Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Phil Jimenez
Inker: Andy Lanning
George Perez Cover: In the centre are Superman and, to the left and right of him, Superboy and Supergirl; arranged around them in an arc going from left to right over their heads are Hawkman, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, the Omega Men’s ship, Hawkgirl, Adam Strange and the remains of the Watchtower.
To the lower right of Superman is Batman and behind him Nightwing and Robin; behind Robin is Starfire. Shown in the folds of Batman’s cape are the members of the Society: from top to bottom are Dr Polaris, Dr Light, Black Adam, Psycho Pirate, Bizarro, Deathstroke, Cheetah, Zoom and Sinestro. It is perhaps telling that the Society’s leader, Lex Luthor, is not shown.
Directly below Superman’s S shield is the Spectre.
To the lower left of Superman is Wonder Woman and behind her are Donna Troy and Wonder Girl. Behind them is a horde of OMACs.
Jim Lee and Sandra Hope Cover: In the foreground, from left to right, are Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman.
At the top of the image, mostly hidden by the Infinite Crisis: logo, are the OMACs and the exploding Watchtower.
Below that, again from left to right, are Cheetah, Deathstroke, Dr Light, the Spectre, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and Hawkman.
Page 1: The four panels that make up the first page mirror, with the exception of Superman’s presence, the first page of Crisis on Infinite Earths #1.
Page 1 – Panel 1: The black on red captions that run throughout the issue contain narration from Kal-L, the Earth-2: Superman who, with the exception of a brief cameo in The Kingdom, hasn’t been seen in the DC Universe since Crisis.
Page 1 – Panel 4: Superman flies above the ruins of the JLA’s Watchtower on the moon. The Watchtower was destroyed at the end of Crisis of Conscience.
Pages 2-3 – Panel 1: The Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onnz, was in the Watchtower when it exploded. As shown in Crisis of Conscience, prior to the Watchtower exploding, someone J’onn at first took to be Superman teleported inside. At this point, that person’s identity remains unknown.
Pages 2-3 – Panel 3: The Watchtower has suffered heavy damage and is soon to collapse. Batman’s comment that “Someone was here. Someone did this.” refers to the appearance of the stranger at the end of Crisis of Conscience who was identified by the Watchtower computers as Superman.
Pages 2-3 – Panel 4: Superman’s comment of “More spying? That satellite wasn’t enough?” refers to the Brother Eye satellite that Batman designed and built to monitor every meta-human on Earth. The satellite, and its fate, was detailed in The OMAC Project. Batman had also kept detailed files on the members of the Justice League and how to incapacitate them; these files were stolen by Ra’s Al Ghul in the JLA storyline The Tower Of Babel and used by the villain to great effect.
Pages 2-3 – Panel 6: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman stand in the ruins of the Watchtower.
Pages 2-3 – Panel 7: Batman states the obvious . . .
Pages 2-3 – Panel 8: . . . Wonder Woman misses the point . . .
Pages 2-3 – Panel 9: . . . and Superman spells it out and dishes the blame. The images he refers to are the television images taken by the Brother Eye satellite of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord. These events were detailed in the Sacrifice storyline that took place between issues #3 and #4 of The OMAC Project.
Pages 2-3 – Panel 10: Lurking in the shadows is Mongul, son of the original.
Page 4 – Panel 1: The image of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord that Superman mentioned. Lord had once been an entrepreneur who managed the Justice League; by the time Wonder Woman killed him, he had taken control of the secretive organisation Checkmate. Using 25th century technology stolen from Booster Gold, he had managed to take control of the Brother Eye satellite and was using it to monitor the meta-humans.
Page 4 – Panel 2: The scene switches to Smallville, specifically the farm of Jonathan and Martha Kent, Superman’s adoptive parents. Martha walks in carrying a pot as Conner Kent – Superboy – sits on the sofa watching the TV.
As mentioned, the black on red captions are narration by Kal-L and it becomes obvious from this one that he is able to view the world and its inhabitants.
Page 4 – Panel 3: The TV screen shows three of Superboy’s Teen Titans team mates fighting demons in Los Angeles: Raven in the top left hand corner; Beast Boy beneath her (as a pterodactyl) and Wonder Girl in the centre. One of the speech bubbles reports that the “…church officials deny the Pope believes that Revelations has begun…” repeating a common mistake – the last book of the Bible is the Book of Revelation, singular, not Revelations.
Page 4 – Panel 4: Superboy sits watching the team but does not help them; the events take place shortly after The Insiders storyline that ran between Teen Titans and The Outsiders. During that story, Superboy became a victim of his own genes. Long thought a clone of Superman, it was revealed that half of his genetic make-up was from Lex Luthor who had placed subconcious programming within Superboy which, when triggered, caused him to betray his friends and team-mates.
Page 4 – Panel 5: The second screen shows Robin being attacked by three OMACs, presumably in Gotham. The OMACs are intimately connected with the Brother Eye satellite; the satellite can activate any or all of them at any time. More information is available on The OMAC Project page.
It is worth mentioning that both here and in the previous screen, the skies are red; this was used as a motif in Crisis: to signal the coming crisis.
Page 4 – Panel 6: Superboy’s remarks refer to his recent discovery mentioned above that he was cloned using samples from both Superman (which he had known about all along) and Lex Luthor.
Page 4 – Panel 7: The device with a red T is Superboy’s Titans’ communicator.
Page 4 – Panel 8: “The world needs a Superboy. And right now you’re all they’ve got.” With the forcoming events, Martha’s words are somewhat ironic: Superboy is all they’ve got right now.
Page 5 – Panel 2: Kal-L’s narration shows that he recognises the potential within Superboy.
Page 5 – Panels 3-4: The mention of Lex Luthor on the TV causes Superboy to falter in his conviction to help his team-mates.
Luthor is described as a fugitive – this is due to the events of Public Enemies which saw the then-President Luthor stripped of his power. The reason for his being in Alaska is revealed later in Infinite Crisis.
Superboy-Prime tellingly refers to Superboy as Conner Kent, not his heroic pseudonym; the halting tones of Lois Lane reveal some sympathy and hope for Superboy; Kal-L’s words show a determination to do something; and Alex remains silent. It’s worth noting that the last speech of “And if we don’t get involved… there will be no Earth to worry about.” should almost certainly be spoken by Alex. Not only would: this give him his first dialogue in the story but if, as it stands now, Kal-L speaks these words then the caption box that follows – with Kal-L’s narration – makes no sense.
Despite the many alterations in the Collected Edition, this remains uncorrected.
The images they’re watching appear on the crystal walls of their prison paradise as shown in the Infinite Crisis Secret Files & Origins. On the top row from left to right are Black Hand; Green Lantern (GL) Hal Jordan’s hands; Aquaman; an OMAC; Aquaman facing off against OMACs; Aquagirl. On the next row down are Black Hand; GL Hal Jordan; Heat Wave (directly above Superboy-Prime’s head); Superboy; Flash versus Weather Wizard; a close up of Flash. The last row has Kid Flash; Captain Boomerang; and Captain Cold.
Page 6 – Panel 1: Kal-L’s narration paints a grim picture of Bludhaven and then mentions “a young man raised in the colors of the circus”. This is Nightwing who stands at the edge of a rooftop overlooking the city of Bludhaven. Behind him, left to right, are Donna Troy, Supergirl and Starfire.
Donna mentions Kory and Vic – these are Starfire and Cyborg, respectively.
Page 6 – Panel 2: This is the latest incarnation of Supergirl, a character whose history has been somewhat convoluted. The original Kara Zor-El died during Crisis. In the intervening years, there were further versions of the character but this Supergirl is, once again, Kara Zor-El, the cousin of Superman.
Page 6 – Panel 3: “You just came back to us, Donna.” Nightwing refers to the fact that Donna was killed by a malfunctioning Superman robot in Teen Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day. Her resurrection was detailed in the Return Of Donna Troy.
As with Supergirl – and Power Girl who plays an important role in Infinite Crisis – the history of Donna’s character is confusing.
Page 6 – Panel 4: Donna mentions the Titans of Myth – these are the ancient Greek Titans who left this reality at the end of the Return Of Donna Troy and, apparently, told her that “a few seconds is going to make all the difference.” Consequently, she’s gathering a band of heroes to take into space to attempt to make that difference.
This appears to be the first mention of these “few seconds” as – unless I’ve missed something – there is no mention of them in the Return of Donna Troy miniseries.
Page 6 – Panels 5-8: Starfire, an alien princess from the planet Tamaran and Nightwing’s ex-lover which explains the hesitation and awkwardness between them.
Kal-L’s narration claims the pair have had chance after chance to make their relationship work but have failed. He concludes that “love is powerless here.” With what is to come, it seems likely he refers to this entire universe, rather than the specific instance of Nightwing and Starfire.
Page 6 – Panel 9: Donna addresses a travelsphere, a form of transport that, despite it’s small size, can carry several people great distances. She refers to New Cronus, the home of the Titans of Myth which she commandeered at the end of the Return Of Donna Troy after the Titans left this reality.
Page 7 – Panel 1: Still in Bludhaven, the police have arrested the Batman villain The Ratcatcher. As they attempt to take him away, an old tramp tries to stop them.
Page 7 – Panels 2-4: The old man is transformed by nanites into an OMAC, an automaton guided by the Brother Eye satellite.
Page 7 – Panel 5: The OMAC identifies The Ratcatcher, using his real name of Otis Flannegan, and rates him as “Gamma”. This rating seems a little arbitrary if it follows the Greek alaphabet of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on. See the note for Page 7 – Panels 8-10.
Page 7 – Panel 6: The Ratcatcher’s rating, however, becomes academic as he is incinerated by the OMAC, becoming the first casualty of the Infinite Crisis series – Maxwell Lord’s killing by Wonder Woman on Page 3 – Panel 1 was a flashback.
Page 7 – Panels 8-10: The OMAC identifies Nightwing and rates him a “Beta” placing him just one level up from The Ratcatcher. No explanation of these ratings is given either in Infinite Crisis or The OMAC Project.
Nightwing is saved as the OMAC’s elimination protocol changes to Truth And Justice, initiating a mass gathering of OMACs.
Pages 8-9: A two page spread showing OMACs gathering in the red sky, an obvious homage to the shadow demons gathering over the Earth in Crisis.
Kal-L’s narration mentions “his mentor” – this refers to Batman as Nightwing was the original Robin.
Pages 10-11: Another two page spread, this one showing the Rann-Thanagar War taking place in Space Sector 2682. Amongst the ships circling a tear in reality are (from left to right): Hawkman (the lower of the two winged characters); Hawkgirl (the upper); Starman (Prince Gavyn); Adam Strange; GL Kilowog; GL Kyle Rayner; Captain Comet.
There are both Rannian and Thangarian soldiers as well as spacecraft of both armies still battling each other, despite the anomaly. At the right of the spread is the Omega Men’s ship and those of LEGION. More details of the war can be found in the Rann-Thanagar War page.
Page 12 – Panel 1: Adam Strange; GL Kilowog; GL Rayner; Hawkman. Sardath, to whom Strange refers, is his father-in-law, the head scientist of the planet Rann and inventor of both the Zeta and Omega Beam technologies.
Page 12 – Panel 2: The power rings of the Green Lanterns are semi-sentient and able to communicate with their wearers as shown here. As powerful as they are – power rings are often referred to as “the most powerful weapon in the universe” – not even GL Rayner’s ring is able to identify the rift in space. The cause of it and its purpose is explained later in Infinite Crisis.
Page 12 – Panel 3: On board the LEGION ship, left to right: Strata; Garv; Lydea Darkstar; Vril Dox; Garryn Bek; Telepath. The “flying barbarians” Dox refers to are the Thanagarians.
LEGION became entangled in the Rann-Thanagar War when they attempted to protect (for a price) the planet of Ancar which was being over-run by Khunds. GL Rayner stopped either side taking control, claiming – as Dox sarcastically mentions – that the Green Lantern Corps was protecting them “free of charge.”
Page 12 – Panel 4: The Lanterns’ power rings act, among other things, as communication devices, allowing one Lantern to speak to another. The “Guy” that GL Rayner is talking to is GL Guy Gardner who’s back on Oa, home of the Guardians of the Universe.
Page 12 – Panel 7: GL Guy Gardner flying above the Guardians’ citadel.
Page 12 – Panel 8: On Oa, the Guardians – the “little blue men” that GL Gardner refers to – are watching the war. The circular screen they are viewing shows a section of the two page spread on Pages 10-11.
Traditionally, very view of the Guardians have actually been named; it is possible that the Guardian doing most of the talking here is Ganthet, at one time the last of the Guardians until GL Rayner restored the race following their decimation by a possessed GL Hal Jordan.
The Guardian mentions that planets have moved; this is probably in reference to Rann moving from its orbit around Alpha Centauri to Polaris, an event detailed in Planet Heist, which caused the destruction of Thanagar and precipitated the Rann-Thanagar War. However, it may also refer to planets being deliberately moved by Superboy-Prime which will be dealt with later in these annotations.
Page 12 – Panel 9: The Guardian surmises that there may be a guiding hand behind the chaos but is unaware of who or what it could be.
Kal-L’s narration again reveals he feels little hope is left in the inhabitants of this universe. His mention of the Guardians relying on “those who overcome great fear” refers to the Green Lantern Corps who must be honest and without fear.
Page 13 – Panel 1: Back on Earth, the Rock of Eternity, home of the wizard Shazam, floats high above Gotham City. It materialised above the city at the end of Day Of Vengeance.
Page 13 – Panel 2: The Riddler overlooks a near riot; behind him (below from our view) is Scarface though there appears to be no sign of his handler, the Ventriloquist; on the steps in front of him are the Body Doubles.
Page 13 – Panel 3: The Fisherman, an old enemy of Aquaman from simpler times.
Page 13 – Panel 4: Murmur about to kill a police officer; the strange dialogue is due to his having cut out his own tongue and sewn his lips together. Behind him is the Red Panzer, one of a handful of Nazi themed villains in the DCU.
Page 13 – Panels 5-9: Detectives Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen of the Gotham City Police. Allen refers to “Corrigan”, a corrupt policeman in the department and not to the ex-host of The Spectre.
Page 13 – Panels 10-11: The Rock of Eternity explodes, showering Gotham with magical debris. This is detailed in the last issue of Day Of Vengeance.
Page 14 – Panel 1: The speech bubble is from above where Billy Batson, thrown out of the Rock of Eternity, shouts the name of his mentor as he falls. By calling out Shazam’s name, Billy turns into . . .
Page 14 – Panel 2: . . . Captain Marvel, just in time to land on Montoya and Allen’s car.
Page 14 – Panels 3-5: Semi-concious, Captain Marvel sums up the conclusion of Day Of Vengeance where a misguided Spectre killed the wizard Shazam.
Page 15: The Spectre, with the Batsignal glowing on his chest, looms over Gotham City. Previously held prisoner within the Rock of Eternity were the Seven Deadly Sins; freed with the Rock’s destruction, they are now loose in Gotham.
Working clockwise from the left: the Sin on the building, just below the lightning strike, may be Pride; the one on the roof top to the right can’t be identified; the one in mid-air, just below the Batsignal, may be Sloth; the next is Anger; the one with his tongue out is lust; the one in the background just at the top left corner of Kal-L’s caption can’t be identified; the one behind the woman wearing the I Heart Gotham T-shirt is gluttony.
At the bottom of the page, Allen, Marvel and Montoya stare up at the Spectre.
Page 16 – Panel 1: The scene switches to outside Metropolis; the refinery has a sign which can just be made out as Stagg Industries; Simon Stagg is the father-in-law and long-time foil of Metamorpho.
Page 16 – Panel 2: The Freedom Fighters. From left to right we have the Human Bomb; Phantom Lady; Uncle Sam; Black Condor; The Ray and Damage. As Kal-L’s narration somewhat cynically says, Uncle Sam claims to be the embodiment of the American Spirit.
Page 16 – Panel 3: Sam mentions an intercepted message between the Silver Ghost, a long time Freedom Fighters’ enemy, and the Mirror Master, one of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery. To my knowledge, the Silver Ghost does not appear in Infinite Crisis.
The Society Sam speaks of was brought together in Villains United and is a coalition of supervillains led by Lex Luthor. As has been seen, Luthor is currently on the run following the events of Public Enemies, yet was portrayed in Villains United as bringing the Society together. This apparent contradiction will be explained later in the series.
Page 16 – Panel 4: Phantom Lady mentions Firestorm who was kidnapped by the Society in issue #16 of his series. Beside her, Damage quite rightly wonders why Superman and/or the Justice League aren’t involved.
Page 16 – Panels 5-6: The Human Bomb, Roy Lincoln, mentions the explosion of the Watchtower and obviously has some sympathy with Wonder Woman and her killing of Maxwell Lord. He mentions “the war” meaning the Second World War. The Freedom Fighters came into the DCU proper during Crisis; originally from Earth-2, they’d spent many years on Earth-X where World War Two had never finished.
Uncle Sam, meanwhile, doesn’t agree with Lincoln’s excusing Wonder Woman.
Page 17 – Panel 4: Lincoln gently rebukes Damage who has powers similar to his own.
Page 17 – Panels 7-8: As the Freedom Fighters break into the Society’s meeting place, a yellow beam lances out, killing Black Condor.
Pages 18-19: Members of the Society are revealed for the first time in Infinite Crisis. From left to right are Dr Light; Dr Polaris; Zoom (in the background); Deathstroke; Black Adam; Psycho Pirate; Sinestro; Cheetah; and Bizarro.
Sinestro was once a Green Lantern; after rebelling against the Guardians of the Universe, he ended up in the anti-matter universe and, on the planet Qward, was given a yellow power ring. It was with this ring that Sinestro killed Black Condor.
Page 20 – Panels 1-6: Back on the moon, amongst the Watchtower ruins, Superman is adamant that Wonder Woman face the consequences of her killing Maxwell Lord. Their discussion is cut short by Mongul’s appearance as he punches Superman out of the Watchtower.
Page 20 – Panel 7: Mongul’s mention of Despero refers to the long time Justice League foe who, during Crisis of Conscience, gave back to the original Secret Society of Supervillains their memories of the League’s secret identities.
The image of Mongul stood behind Batman and Wonder Woman shown here is a homage to the character’s father appearing in the pre-Crisis Superman story For The Man Who Has Everything by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Page 21 – Panel 3: Back with the Freedom Fighters, Dr Light attacks The Ray; both characters’ powers are light based.
Page 21 – Panel 4: Zoom’s line of “You’ll all be stronnnnger heroes.” as he attacks Damage is his raison d’etre. A relatively new Flash villain, Zoom tries to make Flash a better hero by combating him, forcing him to improve himself.
Page 21 – Panels 7-11: Despite Phantom Lady’s invisibility powers, Cheetah is able to track and wound her, softening her for Deathstroke who deals the killing blow.
Page 23: The Human Bomb, distraught at losing his friends, shreds his containment suit, unleashing all his explosive power at Dr Polaris who is killed in the explosion.
Page 24: Bizarro kills the Human Bomb.
Page 26 – Panels 1-2: At the Watchtower, with Mongul knocked down by Superman, Wonder Woman attempts to prevent him ever getting back up by killing him.
Page 26 – Panels 3-5: Both Batman and Superman are stunned by Wonder Woman’s actions.
Page 26 – Panels 7-8: Taking advantage of their confusion, Mongul gets away.
Page 27: As the rest of the Society’s soldiers face down Uncle Sam, Psycho Pirate captures the Ray using his emotion-manipulating powers, forcing the young hero to become happy and compliant, because Luthor needs him alive, though we have no idea why. At this point, with the disparate portrayals of Lex Luthor in Villains United and Public Enemies, it is uncertain which version of Luthor the Psycho Pirate is delivering The Ray to.
Pages 28-29 – Panel 1: Mongul somehow manages to get away from Superman and escape from the Watchtower.
Pages 28-29 – Panel 8: Batman’s reference to mindwipes concerns the events in Identity Crisis where it was revealed the JLA removed some of Dr Light’s memories and, later, some of Batman’s. In part it was Batman’s slow recall of the mindwiping that led to his distrust of his peers and his construction of Brother Eye.
Page 30 – Panels 1-4: Batman serves up perhaps the best put-down ever. That it’s aimed at a friend is unfortunate.
Page 30 – Panel 7: Uncle Sam lays face down in water; it’s unclear at this point if he’s dead.
Page 30 – Panel 9: As Batman and Wonder Woman leave, Superman is left alone amongst the Watchtower’s ruins.
Page 31 – Panel 1: The survivors of Crisis on Infinite Earths stand before their crystal wall which shows images from what has happened so far.
Page 31 – Panel 2: Despite all she has seen and the doubts of those around her, the Earth-2: Lois still has faith in Superman.
Page 31 – Panels 3-4: Alex and Superboy-Prime are convinced that where Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have failed, they can succeed. Alex also whispers that they can even save “her” – obviously a reference to Lois. Why she needs saving is unclear at this point.
Page 31 – Panel 5: Kal-L begins punching through the wall of their prison. The sacrifice he speaks of could refer to the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths where Kal-L and Superboy-Prime stayed behind in the anti-matter universe to defeat the Anti-Monitor, allowing Superman and the other heroes to return to Earth-1.
Page 32: The four survivors are portrayed in continuity in the DCU for the first time since Crisis. Kal-L, the Superman of Earth-2, has returned along with Alex Luthor, Superboy-Prime and Lois Lane of Earth-2.
As mentioned at the start, Kal-L appeared briefly in The Kingdom which introduced Hypertime to the DCU. However, as Hypertime has since been ret-conned out this, strictly speaking, is his first in continuity appearance since Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Deaths in this issue:
- Ratcatcher – killed by an OMAC
- Black Condor – killed by Sinestro
- Phantom Lady – killed by Deathstroke
- Dr Polaris – killed by the Human Bomb
- The Human Bomb – killed by Bizarro
- Uncle Sam – left face down in water. Sam was later restored to full health in Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters