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.

Random Retrospective #6 – Extreme Justice #14

Hey, everyone, remember that time when Booster Gold – hero from the 25th Century, best friend of Blue Beetle, goofy good-natured hero that comes through in a pinch – was possessed by Monarch and quantum energy and became a many tentacled, energy blasting monster?

No?

Allow me:

Yep, that’s Booster there. Man, the 90s were not kind to him.

This is at a time when the JLA had split into various factions and this one, Extreme Justice, had come up against a returned Monarch who was actually Nathanial Adam, not Hank Hall, and the Captain Atom we see in the image above is a clone made by the Quantum Realm that only thinks it’s Nathanial Adam . . .

And you thought Hawkman’s continuity was tricky . . .

Back in the Judgment Day crossover (no, not that one) between the various Justice League titles, Booster had lost his arm and had now accepted the new Monarch’s offer to fix him but it was all a trap to allow Monarch access to the League’s HQ, hence the tentacles and blasters and all that. The team get him stabilised and, to their surprise, find that something good has come out of the MILLENNIUM crossover (yes, that one).

And just to finish off the day, they manage to block Monarch’s control over Booster and everyone else he’d healed in the previous issues, and Beetle was finally able to construct a new, less bulky and more stream-lined suit for Booster after his original had been destroyed by Doomsday back in the Death of Superman story.

EXTREME JUSTICE was seen as something of a knee jerk reaction by DC to the then-current hyper heroics coming out of Image, but it didn’t last. It limped along for another few issues and then was quietly forgotten . . . until someone like me comes along and does one of these posts.

Sorry.

100 Issues Ago April 2013

This month’s 100 Issues Ago post is . . .

This must have been the shortest time between DC releasing to the press the plans for an “event” and then cancelling it! Each of the main New 52 series this month was to be branded with the above logo and have a fold out cover which would reveal a guest star or shock surprise that would make you say “WTF!”

Despite the assumption of comics being just for kids having been thrown out decades before, the press and retailers still rounded on DC and non-ironically asked “WTF are you doing?” figuring that somewhere down the line a parent would have to explain what those letters meant to little Johnny or Janey. So DC ditched it as quickly as they could.

The fold out covers went ahead though and, for the titles I was getting, most of them made me go “meh” rather than the desired response.

For ALL-STAR WESTERN #19, the big reveal was that Booster Gold had time travelled and ended up hanging out with Jonah Hex:

And it worked – the series as a whole was enjoyable and having Booster appear wasn’t as jarring as it could have been.

Elsewhere, the Green Lantern titles were still running the Wrath of the First Lantern storyline which was enjoyable enough; EARTH-2 was introducing its new Dr Fate; and despite Dan Jurgens’s best efforts, FIRESTORM was limping towards its final issue.

The biggest shift, though, was with STORMWATCH where DC gave the title to Jim Starlin and allowed him to remove the current, established team, and replace them with one of his own. Some of the main characters would remain but they were different versions than the ones we’d been reading about the month before. It did not bode well for the title.

Outside of the 17 DC issues this month, it was just FURY MAX from Marvel; have to wait until 2014 before DC was challenged by independent titles in my collection.