First off, dropping Chemo on Blüdhaven? Genius.
Next, the Nightwing/Batman scenes really captured both how I view the characters and how their fictional peers view them. Given what he’s been through during the Devin Grayson run, is it ironic that they still trust Nightwing?
The big fight with Superboy-Prime was chilling, with a bit of gratuitous violence (oh sure, rip apart the Titans nobody likes), but his reaction to it was almost heartbreaking. Remember, this was the kid from “our” Earth, where the only superheroes were fictional – but by the same token, this kid grew up with the perfect fictional ideal of Superman. Not just the Superman of Julius Schwartz, but of “Super Friends,” George Reeves, and Christopher Reeve (and before Superman IV, too!). Imagine a young “Clark Kent,” who grows up looking like his namesake, and upon discovering he can fly, almost literally runs into the real thing (or at least one of them). Talk about a reader-identification character!
Naturally, by the time of Infinite Crisis, he’s been isolated for who-knows-how-long and fed a constant diet of good ol’ days reminiscing mixed with growing frustration. Sure he’s come unhinged; but Johns, Jiminez, and Pérez made me feel for him. Never mind whether he represents some segment of the DC audience whose mind has been warped by the unrealistic expectations of the older fans – from the beginning he’s been in over his head, and in hindsight it’s a wonder he lasted this long. What’s more, he’s not done yet, if his new DC Direct action figure is any indication.
Still, the sequence that haunted me in this morning’s wee hours was the Pérez-drawn “deaths” of the Flash and Kid Flash, with special appearances by DC’s honored dead speedsters. Obviously I don’t believe there’s anything permanent about the fates of Wally or Bart, and I would be very surprised if there were. Nevertheless, when Jay Garrick said the Speed Force was gone, it told me that DC was serious about putting its speedsters out of action at least until the summer.
Oh, and Detective Allen becoming the Spectre? Who had this issue in the pool?
Time will tell whether Infinite Crisis #4 was the start of an epic struggle that truly rivaled its predecessor, or just a collection of emotionally manipulative scenes. If it’s the latter, for me the manipulation was skillfully done.