Sorry, I will be your substitute reviewer until Nic returns! DC Comics expects readers to regard Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths as a significant story. It certainly has all the trappings of a major crisis event. Its pages tout large scale battles with heroes, villains, impossible machines, and other multiversal shenanigans. Even so, why does everything feel so overwhelmingly unsatisfying? Will there be a DC Universe worth saving at the end?
There is no denying the talents of Daniel Sampere and Alejandro Sánchez. Their work is gorgeous and highly pleasing to look at. Numerous spreads in the issue have jaw dropping imagery and creative layouts. Although I feel the George Perez influences have overstayed their welcome, Sampere’s artwork features indomitable composition. I am often in awe of some of the big moments like Hal and Barry uniting their powers, Darkseid tearing Frankenstein apart, or smaller ones like Green Arrow’s heart to heart with the love of his life before battle. While I could easily point out how ridiculous the Green Lantern Corps look flying into a giant lantern like insects; I prefer to just appreciate how well the imagery works.
Leaving A Legacy
The issue’s subtitle is “Legacy War” because the next generation do the bulk of the fighting. Putting Yara Flor, Jace Fox, and Jon Kent at the head of the story this early in their conception seems like a mistake. Jace Fox appears with backup as a follow up to his I Am Batman series. At a crucial moment, the book tries to characterize Jace as just as much of a super genius as his father, his brother, and Mr. Terrific. The new champion of Themyscira herself forces Pariah to submit to harsh reality with the Lasso of Truth. Weirdly enough, I don’t remember Yara ever replacing her boleadoras with Diana’s lasso. Worst of all, the heroes expect new Superman Jon Kent to solo Doomsday, Darkseid, and other major villains by himself.
In contrast, the legacy characters with longer tenure in the DCU have very little to actually do. While the extremely green trinity gain their unearned stripes, older characters like Steel, Supergirl, Nubia, Ms. Martian, and more easily lose. The series is way too comfortable with downplaying established characters to give the new characters their lackluster 15 minutes of fame. The biggest sin for me involves the treatment of Nightwing in the narrative. Readers have constant reminders that Dick Grayson is important, but Williamson writes him like a temporary fill-in.
Who is Dark Crisis for? The problem with meddling with 40 years of baggage is that it comes with high expectations. The plot rambles on and on about crisis energy and killing heroes to bring back infinite worlds so long that Williamson lost track of what it needs to accomplish. I love the smaller interactions that let the characters breathe. However, the death of the Justice League, villain feats, or tie-ins never amount to any meaningful pay off. I wish the story proved that the legacy characters can stand on their own before the Justice League returned, but they clearly need supervision. Not being careful with the material makes readers question “who was any of this for, and why?”
- You like really well rendered artwork by Daniel Sampere.
- Curious as to how the Justice League return.
- You have been following Dark Crisis On Infinite Earth willingly.
Much like my review, Dark Crisis is conceptually the babysitter that throws a house party. I expect you to take care of the house and the children, not play beer pong with my vases. Williamson just wanted to play in the DC Comics library, but nobody asked him to do this. A responsible custodian takes care of the intellectual property in their care. Unfortunately, they butchered the Justice League and nerfed their sidekicks and allies to make three new characters look good for a few panels. It is a gorgeous looking book, but I doubt it will be worth it in the end.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.