Comics Ate My Brain

November 29, 2004

Crisis Plus Twenty

Filed under: crisis — Tom Bondurant @ 8:07 pm
Rich Johnston talks (as does Fanboy Rampage!) about a possible sequel/follow-up/attempt to cash in on Crisis on Infinite Earths:

Remember a few months ago, Lying In The Gutters mentioned a new Crisis series for 2005 by Geoff Johns and Phil Jiminez?

Well, I’ve just received a few more details. Trouble is they’re being disputed. Let’s see.

I’ve been told the whole of the DC Universe will jump forward by a year. All the titles will have completely new setups as a result, and the new Crisis series will gradually explain what happened to leave all the characters in the state they are after the year gap.

And that the first books to launch out of that will be the previously mentioned Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely in August, Batman by Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb, and Wonder Woman by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver.

But despite the story being well sourced, someone else equally well sourced is throwing water over it. And not just over the possibility that the new books don’t spin out of Crisis 2, but that the book is about something else entirely. Or am I just hedging my bets?

Either way, definitely expect shock and awe for whatever emerges from whatever Crisis turns out to be. And expect to see DC titles dominate the charts for a fair few months.

The big-name, fan-favorite aspect of the ostensible new creative teams was the first thing that struck me about the rumor. Of the three pairs mentioned, only Morrison and Quitely’s Superman would be a step up. In fact, Morrison on Superman has been a cherished fan rumor probably since he left JLA; and I remember specifically hearing a similar rumor just before the current Super-teams were announced. Supposedly Lee and Loeb are prepared to do another six issues of Batman, but that too has been the subject of rumors — namely, that their six issues would kick off a new Batman & Robin series. Finally, I doubt that Johns and Van Sciver, talented as they are, would sound good to anybody who (like me) has been enjoying Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson on Wonder Woman this past year.

In other words, even without the disclaimers, I’m not convinced this is on the level. Still, in some cases the alternative would be worse.

A global restart of every title is hardly appropriate in light of such universe-redefining events as Identity Crisis and Green Lantern Rebirth. The “everything starts a year later” plan is less sweeping, and might work, but only if it too isn’t seen as a perpetual company-wide crossover. The failures of superhero lines from such companies as Malibu, Dark Horse, and CrossGen illustrate the difficulty of launching a shared universe all at once. Something like 1994’s “Zero Month,” where right after Zero Hour each of DC’s books got an “Issue #0” to attract new readers, would work better.

By the way, just because I mention Zero Hour doesn’t mean I am endorsing the idea of another time-twisting crossover which reopens the Pandora’s box of retroactive continuity. I thought DC’s editors had learned not to canoodle around with the timeline after the first round of characters were restarted in the wake of the original Crisis. Then came 2003’s Superman: Birthright and this year’s “the original never happened” edition of Doom Patrol. Somewhere there is a happy medium between slavish adherence to every jot and tittle of a previous story, and throwing out all the rules in the service of good drama, but not only has DC editorial not found it, it seems to be flailing wildly between extremes.

But I digress. Just because 2005 is the 20th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, it doesn’t mean that DC has to reinvent itself all over again. The company’s already put out the obligatory hardcover collection, so why not a “Post-Crisis Crisis“? How better to honor the event that made “continuity” a dirty word than to let avowed history buffs like Johns and Jiminez try to make some sense of it?

Then, if they have some time, let ’em take a crack at Doom Patrol.

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