Posts Tagged ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’
I was catching up on Crisis on Infinite Earths tonight when I noticed this lovely Easter Egg. As a big Trekkie, and a fan of The Wrath of Khan in particular, this panel made me very happy.
It’s worth noting that Marv Wolfman actually wrote the Marvel Super Special comic adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 and edited the first 20 issues of DC Comics’ Star Trek from 1984 to 1985 (and doing sporadic color work thereafter) while George Perez did the covers for the first three issues of the DC Comics run.
Speaking of Wolfman and Perez, don’t forget that The New Teen Titans Omnibus Volume 1 is out today! I’m broke, but green with envy over all you who purchase it (insert your own Beast Boy joke here).
So, a couple days ago over on DC’s The Source blog, they put up a weird cover for a “Red Lantern/Red Arrow” cover tribute to Neal Adams’ Green Arrow Vol. 2 #76. I saw it, kinda went “Well, that’s odd,” and left it at that. Being a gigantic nerd about the show Fringe (to the point where I’m nerdily excited for Wildstorm’s upcoming Tales From the Fringe book), I was psyched for last night’s season finale. And then I saw that cover, along with four others on a wall behind Peter. The Source is going to reveal them in detail later today, but I kiiiinda got some sweet screencaps and figured, screw it, let’s look at them a little early.
From what I can tell, there’s alternate universe tributes to the covers of George Pérez’s Crisis on Infinite Earths #3, Dan Jurgen’s Superman Vol. 2 #75, Neal Adams’ Green Lantern Vol. 2 #76, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns #1, and Kevin Maguire’s Justice League #1. Awesome!
Check out The Source later today to see the covers in full detail.
We all know how much the publishing houses love their events. Hell, at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, there wasn’t a single DC, Marvel, or Image panel that didn’t ramble on and on about how great Blackest Night, Siege, or Image United were gonna be. But in 20 years, will people really give a shit about any of that? Or will they just be really confused when an older comic writer references it in a book? Yeah, it’s the latter. Well, that’s what “WTF Is” is all about: explaining what happened in all the events from the past that didn’t really live up to the glory of, oh, Crisis on Infinite Earths or something.
And, speaking of a DCU crisis, doesn’t it seem like 1994’s Zero Hour: Crisis in Time would be the perfect place to start?
Zero Hour is the story of the DCU vs. Extant. Sort of? Yeah, this is one of those books where they tried to get as much shit to happen in as few pages as possible. Here’s the best way I can explain it. During Armageddon 2001 (which almost deserves a “WTF Is” of its own), a character named Waverider goes back in time to the year 2001 to try and destroy an evil being named the Monarch before he can kill all the superheroes around 2030. During that event, the Monarch captured Hank “Hawk” Hall and Dawn “Dove” Granger, eventually executing Dove and making Hank go crazy. The Monarch then revealed himself to be a future version of Hank, driving Hank to kill the Monarch, steal his armor, and take up the Monarch mantle himself (in other words, he does everything in his stupid power to make sure that he ends up a bad guy). After becoming a Captain Atom villain for a while, it’s discovered that instead of the Monarch killing Dove, he just absorbed her or something. Hank Hall then changes his name to Extant, steals Waverider’s time travel bracelets, and disappears into time to try and change the universe into how he wants it by erasing existence from the end of time backwards to the beginning and restarting from scratch.
So, yeah, what we have here is another DC “crisis” event attempting to once again change the DCU forever by throwing a ton of confusing shit at us all at once and hoping that in the end it all makes sense. To make matters worse, Zero Hour was written by Dan Jurgens, the guy behind Superman vs. Aliens, the “Death of Superman” storyline, and the creator of DC’s Tangent imprint. Also included in the storyline are a bunch of tie-ins that were all released in October 1994 and numbered #0 (also known as “Zero Month”) which each revealed something unknown about the main hero of the title’s origin. Basically, this is everything amiss with 1990s DC Comics. Brace yourselves.
So, here is the quickest summary I can muster. Extant travels to the end of time, killing Time Trapper and causing a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style Ctrl+Z rift to go backwards through time, erasing existence (don’t think about the physics of this, it makes zero sense). Metron, Waverider, Superman, and Batman team up to attempt to stop the universe from rebooting. They get the help of every other hero in the DCU and the results are somewhat catastrophic. Wally West, Jay Garrick, Steel, most of the JSA, Dr. Mist, Vandal Savage, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Kyle Rayner all “die.” An attempt is made at explaining what Hawkman’s deal is by stuffing all of the Thanagarians into one body (which just ends up raising more questions rather than clarifying anything). Extant is revealed to not really be the villain of the book, but was working for Hal Jordan (under the influence of Parallax) who wants to undo Coast City getting destroyed in “Reign of the Supermen.” The story ends with the universe being completely erased before the Spectre showing up to save the day (as he pretty much does in every Crisis) and the Green Arrow shooting Hal in the chest, “killing” him. The Spectre pumps newcomer Damage full of energy, causing him to act as a new Big Bang. Time goes by naturally and the universe is as it was. Sort of.
But how is this still relevant to the modern DCU? Well, remember when I said all of those characters “died?” The only ones who actually died and stayed dead were the original Atom and Doctor Mid-Nite. Wally West just got thrown through the time stream a bit, where he witnessed all the major points in his life (including his and Linda’s deaths) and gave a younger self a pep talk. Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner didn’t really die, but got transported back to Oa. There, they had an all out fight that ended with Oa getting blown the fuck up. Aquaman got his totally 90s beard and harpoon hand after piranhas ate it off. Power Girl has a baby which is pretty much never heard from again. The biggest impact, however, was probably to Green Arrow. Thinking that he’d just killed Hal Jordan, Ollie threw his costume into the sea, went back to the monastery he joined in Flash #218, and meets Connor Hawke, his son, for the first time.
Some of the strangest tie-ins, however, had to be in both Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Geoff Johns’ Booster Gold. In Sandman: Worlds’ End, a group of inter-dimensional travelers sit in a bizarre inn and wait out the “reality storm” caused by Parallax in Zero Hour (without ever directly mentioning it). Even stranger is April 2008’s Booster Gold #0, in which Booster, Dan Gerrett, Ted Kord, Jamie Reyes, and an unnamed fourth Blue Beetle from the 57th century stumble across Extant and Parallax discussing why they didn’t want Alan Scott dead. After a brief fight, Booster and the Beetles (ha) zap themselves away to the time of Booster’s origin, making its premise similar to the #0 books of 14 years prior.
Anyways, congratulations, whoever you are! You are now an expert in all things Zero Hour and never, ever have to read it.
Hey, Around Comics. I’m calling you out. It’s on now, guys.
“Who cares about Ronnie Raymond?”
I’ll tell you who fucking cares about Ronnie Raymond.
I fucking care about Ronnie Raymond.
Sure his origin story isn’t that great. Ronnie wants to impress that hot chick at school who is, like, sooooo into politics so he joins the Coalition to Resist Atomic Power (hahaha, CRAP), led by Eddie Earhart (who is very Earth Liberation Front-y). Meanwhile, Professor Martin Stein builds a nuclear testing facility. Turns out CRAP isn’t happy about this and raids the joint. When Eddie knocks out Stein, Ronnie freaks out and Eddie decks Ronnie. CRAP leaves to torch a Hummer dealership and Ronnie wakes up to a big ass explosion that combines he and Stein into Firestorm.
Later on, they turned him into a character who was all about being buddies with the Ruskies (to the point where he, Stein, and some dude named Mikhail all shared the same body). After that they turned him into a “fire elemental,” kinda like how Alan Moore made Swamp Thing an earth elemental. They also made him look like somebody set 1990s Wolverine on fire. He then lost the power to Stein, got leukemia (the 1980s LOVED giving fictional characters terminal illnesses), got rid of leukemia, and became Firestorm again.
Why do I love this character? In Crisis on Infinite Earths there was a consistently hilarious sequence where Psycho Pirate forces longtime Firestorm adversary Killer Frost into falling deeply in love with him. She won’t stop hanging off him and he is CLEARLY not happy with it. Even though it was a small part of an amazing story, it became one of my favorite plot threads. [Maybe that’s because you dated a girl who tried to kill you! – M]
And then he died. Oh, how he died. Do you have the trade of Identity Crisis? You have no excuse. You should. Go get it and flip to chapter five. A few pages in, you’ll see Vixen (another character I think I need to eventually write a post about), the Justin Arthur Shining Knight (in what I believe is his final appearance), Captain Marvel, and Ronnie fighting the Shadow Thief. Shadow Thief jumps through Vixen, grabs Shadow Knight’s sword, and impales Ronnie with it. A couple pages later, there is a close-up of Ronnie’s face, his eyes welling with tears, saying “I’m gonna blow up.” Meltzer’s caption says it best: “No one there is a physicist. But they still know what happens when you puncture a nuclear reactor.” He flies away from the group, choking out his last words: “The professor, my family, somebody say goodbye to my dad for me.”
That was the first time I genuinely teared up while reading a book. I got way into this character in Crisis on Infinite Earths. I’m currently searching around for the Fury of Firestorm books as well as the original five books from Firestorm volume one. I got the Legendary Super Powers Show tie-in action figure and am waiting on the DC Universe figure to show up (fucking UPS, hurry up).
And now, with the news that Ronnie Raymond will be back in Blackest Night, it’s as if somebody is twisting Shadow Knight’s sword again. I couldn’t help but smile a little at Barry Allen’s sadness towards Ronnie’s death in Blackest Night #1 and I eagerly await his return, even if he only comes back as a Black Lantern.
So, tell me Around Comics. Who cares about Ronnie Raymond?