Friday, September 27, 2013


CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (DC, Eighth Printing, 2012; Softcover)

Collects Crisis On Infinite Earths Nos. 1-12 (cover dates April, 1985- March, 1986)

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Artists: Penciler- George Perez; Inkers- Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo, and Jerry Ordway

Re-Colorist: Tom McGraw

You know the old adage: Marvel innovates, DC imitates. This is, of course, patently false, since both companies have borrowed liberally from one another over the years, but so the saying went when I was growing up. Stepping back and looking at the output of both companies from the 1930s to the present, one can point to which decade which company owned. Marvel did the first Limited Series and company wide crossover with Marvel Super Heroes Contest Of Champions in 1982, followed by a 12 issue mini-series Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars in 1984. Marv Wolfman states in his introduction that he envisioned this series prior to either of those, which may or may not be true. Either way, DC's first line-wide crossover beats Marvel's hands down.

By 1985, Marvel had all but mopped up DC in terms of sales. Jim Shooter may have financially righted Marvel, but he chased away many of Marvel's brightest stars by the early '80s. Greats like writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez. Both are at the top of their game here. While Wolfman's epic Tomb of Dracula remains my favorite work of his, this is right up there. Perez is always incredible, period. 

While I was buying comics off of the spinner racks when this series was originally released, I was what is now referred to as a “Marvel zombie”. Make mine Marvel and all that jazz. When comparing Crisis On Infinite Earths to Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, it is apparent to my adult self that this series kicks the crap out of Marvel's big crossover. Wolfman's story is so dense and layered that it makes Jim Shooter's writing on Secret Wars seem almost sophomoric by comparison.

I am a casual DC fan with a marginal grasp of the DC Universe. I have read much of the Golden Age Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Sandman (who is probably the only character absent in this series), and Spectre (or at least as much as has been collected in Archives and Chronicles) and have cherry picked other eras. DC's biggest hindrance has always been it's convoluted clusterfuck continuity. Wolfman made a mind-boggling attempt at streamlining DC's myriad continuities into one seamless universe, and you know what? It worked. I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I have read the post-Crisis Superman and Wonder Woman reboots, and they are great. It is my understanding that DC has long since undone this reboot and done other reboots. Whatever. Marvel used to have seamless continuity, once it's strongest argument over DC having forty Superman variations and twenty Flashes. Nowadays it's Red this and She that and it's every bit as bad as the worst that DC has to offer. 

This is a super dense read, clocking in at 368 pages. No wasted space, no bloated double page spreads featuring nothing more than an explosion. So-called 'sophisticated' modern comic readers criticize older comics which have “too many unnecessary” words. This much story would be spread across 200 comic books today.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I would re-buy this if DC issued it with the original color palette.

DVD-style Extras included in this book: Three page introduction by Marv Wolfman from July 15, 1998. One page Afterword Dick Giordano from September 10, 1998. Two pages of character sketches by George Perez.

Linework and Color restoration rating: 3 out of 5. There is a segment of the comic book buying population that would love to see all old comic books recolored with modern computer coloring techniques. I am not among that segment of the population. The reason why is evidenced in this very book. When I look at a collected edition of old material and see the flat four color process, I think Coloring may have been primitive, but this is authentic to how the material was originally published. When I look at this book, recolored for the 1998 hardcover with then-state of the art but now woefully outdated computer coloring techniques I think Wow, this looks dated and garish by modern standards. Worse still, not only does it look outdated but it is not authentic to the original publications. This is the ultimate lose-lose scenario. The folks who think that recoloring classic material with “modern” coloring is a good idea are the same folks who applaud George Lucas for making the original Star Wars trilogy Special Editions, replacing those “outdated” special effects with “state of the art” CGI...which is now also outdated by modern CGI standards. Folks should leave art alone. 

A shining example of the ridiculous overly rendered computer coloring. Why do modern colorists think that primary colors are stupid?
There are some pages where the recoloring is tasteful and effective, but most of it is garish airbrush gradient blends, which look cheesy and dated. Sadly, DC uses them when they recolor their collected editions to this day.
The linework is excellent except for the smaller panels, where the cheesy airbrushing obliterates it.

Paper rating: 4 out of 5. While this book has a good weight coated stock, it is way too glossy for vintage material. Of course, the garish recoloring doesn't help matters much, either. This looks like the paper Marvel used to use in their collections of vintage material circa 2005-2006 but has thankfully done away with.

Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding.

Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick waxlike lamination on a good weight cardstock cover.


  1. Surprised you didn't opt for the Absolute...or did Ferjo give you this one because HE upgraded?

    1. Haha, nope, Ferjo bought this new and factory fresh for me. Of course, HE has the Absolute. I would buy the Absolute if it had coloring faithful to the original publications.

  2. Kris, I got the hardcover slipcase version of Crisis that the reprinted up in the late 80's/early 90's. Even though this series changed everything (for the first time...) I think it was done amazingly well. Wolfman and Perez managed to capture nearly every character perfectly.

  3. For my money, wolfman and perez could do no wrong in this era.

    Crisis stands the test of time.

    I have the absolute edition!