Untold Tales #548 Justice League America and Justice League of America

Just like Monday’s adventure with past and present Aquamen, this time two versions of the League get together.

Random Retrospective #20 – Batman: Dark Victory

Following the success of BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN it was sort of inevitable that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale would team up again for a sequel, and DARK VICTORY was the result. Picking up after the Holiday murders in the first series, the bad guys are either dead, in Arkham, or disabled – and the same goes for some of the good guys as well, with Harvey Dent’s transition to Two-Face completed by the end of HALLOWEEN and at the start of this series, he’s locked up in Arkham.

There’s a hell of a lot going on in this collection so I’m not going to do a big review of the entire series, but suffice to say not only was the story wonderfully paced, with twists and turns galore, but the art was excellent as well, with splash pages such as this:

Catwoman and her relationship with Batman also got some coverage, the complicated toing and froing between her and Batman, and Selina and Bruce running through the book.

But I think the biggest reveal was the inclusion and introduction of the first Robin. I’m pretty sure I read an interview with Loeb when this series was coming out where he said he’d never really liked Robin so hasn’t used him in any of the previous Batman stories he’d done, but with DARK VICTORY he found a way to bring the character in.

And at the end of the book, the main plot is tied up, though there are enough threads left hanging that there could have been a third (apart from CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME) but for whatever reasons, it never happened.

Still, as the final page shows, we’ve got a good idea of where things go from here:

Random Retrospective #16 – Infinite Crisis #5

When INFINITE CRISIS #5 turned up in my random list of back issues to chat about, I almost threw it back and selected something else. After all, I annotated the damn thing as part of the very first series of annotations I did way back in the mists of time (actually probably about 2006 or so.) However, the gods of randomness, whoever they may be, have decided that we’re taking a lower level look at this so here we go.

The issue starts with a pause in the story, a sort of catch your breath moment as heroes gather in church before girding their loins and heading out to battle the bad guys again. Meanwhile on a reconstituted Earth-2, Superman and Lois of the original Earth-2 find time to celebrate a little.

You just know his words are going to come back to haunt him.

Elsewhere, Batman is introduced by Booster Gold to the new Blue Beetle and Lex Luthor gives some help to an injured Superboy. Wonder Woman, fresh from the televised spectacle of her murdering Max Lord, is shocked to find civilians shunning or actively attacking her, though she gets help from a surprising source:

Back on Earth-2, Lois has died, driving Kal-L almost mad with grief, so much so that when Superman arrives and tries to help, Kal-L attacks him, blaming him for the death of his wife.

Diana Prince takes Wonder Woman over to Earth-2 and she, with Superman, convinces Kal-L to stop in his attack. Poor old Kal-L realises he’s been duped by Alex Luthor Jr and that this simulacrum of Earth-2 was never really his world.

Alex meanwhile fires up his tuning fork engine, powered by the captured heroes and villains that originally came from different Earths, and reproduces a multiverse for the first time since the original Crisis. Heroes disappear from Earth-1 and are sent to their respective new homes, while the Flash returns from the Speed Force having been unable to imprison the series super-villain . . .

I still think INFINITE CRISIS holds up as a sequel to the original; the build up to it, the interweaving storylines, the hints and sub-plots that you missed until you looked back, all added up to a bombastic charge through the DCU of the time that, for me, worked a treat.