I hate to admit, but I had gone most of my comic-reading life without checking out Marv Wolfman’s “classic” tale that set the DC universe (multiverse? anti-matterverse?) straight. After plowing through the lead-up to Infinite Crisis, I decided to pick up the newest TPB and get caught up.
It’s a little unfair to write about something so long after it came out, so I’ll get the context out of the way. CoIE was the first of the huge comics events. This is a bit of a bad comparison, but it was sort of like World War I. It was the first time that every player was brought into a fight of proportions never before seen. And also like the war, because it was something so new, those involved made the mistakes that inevitably come with treading in uncharted waters. OK, bad metaphors now tossed aside.
Looking at it today, CoIE is an interesting story that takes a very complicated universe or universes of characters, throws it in a garlic press and squeezes out one simple universe for readers. The main problem is that the story itself suffers from the complexity of the DCU it sought to redefine. It jumps into the action immediately (a method employed effectively in Avengers: Disassembled and Infinite Crisis) but never stops to take a breath and explain much of what’s going on until midway through the 12-part series. But when an explanation does come, it doesn’t make much sense.
Wolfman has written since about the lack of any kind of real reality to CoIE. Matter and Anti-Matter existing together? Um, better just ignore that high-school physics education. And check out Wolfman’s Web site, under the Q & A section, for the explanation of how the Barry Allen Flash could have survived CoIE (www.marvwolfman.com). He admits it’s comic-booky. How about ridiculous?
I assume that if I had been reading DC titles at the time, CoIE would make much more sense. But even with that, it’s just a weak story that spends so much time on cosmic complexity, it hardly fleshes out the characters (aside from Allen and Psycho Pirate, to a degree) that bring readers to comics.
It was supposed to be the best huge comics event ever. But, of course, WWI was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.”