Crisis on Infinite Earths #2: Time and Time Again!

  • Writer: Marv Wolfman
  • Penciller: George Pérez
  • Inker: Dick Giordano
  • Colorist: Tony Tollin
  • Letterer: John Costanza
  • Cover Artist: George Pérez
  • Editor: Marv Wolfman

Cover: In the foreground is a shadow demon; to the left of its arm (as we look at the cover) are Earth-2 Superman; Obsidian; Dawnstar; Kamandi; and Firebrand; to the right of its arm is Firestorm; and below it are King Solovar and Green Lantern John Stewart. Also note the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Page 1 – Panels 2 and 3: First in silhouette and then in a clear panel is Anthro, the first boy in the DC Universe, a Cro-Magnon man in a Neanderthal world.

Page 2 – Panel 1: It’s probably just as well the other villagers can’t hear him over the noise – this is hardly the success he was hoping for.

Page 2 – Panel 2: On the left is Ne-Ahn, Anthro’s father; beside him is Anthro’s wife Embra. When it looks like Anthro’s not going to make it, Ne-Ahn disowns him.

Page 2 – Panel 3: With a little perseverance, Anthro is able to turn the lead mammoth, saving his village.

Page 2 – Panels 2 to 4: How fickle some people can be

Page 2 – Panel 4: On the left, just behind Ne-Ahn, is Anthro’s brother Lart. Now that Anthro’s a success, Ne-Ahn is willing to lay claim to him. A little humour amidst the universal threat is a good thing, I think.

Page 3 – Panel 5: Anthro catches a glimpse of 30th century Metropolis as time starts to go out of kilter.

Page 3 – Panel 7: It’s a bit of a stretch to believe Anthro would recognise Metropolis as a village as it’s unlike any village he’d ever seen but hey, that’s the wonder of comics, right?

Page 3 – Panel 9: As Anthro is hailed as a hero, his brother Lart is the only one to wonder what did happen to the mammoths.

Page 4 – Panel 1: The four figures are members of the Legion of Super-Heroes but, as they’re quite small, I’ll list them in the next panels. They’re hunting for their fellow Legionnaire Dawnstar who, as we saw last issue, was abducted/recruited by Harbinger.

Page 4 – Panel 2: On the left is Phantom Girl; on the right Wildfire; above him is Chameleon Boy.

Page 4 – Panel 4: On the left is Colossal Boy; on the right, Lightning Lass.

Page 4 – Panel 5: This is Brainiac 5 but, if you’ve been reading the dialogue, you’d know that by now.

Page 4 – Panel 6: Ah, so that’s what happened to the mammoths!

Page 5 – Panel 3: Wildfire refers to “Reep” – that’s Reep Daggle, Chameleon Boy, who’s a shapeshifter.

Page 5 – Panel 4: And in return, Chameleon Boy refers to Colossal Boy by his real name Gim.

Page 5 – Panel 6: Vanishing mammoths

Page 5 – Panel 6: Despite the Legion’s efforts, the mammoths disappear, presumably back to their own time.

Page 6 – Panels 1 and 2: Brainiac 5 detects the impending anti-matter wave threatening the entire universe.

Page 6 – Panel 6: Back in the present (at least 1985) and we find the Joker has added another victim to his long list. Note the BANG flag on his pistol and the forced grin on his victim, a result of his Joker-venom.

Page 6 – Panel 8: The Joker talks about “the new computer coloration process” which, in 1985, was relatively big news.

Page 6 – Panel 9: The Batman makes his entrance in a typically grandiose manner. According to Jonathan Woodward’s notes on this issue, the film Batman is referencing is The Prisoner starring Alec Guinness, while the “one in that village” is the 60’s cult classic starring Patrick McGoohan.

Page 7 – Panel 1: The clues Batman deciphered referred to John Alden, one of the first settlers from the Mayflower to land at Plymouth Rock (hence Plymouth Films) and who lived near Captain’s Hill.

Page 7 – Panel 2: Miles Standish was also on the Mayflower and it’s his descendent that the Joker has just killed.

Page 7 – Panel 7: The Flash appears looking withered and desperate. He has a key role to play in CRISIS and appears here by travelling backwards in time, a condition that will be explained later in the series. He’s been living in the future, a fact which Batman is unaware of which is why he thinks Flash disappeared. Note the red and yellow energy behind him.

Page 7 – Panel 9: As the Joker says, Flash operated out of Central City.

Page 8 – Panel 3: The “Arkham” that Batman mentions is, of course, the Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane where most of his enemies end up.

Page 8 – Panel 4: Flash mentions his wife’s name which makes Batman realise that his appearance is nothing to do with the Joker. Batman thinks Iris is dead because, again, he has no idea that the Flash has been living happily in the future with her.

Page 8 – Panel 5: Batman’s obviously preoccupied with the Flash otherwise he’d never let the Joker escape that easily.

Page 8 – Panels 6 to 9: Gone in a Flash

Page 8 – Panels 6 to 9: As Batman says, the Flash disintegrates before his eyes.

Pages 9 and 10 – Panel 1: There is no real point in me listing everyone here as the captions do it perfectly (although Solovar’s name is still misspelt.) Dr. Polaris mentions the Monitor having supplied weapons to super-villains, something he had been doing in various titles in the run-up to CRISIS.

Pages 9 and 10 – Panel 2: The Monitor mentions “more than one thousand universes have perished.” which ties in roughly with Pariah’s statement from the previous issue about “the hundreds which have died” already. The seventh circular screen from the left shows the death of Power Ring of Earth-3, also seen in the previous issue. On the far right is Harbinger, still in her Lyla persona.

Pages 9 and 10 – Panel 3: The Monitor explains that nature will go crazy – this was evidenced by the volcanoes erupting amidst cities of Earth-3 again as seen in the previous issue.

Pages 9 and 10 – Panels 4 and 5: Firestorm echoes Dr. Polaris’s claim that the Monitor has been selling arms to villains; despite the Monitor’s assurance that he will “explain all” this is only briefly covered on Page 11.

Pages 9 and 10 – Panel 8: Geo-Force stands up for the Monitor; hold that thought for a moment or two.

Pages 9 and 10 – Panel 10: We know why she’s feeling hate, of course – it’s because of the shadow demon that infected her in the previous issue.

Page 11 – Panel 6: Geo-Force, in a matter of seconds, goes from defending the Monitor against Psimon’s outburst to being unconvinced and wanting to leave.

Page 12 – Panel 1: How many eras?

Page 11 – Panel 8: This mention of having “pitted you one against the other to fully catalog your abilities” is about as much of an explanation as we get for why the Monitor was arming super-villains in the run-up to CRISIS.

Page 11 – Panel 12: Harbinger (at least her legs) makes her first appearance this issue.

Page 12 – Panel 1: Stepping forward, Harbinger mentions the Monitor’s devices that are spread throughout time – these are the “vibrational tuning forks” that we’ll see soon. She states there are five of them but there are actually six, situated in:

  1. The Great Disaster, set in an alternate future
  2. Atlantis, 45,000 years ago
  3. Markovia in 1944
  4. Texas in 1879
  5. Camelot (on Earth-2) approximately 1,500 years ago
  6. The Present Day

The first two will be seen in this issue; those in Markovia and Texas appear next issue; and the final two show up in issue #4.

She also claims that they are to “halt the anti-matter tide” which is incorrect; she’s either lying or simply wrong. Perhaps she doesn’t know the Monitor’s plans?

Page 12 – Panel 2: The gathered heroes are charged with protecting the tuning forks.

Page 12 – Panel 8: Split into teams, the heroes are sent to their various destinations in time and space.

Page 12 – Panels 9 to 11: Due to being corrupted by the shadow demons, Harbinger is now working for the Monitor’s enemy.

Page 13 – Panel 1: Another possibly redundant note – this, as the caption says, is Oa where the Guardians of the Universe live.

Page 13 – Panels 2 to 4: The Guardians have been caught unaware; note that in Panel 4, a Guardian mentions the destruction of “other dimensional planes” rather than universes.

Page 13 – Panels 6 to 9: The enemy attacks the Guardians, using the Central Power Battery as a conduit. He also mentions that something began with the Guardians – we will learn more about that later.

Page 14 – Panels 1 and 2: Back on Earth-1 we have Superman flying above Metropolis on his way to meet . . .

Page 14 – Panel 4: Volcanoes ahoy

Page 14 – Panel 4: . . . Batman. Superman’s mention of a “totally unexpected” volcanic eruption harks back to the Monitor’s warning on Pages 9 and 10 about nature going through upheaval as a precursor to the anti-matter wave arriving.

Page 14 – Panel 6: Batman refers to Flash’s trial; this was a lengthy story that ran in THE FLASH comic in the run-up to CRISIS. To save his fiancée, Flash had been forced to kill his enemy, the Reverse Flash and had stood trial for his murder. Unknown to his friends Batman and Superman, Flash hadn’t disappeared at the end of the trial but had rather left the present for the future.

Page 14 – Panel 7: Pariah arrives in the present of Earth-1 which, along with the volcano Superman mentioned, means this world is doomed.

Page 14 – Panel 9: Pariah says he was exiled which isn’t exactly true.

Page 14 – Panel 11: As we’ve seen before, Pariah is pulled away but, unlike his previous exits, this time he’s not being taken to another world.

Page 15: Climbing up one of the vibrational tuning forks that Harbinger referred to is Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, a thematic counterpart of Anthro, the first boy. Note the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Page 16 – Panel 1: The Dr. Canus Kamandi refers to is his friend, an intelligent dog. In Kamandi’s world, following the Great Disaster, it is the animals that rule the world, not humans.

Page 16 – Panel 4: A shadow demon appears from within the tuning fork, severing the rope holding Kamandi up.

Page 16 – Panels 6 and 7: As he falls, Kamandi is saved by Earth-2 Superman whom he has never met and yet recognises.

Page 16 – Panel 8: Which is explained by Earth-2 Superman who realises the boy has met the Superman of Earth-1. Also present in this era are King Solovar and Dawnstar. All three, of course, were sent here by Harbinger.

Page 16 – Panel 9: Kamandi assumes Solovar is one of the talking gorillas of this era. The Czar Simian he mentions was the leader of the ape forces following the Great Disaster.

Page 17 – Panel 1: The shadow demons return in number and Dawnstar attacks. She wonders how they arrived – quite possibly because, unknown to her, Harbinger warned their leader/creator. She also notices they have the same silhouette as the Monitor himself.

Page 17 – Panel 4: Have that!

Page 17 – Panel 3: The touch of a shadow demon burns . . .

Page 17 – Panel 4: . . . but slamming feet first into one apparently doesn’t!

Page 18 – Panel 1: Harbinger is in the same era, watching them while at the same time . . .

Page 18 – Panel 3: . . . she’s still at the Monitor’s satellite.

Page 18 – Panels 4 to 8: Despite the Monitor’s wishes, Harbinger is stunned by what she sees. Alex has grown into a small child in the space of hours and, in Panel 8, we see star-like effects in the dark shadows on his skin.

Page 19 – Panel 1: Here we are back in Atlantis with Arion, Obsidian and Psycho Pirate.

Page 19 – Panel 3: Psycho Pirate, despite working on the side of the angels, doesn’t exactly like them.

Page 19 – Panel 4: The woman in green and white is, as Arion says, Lady Chian, captain of the royal guard and his lover.

Page 20 – Panels 1 and 2: Psycho Pirate wants to control emotions and he’ll get his chance later, but first he actually sniffs out fear as . . .

Page 20 – Panel 3: . . . fresh from his conversation with Batman and Superman, Pariah appears, scared out of his wits.

Page 20 – Panel 4: Actually, it’s 45,000 before his last appearance but hey, time travel probably takes it out of you.

Page 20 – Panels 8 and 9: There seems to be no real reason why making Pariah laugh is a bad idea.

Page 20 – Panel 10: Arion did warn him what would happen.

Page 21 – Panels 12 and 13: Psycho Pirate is whisked away against his will by persons unknown at this point, though we could probably make a good guess.

Page 22 – Panel 11: Time for the new Dr Light

Page 22 – Panels 1 to 8: Even though we don’t see the enemy of the piece, this is the first time anyone has been brought into his presence, and with a little persuasion, Psycho Pirate swaps sides.

Page 22 – Panel 10: Harbinger and the Monitor discuss the loss of the Pirate and whether it is possible to replace him with Raven whose image is on the screen. The Monitor claims the menace they face is one of emotion, hence the Psycho Pirate’s involvement. Subsequent events, though, seem to go pretty smoothly even without the Pirate.

Page 22 – Panel 11: But if you can’t have emotion, let’s try something else. He hasn’t even created the new Dr. Light but there’s already a file on her!

Page 23 – Panel 2: Pariah’s Earth was the first to fall and, as he mentioned last issue, he feels he is atoning for his sins.

Page 23 – Panel 6: The wave of anti-matter arrives on Earth-1.

Page 24 – Panel 3: The Monitor knows he is to die, but his contingency – whatever he means by “Unless…” – is never resolved.

Page 24 – Panel 4: Another of the multiple Harbingers attends the Monitor’s enemy.

Page 24 – Panel 5: The first glimpse we get of that enemy is a silhouette, watching the anti-matter wave arrive in the universe of Earth-1.

Page 24 – Panel 5: Who is that mysterious figure?