In Crisis #9 Lex Luthor and Brainiac figured the threat of The Anti-Monitor was done and began their plan to conquer the remaining five Earths. Initially overwhelmed by the massive number of villains, with #10 the heroes strike back.
Issues 9 and 10 are just classic comic book heroes vs. villains. Writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez maximize this interlude for some hard-hitting battles. Martian Manhunter, Negative Woman, Tempest and Platinum showing a surprising vicious streak.
Not that anything in Crisis has been underwhelming, but one of the biggest highlights so far has been watching Perez cram in so many heroes and villains in battle over these last two issues. It’s not a random arrangement of characters either and that superb attention to detail is what makes this such a great visual experience.
Just as the heroes start rallying and turning the tide against Luthor and Brainiac’s forces, The Spectre arrives with some bad news for the entire Multiverse. The Anti-Monitor is alive and planning his latest attack against the remaining worlds. You’ve gotta give the Anti-Monitor credit. The guy doesn’t take a defeat and stew for years. He’s got a goal and he’s sticking to it no matter how many times it takes.
The heroes assemble to head to the dawn of time where the Anti-Monitor plans to be the hand Krona sees only this time anti-matter will spew through the universe before the multiverse is created. It’s a solid plan.
To cover their bases, the second phase of the plan has the villains going to Oa to take out Krona. While he signed off on the plan, Brainiac does not join Lex Luthor in this attack and remains safely in his spaceship observing the events unfold. I love that the villains’ part of the plan fails because they’re too busy acting like villains to get the job done. That’s a remarkable level of consistency.
This is the first main title appearance of Superboy-Prime, who debuted in a tie-in Superman issue. It’s interesting revisiting this earnest and pure version of the character who just wants to help others. And in what would prove to be a pivotal moment, Alexander Luthor watches Earth-2 Superman say goodbye to the Earth-2 Lois Lane with no clue if they’ll see each other again.
Throughout the issue, a secondary story occurs as Lyla reflects on what’s happened since Crisis began and filling in gaps with some other heroes that haven’t been present for the major conflicts. It’s a black and white piece, which doesn’t get reproduced especially well, but the general intent is fine.
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Wally West is becoming increasingly worried about Barry’s absence and no one seems nearly as concerned as they should be, but this happens when the Multiverse is at stake. Superman is barely containing his rage and wants another shot at The Anti-Monitor. Wolfman is gradually shifting the focus to Superman without Crisis turning into a Superman story.
Wolfman and Perez really built the Anti-Monitor up as the big bad. He’s unrelenting and just keeps coming, which makes the moment when The Spectre appears that much more memorable. It’s the biggest clash of the titans DC could create.
This culminates in The Spectre getting a power boost from the magicians in the DCU while The Anti-Monitor taps into the powers of the imprisoned heroes. It ends in a stalemate and possibly the destruction of everything?
Crisis #10 delivers huge on some major moments with the second half of the heroes/villain war and the iconic battle of The Spectre and The Anti-Monitor.