All aboard! It’s time for another tear-jerking episode of Tact is for the Weak, the article that puts sugar in the other articles’ gas tanks!
Well, two and a half years and seven issues (plus four specials, one secret file, and countless tie-in issues) later, we can finally relax; no more OMACs or whiny, homicidal, super-powered teenagers; no more Earth-2 or Earth-Prime, no more “continuity-punching”; DC Comics’s mega-event Infinite Crisis is finally over!
…well, almost. Don’t forget, we’ve got the Crisis Aftermath miniseries: Battle for Bludhaven, Ion, Blue Beetle, Checkmate, Shadowpact, and Secret Six. Then, of course, you’ve got a full year’s worth of weekly installments of 52, the mini(?)series that chronicles (in real time!) the missing year between Infinite Crisis and One Year Later. (I forget how many issues there are exactly, but I hear it’s at least six.) Plus, you also will need to pick up the book-end title Brave New World, which serves to bring the DCU into focus much like Countdown to Infinite Crisis did before the mega-event kicked off. AND, you should probably pick up the titles spinning out of Brave New World: Martian Manhunter, Shazam!, The All-New Atom, OMAC, Creeper, and Freedom Fighters.
Oh, and DC Comics Head Honcho Dan Didio has been liberally dropping hints about the next big event, tantalizingly prodding us to “Look to the skies.”
Oyyyyyy. So much for my rainy day fund. Still, I feel obliged to lead you, my flock, through the murkiness of our current state of affairs. Let’s just take a gander at the big names of the DCU, with an eye on their pre-, mid-, and post- Infinite Crisis roles, and see if we can’t sort through this sh**storm that DC has thrown in our continuity-loving faces. And, know full well that it’s finals week here at the University, so I’m phoning in the hell out of this column!
The Big Three (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman)
Pre-IC: The three biggest names in the DCU were practically at each others throats more often than they were after the bad guys! Following the revelations of Identity Crisis, the heroes were already on edge; after Max Lord used Superman to brutally beat Batman almost to death, and after Wonder Woman snapped Lord’s neck, the only words exchanged between the three icons were cold and spiteful. As Infinite Crisis opened, Batman even had the testicles to tell Superman that the last time he inspired anyone was when he was dead. Now, that’s some World’s Finest teamwork!
Mid-IC: Well, it’s funny how meeting your opposite from another universe changes your perspective on things. The Big Three were obviously the primary subjects of Infinite Crisis, and it naturally fell to them to provide the final solutions to the crisis at hand. In particular, Superman (both of them) seemed to really be the center of attention, though, often eclipsing the roles of the other two icons.
Post-IC: Now that the crisis is over, the Big Three are nowhere to be found! Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince have gone out into the world to “find themselves” (possibly with the help of Oprah Winfrey or that magnificent, egocentric Dr. Phil), and a now depowered Clark Kent is living the high life as a normal human being. Honestly, I think Superman got the best end of that deal; with no more super-stregth or impenetrable skin, he can finally start makin’ babies with that foxy wife of his! Lord knows we’ve seen her in her underwear enough to know she’s still attractive (and she’s what, almost 70 years old? Not bad, Miss Lane!).
Green Lantern Corps
Pre-IC: Barely a few months after the triumphant return of Hal Jordan, the GLC had just begun to reform (see GLC: Recharge), and another crisis rears its ugly head! Good thing that yellow weakness has been dealt with; otherwise, Alex Luthor could have been a much bigger problem (as well as the Yellow Bandit)!
Mid-IC: With minimal involvement in the first issue, and mysteriously absent from most of the series, the GLC took center stage in the concluding issue as the still-rebuilding corps proved to be one of the deciding factors in the battle against Superboy Prime. While John Stewart fans are probably among the most disappointed (nary a line of dialogue to be found!), Guy and Hal fans were pleasantly surprised at the sudden significance the GLs were receiving.
Post-IC: With Green Lantern, Ion, and the upcoming Green Lantern Corps ongoing title around the corner, Dan Didio has promised that Green Lanterns are going to be back in the DCU’s limelight. Especially in the face of a year without the Big Three, Hal Jordan and the rest of the Corps will be doing a lot of stepping up, and seeing as how the world is still in one piece OYL, they probably didn’t f**k it up too bad.
Pre-IC: Her death in Teen Titans/ Young Justice: Graduation Day was supposedly the first conscious, official step towards Infinite Crisis. When she came back, it was revealed that she was actually the “Harbinger” of a different universe, and, armed with the knowledge of the universe and a big computer-moon-thing space base, she hurtled off to gather forces to combat the upcoming crisis.
Mid-IC: Actually… she didn’t really do a whole lot. She mustered her forces ahead of time and transported them to the center of the universe, but…that’s about all she did. She was upstaged by Kilowog at the peace talks between Rann and Thanagar, and was outclassed by Kyle Rayner (now “Ion”) when the time for action actually came.
Post-IC: Well, we don’t really know much about Donna’s OYL status. For a while, she was rumored to be the new Wonder Woman (finally succeeding her former mentor), but now that we can see Diana is still alive and kicking, the chances of seeing Donna fill out the famous “golden eagle” one-piece are pretty slim.
Pre-IC: Fans went ape when it was revealed that Kara was actually left over from the multiverse, and it was promised that she was going to be one of THE characters to watch during the upcoming crisis.
Mid-IC: For the first half of the series, Kara provided readers with a viewpoint with which to learn all about the history of the DCU and the involvement of the original Crisis survivors in this new event. However, once she got strapped onto that tower… that massive, erect tower… she was simply out of the picture until freed at the end of the penultimate issue. And, except for a few reaction shots when her cousin from Earth-2 died, her role pretty much ended with that golden tower… that magnificent golden tower…
Post-IC: The revelation that Kara was a byproduct of the forgotten multiverse was a big deal before the crisis, but now? She’s just another chick with a cape and a large bust size (who can also pick up a truck with one hand). She’s still in the JSA, and she’s still second banana to Supergirl.
The Martian Manhunter
Pre-IC: J’onn J’onzz has been known in every incarnation of the JLA as a sturdy moral compass. However, just prior to Infintie Crisis, he was caught in the explosion of the JLA Watchtower (later revealed to have been caused by Superboy Prime) and was presumed dead.
Mid-IC: Rather than dead, J’onn was merely kidnapped and strapped onto Alex Luthor’s golden tower (how I long for thee!). In fact, J’onn was pretty much worthless until the end of issue #6, after which he became an integral part of the final chapter (maybe not throwing around a lot of punches, but he was still there in a prominent speaking role). In fact, it was he, along with Power Girl , the two Supermen, and the Green Lanterns, that ended up finishing the battle with Superboy Prime.
Post-IC: Supposedly, J’onn J’onzz will be changing both his appearance and his attitude. Readers caught a glimpse of his new threads in the final pages of Infinite Crisis, and will get to look into J’onn’s mind with this summer’s Brave New World one-shot and the ensuing Martian Manhunter miniseries.
Pre-IC: Wally West was the fastest man alive, and was high on life, having just become the father of twins and recently wrapping up his business with the “Rogue War.”
Mid-IC: The Flash’s time had apparently come to an end when Wally (along with his wife and kids) disappeared in the speed force in order to trap Superboy Prime. Unfortunately, the super-powered teen escaped, but behind him came an older (and faster) Bart Allen, formerly Kid Flash. However, as Infinite Crisis wrapped up, Bart had used up the last of his speed, and the only Flash left with any speed was Jay Garrick, the original Flash.
Post-IC: Well, we don’t know who’s inside the red suit, but come this summer, readers will find out in the new ongoing title The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive. Until then, though, my money’s on Ambush Bug. For serious!
Pre-IC: Ornery old coot with a bow, arrows, and a chip on his shoulder.
Mid-IC: Ornery old coot with a bow, arrows, and a mad-on for the Villains United.
Post-IC: Ornery old coot with a bow, arrows, and the mayor’s office of Star City.
Well, that’s all the time I have for now. Perhaps I’ll revisit this topic and hit some more characters, but for now, I need to rest. My big music theory final is in seven hours (it’s 1:00 in the morning now!), and I’ve spent all my study time writing this crap! But, before I go…it’s time to hand out this week’s Tactless Book of the Week Award!
This week, the award goes to… Marvel Comics’s Civil War #1. Honestly, with the final issue of Infinite Crisis and the first issue of Civil War coming out in the same week, I couldn’t mention one without the other! Marvel’s own mega-event promises to rip the heroes in twain, pitting brother against brother and forcing us to see even more of that ridiculous new Spider-man outfit. There is sure to be plenty of debate generated about which side is right (and believe me, I will let you all know what my position is at some point!), although, to be honest, this registration business sounds like a knock-off of the plot from the first X-Men movie. But really, the debate comes down to this: do you want your masked vigilantes butter-side-up or butter-side-down? Personally, I’ll choose whichever side that Spider-woman’s on; she’s a real fox, that one is! And you know she’s limber…
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you this week, folks. Be sure to check out next week’s column for even more all-tactless action! I’m gonna go grab some lotion, a towel, and a picture of that golden tower from Infinite Crisis. Hey, I’m secure with myself! It’s just…it’s golden. And massive. And Power Girl’s strapped to it. ‘Nuff said. PEACE!