This is probably going to be a long review, because I feel obligated to explain the backstory and some of the worlds that are involved in Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse. The first issue of Infinite Crisis is comprised of the first three digital issues, each with their own Earth and storyline. To make life easier, the score of the issue will not be for the three individually, but for the issue as a whole.
Very quickly on how the Multiverse works, for those who are exposed to this for the first time. I was only fourteen at the time that the original Infinite Crisis came out, so this is really my first time to experience something new at an age where I can appreciate and understand everything going on. Now, most of this is explained in the first section of the triumvirate that makes up this issue, but here’s the Spark Notes. The Multiverse consists of 52 different worlds, narrowed down from an infinite number of worlds by the events of the original Infinite Crisis up until The New 52.
Each of these 52 worlds has their own quality about them that separates them from their fellow worlds. Earth-43 is the Nightmare Earth, as seen in Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, Earth-30 is the Red Son Earth, Earth-11 is in the reverse gender universe, Earth-13 is the Arcane World, which is more fantasy and magical, and Earth-17, the Atomic Earth, which follows a massive nuclear war. All of these worlds are overseen by the last Monitor, Nix Uotan.
Nix Uotan is introduced very early in the story, narrating a message which is designed to be sent as a recruitment letter to various heroes and villains throughout the Multiverse. It’s mostly just a way of introducing the overall concept of the series, as well as Harbinger, who is the consistent subject throughout the issue. There are some very cool panels of Harbinger fighting her way through the Multiverse, supposedly to collect heroes for the battle against whatever unknown evil is threatening the Multiverse.
Central to Dan Abnett’s storyline is the battle for various artifacts that are alleged to be able to aid this unknown foe in their battle against the Monitor and the heroes. It ties in to the game’s concept, which involves battling over constructs and artifacts in order to advance one side of the struggle.
The meat of the story takes place in some territory that will be familiar to Batman fans. The two main worlds that take up the majority of the issue are Earth-Prime, the Earth where the majority of the New 52 takes place, and Earth-19, better known as Gaslight Earth.
Gotham by Gaslight’s Earth-19 is featured in the third and final section of the book, where Earth-Prime Batman and Harbinger meet some new yet familiar faces.
It’s sad to say, but the weakest part of this entire issue would have to be the portrayal of Earth-Prime Batman. I could definitely understand if the Batman that Harbinger had chosen would have been the Gaslight version or the Atomic version, but this is Earth-Prime Batman! This is the God-damn Batman! He should be totally aware of the multiverse and that there were other worlds beyond his own. Batman spends most of the issue asking Harbinger to repeat herself and telling her to basically treat him like he has no idea what’s going on.
They also play “The Pronoun Game,” which makes the dialogue between Batman and Harbinger insufferable. For those of you who do not know what “The Pronoun Game” is, it is a trope used by writers to try and build suspense by having characters denote important things as “it” or “him,” in order to make things seem more important. Harbinger constantly plays The Pronoun Game when referring to her pursuer or different parts of her mission, which makes the dialogue seem extremely amateurish.
The artwork fluctuates for me throughout this issue. I loved the Gaslight Earth’s dark and stylized colors, reflecting the flames that serve as the primary light source. The coloring during the action scenes, as well as the fantastic work done on Harbinger’s pursuer really add to the quality of the Gaslight world sequence.
Probably the biggest selling point of this series would be the opportunity to check out the various iterations of popular DC characters based on their respective home-worlds. Personally, I would love to see Nightmare Superman, Gaslight Flash, Arcane Doomsday, or Mecha Green Lantern, and hopefully these get to come into play later on in the series. For now, Infinite Crisis has a long way to go to get me fully vested into it.
- The villain is Atomic Two-Face, who actually looks pretty awesome and terrifying. Also, Two-Face is probably the perfect Atomic villain, given his disposition and appearance. I can visualize someone having half their face melted OR even two people having their faces merged in a hellscape of a world that has been ravaged by atomic fire.
- The three heroes introduced at the end of the issue are: Nightmare Robin, Arcane Green Lantern, and Atomic Wonder Woman.
- What’s with Gaslight Catwoman hating on Batman? “You seem weak, without gifts or invention.” Once again, this is the God-damn Batman!
- Harbinger dies. She gets a blast from Atomic Two-Face straight to the abdomen.
Favorite Quote: “He is nothing if not honest. Especially given the prospect of severe facial trauma.” – Alfred Pennyworth (Earth-Prime)
- You’re a fan of the Infinite Crisis game.
- You love these Multiverse crossover stories.
- You’ve been looking for different versions of your favorite characters.
There’s some pretty dense stuff to get through for a comic book, and I couldn’t stand the first two-thirds of the book, but I have high hopes for this run going forward. The third act saves it somewhat, but Batman was just written so poorly that it kills the vibe for me.