The Crisis on Infinite Earths is still tearing through the DC Multiverse! We've seen death, destruction, betrayal, and madness. And now...it all seems to be over. The Earths are gone...or are they? After all, there are still seven issues left of this miniseries...
Previously on Crisis on Infinite Earths: Supergirl tries to pep up a scared Batgirl as the white wall of anti-matter consumes the city. John Constantine appears. Pariah is able to rescue Lady Quark from the doomed Earth-Six. The Monitor creates a new Dr. Light from arrogant Japanese scientist Kimiyo Hoshi. The Monitor's enemy kidnaps the Red Tornado. Members of the Harbinger Group protect the Monitor's towers in the Medieval and WWII eras alongside the Shining Knight and Sgt. Rock. Harbinger, against her will, kills the Monitor, and Earths One and Two are seemingly consumed in a wall of white.
And with all that out of the way, let's take a look at Crisis on Infinite Earths #5!
The cover is pretty cool! We got Earths 1 and 2 put together in the style of a Venn diagram. In the background are...faces. Faces of various characters from the two Earths. And a very nice detail, the faces down the very center are the Justice League members who had active Justice Society counterparts: The Flashes, Supermen, Hawkmen, Wonder Women, the Atoms, Green Lanterns, and the Green Arrows. It's a clever touch.
"Worlds in Limbo"
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: George Perez
Inker: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Anthony Tolin
Letterer: John Costanza
Editors: Robert Greenberger, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein
Executive Editor: Dick Giordano
The story begins with the Monitor's mysterious enemy crowing in triumph. Both Earths One and Two have been destroyed. However, there's a bit of a problem. The enemy had grown more powerful with every Earth destroyed, but he did not do so here. The Psycho-Pirate is none too happy about it, as he felt the enemy reneged on his promise for a world of his own to play with. The enemy is not too concerned about it, as he's wondering why, with those two Earths and the Monitor dead, he did not get their power. Psycho-Pirate pleads to let him help, and he wonders why the enemy needs the Red Tornado and the Flash. The enemy tells him to shut up, and he's quickly wearing out his usefulness.
He needs the Pirate and the Tornado as his servants, and he needed the Flash contained as the nature of his powers allowed him to easily travel the Multiverse. We next look into the Monitor's satellite, where Pariah is basically wondering what just happened, and why the Monitor allowed himself to die if he knew it was going to happen. He's feeling hopeless as now...it's over. The enemy has won.
He hears a teary-eyed Lyla horrified about what she had done, and this gets Pariah confused. She wonders why she killed him, because she owed him everything. The Monitor appears on a screen.
He assures her that he was aware of her possession, and used it to make one last desperate gambit to save the remaining Earths. You see, the Monitor's "tuning forks" were not ready yet, mainly because the Monitor had not been able to finish their power sources. When Harbinger killed him, the Monitor's "energies" went into the towers, and were used to power them. It also created a "netherverse" containing Earths One and Two, as well as calming down their populations.
However, there's another problem. You see, in the old Multiverse, every universe had a different vibrational rate. It's how Barry Allen ended up accidentally traveling to Earth-Two years earlier. But the vibrational rates of the two Earths are starting to sync up. When they do, they will start to merge. And if they end up occupying the same space at the same time...
Yup. Kiss everything and everyone you ever loved goodbye. The Monitor then wishes Lyla farewell...and that he loves her. Lyla laments that she never said it to him. Alexander Luthor appears and tells her he knew. The Monitor also left Alex instructions about how to help the remaining Earths. But first, a moment to mourn. A short time later, the three eject his body into space, a la Spock's corpse after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, only there's no Genesis Planet for the torpedo to land on. The three are determined to honor the Monitor's last wish: Save the remains of the Multiverse.
Elsewhere, the enemy realizes what the Monitor has done. The Psycho-Pirate wonder why he's here. The enemy explains that there are not two, but five Earths left. The other three will be his to play with. But for right now, he can work his emotional games on Barry Allen. Allen is left petrified in terror.
In Earth-One Metropolis, Lana Lang is reporting on time seemingly on a drunken bender.
The heroes and villains alike are shocked by this. Dinosaurs in the streets. Pterodactyls and zeppelins flying alongside jet airliners! Cavemen alongside 18th century people in a modern apartment building! Man, that would make one funny sitcom. People from various places in time forced to live together in the modern day by a cosmic event. The heroes and villains are gathered together on the Monitor's satellite by Harbinger, Alex, and Pariah.
Look at that spread. Look at it. This is why George Perez is known as "The Master". Look at how many characters are in this crowd. And look how distinct they are from each other. It's a feast for the eyes. Anyway, Firebrand is furious, saying that Firebrand lied to her and the rest of the Harbinger Group. Pariah explains that the Monitor did keep tabs and records on various heroes and villains, but because he needed them. He needed them to work together, because that is the only way to save their worlds. Superman and Wonder Woman of Earth-One are convinced. Alex explains that the Monitor had an enemy, and that enemy is out to destroy all the universes. The only way to save them is to merge them all into one.
The various heroes and villains there are uncertain about this, so Alex invites them to return to their worlds and see the craziness for themselves. The Earth-Two Superman states that the heroes will stand and fight in the end. On Oa, the center of the Earth-One universe, the Green Lantern Corps return to the planet by spaceship as their rings seem to be non-functional. They discover this.
The Guardians of the Universe are trapped in some sort of stasis beam, unable to move or interact. The GL Corpsmen then get ambushed. In Earth-One Metropolis, Lois Lane nearly ends up sabertooth tiger chow, but the Earth-Two Superman saves her. In the time stream, Rip Hunter and his fellow Time Masters are trying to ride out a time storm. In Wayne Manor, Alfred discovers that a cave, and some cavemen ended up in Wayne Manor.
Oh hey, it's Anthro! Batman teamed up with everyone in the DCU back in the day, it was only a matter of time before he and Anthro met up. In Russia, Starfire, Firestorm, and several other heroes encounter Red Star fighting dinosaurs in Moscow. Starfire commands the others to back him up as he's Russia's only superhero. Yeah. A big freakin' country like Russia has one superhero. I'm going to assume Starfire thinks that because Red Star was the only Russian superhero she met beforehand. I find the idea of an entire country having only one superhero kind of silly. It would have made more sense if Starfire said he was its most prominent superhero, as in he's not the only one, just the one we know of, and in-universe, is the most well-known of Russia's heroes.
Anyway, Red Star is reluctant to accept the help because he feels Russia is his responsibility alone. Starfire reminds him Russia may be his responsibility, but so is the rest of the world, and they need to unite. Red Star agrees, admitting Starfire's words here are wise ones. He gets a bit optimistic, hoping that maybe this will lead to a better world for it.
In the enemy's lair, the enemy is doing something to Red Tornado. He is taking the robotic hero and transforming him into...something more. The enemy studied the Tornado and discovered something: The robot...is not a mere robot. He is a man. He is more than that. There's a primal force in that robotic body. A horrified Barry Allen watches a massive storm erupt around the Tornado. The storm isn't just a giant tornado. It's a hurricane. It's a typhoon. Rain and wind erupts everywhere. Thunder cracks and lightning strikes. The Red Tornado...is gone.
The merging of the Earths is starting to take effect. An elderly couple on Earth-Two see the Earth-One counterpart of their deceased daughter. I like this bit, as it gives a slight window to how this event is affecting regular people. The headquarters of the Legion of Super-Heroes appears on Earth-Two. On Earth-One, the living storm that was the Red Tornado arrives. Some heroes try to engage the transformed Tornado, unaware it's their compatriot. The Ted Grant Wildcat, one of the heroes that was helping to evacuate people, gets struck by a bolt of lightning and badly injured. Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth-Two, realizes that the storm is the Tornado.
The heroes gather around the injured Wildcat to help him. Ultra Boy of the Legion uses his "Penetra-Vision" (basically X-Ray vision on steroids), to assess the damage. Wildcat's legs are badly shattered, and the former boxer may never walk again. He dropped a little girl when he got hit, but a young woman named Yolanda Montez managed to catch her. Keep an eye on her, folks. The heroes are convinced of the danger to the two Earths, so they agree to help Alex Luthor.
Luthor gathers a group of heroes to the Monitor's satellite, as he has a mission for them. Earths One and Two are fine for now, but there are three more, and they need to be saved. If they aren't saved, the heroes won't be able to resist the Monitor's enemy. Among the heroes is the new Dr. Light, who hates the idea of being involved in this, but Luthor reminds her that she has to do her part, or everyone is doomed. Luthor is about to send them on their way, but Pariah and Harbinger senses something wrong.
The satellite starts shaking, energy crackling all around it. In the enemy's lair, Psycho-Pirate is amazed that the enemy is able to attack the satellite without weapons. Despite this, the enemy knows that it's only going to delay the heroes. But it will delay them enough so they won't be able to stop him. The Pirate remarks that the enemy had also talked about a place called Apokolips. But Darkseid and his Elite will be dealt with soon enough. Barry Allen taunts the enemy, saying he is a coward. He refuses to show himself. The enemy finds Allen's taunting foolish, as the enemy is not burdened with emotions. He is burned with glorious purpose, though. Oh wait, that's Loki. The enemy agrees to show himself.
Everyone, meet...the Monitor. Or as he's been more popularly known as...the Anti-Monitor. Look at this design. This is a design that only George Perez could pull off. When I first saw the withered vestigial organic mouth area, I honestly thought they were teeth. He little speaker on the chin is a nice and clever detail. It gives the idea that his is what this monster speaks through, and it's voice is electronic. I also love that the Anti-Monitor's mostly machine in appearance, to contrast the more organic Monitor. The cybernetics also give the idea that he is cold and inhuman, more of a monster.
The story ends with the antimatter wave hitting Earth-X, a world where World War II lasted for decades with a Nazi victory. The story ends with this world's resistance fighters-turned-defenders known as the Freedom Fighters watches the wall consume a city. They know they don't have the power to stop it, but they're not going to give up. They'll save the world, even if it costs them their lives.
This issue was...not bad at all. Not a lot happens in it, but that's bound to happen in a 12-issue mini-series. It does read better when read as part of a whole than on its own. Not much may have happened, but we do get a nice exciting cliffhanger, the reveal of the Anti-Monitor's true appearance, and plenty of action. We do get to see heroes do hero things. Red Star being Russia's only superhero seems kind of silly to me, though. As I said earlier, Russia is a very big country. I find the idea that it only has one superhero kind of...crazy.
George Perez's artwork is epic as ever. I don't know what I can say that no else has already about his art. The detail is astounding, and it's really cool seeing what so many characters would look like under his pencils. Next time, we'll go backwards from the dying days of the original DC Multiverse, and head to the swinging 1960s! There, we will join DC's super-sorceress Zatanna as she begins her search for her father...