Crisis on Infinite Earths #4: And Thus Shall The World Die!

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

Cover: On the left is Harbinger, on the right Pariah and laying in the middle with a big arrow giving away a central point of the story is the Monitor.

Page 1: Reading the captions, it seems odd that most people are concerned about the weather when there’s a great white ball of anti-matter looming on the horizon. Go figure.

In the sky is Supergirl. At the time of writing (2009) there have been several Supergirls but this is the first version of the cousin of Superman, Kara Zor-El. The Barbara she mentions is Barbara Gordon whom will meet . . .

Page 2 – Panel 1: . . . now. Batgirl is, understandably, doubting her abilities.

Page 2 – Panel 4: She refers to Supergirl as Linda because Supergirl’s civilian identity is Linda Lee Danvers.

Page 2 – Panels 9 to 11: Both heroines mentioned that there was hardly anyone around at the moment but Supergirl spots some idiot who’s managed to take off in a plane seemingly heading right for the anti-matter.

Page 3 – Panel 10: The man pouring himself a drink is Steve Dayton, formerly Mento of the Doom Patrol.

Page 4 – Panel 4: Shh!

Page 4 – Panel 1: The man Dayton is talking to is John Constantine who at the time was only a supporting character in Swamp Thing. His physical appearance here is somewhat at odds with the trademark trenchcoat he normally wears.

Page 4 – Panel 3: Constantine’s ability to “sense what’s happening” and to “know what’s happening to one and all” may be simple hyperbole on his part or as a result of how up in the air things were regarding his powers/abilities at that time.

Page 4 – Panel 4: I admit to wondering every now and then whether the panel shown on the right is missing a speech balloon. The way Perez has drawn Dayton seems to indicate he’s speaking, but there’s nothing there.

Page 4 – Panel 6: This is the first mention of Earth-6 which we’ll see in a little more detail in a moment. Jonathan Woodward’s notes for this issue makes mention of the indecision concerning the Charlton characters and their ultimate fate. As he points out, the caption reads: “only four other [Earths] remain.” These are Earths 1, 2, S (for the Shazam! characters) and X (for the Quality characters.) At this point, the Charlton characters are still not guaranteed survival. This is corrected to “five others remain” in the Collected Edition.

Page 5 – Panel 1: Pariah arrives on Earth-6 just in time to see it die. It’s odd that this and every other Earth he appears on (the first one shown in issue #1, as well as Earth-3) are destroyed within pages yet he’s appeared on both Earths-1 and 2 without that happening.

The idea that Earth-6 is unique without duplicated heroes is a little misleading. It’s possible that Lord Volt (who we meet in a moment) could be seen as a Superman analogue in the same way that Ultraman of Earth-3 is. However, as Woodward notes, “Earth-X and Earth-1 have no duplicated heroes, for example” so it’s not as if Volt has to be been seen as a Superman character – Uncle Sam (on Earth-X) certainly isn’t.

Page 5 – Panel 2: In the sky two of the three remaining heroes can be seen, Lord Volt on the left and Lady Quark on the right.

Page 5 – Panel 3: As Power Ring did on Earth-3, Volt assumes Pariah is the cause of his world’s destruction.

Page 6 – Panel 1: The first full appearance of Lady Quark. She refers to Lord Volt by his real name, Karak.

Page 6 – Panel 7: The daughter of Lord Volt and Lady Quark attacks Pariah.

Page 6 – Panel 10: Her parents refer to her as Liana, her real name. Though not mentioned here, #13 of WHO’S WHO gives her alter-ego as Princess Fern.

Page 6 – Panel 12: Princess Fern is killed by the anti-matter wave.

Page 7 – Panel 2: Lord Volt is killed by the anti-matter wave.

Page 7 – Panels 4 to 6: Pariah actually saves someone

Page 7 – Panels 4 to 6: Pariah decides to save Lady Quark from destruction, forcibly carrying her away. You have to wonder why, if he can save people, he didn’t save (for example) Power Ring or Ultraman of Earth-3 rather than stand by and watch them die.

Page 8 – Panels 1 and 2: The Monitor puts the steps in motion to create Dr. Light, just as he said he would back in issue #2.

Page 8 – Panel 9: This is Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi who will soon become the Monitor’s new warrior.

Page 9 – Panels 4 and 5: I’m glad Hoshi recognises “natural physics no longer apply” which is the only way to explain what she’s seeing.

Page 9 – Panel 12: The Monitor’s beam strikes home.

Page 10 – Panel 4: The recreation of Hoshi is being undertaken off-panel.

Page 10 – Panel 5: Harbinger threatens the Monitor via her screen which is a lot clearer than the end of the previous issue.

Page 10 – Panel 6: And in turn, Alex Luthor watches her, aware of her plans.

Page 11 – Panel 1: Back in the bad guy’s hideout we have the silhouetted form of the enemy and the Psycho Pirate watching a screen showing Red Tornado rescuing civilians.

Page 11 – Panel 4: Red Tornado is chosen

Page 11 – Panel 4: With a wave of his hand, Red Tornado is teleported from Earth-1. Note that the shimmering that sounds Reddy is similar to that which surrounded Flash in the previous: issue which gives us a clue to Flash’s fate.

Page 11 – Panel 7: There seems to be no reason why the enemy’s speech is black on white here when the rest of this scene shows it as white on black.

Page 12 – Panel 1: In the time of Camelot on Earth-2, we find Firestorm and Killer Frost, the last of the heroes and villains that the Monitor gathered together back in issue #1.

Page 12 – Panels 3 and 4: Vandal Savage makes an appearance.

Page 12 – Panel 5: Not entirely sure when Firebrand would have had the time to tell Firestorm about the Shining Knight – the decision to be sent back in time was pretty much made and then they went; hell, Firestorm didn’t even know he’d be going back to Camelot!

Page 12 – Panel 6: Either way, here’s the Shining Knight astride his magical horse, Winged Victory.

Page 13 – Panel 1: Once more shadow demons erupt from the vibrational tuning forks.

Page 13 – Panel 5: Firestorm mentions another hero, Firehawk, as well as the Black Bison, an enemy of his.

Page 14 – Panel 3: Shadow Demons merge

Page 14 – Panels 1 to 4: The shadow demons merge in the skies of Earths 1 and 2 into one gigantic figure which, particularly in Panel 3, resembles the Monitor.

Page 14 – Panels 5 to 8: It happens in all times as well as we see the tuning forks placed in (from left to right) Texas 1879; Atlantis 45,000 BC; the Great Disaster; and Markovia, 1944.

Page 14 – Panel 9: The heroes in Texas: standing up left to right are Johnny Thunder; Bat Lash; Firebrand; and Cyborg; with Jonah Hex in the foreground.

Page 14 – Panel 10: The heroes in Atlantis: Arion; Lady Chian; and Obsidian.

Page 14 – Panel 11: The heroes at the Great Disaster: Dawnstar; Superman of Earth-2; and Kamandi.

Page 14 – Panel 11: The heroes in Markovia: top to bottom are Bulldozer; Geo-Force; Jeb Stuart; Sgt. Rock; and Dr. Polaris.

Page 15 – Panel 1: In the present with Batman and the Outsiders. Left to right are Metamorpho; Nightwing; Jericho; Batman; and Kole. Harbinger (on Page 12 – Panel 1 of issue #2) said there were five tuning forks throughout time but a sixth appears here.

Page 15 – Panel 2: In the skies are Superman; Wonder Girl; Starfire; Changeling; and Halo.

Page 15 – Panel 3: It’s possible that this sixth tuning fork is a sort of culmination or product of the other five being activated by the threat of the shadow demons. Or it might simply be a mistake in the writing. I’m guessing!

Page 15 – Panel 4: The first appearance of the new Dr. Light, the previously seen Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi. Whatever the Monitor did to create her, he didn’t exactly improve her attitude.

Page 15 – Panel 5: The suspicion that Halo exhibits is understandable – the original Dr. Light was a criminal.

Page 16 – Panel 3: Black Lightning and Katana who, thankfully, lets the heroes know Dr. Light is no enemy.

Page 16 – Panel 5: Dr. Light says “hundreds of universes” have fallen but elsewhere it’s stated that “thousands” have died.

Page 17 – Panel3: Amazons together

Page 16 – Panel 10: This is Paradise Island, home to Wonder Woman and her Amazonian sisters.

Page 17 – Panel 1: Wonder Woman and her mother, Queen Hippolyta are at the front of a crowd of Amazons, Wonder Woman in the red cloak, Hippolyta in white. The priestess in blue is likely to be Melanippe (possibly Melanippa.)

Page 17 – Panel 10: Pariah appears on the Monitor’s satellite. No mention, though, is made of Lady Quark who was with him the last time he was seen.

Page 18 – Panel 1: First the Monitor states that his satellite was built just before Pariah was cursed . . .

Page 18 – Panel 3: . . . and then reveals that he is responsible for Pariah’s inability to die.

Page 18 – Panels 4 and 5: Understandably, Pariah reacts with anger at the revelation.

Page 18 – Panels 6 to 8: At Camelot, Firestorm, Killer Frost and the Shining Knight battle the giant shadow demon.

Page 19 – Panel 2: Texas, 1879 again. Firebrand and Cyborg in the air; Johnny Thunder, Bat Lash and Scalphunter on the ground.

Page 19 – Panel 3: Atlantis in the present day. Left to right are Lori Lemaris; Ronal; and Dolphin.

Page 19 – Panel 4: The Great Disaster. Dawnstar on the left, Earth-2 Superman on the right.

Page 19 – Panel 5: Earth-1 in the present. On the ground are Zatanna and Blue Devil; in the air are Hawkman; Hawkgirl; and Air Wave.

Page 19 – Panel 6: Markovia in 1944. Geo-Force on the left, Dr. Polaris on the right.

Page 20 – Panel 1: Earth-2 in the present. Left to right are Northwind; Green Lantern Alan Scott; Jade; and Starman.

Page 20 – Panel 3: Earth-1 in the present and we have Swamp Thing in his home.

Page 20 – Panel 4: Earth-1 in the present again. Left to right are Halo; Metamorpho; and Starfire.

Page 20 – Panel 5: Earth in the 30th century. Left to right are Shrinking Violet; Star Boy; Ultra Boy; Dream Girl; and Brainiac 5.

Page 21 – Panels 1 to 4: Despite Harbinger’s briefing to the heroes back in issue #2 that the tuning forks were to be activated by them at a given command, the Monitor activates them now. He also asks that Pariah waits before everything is clear before enacting vengeance against Harbinger.

Page 21 – Panel 8: Fighting against herself, the possessed Harbinger is unable to stay her hand.

Page 21 – Panels 9 and 10: Death of the Monitor

Page 21 – Panel 10: Harbinger kills the Monitor.

Page 22 – Panel 1: Harbinger falls from the platform.

Page 22 – Panel 6: Pariah confirms that the Monitor is indeed dead, just as he had predicted he would be.

Page 22 – Panels 12 to 14: Pariah realises that there is nothing to be done and despite his holding out for something, the end is upon him.

Page 23: The various heroes scattered throughout time are unable to prevent the encroaching anti-matter.

Pages 24 and 25: The universes of Earths 1 and 2 are destroyed.

Deaths in this issue:

  1. Princess Fern (of Earth-6)
  2. Lord Volt (of Earth-6)
  3. The Monitor