Maybe all it takes is a change in the media form to convince me that this book still has some sort of pulse. Perhaps I have been tricked by the pixelated convenience which is Digital First issues, or, hopefully, Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse has taken a turn towards being an acceptable book to read without the assistance of a bottle of asprin. I haven’t exactly been in the area this last week, so I purchased Digital comics for the first time, and my entry to the 21st century was this surprisingly appealing issue.
The first issue of Infinite Crisis was incredibly disappointing, with weak writing, an uninteresting story, and overall unappealing artwork. It followed the story of the last Monitor and his Harbinger, who watch over the Multiverse of 52 worlds and are preparing for the upcoming conflict between the forces of good and evil that will spread across all universes. At the crux of all the chaos seems to be Earth Prime’s Batman, who was treated like a C-list hero in the worst kind of way.
Issue #2 of Infinite Crisis collects Digital issues #4-6, and cover two separate storylines that will hopefully take up the majority of the story going forward. The first covers a search party comprised of Flash, Cyborg, and Zatanna, who had been tipped off about Batman’s disappearance. There’s a good deal of dumb humor with the Flash, but it’s the kind of humor that’s so full of cheese that it makes you laugh. There isn’t a great deal of action, but there’s a cameo that was on my personal wish list, and the ending leaves me with enough interest that I actually looked forward to the next issue featuring this trio.
The rest of the issue covers the five remaining heroes who are dealing with the aftermath of Harbinger’s death at the hands of Atomic Two-Face on Gaslight Earth. Batman, Gaslight Catwoman, Arcane Green Lantern, Atomic Wonder Woman, and Nightmare Robin each have their personalities fleshed out in these issues – particularly Green Lantern – and there’s a lot exposition to absorb. The entirety of the third act was Sir Harold’s (GL’s) backstory, which was both entertaining and aesthetically pleasing to look at. The amount of dialogue doesn’t quite hurt the issue as much as it stagnates it in parts, but with the consequences that occur in the latter pages, it’s hard to say that this book lacks stakes.
I genuinely enjoy the choices that were made for the heroes to accompany Batman in this endeavor, and it seems that Bats is winning over his troupe of heroes. They still don’t give him the same respect that’s been afforded to Batman by his Earth Prime compatriots, but the general theme is that there’s “something about him.” (Whatever that means) I personally loved Nightmare Robin’s view on him, seeing as how his version of Batman is a blood-sucking vampire who, if you’ve read the whole Batman & Dracula: Red Rain trilogy, is pretty insane.
The artwork is still inconsistent, but I found it more appealing than the previous issue. Once again, that might just be because of the new format I’ve been reading these on, but I’ll take whatever perceived improvements I can get with this story. The biggest problems I had with this issue were the
- The surprise cameo was Nightmare Batman, one of my favorite Elseworld versions of Batman.
- Atomic Two-Face is also known as “The Two-Faced,” which I thought was dumb. What isn’t dumb is the fact that he completely destroys Earth-48, nicknamed War World and the home planet of Harbinger. Not only does he destroy Earth-48, but the entirety of Universe-48, and almost takes out the five heroes with it.
- There was way too much talking with the post-Harbinger scenes, and way too much “hey, let’s all blame Batman” followed by “oh hey, we’re all too stupid to realize that Two-Face has played us for fools” followed by “oh, ok, Batman’s cool now.” It just felt weak and long-winded.
- I loved the battle on Earth-13 between Arcane Green Lantern and the robots. I haven’t been reading any of the main Green Lantern lines, so my only exposure to GL has been Earth 2. His constructs have been less than imaginative, so seeing fantasy-based creations was fun.
- One thing about Batman irked me. Nightmare Robin says “We find the sucker and stop him dead,” and Batman loves that idea. Even the DEAD part is in bold print. I thought Batman was all against that stuff.
Favorite Quote: “I’m Batman.” “Sir, there are many…” “I’m Batman.” – Batman and Arcane Green Lantern.
- You like these team-up books with over-the-top stakes.
- You’re a Green Lantern/fantasy fan.
- You enjoy dumb humor.
This book was a big improvement over the first issue, but there’s still too much talking and not enough being done to explore these new worlds. The dynamic between these heroes may not be getting better, but it’s getting interesting at least.