It’s the penultimate issue of Crisis and if you thought things were going to get any better for our heroes you haven’t been paying attention. This issue is a tremendous case study in building the calm before the storm…or final crisis in this case.
Earth-2 Superman wakes up and starts his day like any other shrugging off the battle at the dawn of time against the Anti-Monitor like a bad dream he barely remembered. His reality is far different as he learns he’s not on Earth-2 or Earth-1, but a new Earth entirely. Superman finds him and they quickly discover it’s far more widespread after a trek on the cosmic treadmill with Jay Garrick and Kid Flash.
Most of the world doesn’t remember the events leading up to and the Crisis itself. Their minds have been altered and the only people who remember Crisis are those heroes who battled the Anti-Monitor at the dawn of time when history was changed. This affects characters who were key factors in Crisis from Lex Luthor to King Solivar.
Other characters like Captain Marvel and Blue Beetle quickly adapt to this new status quo. For some characters like the Earth-2 Huntress and Robin this reveal is a nightmare as their Bruce Wayne never existed since he wasn’t at the battle and was already dead.
Superboy-Prime lost his entire world and now has no friends or family left. Still others like Uncle Sam is puzzled at how his history has been retrofitted for this new reality. There’s a great exchange writer Marv Wolfman features where Uncle Sam tells Harbinger she can’t tell him his memories don’t exist.
Perez and inker Jerry Ordway do some terrific work showing the anguish of the characters’ reaction to the one Earth bombshell. This is the most emotional issue of Crisis since Supergirl’s death, but it feels different as the death is on a deeper level. These heroes have lost their homes, worlds and even surviving friends don’t remember them. It’s an emotional read.
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Wolfman gets the first crack at establishing the Post-Crisis world, which he and artist George Perez would further flesh out in The History of the DC Universe. Most standalone heroes remained with their histories now just readjusted to fit the new cohesive timeline meaning Jay Garrick Flash and Alan Scott Green Lantern existed while the Kal-L, Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne of Earth-2 no longer fit into the established continuity. In essence they’d been wiped out. This is a pretty crummy deal for these heroes who’d fought the good fight for so long.
The heroes are in a bad head space right now, and things are about to get worse. Dr. Fate and Etrigan clash with the re-emergence of Shadow Demons. This new Earth is still in danger as The Spectre is in a comatose state unable to fully safeguard it. Even worse, Pariah abruptly vanishes and the skies turn red with lightning again. The Anti-Monitor is back, but this time he’s engulfed the new Earth into the anti-matter universe.
Consider the stakes fully raised for the final issue of Crisis. There’s not a lot of action here, but the high stakes emotion make it one of the best in the series.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: DC Comics