I read Infinite Crisis #2 today, and everything—including DC’s turn toward the dark over the past few years—is starting to make sense. Infinite Crisis isn’t just following up on plotlines from Crisis on Infinite Earths, it’s actually making a statement about the past 20 years of comics.
Potential spoilers ahead! Remember the grim-n-gritty period in the 1980s? The ultra-violent period in the 1990s? Remember when Superman was killed, Batman’s back was broken, and Wonder Woman was replaced? Remember when Green Lantern turned evil and tried to destroy the universe?
The dark tone that has pervaded the DCU since Identity Crisis is all about following those trends to their conclusion. Infinite Crisis isn’t just about dark events hitting the DCU, it’s about the DCU becoming its darkest.
The premise of IC seems to be that something has gone fundamentally wrong with the universe. It’s become corrupted. Like making a meal out of spoiled ingredients, things turn out wrong. And you get discord. You get heroes who are barely better than the villains they fight. You get conflicts that don’t make sense, because the universe itself is broken.
At least one character thinks that the original Crisis ended wrong. Instead of realigning the universe around Earth-1, it should have been realigned around Earth-2. This actually makes sense, in terms of the history of comics, since Earth-2 grew out of the first 15 years that DC published, and Earth-1 came much later.
So the stage is set. One group of heroes, led by Earth-2’s Superman—though I suspect Power Girl may take over at some point—wants to realign the universe. One group, led by Donna Troy, wants to repair it. Hmm, two multiverse refugees, on opposing sides. You can bet they’ll come into conflict, though you do have to wonder—which side is right? Is the modern DCU worth saving?
And would DC actually move to a model where Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman fought in World War II, and the modern heroes are their successors?