woman’s case sometimes means yelling that she’s come to Man’s World on a mission of peace while snapping necks and stabbing people, which is a real Jack Bauer move. They both have a type of certain moral self-awareness that I appreciate, where Diana aspires to a higher standard but recognizes that sometimes life gives you lemons and Jack knows the difference between right and wrong but would willingly throw his honor away to save innocents.
The difference, I suppose, is that Diana is a goddess and stars in comics where she radiates light and friendship, while there are a couple of seasons of 24 about how Jack Bauer’s high-intensity approach to national defense has ruined his life. His friends hate and betray him off and on throughout the series, and his career lead directly to the death of no less than three women he was romantically involved with and alienated his daughter for a while.
Oh! They do have one thing in common. Kim Bauer, Jack’s daughter, was chased and attacked by a cougar in one season while on the run from being framed for a murder and possibly kidnapping (separate victims; it’s a whole thing). I imagine Jack isn’t too fond of big cats nowadays…just like Wonder Woman probably isn’t too fond of Cheetah
Right now, Wonder Woman’s currently experiencing a massive new popularity! She had a major movie, a second one is on the way, it’s all going well for her. How is Jack Bauer doing nowadays? Is he having a good time?
Brothers: Last we see Jack, he was trading his life for the life of his sole remaining friend, Chloe O’Brian. He gave himself up to elements of the Russian government to rescue her. It turns out they didn’t take too kindly to that series of episodes where he went on a rampage and kidnapped a US president in broad daylight, cartoonishly murdered a bunch of bad guys simultaneously, and eventually goes almost all the way through with a plan to assassinate the Russian president.
He’s probably not having a fun time!
Thanks David! I’m sure this is all going to be relevant to Infinite Crisis at some point. Now, before we started thinking about all this, we had been talking about Maxwell Lord – and we heard that apparently there have been multiple versions of him? That’s… confusing. Let’s get somebody in who can help us understand why there are multiple Maxwells!
David Brothers is fate’s cold breath upon your shoulder. You can find a listing of all his work past and present over on his site here, and follow him on Twitter here!