Crisis on Infinite Earths #3: Oblivion Upon Us

  • Writer: Marv Wolfman
  • Penciller: George Pérez
  • Inkers: Mike DeCarlo and Dick Giordano
  • Colorist: Tony Tollin
  • Letterer: John Costanza
  • Cover Artist: George Pérez
  • Editor: Marv Wolfman

Cover: At the top in the middle is the Monitor; we’ll work clockwise from him, section by section.

Section 1: Dream Girl and, on the screen, Kid Psycho.

Section 2: Top to bottom in the air are Halo; Starfire; Changeling (the miscoloured bird); and Kole. Left to right on the ground are Katana; Nightwing; Batman; Jericho; and the Flash.

Section 3: Left to right in the air are Geo-Force and Blue Beetle. On the ground are Dr. Polaris; the Haunted Tank with Jeb Stuart in the turret; Captain Storm; Johnny Cloud; and Sgt. Rock.

Section 4: Left to right in the air are Psimon; Firebrand; Green Lantern (GL) John Stewart. Left to right on horseback are Bat Lash; Johnny Thunder; Jonah Hex; and Nighthawk. On the ground in front of them are Cyborg and Scalphunter.

Section 5: Top to bottom on the screen are Cosmic Boy; Sun Boy; Lightning Lass; and Wildfire. Watching them is Brainiac 5.

Page 1: From the top down we have the Monitor, Alex Luthor and Harbinger. The Monitor mentions Alex growing in “the space of days” but it’s actually been hours since he arrived in Earth-1.

Page 2 – Panel 1: The Monitor explains the stars that glitter within Alex’s shadows – he is both positive and negative matter at the same time.

Page 2 – Panel 2: The Monitor muses about how Alex’s state came to be but, like many of his questions, we never get an answer.

Page 2 – Panels 12 to 14: Poor old Harbinger, forced to betray the being to whom she owes her life.

Page 3 – Panel 1: Back with the enemy we have Harbinger, the bad guy’s silhouette and Psycho Pirate.

Page 3 – Panels 3 to 5: The enemy’s speech shown in white on black isn’t very clear; this is one area where the recolouring in the Collected Edition really helps as you can see on the image below which compares the two scenes (click to make it bigger.)

Comparison between original and Collected Edition colouring

The enemy also commands Harbinger to kill Alex but she makes no attempt to do so.

Page 3 – Panel 7: And this is perhaps why: as Psycho Pirate says, Harbinger’s “mind’s a jangling mass of contradictory emotions.” Despite having been corrupted by the enemy, Harbinger isn’t a slave and, maybe, some part of her is fighting back.

Page 4 – Panel 1: The Flash makes his first real appearance here, rather than as an image warning of destruction. He has been living with his wife Iris here in the future since the end of his trial for murder.

Page 4 – Panels 2 to 4: As the Monitor predicted, nature’s running amok.

Page 4 – Panel 7: The wave of anti-matter appears.

Page 5 – Panels 1 to 3: Flash remains in the future due to his control over his internal vibrations. As he relaxes them, he returns to his own time.

Page 5 – Panel 7: Back in the present, we have Starfire and Halo.

Page 5 – Panel 8: The green bird is Changeling.

Page 5 – Panel 10: The Teen Titans and the Outsiders have banded together. In the air, aside from the ones we mentioned, are Wonder Girl and Metamorpho. On the ground from left to right are Jericho; Nightwing; Black Lightning; Kole; and Katana.

Page 6 – Panel 4: Mind on the here and now, Starfire

Page 6 – Panel 4: Starfire worries about her home planet of Tamaran.

Page 6 – Panel 5: Changeling has changed into an elephant to ferry the civilians out of the way.

Page 7 – Panel 1: Is it me or is Halo’s reply somewhat cutting?

Page 7 – Panel 8: Superman to the rescue.

Page 8 – Panel 5: Batman, ever the voice of joy, arrives. At the time of the Crisis, Batman led the Outsiders which explains Metamorpho’s comment of “the gang’s all here” in Panel 7.

Page 8 – Panel 9: Superman can, of course, empathise with Starfire over the loss of her planet.

Page 9 – Panels 1 and 2: The Flash appears in the flesh rather than an image which Batman saw in the previous issue, and attempts to warn Batman of the danger in the future.

Page 9 – Panel 4: Even though the glow around him is much the same as seen in Panel 2, this is due to his being abducted in the same way that the Psycho Pirate was last issue.

Page 9 – Panels 10 to 15: And as the assorted heroes look on, the Flash is whisked away.

Page 9 – Panel 18: Here’s Changeling in his human form, by the way.

Page 10 – Panel 1: Brainiac observes the anti-matter wave far from Earth.

Page 10 – Panel 8: Brainiac refers to Lex Luthor. The pair had teamed up against Superman on many occasions.

Page 11 – Panels 1 to 3: While not mentioned, this is Earth-2 and we’re back in the throes of World War II in the country of Markovia.

Page 11 – Panel 5: On the left is Sgt. Rock and beside him is Wildman. Both are members of Easy Company; the rest of the team will show up momentarily.

Page 11 – Panel 7: Rumbling into view comes the Haunted Tank.

Page 11 – Panel 8: In the sky above the battle, Blue Beetle’s ship can be seen; in the turret of the Haunted Tank is Jeb Stuart; the speaker Stuart refers to is Gus Gray.

Page 12 – Panel 3: A word for the lost

Page 12 – Panels 2 to 3: And what’s a Haunted Tank without a ghost? The ghost of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart appears (only to Jeb Stuart) with a dire warning for the Losers who we’ll meet in a moment.

Page 12 – Panel 5: Back with the members of Easy Company, here’s Bulldozer and Four-Eyes who is amazed to see . . .

Page 12 – Panel 6: : . . . Dr. Polaris and Geo-Force. The latter, as he says, is from Markovia (albeit the Earth-1 Markovia) so understandably wants a little payback. Dr. Polaris’s cry of “By the magnetic stream!” makes me wonder why we ever left the Silver Age of comics!

Page 13 – Panels 1 and 2: Up in his Bug ship, Blue Beetle attempts to get his team-mates concentrating on their mission to protect the “Monitor’s cosmic doodad” rather than fighting Nazis.

Page 13 – Panel 5: Above the Nazi is Flower (though some seem to think this is a character called Farmer Boy; as he refers to himself as Flower, that’s what I’m going with) a member of Sgt. Rock’s Easy Company.

Page 13 – Panel 7: There may be “too much death in this war already” but that doesn’t stop Flower adding to it.

Page 14 – Panels 1 and 2: The Nazis assume the vibrational tuning fork is an American weapon, possibly the atomic bomb.

Page 14 – Panel 3: These are the Losers. From left to right are Johnny Cloud; Sarge; Gunner; and Captain Storm.

Page 14 – Panel 10: Taking advantage of the confusion, the Haunted Tank and Easy Company attack the Nazis.

Page 15 – Panel 3: As Captain Storm investigates the tuning fork, a shadow demon appears and grabs him.

Page 15 – Panel 4: Left to right are Little Sure Shot, Sgt. Rock, Geo-Force; and Jackie Johnson.

Page 15 – Panel 5: Rock’s mention of “All-Star Heroes” refers to the All-Star Squadron that formed from the Justice Society and other heroes during World War II. He obviously assumes Geo-Force, being a costumed hero, is one of them.

Page 15 – Panel 9: On the left is another Easy Company member, Ice Cream Soldier. Between him and Flower is Jeb Stuart from the Haunted Tank.

Page 15 – Panel 10: The soldiers and heroes see the Losers being attacked and destroyed by the shadow demons.

Page 16 – Panels 1 to 4: The death of the Losers

Page 16 – Panels 1 to 4: The Losers – Gunner, Sarge, Johnny Cloud and Captain Storm – are killed, fulfilling J.E.B. Stuart’s ghostly warning. It’s interesting to note these are the first deaths caused by the shadow demons, rather than the anti-matter wave.

Page 16 – Panel 5: Easy Company, along with the Haunted Tank crew, attack. Note that the snow has stopped falling here while in the collected edition it continues throughout the rest of the battle.

Page 16 – Panel 8: Flower is killed.

Page 16 – Panels 11 and 12: Between them, Geo-Force and Dr. Polaris manage to destroy a shadow demon, the first time this has happened.

Page 17 – Panel 4: As Kamandi discovered in the previous issue, the touch of a shadow demon burns.

Page 17 – Panels 5 and 6: Blue Beetle, though, is protected by the “mystical powers” of the scarab given to him by Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle.

Page 18 – Panels 3 to 5: Watching from his satellite, the Monitor saves Blue Beetle by returning him to his own world. As Jonathan Woodward says in his notes for this issue, when CRISIS started, WATCHMEN was in development and Blue Beetle, along with the other Charlton heroes, were originally slated to appear in that series. Indeed, a reply to a letter in the next issue of CRISIS: states “When Charlton ceased publication, Dick [Giordano] arranged for DC to buy the characters and to publish them. More on that as our plans are firmed up.

Page 18 – Panel 6: The “other wounded one” the Monitor refers to is King Solovar as we’ll see in just a moment.

Page 18 – Panel 11: Solovar and Kamandi

Page 18 – Panel 9: Back at the Great Disaster we find Earth-2’s Superman and Dawnstar watching the red skies while, on the tower, Solovar tends to Kamandi.

Page 18 – Panel 11: Kamandi says Solovar was hurt saving him, but we didn’t see him sustain any injuries last issue when they fought the shadow demons.

Page 19 – Panel 3: There is no explanation of how Solovar could know of the changes that await Kamandi post-Crisis.

Page 19 – Panel 6: As he did with Blue Beetle, the Monitor returns Solovar to his own world and time.

Page 19 – Panel 9: It’s 1879 in Texas, presumably on Earth-1 and the man being thrown out of the saloon is Bartholomew “Bat” Lash.

Page 20 – Panel 5: Bat Lash mentions Ke-Woh-No-Tay or, as he’s also called, Scalphunter.

Page 20 – Panel 9: Gathered in the mine are several other Western heroes who pretty much introduce themselves. Just to be consistent, though, at the top is Scalphunter and below him, left to right, are Jonah Hex, Nighthawk and Johnny Thunder.

Page 21 – Panels 4 and 5: It’s seems likely that it was the Monitor who implanted the names of the other heroes.

Page 21 – Panel 6: Nighthawk leaves the mine to get some weapons.

Page 21 – Panel 8: The fourth of the Monitor’s teams arrive to guard the tuning fork. Left to right are Psimon; Cyborg; GL John Stewart; and Firebrand.

Page 21 – Panel 11: Jonah Hex and Bat Lash met GL Hal Jordan due to a time-travelling incident in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #198 and #199.

Page 22 – Panel 1: The shadow demons attack the assembled heroes.

Page 22 – Panel 5: Psimon vanishes

Page 22 – Panel 5: The art isn’t incredibly clear here but as we find out later, Psimon isn’t killed but is rather teleported away.

Page 22 – Panels 6 and 8: The shadow demons are much weaker here than during their first appearance on the Monitor’s satellite as both Firebrand and Cyborg are able to dispatch them.

Page 22 – Panel 10: GL John Stewart’s power ring isn’t working due to the attack by the enemy on the Guardians of the Universe seen in the previous issue.

Page 23 – Panel 2: Firebrand hears a “high-pitched whine” which is likely caused by the tuning fork starting up.

Page 23 – Panel 4: The anti-matter wave arrives in Texas, 1879.

Page 23 – Panel 16: Nighthawk is killed by the anti-matter.

Page 25 – Panels 2 to 5: The premature killing of the Monitor

Page 24 – Panel 2: Above the 30th century city of Metropolis, the Legion of Super-heroes fight their own anti-matter wave. Left to right are Wildfire, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lass and Sun Boy.

Page 24 – Panels 4 and 5: At Legion HQ are Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl who is a little confused as to why she didn’t predict this, what with her being a precognitive.

Page 24 – Panel 7: Kid Psycho flies above England.

Page 24 – Panel 8: On the left is Element Lad; carrying the civilians is Mon-El.

Page 24 – Panels 12 and 13: Kid Psycho is killed by the anti-matter.

Page 25 – Panel 1: The Monitor views the destruction on several screens. On the top can be seen Arion, Pariah and Obsidian in Atlantis; the third one shows Mon-El and Element Lad; to the left of the Monitor can be seen Firestorm and Killer Frost; in front of him, top to bottom, are Metamorpho, Jericho, Batman, Kole, Nightwing and Katana.

Page 25 – Panels 2 to 5: This scene, with Harbinger confronting and threatening the Monitor, makes no sense when issue #4 is read. Jonathan Woodward states in his notes for this issue “at the last minute the three panels [2 to 4] down the middle were given curved corners to indicate that Harbinger was watching the Monitor through a viewscreen. It didn’t work very well.

It might have worked better had the Monitor not clearly reacted to Harbinger’s words in Panel 4 but that’s comics for you.

Deaths in this issue:

  1. Gunner of the Losers (of Earth-2)
  2. Sarge of the Losers (of Earth-2)
  3. Johnny Cloud of the Losers (of Earth-2)
  4. Captain Storm of the Losers (of Earth-2)
  5. Flower of Easy Company (of earth-2)
  6. Nighthawk
  7. Kid Psycho of the Legion of Super-Heroes