The original Crisis on Infinite Earths was a revolutionary comic, forever changing the comic book industry and the DC Comics universe. The Arrowverse – the collective shared universe of superhero shows on The CW network – recently adapted Crisis on Infinite Earths into a crossover event that went beyond its defined boundaries, encompassing nearly every live-action superhero show based on a DC Comics property and more than a few of the movies.
Crisis on Infinite Earths Giant #1 is a grab-bag aimed at Arrowverse fans, offering up two issues of the original Crisis storyline along with two new comics co-written by the original Crisis architect and script writer, Marv Wolfman. For those who haven’t read the original comics, this is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the greatest creators in comics’ history at work. George Perez (Wolfman’s artistic partner on the now legendary New Teen Titans) was in fine form and backed by an all-star art team consisting of Dick Giordano, Tony Tollin and John Costanza. While I’d suggest picking up the collected edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first and seventh chapters included here stand strongly on their own and have definitely withstood the test of time.
The same can be said of the new material, which Wolfman co-wrote with Arrow producer Marc Guggenheim, who is no mean comic writer himself. Their first story, told from the perspective of Felicity Smoak, shows the master hacker working with a team separate from the ones we saw on the show, as they attempt to track down Outkast – the anti-matter universe doppelganger of Pariah, whose movements seem to be somehow accelerating the demise of the multiverse.
The story seems to have been written to make use of all the characters the Arrowverse writers wanted to include in Crisis on Infinite Earths but couldn’t include because the actors weren’t available or didn’t want to take part in the event. This is presumably why we have Felicity Smoak partnered up with Kid Flash, The Ray and Nyssa Al Ghul. While this might have worked to explain away the absence of those heroes (Felicity was referred to in the television series, but did not appear) it does make the whole story seem like a DVD deleted scene that was cut for time. Despite this, there are some good moments, such as Felicity’s reaction to Oliver’s death and her discussing things with Barry Allen and Lyla Michaels. We also get an appearance by Marv Wolfman’s favorite “what might have been” – the Justice Alliance of Earth-D.
The artwork by Tom Denerick is technically skilled but there are a few oddities here and there. For instance, White Canary only appears in the issue long enough for Felicity to narrate a joke about being the cute blonde, no the other one and Batwoman is in the background of several scenes, despite not adding anything to the story and her presence creating continuity problems in relation to where she was in the show. Still, the action of these scenes flows well and the inks by Trevor Scott and colors by John Kalisz leave the finished product looking good. I suspect the book just needed a stronger editor to check the continuity between panels.
The second original story is the stronger entry, focusing on the Lex Luthor of Earth-38 as he escapes his confinement on the Waverider and meets up with the Council of Luthors. If you’ve seen the episode of Rick and Morty centered around the Council of Ricks you can immediately guess where this story goes, though to be fair this sort of thing was done in the DC Universe decades before and it’s still amusing to see all the versions of Luthor, each of whom thinks he is the smartest man in the room, jockey for position. And yes, we do see the Gene Hackman Lex Luthor among them.
Tom Grummett’s artwork for this piece is astounding if only for one fact; he draws different faces for each of the Luthors, leaving them looking similar yet distinct. It’s a small touch but a nice one. The inks by Danny Miki offer the perfect amount of contrast, enhancing the original pencils while largely remaining unobtrusive and the colors by Chris Sotomayor are well chosen.
Unless you’re a fan of the Arrowverse following their Crisis on Infinite Earths event, there’s not much reason to give this issue a shot. It’s solid work by some fine professionals, but there’s not much to appeal to the common clay of comic fans who don’t care much about TV. That being said, what is here is done well and I personally enjoyed it as an Arrow-head.