Project 500: Crisis of Infinite Reviewers.
Welcome ComicVine to the first installment of Project 500 . Project 500 came as an idea from reviewer Silkcuts as a Jam session style review where a few users come together to write a review. The issue before you in review is Crisis on Infinite Earths #1; it can be read free at the DC Site ( here ), so you can take a moment now to read the issue before reading the review. To make this review more reader friendly the key few paragraphs of each reviewer will make the main part of the body, while the rest of each reviewers review will remain unabridged but collapsed in the “Spoiler Warning” section their respected location. This separation is to remove the overwhelming appearance of this jam session, while keeping each voice accessible. Enjoy.
( Silkcuts) What makes Crisis on Infinite Earths (CoIE or simply “Crisis”) so special, is not the key deaths later on, not the end of the Multiverse , but the way the narrative is pushed. This series was very experimental with its panel work, before Scott McCloud defined terms like "Gutter" to us; the comic medium was a place where indescribable magic occurred on printed pages. This magic would be known later as the Invisible Language of comics. Crisis is a perfect balance of words and picture to express information in a form unique to comics. For those who have not read McCloud's Understanding Comics, a "Gutter" is that dead space between panels, where pictures are in transition. Our minds must make closure with the minimal information in the Gutter. Crisis is one of the oldest comics I can remember where the gutter is played with as much as the panels themselves. The layout for Crisis alone is an amazing achievement in comic history. The Gutter Space is maximized in Crisis, so the series is really not a Crisis at all. It is a dense visual essay on the death of the Multiverse and the birth to a newer era in the DCU.
Silkcuts' Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5
( G-Man) 1984 was the beginning of a lot of things for me. That's the year I started reading comics and it feels like that's when publishers got the idea of doing massive crossover events. 1984 marked Secret Wars for Marvel and Crisis on Infinite Earths for DC. Marvel went with a fun adventure which had some repercussions but Crisis was a game-changer for a lot of characters. This was their way to clean up their Multiverse.
What better way to start off a twelve-issue miniseries than with the death of an entire universe. At the time for me, I had no idea what was going on. Seeing different versions of characters I knew suddenly being wiped from existence was heavy stuff. Everything was in jeopardy. It was the sort of thing you never saw before. I didn't realize that comics could be so dark or foreboding. Didn't the heroes always win? How could they survive when they were told their entire universe was about to die?
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a comic series everyone should read. It changed the DC Universe completely (even if many of those changes have been reverted back). When I look at my copy, I look at it with respect. Today's big event issues are cool but after I read it, I just set it aside in an ever-growing stack of comics without giving it a second thought. New readers might not dig it as much today but it's a comic that I will always remember.
G-Man's Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5
( Liberty) First of all I want to echo a lot of G-Man said. I started a few years after him but I know what he is talking about and agree with him a lot. This comic is a perfect issue, especially for such an epic story. To me there has never been a story arch with such impact. After this series everything was separated into Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis. Kinda like the New Testament and the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. DC Comics was creating a new "covenant" with their readers.
Liberty's Star Rating: 5 out of 5
( grifter78) I’m actually coming at this from a totally fresh perspective. Unlike most comics fans, I have committed the grave sin of never reading Crisis on Infinite Earths (pauses for boos and hisses*). Now, that’s not to say I’ve never tried. When I discovered my local library stocked graphic novels, I saw Crisis on their list and requested it almost immediately. But I found when I went to pick it up, it was the novelization. This was not the way I wanted to experience this story for the first time. I know friends of mine probably have this trade but as my tastes as a comic fan have changed over the years, I’ve found myself less inclined to pick up the classic stories I never got to read. As G-man said, there is something that is lost in the style these old stories are told in, but for me, it’s not something I miss as much as most do.
Silkcuts talked about the “Gutter” and how George Perez uses this concept perfectly to illustrate what’s going on here. I think when I first really appreciated it was the scene where Harbinger gives Psycho Pirate his mask. I love the layout of the mask floating in front of Harbinger towards Pirate’s face. It was an incredible use of panels to give the illusion of movement. It made me stop and appreciate the genius of George Perez for a moment. Another scene that stood out for me was the introduction of Blue Beetle. I love the way Perez portrayed Beetle’s fighting style.
So in the story structure we’ve got the introduction of the crisis, the summoning of the characters, and then one big action scene before we get to the end. I’m not sure how relevant the attack of the shadow creatures was yet but I hope it was not inserted simply to have an action scene. But I’ll give Wolfman the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not. This of course leads to the first full appearance of The Monitor in a classic and extremely well executed cliffhanger.
All in all, it is a very interesting story even if it is a little dense on the writing side. But that’s to be expected from the comics of the time period. I think as a modern comic reader you really have to remove your biases and try to appreciate this story for its historical importance as far as comics are concerned. I enjoyed it but I’d have to read the whole story before I can finally determine if I think it’s as great as everyone says it is. But for now, it’s a good start and I wouldn’t mind reading the rest of it…at least once. :)
grifter78's Star Rating:3.5 out of 5
( aztek the lost) In this jam of various reviewers and comic lovers, I'd say I represent the reader new to the massive world of comics, although I have read hundreds of comics, I'm still new to the scene in comparison to many and came to love comics long after the big changes that the industry went through in the late 80's in 90's...in fact, I was born after the release of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns (the comics that are oft-credited as the starting point of the current age in comics). So that means I do not hold a classic like Crisis on Infinite Earths in as high regard as those who picked it up when it was still hot off the printer, in fact, only a few hours before writing this review I read the first issue for the first time.
In conclusion, despite my problems with the book I believe if you want to truly experience and understand the continuity of the current DCU, Crisis on Infinite Earths will always be an essential read. However, if you're simply looking for a good self-contained story, a graphic novel to share with your friends to show them how awesome comics are...I don't think CoIE is that book. Due to its impact on not the industry, but the DC universe, I am still inclined to recommend it more then I would were it just some book with no consequences outside of itself. So, I give it a 3.25 of 5. That's a 65% (and a passing grade, better then several of mine were in high school).
aztek the lost's Star Rating 3.25 out of 5
( Silkcuts) I would like now to thank the members who participated in this Jam Session: ( G-Man, Liberty, grifter78 and aztek the lost ), thank you all for helping me see this Project off the ground. Project 500 is not just my Landmark, but it is Comicvine's as well, this review being the first Jam Session review written by the community for the community. To continue this spirit of unity I humbly invite any users; Veteran reviews to those who have never written a review before to volunteer and continue what we have started. An official relay review is what is planned next. Please don't just review the next issues of Crisis on your own. Please volunteer to participate in this relay idea. The more volunteers the more fun it will be to review the remaining series single issues. Reviews by other VC users for example is Sha to write a review for issue #7 (The Death issue of Supergirl) as agreed in advance. If you are interested in Project 500 click the highlighted Project 500 and sign up on my blog.
Thank you Comicvine for 500 reviews and hopefully many more.
- Kevin "Silkcuts" Gorospe