This one’s got it all! It’s a cliche but so far as DC event comics go – and when you’re talking DC events, you’re talking Crises – Infinite Frontier #5 has everything I want.
There are revelations, as Psycho Pirate explains that he’s aiming to protect worlds from the effects of the continuous multiversal massacres inevitably centred on Earth 0.
Mr Bones, a transplant to said Earth from the original Earth 2, admits that he’s working a similar plan – but from the other direction.
And we find out who his mysterious lackey, Extract, is under that mask.
A good Crisis comic also needs a big battle between the heroes and villains of various Earths, which we get as the good guys of the JSA and Infinity Inc meet…
There’s Barry Allen running to save all realities – or so he thinks.
A world in chains (complete with Kirby Krackle).
And a heroic sacrifice… which I won’t spoil.
We even get a homage to one of the most famous DC covers of all time, which seems appropriate as this issue centres on echoes and reverberations.
For example, Barry Allen’s Flashpoint snafu, it turns out, didn’t simply rewrite the history of his own world.
I hate to say it, but I do see where this guy, Metalhead, and his associates are coming from – why should they always be the ones to pop in and out of reality, if not erased altogether? Why not cut Earth 0 off from the rest of the orrery of worlds; if the next Crisis wipes it out because they’ve not had help from the heroes and villains of alternate earths, would it be so terrible for everyone else? Maybe the multiversal big bads would keep to themselves without a prime Earth on which to focus their schemes.
All this being the case, the name ‘Injustice Incarnate’ makes no sense from the members’ point of view, surely they reckon they’re the good guys – but isn’t it catchy?
The Extract reveal is a tad random, her being a version of Chase has no emotional punch given Extract is just one of those generic annoyances created for crossovers, and we’ve never actually seen an Earth 2 Chase. Now if Williamson had revealed that she was a turned version of an Earth 2 character we knew… maybe another blonde female PI, making her the equivalent of Chase rather than literally Chase…
Mind, that not being the case, maybe that nice Mr Williamson will bring the electric investigator back?
So far as blasts from the past go, it’s a treat to see Mr Bones in costume for probably the first time in decades. He even has his old dialogue font; who knows, by next issue he might be speaking in rhyme, as in his time as an Infinity Inc irritant.
Alan Scott’s reunion with said Infinitors is terrific, and it’s fun to see him add to the gang with a GL JSA. And Power Girl is on classic form.
The art is particularly great this issue, with Psycho Pirate’s mightily meta wandering across the pages especially striking, and appropriate given his ability to see through the walls of comic creation. I can’t say who’s responsible, given our three pencillers – Paul Pelletier, Jesús Merino and Tom Derenick – are lumped together in the credits, with no details as to who handled which sequences. I think this is Merino, with Pelletier looking after the Chase/Extrano sequence and the last few pages, and Derenick handling the main fight scenes, but I’m no expert.
Whatever the case, the lads, teamed with inkers Norm Rapmund and Raul Fernandez (Derenick handles full art), do a fine job, providing action-packed pages with real momentum, excellent storytelling choices and enviable character acting. Great, hilariously bad character acting in Psycho Pirate’s case…
The colours of Hi-Fi are a feast for the eyes, while the letters of Tom Napolitano are another essential, stylish storytelling tool.
The only thing I’d tweak with this issue – it’s pretty near perfect so far as mainstream DC superheroics are concerned – is the cover. I’m a Mitch Gerads fan but his style is singularly unsuited to a shiny, big, bonkers event comic. This issue’s opening image is moody where it should be in-yer-face, murky where it should dazzle. The chain is beautifully rendered, but the heroes fade into the background.
Still, I loved this issue and am looking forward to the conclusion hugely. Sure, I know the story isn’t really ending, with a continuation of Williamson’s overall narrative already announced, but I expect the plot threads in this book to be throughly, and entertainingly, addressed.