Crisis on Infinite Earths #5: Worlds In Limbo

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

Cover: The cover is neatly split down the middle with Earth-1 heroes and villains on the left, Earth-2’s on the right. There are a number of characters in the background that are partially hidden by those in the foreground. As Jonathan Woodward has done in his notes for this issue, I’ll treat them as separate rows. So left to right, top to bottom by row we have:

Row 1: Red Tornado; Scalphunter; Wildfire; Halo; Flash (Earth-1); Flash (Earth-2); Jonni Thunder; Amazing Man; Cheetah; Solomon Grundy; and Doctor Mid-Nite.

Partially Hidden Row: Brainwave Jr.; Manhunter; and Fog (of Night and Fog).

Row 2: Dawnstar; Martian Manhunter; Batman II; Firestorm; Superman (Earth-1); Superman (Earth-2); Psycho-Pirate; Spectre; Johnny Quick; Firebrand; and Robotman.

Partially Hidden Row: Warlord; and Blackhawk.

Row 3: Sgt. Rock; Doctor Light; Kamandi; Lead; Hawkman (Earth-1); Hawkman (Earth-2); Rag Doll; Star-Spangled Kid; Fury; Doctor Fate; and Ultra-Humanite.

Row 4: Nightwing; Blue Devil; Wonder Woman (Earth-1); Wonder Woman (Earth-2); Obsidian; Huntress; and Wildcat.

Partially Hidden Row: Deathstroke The Terminator.

Row 5: Supergirl; Phantom Stranger; Cyborg; Dream Girl (you can just see her chin below the left hand Earth); Atom (Earth-1); Atom (Earth-2); Zatara; Sandman; Shining Knight; Liberty Belle; and Neptune Perkins.

Partially Hidden Row: Amethyst; and Monocole.

Row 6: Swamp Thing; Doctor Polaris; Red Star; Joker; Green Lantern John Stewart; Green Lantern Alan Scott; Nuklon; Tsunami; Guardian; Sargon the Sorcerer; and Tarantula.

Partially Hidden Row: Steel; and Vigilante.

Row 7: Chameleon Boy; Solovar; Jonah Hex; Starfire; Green Arrow (Earth-1); Green Arrow (Earth-2); Robin; Power Girl; Northwind; Johnny Thunder’s Thunderbolt; and Ultra-Humanite (as Dolores Winters).

Partially Hidden Row: Commander Steel; and Per Degaton.

Row 8: Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils; Killer Frost; Arion; Geo-Force; Lex Luthor (Earth-1); Lex Luthor (Earth-2); Jade; Hourman; Silver Scarab; Plastic Man; and Starman.

That would have been a lot more work had Woodward not done it first so thanks to him!

Page 1 – Panel 1: Following the apparent destruction of Earths 1 and 2 and their respective universes (as shown at the end of issue #4) the enemy is confused as to why his power hasn’t increased.

Page 1 – Panel 2: Needy Psycho Pirate

Page 1 – Panel 2: The Red Tornado and Psycho Pirate.

Page 1 – Panel 4: Psycho Pirate mentions “two captives” but we’ve only seen Red Tornado as a prisoner so far.

Page 1 – Panel 8: I’m not entirely sure which powers Red Tornado has which could be used to “control [the] new universe.” Even after being “reshaped” he still appears to be much the same, at least in terms of his powers.

Page 1 – Panel 9: “Three universes remaining.” So the heroes of Earth-4 are, by this time, going to be included post-Crisis. Prior to this, their existence was uncertain.

Page 2 – Panel 2: Pariah mourns the newly slain Monitor.

Page 2 – Panel 5: Harbinger, as Lyla, realises what she did while under the control of the enemy.

Page 3 – Panel 2: Ah, the old “recording I made before my death” trick!

Page 4 – Panel 1: The Netherverse was created upon the Monitor’s death and has saved the universes of Earths 1 and 2. This is why the enemy hasn’t received their energies.

Page 4 – Panel 6: Alex in his new outfit

Page 4 – Panel 2: The Monitor’s death bed recording states he has “used [his] energies to calm your populace–” which not only implies Harbinger is from either Earth-1 or 2 but also seems to negate his need for Psycho Pirate in the first place. If he can do this job, why did he need the unstable Pirate?

Page 4 – Panel 6: The fully grown Alex Luthor of Earth-3 seen in his gold suit for the first time.

Page 5 – Panel 1: The Monitor’s remains are jettisoned into the space outside the satellite which means he’s been sent out into himself, the Netherverse. Kinda weird.

Page 5 – Panel 8: Here’s the Flash, captured by the enemy.

Page 6 – Panel 1: Lana Lang who politely introduces herself.

Page 6 – Panel 2: Various time periods have merged. Note that, back in the mid-80’s, dinosaurs were still depicted as walking upright with their tails dragging on the ground.

Page 6 – Panel 4: Left to right are Robin, Huntress (of Earth-2) and Batman, all of whom are looking surprised at something.

Page 6 – Panel 6: And doing the same are Sinestro, Sgt. Rock and Nuklon. What are they all staring at?

Page 7: The gathering part 1

Pages 7 and 8: This. Heroes and villains alike have been brought aboard the Monitor’s satellite to have things explained to them. I’ve split the pages and have numbered the characters on each, trying to position the numbers either on their chests or as close to their heads as possible. On the left we have:

1) Harbinger 2) Elongated Man 3) Mist 4) Tharok 5) Blackhawk 6) Andre 7) Big Sir 8) Lt. Stuart, Sgt. Craig, Cpl. Asher and Pvt. Rawlins of the Haunted Tank (pretty much indistinguishable in this shot) 9) Arion 10) possibly Lady Chian 11) Solomon Grundy 12) Red Ryan 13) Nuklon 14) Brainwave Jr. 15) Phobia 16) Short Round 17) Long Round 18) Ice Cream Soldier 19) Jackie Johnson 20) 4-Eyes 21) Swamp Thing 22) Worry Wart 23) Sgt. Rock 24) Wildman 25) Dolphin 26) Metamorpho 27) Dr Light 28) Black Orchid 29) Little Sure Shot 30) Superman 31) Gizmo 32) Cosmic Boy 33) Katana (miscoloured) 34) Bulldozer 35) Kamandi 36) Aquaman 37) Mon-El 38) Star Boy 39) Windfall 40) Zatanna 41) Gold 42) Bouncing Boy 43) Duo Damsel 44) Star Sapphire 45) Atom 46) Phantom Girl 47) Colossal Boy 48) Rag Doll 49) Aqualad 50) Lori Lemaris 51) Aquagirl 52) Green Lantern John Stewart 53) Jonni Thunder 54) Deathstroke’s foot 55) Ultra Boy 56) Chlorophyll Kid 57) Creeper 58) Firebrand 59) Wonder Girl 60) Star-Spangled Kid 61) Ragman 62) Persuader 63) Platinum 64) Shrinking Violet 65) Proty 66) Lex Luthor of Earth-2 67) Blok 68) Element Lad 69) Dream Girl 70) Captain Comet 71) B’wana Beast 72) Hawkgirl 73) Hawkman 74) Riddler 75) Changeling 76) Cyborg 77) Dr Fate 78) Power Girl 79) Steel 80) Captain Boomerang 81) Nicky Walton 82) Judy Walton 83) Dane Dorrance 84) Plasmus 85) Biff Bailey 86) Catwoman.

Page 8: The gathering part 2

On the right we have:

1) Mercury 2) Alex Luthor 3) Shining Knight riding Winged Victory 4) Stanislaus 5) Prof Haley 6) Rocky Davis 7) June Robbins 8) Wildcat I 9) Stripesy 10) Tin 11) Mammoth 12) Wildfire 13) Spectre 14) Phantom Stranger 15) Shimmer 16) Cheetah I 17) Johnny Thunder (of the JSA) 18) Vibe (miscoloured?) 19) Dr Polaris 20) Per Degaton 21) Jonah Hex 22) Robotman 23) Johnny Thunder (of the old West) 24) Vandal Savage 25) Kole 26) Batman 27) Timber Wolf 28) Lightning Lass 29) Huntress 30) Cinnamon 31) Green Arrow 32) Polar Boy 33) Robin 34) Lead 35) Batgirl 36) Halo 37) Liberty Belle 38) Blue Devil 39) Pariah 40) Dawnstar 41) Superman of Earth-2 42) Black Lightning 43) Firestorm 44) Killer Frost 45) Plastic Man 46) Jericho 47) Celsius 48) Mirror Master 49) Iron 50) Sun Boy 51) Bat Lash 52) Scalphunter 53) Brainiac 5 54) Supergirl 55) Starfire 56) Nightwing 57) Wonder Woman 58) Amazing Man 59) Lightning Lad 60) Saturn Girl 61) Tarantula 62) Firehair 63) Fury 64) Silver Scarab 65) Chameleon Boy 66) Flash of Earth-2 67) Wonder Woman of Earth-2 68) Martian Manhunter 69) White Witch 70) Blockbuster 71) Green Lantern of Earth-2 72) Geo-Force 73) Kung 74) Samurai 75) Shadow Lass 76) Copperhead.

Once again, huge thanks to Jonathan Woodward who did all the work in naming the characters – I simply added the numbers.

Page 9 – Panel 1: From top to bottom are Harbinger; Hawkman; Gold; Tarantula; and Firebrand. Note that throughout the rest of these scenes little reference is paid to the large two-page spread just noted. Gold and Firebrand are separated by about four or five people on page 7 but there’s a dozen or more between Firebrand and Tarantula.

Page 9 – Panel 2: Again top to bottom are Pariah; Metamorpho; Sargon the Sorcerer; Blackhawk; a miscoloured Brainiac 5 (he should have green skin); Supergirl; Cyborg; Changeling; and Arion.

Page 9 – Panel 3: Top to bottom we have Black Orchid; Shining Knight on Winged Victory (who seems to have landed now); Bat Lash; Firehair; and Scalphunter.

Page 9 – Panel 4: Still top to bottom we have Kole; Gizmo; Sun Boy; Superman of Earth-2; Dawnstar; Mon-El; Kamandi; Prof Haley and Rocky Davis of the Challengers of the Unknown.

Page 9 – Panel 5: Wonder Woman and Superman.

Page 9 – Panel 6: We quickly jump back to Earth and see Lois Lane about to interview Tomahawk, one of DC’s Western heroes.

Page 9 – Panel 9: As you can see here, the characters are moving around in relation to where they were on Pages 7 and 8. Left to right are Geo-Force; Zatanna; Deadman (can the others see him I wonder?); Hourman; Jericho; Johnny Thunder; Chameleon Boy; Doctor Light; Little Sure Shot; Katana; Dove; Mercury; Gypsy; Plasmus; and Big Sir.

Page 10 – Panel 1: The Monitor is dead

Page 10 – Panel 1: Alex Luthor informs both heroes and villains that the Monitor is dead . . .

Page 10 – Panel 2: . . . and Harbinger confesses to killing him.

Page 10 – Panel 3: Above head height are Firehawk; Validus; and Vulcan. Below them are Lex Luthor; Cheetah; Captain Cold; Penguin; and Brother Blood.

Page 10 – Panel 7: Left to right are Martian Manhunter; Jemm, Son of Saturn; Jade; Colossal Boy; and Obsidian.

Page 10 – Panel 8: And Alex states the Monitor’s ultimate goal – to change the Multiverse into a universe. It’s kind of ironic that it was Alex who, many years later, would instigate the return of the Multiverse in INFINITE CRISIS.

Page 10 – Panel 9: At the top of the panel you can see the legs of Ultra Boy and Flash of Earth-2. In the middle are Princess Amethyst of Gemworld; Travis Morgan, the Warlord; and Proty. At the bottom are Lt. Stuart of the Haunted Tank; B’wana Beast; Catwoman; and Black Canary.

Page 10 – Panel 10: Left to right are the Creeper; the Spectre; and the Phantom Stranger.

Page 10 – Panel 11: Sgt. Rock and Ice-Cream Soldier of Easy Company; Swamp Thing; and Lt. Jeb Stuart again.

Page 11 – Panel 1: Alex points out it’s not just the Earths in trouble. Note Plastic Man’s head above him.

Page 11 – Panel 2: Hawkgirl of Earth-2, Green Arrow and Atom. As the Atom explains, the Hawkman and Hawkgirl of Earth-2 are natives of their Earth unlike those of Earth-1 who come from Thanagar.

Page 11 – Panel 3: Adam Strange on Rann fighting a prehistoric monster while his wife Alanna helps evacuate children.

Page 11 – Panel 6: Starfire worries about her home planet of Tamaran.

Page 11 – Panel 9: Two Green Lanterns

Page 11 – Panel 8: Silver Scarab and Fury.

Page 11 – Panel 9: Left to right are GL Alan Scott; Judy Walton and Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils; and GL John Stewart. Scott had by this time met and worked with Hal Jordan, “the other Green Lantern“, several times but this appears to be the first time he’s met Stewart. The problem Stewart is having with his ring is connected to the attack on the Guardians in issue #2.

Page 11 – Panel 10: Pariah in the middle and, working clockwise around him from top left are Brainiac 5’s foot; Jonah Hex; Stripesy; Martian Manhunter; Dr Light; Vibe; Batman; Halo; and Invisible Kid.

Page 12 – Panel 4: I’ll split this long panel into three rows working left to right and front to back.

Front row: Wonder Woman of Earth-2; Wonder Woman of Earth-1; Superman of Earth-1; Bat Lash; Dr Light; Brainiac-5; Supergirl; Batman; Huntress; Steel; Dream Girl; Warp; Atom of Earth-1.

Middle Row: Wonder Girl; Captain Cold; Blue Devil; Elongated Man’s head; Batgirl; Dr Polaris; Cosmic Boy; Starfire; Nightwing; Aquaman; Lori Lemaris; Dane Dorrance; Gold; Catwoman.

Back row: Green Arrow of Earth-1; Silver Swan; Ocean Master; Killer Frost; Firestorm; Saturn Girl; Abra Kadabra; Arion; Lady Chian.

In his notes on this issue, Jonathan Woodward also names Samurai as being in the top right hand corner but I’m not convinced!

Page 12 – Panel 5: Superman of Earth-2 steps up to the plate.

Page 12 – Panels 7 to 9: Lois Lane’s vox pop piece gets brought to an abrupt end!

Page 13 – Panels 1 to 3: As their rings are not working, the Green Lanterns arrive on Oa in a space ship.

Page 13 – Panel 4: Lanterns have landed

Page 13 – Panel 4: On the far left is Xax; next is Arisia; then a green-skinned frog like Lantern; a brown-skinned Lantern; Katma Tui; a pink, single-eyed Lantern; a bulky, red-skinned Lantern; Ch’p; a purple bird-like Lantern; and Tomar Re.

Page 13 – Panel 5: The Guardians of the Universe, unable to defend themselves against the enemy’s attack.

Page 14 – Panels 3 to 4: Lois Lane meets the Superman of Earth-2.

Page 14 – Panel 5: Sneaking in behind Lois and Superman is a young Peter Parker aka Spider-Man with camera.

Page 14 – Panel 7: This is Rip Hunter’s time sphere, adrift in the time stream.

Page 14 – Panel 8: Left to right are the Time Masters: Bonnie Baxter; Corky Baxter; Jeffrey Smith; and Rip Hunter himself.

Page 14 – Panel 10: Left to right are Robin (of Earth-2); Nuklon; Batman; Huntress (of Earth-2); Alfred Pennyworth; Metamorpho; Robin (Jason Todd not in uniform); and Katana. It’s a little careless of Alfred to reveal he had the phone number of the heroes – there are villains here as well.

Page 15 – Panel 1: Okay, I’m going to start at the top of the stairs, come down to the characters in front and then swing right. So on the stairs we have: Monsieur Mallah; Brain; Per Degaton; Poison Ivy; Riddler; Samurai; Plastique; and Weather Wizard. We then have the heroes in front of them: Nuklon; Huntress (Earth-2); Batman; Alfred Pennyworth; Halo; Jason Todd; and Robin (Earth-2). In front of the cave are: Ne-Ahn; Embra; Anthro; and Lart as well as other members of the Bear Tribe.

Page 15 – Panel 5: Behind the curtain

Page 15 – Panel 5: From top to bottom are: Firestorm; Starfire; Killer Frost; Firebrand II; Polar Boy; and Sun Boy.

Page 15 – Panel 6: This is Red Star, fighting a dinosaur.

Page 15 – Panel 7: Red Star did indeed start out being called Starfire but changed his name to avoid confusion with the better known Titan. According to Starfire, he’s “Russia’s only superhero.” If we take Russia to mean the Soviet Union (this is 1985 remember) then that’s one superhero in approximately 288 million people compared with the hundreds of heroes in America’s 243 million people. I know DC is an American company but even so, that’s ridiculously one sided.

Page 16 – Panel 4: “Perhaps… the politicians will remember this cooperation — and build a better world for us all.” Nice thought, Reddy.

Page 16 – Panel 5: That Red Star is the only hero of the Soviet Union (one of the most powerful countries in the world) should surely have guaranteed his place on the Monitor’s satellite to hear his plans – there were plenty of villains there, so why not him?

Page 16 – Panels 8 and 9: As Professor Stein says, Psycho Pirate’s spell on Killer Frost has worn off.

Page 17 – Panel 2: Back with the enemy, we find Red Tornado being tortured by Psycho Pirate while the Flash watches.

Page 17 – Panel 3: Flash again shows what a hero he is, willing to take any punishment if Red Tornado is left alone.

Page 17 – Panel 6: The enemy transforms Red Tornado. Many years later, following ZERO HOUR, Red Tornado would join a magic based team called Primal Force.

Page 18 – Panels 1 to 4: We see here an example of ordinary folk being affected by the Crisis as the distraught parents of a dead girl view her still living Earth-1 counterpart.

Page 18 – Panel 5: From the top down are Brainiac 5; Supergirl (miscoloured); Element Lad; Timberwolf; Geo-Force; Mon-El; Shadow Lass; Changeling (as a bird); and Airwave.

Page 18 – Panel 7: Timberwolf recognises the Earth-1 heroes but Airwave, being from Earth-2 where (as Supergirl said a moment ago) there is no Legion, doesn’t recognise the other Legionnaires they can see.

Page 18 – Panel 8: Ghost images

Page 18 – Panel 8: Left to right are Lightning Lass; Kole; Invisible Kid; Martian Manhunter; Shrinking Violet; and Dream Girl.

Page 18 – Panel 9: Note that for just this panel, we are looking from Earth-1 into Earth-2.

Page 19 – Panel 1: Here’s Liberty Belle and Wildman of Easy Company.

Page 19 – Panel 2: Amazing Man and Robotman.

Page 19 – Panel 3: Lady Quark. All of them are looking up at . . .

Page 19 – Panel 4: . . . a very large storm . . . a tornado of some sort?

Page 19 – Panel 5: At the top (in the background) is Johnny Quick while below him are Dr. Fate and Power Girl.

Page 19 – Panel 6: Wildcat rescuing a child. The Sandman might be in the alley below him – there’s certainly a figure in a green coat and brown hat.

Page 19 – Panel 7: Mon-El appears in the middle of the other heroes even though, just a page ago, he was on Earth-2!

Page 20 – Panel 1: Zatanna amidst the storm

Page 20 – Panel 1: This is Zatanna.

Page 20 – Panel 2: Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt; the Thunderbolt can only do what Johnny tells him to, hence his statement about maybe not being told “the right thing to do.

Page 20 – Panel 3: The not too arrogant Sargon the Sorcerer.

Page 20 – Panel 7: Speeding to find the falling enemy is Flash of Earth-2.

Page 21 – Panel 1: The Red Tornado, as Flash mentions, was a native of Earth-2 before migrating to Earth-1 and joining the Justice League of America.

Page 21 – Panel 2: Standing we have, from left to right: Green Arrow; Cheetah (okay, technically not standing but she’s high up!); Black Lightning; Yolanda Montez (who will soon take on the name of Wildcat herself); Jade; Atom; Green Lantern. Kneeling around the fallen Wildcat are Jericho; Liberty Belle; and Ultra Boy.

Page 21 – Panel 3: Shows what Ultra Boy knows – Wildcat does indeed walk again.

Page 21 – Panel 5: According to Woodward’s notes on this issue, Wildcat “is Yolanda’s “Uncle Ted”, and Yolanda knows he is Wildcat, but it’s possible he doesn’t know she knows, which would be the only logical explanation for why she’s introducing herself – to keep the secret.

Page 21 – Panel 6: Liberty Belle.

Page 21 – Panel 7: Martian Manhunter and, behind him, Sgt. Rock of Easy Company.

Page 21 – Panel 8: From the top down: Aqualad; Lori Lemaris; Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils; Aquaman; Dolphin.

Page 21 – Panel 9: Nuklon and the Star-Spangled Kid.

Page 21 – Panel 10: In the ship are the Metal Men (left to right Tin; Lead; Gold; Mercury; Platinum; and Iron) and in the foreground are Nightwing and Wonder Girl.

Page 21 – Panel 11: Element Lad and behind him Phantom Girl.

Page 21 – Panel 12: Top down (or from the back to the front if you prefer!) are Monsieur Mallah; Poison Ivy; Katana; and Batman of Earth-1.

Page 21 – Panel 13: Same again we have Bat Lash; Cinnamon; Brainstorm; and the Ultra-Humanite.

Page 21 – Panel 14: Superman of Earth-2; Lois Lane; and Superman of Earth-1.

Page 22 – Panel 3: Not a team player

Page 22 – Panel 2: Back on the Monitor’s satellite, Alex Luthor (with Pariah floating behind and above him) addresses (from left to right) Northwind; Hawkman; Starfire; Steel; and (in front of Steel) Dr. Light.

Page 22 – Panel 3: Dr. Light doesn’t speak English and would thus seem an odd choice to send off on a mission with the other, non-Japanese speaking heroes.

Page 22 – Panel 8: Harbinger realises something’s wrong.

Page 23 – Panel 1: The line “He’s under attack!” makes no sense. Surely “We’re under attack!” would be better?

Page 23 – Panel 10: The Psycho Pirate mentions “Apokolips” – this is the home planet of the New God Darkseid. Despite his words, though, the enemy never gets around to dealing with him or Apokolips.

Page 23 – Panel 11: The Flash hasn’t seen the enemy “do anything to prove” himself? How about destroying hundreds, possibly thousands of universes? Maybe he’s just goading him.

Page 23 – Panel 12: The enemy says he’s “been busy elsewhere” but where? We’ve only ever seen him here, in shadow.

Page 24: And finally, the big reveal:

Though he refers to himself as the Monitor, everybody else (with a few exceptions) will call him the Anti-Monitor and that’s what we’ll go with.

Page 25 – Panel 1: Earth-X appears, just in time to be destroyed by the antimatter wave.

Page 25 – Panel 5: Though glimpsed in Panel 4, here’s the first real look we get at the Freedom Fighters. Above them is Black Condor; standing left to right are Uncle Sam; the Human Bomb; Phantom Lady; and the Ray. In front of them on the ground is Doll Man.

Page 25 – Panel 8: It looks as though the Freedom Fighters are about to head into the antimatter but don’t worry – they’ll be okay!