Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 review

Deathstroke and his amped-up army of bad guys continue to rampage across Earth 0. Pariah keeps on with the ranting about bringing back the infinite multiverse.

So far, so issue #1-4 of this latest reality-bending DC mini-series. But, as the cover indicates, something new happens – the Justice League returns. It’s at that point that I get rather lost.

Before that, though, it’s all pretty straightforward. Black Adam is rescued from Deathstroke’s Dark Army.

Can anyone explain what the point is of anyone gagging Black Adam when he’s already powered up? Oh, hang on, he’s reaaaaaaally obnoxious.

The gang from Dark Crisis: The Deadly Green #1 show up with a useful piece of kit.

And Beast Boy shows off some new eyewear.

Meanwhile, the League members – who were never really dead, steps back in amazement – are waking up on their private worlds.

OK, that’s a nice twist. Superman has the mental wherewithal to take control of the world Pariah made for him. And the next page is a killer, I’ll let you find that for yourself (if you haven’t already). Soon the JLA – still in their imaginary world forms, explaining Diana’s awful gold outfit and J’onn’s icky tentacle face – confront Pariah. And that’s when I get confused.

How does that work? If the Leaguers really died when Pariah apparently turned them to dust months ago, and these heroes are creations of ‘Crisis energy’, how have they been able to reassert themselves? They’d be energy puppets, not the vital cogs in Pariah’s machine he claims they are. How has Pariah, one man, ‘corrupted’ the Great Darkness, a primal force? And what the heck is ‘Crisis energy’? That’s far too Meta.

I’m probably overthinking. Should writer Josh Williamson think a little more, make the story make a bit more sense to me? Or should I just try to enjoy the great moments – a Superman experienced enough to take control of a world created around him (there’s the Meta again)? The Titans showing Captain Arrogant Black Adam that they’re a lot more than a bunch of sidekicks? Pariah going ever more nuts. The return of Sideways!

Don’t judge me, I loved Sideways.

And Daniel Sampere continues to draw the heck out of this book, his slick, strong figurework amidst fine compositions grounding the cosmic shenanigans. Sampere is a marvel with mob scenes, all the characters carefully delineated, and when a close-up is ordered he captures the essence of their personalities. Highlights this time include the Kingdom Come-style Superman, straight from the end of the tie-in Dark Crisis: World Without a Justice League – Superman; a kick-ass Hal Jordan; and Pariah looking out at the newly returned (again!) Infinite Earths.

The colours of Alejandro Sanchez are a big part of the visual success of the book, filling the multiverse with glorious life. The red skies above Earth Superman, giving way to the cosmic purples in Pariah’s realm, are superb. Tom Napolitano seems to be going bigger than usual with his lettering and I rather like it.

Sampere and Sanchez provide rather the epic cover – I can see this one landing on a trade paperback collection.

By the end of this chapter we seem to be not much further along in terms of the overall story – how many times will the good guys freak out at the sight of an army of bad guys? – but the Justice League are back to join the panic, which is something. I’m having fun. How about you?

7 thoughts on “Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 review

  1. I am, as you are, a bit confused about the whole thing. I don’t think I quite understand the plot … what is Pariah hoping to do? How is he doing it?

    Which is a shame because this feels like it is a love letter to DC in some ways. There are nods and homages to DC history. There is a deep dive into the character vault. And some nice character moments.

    I am liking it. But i desperately want to love it.

    Great Sampere art. He is perfect for this.

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  2. Sampere is fantastic. This high-profile showcase is perfect for him.

    And yeah, I’m having fun. And yet it all feels weightless. I love the big rah-rah moment of the Titans saying they’re TITANS, dammit!, and the great moment for Superman. But whatever Pariah’s plan is/was, I’ve got no idea about — and I really don’t want to know. I just want to watch heroes fighting villains, heroes helping each other, and heroes making an inspirational speech or two.

    I planned to stay away from this event, but old habits die hard. And it’s certainly better than a lot of these crossovers in recent years. And I’ll probably be around for the next one, since it’s written by Waid. But after that… I might just wait until it’s online for free. The thing I’m always most interested in about these stories is the status quo that results from them. I think in the future I can probably save myself $60 and risk a few spoilers along the way.

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  3. Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths but like Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint, Dark Nights Metal, Dark Nights Death Metal (pyewwww, something really stinks in here…) it doesn’t have the real scale or emotional impact of Crisis on Infinite Earths (which wasn’t perfect but was and IS Great). In what way is a “Dark” Crisis worse than a Crisis? You just can’t turn on the lights?
    Having Pariah, an inoffensive much-abused man into an superultramegavillain who can *somehow* – as you say – “corrupt” the Great Darkness is as repulsive as it is idiotic. I wish that the people who use Alan Moore ideas (or Marv Woodman’s come to that) made sure that they understood or could do justice to them before they messed around with them. For all that Geoff Johns screwed around with the concept of the Anti-Monitor (reducing him so that he became lesser than ol’ court jester fashion victim Sinestro in the process!) and Lil Scotty Snyder double-downed on that, buggering up the Monitor in the process to shill the ridiculous Perpetua and the unspeakable Batman Who Craps, none of the attempted retcons/replacements of Crisis concepts are as good as the originals. Psycho-Alexander Luthor Jr, Psycho-Superboy Prime, Perpetua’s Baby Boy Anti-Monitor, and, now, Psycho-Pariah are all silly passive aggressive misrepresentations of the originals that diminish the writers and show their worst sides. Even the should be punch-the-air moments such as the return of the Justice Society (twice!) are undermined by miscalculations. There’s something very wrong when superhero writers spend more energy developing Dark Multiverse nonsense than, you know, the HEROES and HEROINES. Jeez, it’s not that difficult, nor does it take a genius to work out that if superhero comic books spend too much time on vileness, darkness, and tiresome nihilism that that isn’t good for the stories *or* the real world. Nor does it say much for the audience they care to attract. (Too absolutist/idealistic? Absolutely! Ideally! We demand a better future!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re leading the parade demanding happier superhero comics, I’m grabbing a placard and marching right behind you. How many times have we been told by DC and Marvel that the Glum is behind is and we’re entering a Bright New Era. Usually lasts a month. Lord knows how DC deigned to give us 18 months or whatever of Rebirth.

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      1. Your mouth to God’s ear! I well remember Brightest Day announcing it’s brightness with a store full of customers slaughtered by Black Manta and a Human family slashed to death by their Martian-in-disguise mother. Lovely.
        How did it escape DC’s attention that Rebirth *worked*? I suppose the question should be, “how did they let it happen in the first place?”.

        I won’t mention Future State (evil possessed Wally West… Original! Justice League A murdered/possessed with Dwayne Johnson Black Adam as the only hope left, et cetera) or Tales from the (oh dear) Dark Multiverse, if you don’t. Promise!

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