Infinite Crisis #5
Writer: Geoff Johns
By Drew Grgich
02 March 2006 — It's okay. The series hasn't jumped the shark — yet. However, it does appear that Geoff Johns has put on his water skis.
First off, let's say that the decline that I believe this issue represents was perhaps impossible to avoid. After all, issue #4 was so fantabulistically awesome that I just had to make up a new adverb to describe the depths of its awesomeness. That issue was like the Marianas Trench of comic book awesomeness. You had battles that mattered with effects that will echo in the DC Universe for a decade or more. It had the plausible return — however brief — of Barry Allen. And some jaw-dropping "can you believe they just did that" moments that made me laugh with a bit of glee while I read it at the local Taco Bell. Yup, that was a good day. Infinite Crisis #4 and a beef-and-potato burrito.
So now we have issue #5. Six weeks later. But we have it nonetheless. This is much like, let's see, dating Jennifer Aniston after dating Cameron Diaz. Both are very attractive, and normally you'd be all excited about dating Jennifer Aniston and her perky... smile. But in this hypothetical case, you were just dating Cameron Diaz! How the hell do you possibly follow up Cameron Diaz? That's what we have here. Issue #5 is the Jennifer-Aniston-after-Cameron-Diaz of comic books.
Man, I must be feeling metaphorical here today.
What makes this comic run a little lower on the scale of fantabulisticness, you might say? It's a few things. Since this is a spoiler-free review, I'll gloss over the details, but the book is lacking. First, you've got the whole "this is but the centerpiece of many crossover-related stories and some stuff will be covered in those other books" angle that was also present in IC4. But in issue #5, it's worse.
We have characters showing up in the Batcave with little explanation or fanfare, and one of the Luthors getting involved in a way that I must have missed in a crossover book. I would have enjoyed a little more explanation there, even if it did repeat stuff that was in a crossover title.
Now I consider myself an intelligent guy, capable of making up adverbs when needed and understanding rudimentary logical flows when necessary. However, the battle between the Supermen, which takes place in this book and the three-part "This Is Your Life, Superman!" storyline (Superman #226, Action Comics #836 and Adventures of Superman #649) made my head hurt.
Kal-L begins to get angry in this issue, and I have to say that from what I've learned of the character, it seems odd that he'd be so naive. Why is Kal-L so pig-headed? I realize that he is upset and all — you'll see why. But he's angry with the heroes of Earth-1 for demonstrating flawed logic, yet he's using flawed logic! I also realize that he's pissed at our Superman for failing to live up to his standards, but it seems arbitrary that they're fighting. Too fanboyish. It's as if the editor said, "Make sure the El and L have a throwdown, Geoff, or we'll beat you with the wet noodle again."
I also don't like the reveal at the end. Some of my early concerns are creeping up again, and I fear they're going to spring to life in the next issue. I would hate to be right, but I'll trust in Johns for now.
Now don't get me wrong, even though Star Trek II and III are part of the same cool story, the later was a letdown following the fantabulisticness of the former. After all, sometimes Christopher Lloyd just has to come after Ricardo Montalban. That's what we have here with IC5, and I'm jiggy with it.
Though I'm not quite sure exactly who illustrated each page, the artwork was solid. (Word has it that Jerry Ordway drew a good deal or all of the Earth-2 stuff.) I'm just not geeky enough to know the difference between Phil Jimenez and Ivan Reis, but both must have done fine because I liked it all.
Definitely worth picking up, although if this is the first issue of the mini that you've read, you're going to be really confused; rush out and buy the other issues first so you can understand this oft-confusing story.
If you'd like to read a review with up to 7000% more spoilers, hop on over to SciFiScoundrels.com for the full review.
Drew Grgich is one of the Sci-Fi Scoundrels, a group of n'er-do-wells who curse and foul-mouth their way through a podcast about science ficition in films and on TV. You can see more of his work at SciFiScoundrels.com