Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciller: George Perez
Inker: Dick Giordano
Cover: Above the row of Earths, working left to right and top to bottom are:
The shadowed face of the Monitor; Harbinger; Superwoman; Obsidian; Dr. Polaris; Killer Frost; Geo-Force; Dawnstar; and Blue Beetle.
Mostly on or below the Earths and working from the vanishing point forward are:
Owlman; Johnny Quick; Solovar; Ultraman; Green Lantern (GL) John Stewart; Alexander Luthor; Psycho Pirate; Firebrand; Psimon; Cyborg; Arion; Firestorm; Earth-2 Superman; Pariah; and Power Ring.
Page 1 – Panels 1 to 4 The birth of the Multiverse with infinite (well, a lot anyway) Earths created, each separated from the other by vibrational frequencies. Panel 4’s caption states that the Multiverse “should have been” a singular universe.
Pages 2 and 3 – Panels 1 to 6 One of those many Earths bites the dust as a wave of anti-matter destroys the universe it sits within.
Pages 2 and 3 – Panels 7 to 12 The first appearance of Pariah who appears just in time to watch the destruction of the planet.
Pages 2 and 3 – Panel 13 Pariah says that he is “forced to observe” the end of the Multiverse. We’ll find out more about that as the series goes on.
Pages 2 and 3 – Panels 14 to 20 It appears he is “forced to observe” as punishment for some unspecified “sins” and despite trying to help is ineffectual. Against his will, he is drawn to another Earth about to be destroyed just as he has seen “hundreds” of them already.
Page 4 – Panel 1 As the caption says, this is Earth-3, home to the Crime Syndicate.
Page 4 – Panel 2 Two members of the Syndicate – Power Ring and Ultraman – attempt to prevent the destruction of their world as volcanoes erupt in the middle of a city.
Page 4 – Panel 4 Ultraman tries to slow the volcanic destruction. His mention of changing “the course of mighty oceans” and his “adopted planet” echo phrases associated with Superman. He is, of course, this Earth’s counterpart.
Page 4 – Panel 6 Power Ring is the equivalent of Green Lantern.
Page 5 – Panel 1 Elsewhere, the other members of the Crime Syndicate do what they can . . . or at least stand around watching. On the left is Owlman, on the right Johnny Quick. They are this Earth’s counterparts of Batman and Flash respectively.
Page 5 – Panel 2 Owlman mentions “the Earth’s sole super-hero, Luthor.” whom we’ll meet in just a moment. On Earth-3, the only super-powered people formed the Crime Syndicate and this Earth’s Lex Luthor was the only one to fight against them.
Page 5 – Panel 5 And talk of the devil, here we have Alexander Luthor flying above the city, as helpless as Owlman.
Page 5 – Panel 6 Here’s the last member of the Syndicate, Superwoman. She’s not so much a straightforward counterpart to Wonder Woman rather than an amalgamation of her and Supergirl.
Page 5 – Panel 9 Despite Luthor’s warning cry, Superwoman is destroyed by the anti-matter wall, becoming the first named casualty of the Crisis.
Page 6 – Panel 1 Luthor muses that he “never wanted her to die like that.” which makes me wonder how he did want her to die?
Page 6 – Panel 4 Luthor flees the city and returns to the home he shares with his wife, Lois who appears here with their son, Alexander Jr.
Page 7 – Panel 1 Owlman and Johnny Quick die in the anti-matter wall.
Page 7 – Panel 3 Ultraman and Power Ring try to save some of the people.
Page 7 – Panels 4, 6, 8 and 10 Alexander Luthor loads his son into a prototype rocket that will take him to another Earth. This is clearly modelled on Superman’s well known origin when his parents sent him from the doomed Krypton to Earth.
Page 7 – Panels 11 and 12 As Pariah appears on Earth-3, Power Ring confronts him, mistakenly believing him to be responsible.
Page 8 – Panel 7 The last of the Crime Syndicate, Power Ring, dies.
Page 8 – Panels 8, 10 and 12 The launch of Luthor’s prototype takes place, sending Alexander Jr. to Earth-1.
Page 8 – Panel 16 Together, Alexander Luthor and his wife Lois die in the anti-matter wall.
Page 9 – Panels 1 to 7 As the craft holding Alex Jr. breaks through the vibrational barrier, the universe of Earth-3 is destroyed.
Page 9 – Panels 11 – 13 Alex’s craft lands on the abandoned Justice League satellite headquarters in the universe of Earth-1.
Pages 10 and 11 – Panel 4 Though his face is mostly hidden in shadow, this is the Monitor. In the run up to Crisis… he appeared in numerous titles, mostly selling weapons to various villains.
Pages 10 and 11 – Panel 9 The first appearance of Lyla who we’ll soon meet in her more familiar form. The Monitor talks of heroes and villains being summoned by Lyla but also of “another alternative” – this is the arrival of Alex into the universe of Earth-1.
Page 12 – Panel 4 It’s revealed that the individual universes suffer from a weakness because they are individual, a situation that is being taken advantage of.
Page 12 – Panel 8 Lyla separates into multiple beings, becoming Harbinger.
Page 13 – Panel 1 Left aboard his satellite, the Monitor forsees his own death.
Page 13 – Panels 4 and 5 Harbinger flies to Gorilla City in Africa where a friend of the Flash rules, namely . . .
Page 13 – Panel 6 King Solovar (his name is misspelt as Solivar throughout this issue) who rules as a wise and benign king.
Page 13 – Panel 9 Solovar has a lot on his mind. Wonder what that could be?
Page 14 – Panels 1 and 2 Gorilla City appears to be aware of the impending Crisis much sooner than mankind.
Page 14 – Panel 4 Harbinger arrives in Gorilla City to recruit Solovar.
Page 14 – Panels 5 to 9 Well, perhaps “recruit” is too mild a word – will “abduct” do?
Page 15 – Panel 2 The captions make this note redundant but here’s Dawnstar of the Legion of Super-Heroes in 30th century Metropolis.
Page 16 – Panels 4 to 6 Yet another recruit/abductee as Harbinger snatches Dawnstar away.
Page 16 – Panels 8 to 11 This is 1942 on Earth-2 in the middle of a War Bond Rally. Helping out in her “rich society gal” guise is Firebrand.
Page 17 – Panels 1 to 5 Harbinger demonstrates not only an ability to travel through time to the future and the past but also the power to halt it as she transforms Firebrand’s clothes to her costume.
Page 17 – Panels 6 and 7 Firebrand’s the first of Harbinger’s recruits to go willingly.
Page 17 – Panel 10 Harbinger travels to yet another Earth, this time (though it’s not mentioned) it’s Earth-4, the first time it’s appeared in the DCU.
Page 18 – Panel 4 Another first appearance in the DCU, this time for the Blue Beetle; the “Bug” he refers to is his flying craft seen above him.
Page 19 – Panels 2 and 3 Harbinger appears and easily persuades Beetle to join her. I have to wonder if it’s that easy, why did she force Solovar and Dawnstar?
Page 19 – Panels 4 and 5 Back on Earth-1 and even further into the past, Harbinger searches for Arion, Lord of Atlantis.
Page 19 – Panels 6 to 8 One of the same type of shadow figures seen in 1942 on Earth-2 is waiting for her and attacks.
Page 20 – Panels 1 and 2 Back on Earth-2, the short conversation in the caption boxes is presumably between Firebrand and Harbinger.
Page 20 – Panels 4 and 5 The man in the corner is Harbinger’s next recruit, the Psycho Pirate. He refers to Charles Halstead, the first Psycho Pirate.
Page 20 – Panel 11 Psycho Pirate’s Medusa Mask allows him to control the emotions of others, though it does create a drug-like dependency in the wearer.
Page 21 – Panel 8 Back in the ancient past we find Arion wandering the ice fields. The caption refers to a “great hero” who will halt the ice flow soon – I’m presuming that’s Arion.
Page 22 – Panel 3 Harbinger – the possessed one from earlier – finds Arion and demands he go with her.
Page 22 – Panel 4 We’ll have to believe Arion because from our point of view, it looks like he’s attacking Harbinger first, not the other way around.
Page 22 – Panel 9 Here we have the first hint of someone behind her new, crueller demeanour – a mysterious “He” who will, at some point, demand the deaths of not only Arion but the other heroes as well.
Page 23 – Panel 1 Back in the present on Earth-1 we have Firestorm heading off on a mission he’s none too happy about.
Page 23 – Panel 4 As Firestorm says, this is one of his enemies, the psychotic Killer Frost.
Page 23 – Panel 6 Firestorm refers to Professor Stein – this is Martin Stein who, along with Ronnie Raymond, combine to make up the hero Firestorm.
Page 24 – Panel 2 Harbinger has appeared and has brought Psycho Pirate along from Earth-2 whom she needs to aid her plan.
Page 24 – Panels 5 to 7 Psycho Pirate works his magic and changes Firestorm’s deadliest enemy into his new girlfriend.
Page 25 – Panel 3 Back aboard his satellite, the Monitor mentions “another Earth has perished” costing him five heroes – this was Earth-3 and the Crime Syndicate whose destruction we saw at the start of the issue. He also mentions having found Lyla (Harbinger) lost at sea, presumably on Earth-1.
Page 25 – Panel 4 The Monitor knows that Harbinger is destined to kill him.
Pages 26 and 27 – Panel 1 The first big crowd scene of the series. Running from left to right aboard the Monitor’s satellite are the heroes that Harbinger recruited earlier, some of which we witnessed:
Blue Beetle; Dawnstar; King Solovar; Psimon; Geo-Force; Cyborg; Psycho Pirate; Earth-2 Superman; Obsidian; Firebrand; Green Lantern John Stewart; Arion; Firestorm; Killer Frost; and Dr. Polaris.
Firebrand mentions Superman looking old because she is from 1942 while he is from the present.
Pages 26 and 27 – Panels 3, 5, 7 and 9 It’s the bad guys again, but this time in larger numbers.
Page 28 – Panel 3 Returned to her Lyla form, Harbinger is too weak to help the heroes.
Page 28 – Panel 4 The part of her that “will have altered the rest” is, of course, the one that was attacked during her hunt for Arion.
Page 30 – Panel 2 Arion has as little success as the rest of the heroes; the shadows here at at their most powerful.
Page 30 – Panels 6 and 7 Even the combined powers of GL John Stewart, Killer Frost and Firestorm can’t hold one of them.
Page 31 – Panel 6 With the lights turned way up, the shadows are forced to retreat.
Page 31 – Panel 10 It’s no coincidence that the silhouette of the Monitor is the same as the shadow demons.
Page 32 The Monitor, finally revealed.
Deaths in this issue:
- Superwoman (of Earth-3)
- Owlman (of Earth-3)
- Johnny Quick (of Earth-3)
- Ultraman (of Earth-3)
- Power Ring (of Earth-3)
- Alexander Luthor (of Earth-3)
- Lois Lane-Luthor (of Earth-3)