Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 review

Loads of heroes fight loads of villains.

The darkness inside Pariah jumps from Deathstroke to Nightwing.

Black Adam shares his power to enable the heroes to resist corruption by Pariah’s darkness

The newly amped Dr Light and the Flashes do… something.

And the new multiverse of multiverses stands.

In the aftermath, the back-from-the-not-quite-dead Justice League decide to take a break.

‘Flash bang wallop pretty pictures’ pretty much sums up this issue. It looks great but the story is a bit – well, a lot – nothingy. It turns out that the Great Darkness which Crisis on Infinite Earths survivor Pariah thought was whispering to him has been asleep all the time… but he has his own runaway darkness that can infect and control.

Deathstroke, who describes Pariah as ‘a certifiable loon’, is equally bonkers, believing the best way to spare his children more pain is to wipe out the universe… killing them with everything else.

Black Adam has so much power that he’s not only immune to the darkness, he can share it with about a hundred heroes without seeming any weaker himself. Oh, and he gives a very stupid speech.

Everyone is restored except, for some reason, Green Arrow, but his best friend, Green Lantern, is on hand with his wishing ring and a whole corps of cosmic policemen. Hurrah!

Oh. Great job, Hal. The only level on which such a weird decision makes sense is a meta-one – Ollie and Dinah always find one another because comic book readers demand they do.

Dick Grayson also seems to be be on the metafiction express.

Talking of Dick, I get that everyone loves him. He’s the heart of the superhero community (except when it’s Superman). But what does he have within him that gives him this role?

Batman explains it all. Dick Grayson is the light that brightened his days – again, that’s meta business, Robin having been created to cheer up the Batman strips – so of course he can hold back a cosmic force.

So, at the end of the issue, the Justice League is no more (again). The JSA has returned (again). The infinite earths are back (again again). And I am underwhelmed (again to the infinite). This series aspired to the impact of Crisis in Infinite Earths, but whereas that had elaborately plotted progression from issue to issue, this feels like it’s been nothing but a bunch of non-specific battles between good guys and bad guys who’ve had their personalities removed. You could ignore this whole series and its tie-ins and the DCU would seem exactly the same to you.

One thing I do like is the importance of Dr Light; it makes sense that she’s key to ending a Crisis connected to the one that empowered her in the first place. Two things I don’t like are the notion that she won’t be able to handle her power – well, she’s a woman, she’s no Black Adam – and that horrendous new costume gained in Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1.

And it’s good to see a very Dwayne Johnson Black Adam end his nonsense time with the Justice League in a pretty decent scene.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of Josh Williamson comics, but this has been one Crisis too many. I’ve never felt the stakes – we’ve been told time and again that the re-emergence of the infinite earths was a Big Danger to Everything, but never seen what that meant. We get images of floating parallel worlds, but there’s no sense of chaos. Cutesy self conscious bits from Barry irritate (‘That’s a Flash Fact, Wally!’ ‘The Brave and the Bold, huh?’). And there’s an epilogue hinting that DC are never going to give up on Insanely Evil Amanda Waller, or indeed, end a story.

The art is, as it has been throughout this run, very nice indeed. Series artist Daniel Sampere looks to be drawing the bulk of the book, with some pages by Jack Herbert, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith and Rafa Sandoval, while a battery of other artists – Alejandro Sánchez, Alex Guimarães, Romulo Fajardo Jr and Matt Herms – provide the colours. The crowd scenes are looking very samey by now, but Black Adam’s fight with Mad Mohican Deathstroke is great, while Inner Dick’s encounter with Inner Deathstroke is slickly effective and a Bat-flashback in soft tones is really rather excellent.

Pretty much everything looks spot on, though there are occasional gaffes, such as Barry with Wally’s belt design, and DC’s Multiversity comic diagram inserted directly into the art, complete with numbered worlds.

OK, maybe it’s a projection from Mr Terrific’s doodads. ‘Our multiverse powers the infinite’, eh? Glad we’ve got that sorted…

Tom Napolitano letters all 34 pages, and everything looks spiffy.

Sampere and Sánchez’s cover is graphically eye-catching, with Dick ascendant, birthing a new DC Universe. It’s not their fault that this doesn’t happen inside, with the current DCU basically unaffected by the extra earths.

Lordy, I’m going on… it’s just that this series was so hyped, and it’s proved to be the very embodiment of sound and fury signifying bugger all. I’d love to hear what you thought of this issue, and the ‘event’ in all.

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

  1. Y’know as a comic on its own it’s perfectly serviceable, but it’s not something that’s been earned by the previous editions.

    This whole Crisis just hasn’t felt epic enough, most of that is because the groundwork just wasn’t put in place (which to be fair is partly due to DC being a hot mess) and everything else was just trucking along.

    Really the tie-in stuff has been the only good part of all this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welp I read it. I’ll read it again later this week to see if I can make more sense of it.

    Previously in the series I believe the idea was that in order to restore Pariah’s beloved infinite multiverse, so he’d get his wife back, Earth-0 had to be destroyed.

    It was never further spelled out, as far as I can remember, but that sort of makes sense. And now I’m about to type out a possibly more cogent, longer, and in depth theory than anything I can remember from the series: The current Earth-0 that was left standing when the original multiverse was destroyed in Crisis is an amalgam of whoever from the various worlds survived the Crisis – so if you restored the infinite multiverse, wouldn’t Earth-0 have to be replaced by the original Earth-1, with many people sent back to their original worlds?

    (I say “current Earth-0”, but what we’ve had for a while hasn’t been exactly that, as it’s been altered by every crisis up to and including Death Metal, but I guess this is still a close enough theory – these alterations have been less dramatic vs. the original Crisis, and whatever Earth-0 has been, it sure isn’t the old Earth-1.)

    It was ultimately up to Speed Force magic combined with Light magic to make sure the infinite multiverse could be safely re-established without breaking the current multiverse. And what remains is an extension – some of the changes were mapped out in Mark Waid’s Big Bang story and Appendix. So, if you combine the original Infinite Earths with the New 52 earths, nothing is destroyed, characters don’t get sent back home, but all that happens is Jurassic Universe, Mech Universe, DCeased Universe, Batman ’66 Universe, and so many others, have sprouted up instead.

    Flash put it “Our combined speed can work to repair the connections between our multiverse and the infinite earths.” As Mr. Terrific observed, “It’s stable. Our Multiverse powers the Infinite.” (That seems to me to be Multiversecist. The Infinite is a second class multiverse, powered by the Multiverse?)

    Seriously – the only thing this seems to mean is that there is justification to add Earth-789 and all the other Elseworlds to the list, because the count doesn’t have to stop at 52 any more. (People have pointed out that the 52 limit was already broken or expanded several times over the years, but we’ll just have to ignore that.)

    This is logical! It’s obviously how you’d expect things to work. Because, Great Darkness! Pariah’s Machine! Speed Force! And Light!

    I guess this situation should stick for a few months.

    Williamson does seem to have bitten off much more than he could chew, and I wonder if DC entirely regrets this mess. But I guess they got some of what they wanted out of it – the retiring of the Justice League, and some kind of attempt to elevate the younger characters. But I don’t think we got dramatically more performance from Yara Flor or Jon Kent or the Teenie Titans than we’ve already seen, and I don’t see how Red Canary is ready to take over anything except variant covers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huge applause for laying all that out, it’s tragic you had to conclude that it’s all led to a big old cad of No (or at least, not much) Change.

      Apart from Jon in the Swamp Thing spin-off, Yara Flor and co contributed bugger all to this crossover. Didn’t even get any good conversations… I mean, has Batman actually asked Jace Fox why he’s nicking his gig?


  3. If it sold well DC won’t regret it.
    Like it or not, Scott Snyder’s epic Metal/JLA/Death Metal run from just a couple years ago was the better “last crisis” and direct sequel to the original. It provided far more new info on the Monitor/AntiMonitor and brought them both back in an interesting way. Dark Crisis simply was not needed. Period. It was that extra helping of a meal that makes you go from feeling contentedly full to “why did I eat so much?” If its your first DC event, then yeah, it is an ok series. But it wasn’t aimed at new readers but longtime fans. And this longtime fan is so glad I didn’t spend the money/time on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Agreed 100%. This whole thing has been basically vapor, held together with some gorgeous art.

    Williamson’s writing reminds me a lot of Jeph Loeb. Both guys bring a lot of subtext to the surface, and for half a moment, it all seems profound. But then that subtext sticks around, and becomes the text, and continues to be the text, and goes on and on and on, and suddenly you never want to hear another Superman/Batman dual monologue again, or have any hero talk about “legacy,” and you want to banish all light and darkness metaphors straight into the garbage bin.

    I worry about his presence as lead Superman writer.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In the 100+ issues of him writing my favorite character, I went from “oh, this guy really gets it!” to “wow, he’s really just going through the motions.”

        The art looks like it’s gonna be really nice, though. But I’m thinking the Superman books might be fading back into the 1-month Ultra lag. Which, amazingly, would leave me with Flash, Nightwing, Robin, JSA, and certain special projects for my DC in print.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like the look of Jamal Campbell’s art but the storytelling isn’t always the best; there was one issue of Naomi, in particular, in which I could barely tell what was happening from panel to panel.


      3. I can’t disagree about that. But I Williamson seems like a more direct writer than Bendis & Walker, so things might be a little clearer in that regard.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ex-actly. Precisely. Absolutely. Indubitably. (riffles through thesaurus/searches online thesaurus for further synonyms) Bang-on review of this enervated and enervating comic book. How terribly underwhelming and to a large degree pointless thing was.
    Crisis on Infinite Earths still stands up even with some of the tics of its era (e.g. some hilarious but enjoyable dialogue, Barry Allen Flash referring to Psycho-Pirate as “turkey” like Hooks from the Police Academy movies) this not only won’t stand up in the future, it doesn’t work now while the tics of the present certainly don’t add anything while the dialogue is dead as double denim or a – deleted – s soul. Black Adam as such a central figure is NUTSO and the same for Deathstroke the Terminator. I think the veneration of such characters (yes, I know ol’ Slade is the “misguided” anti-villain here) says something not very pleasant about changes in the modern world.
    I feel that Infinite Crisis and its preludes was full of strawmanism, needless ultraviolence, and hypocrisy as well as really bizarre uses of some characters (Wonder Woman, Superman, Maxwell Lord, Alex Luthor Jr, Superboy Prime) but even though it wasn’t good it still had a sense of scale that this…didn’t. For all the bandying around of megamultiomniversal terms it simply didn’t convince, Death Metal and it’s attenuated prologue in Justice League may have been pretty unpleasant rather clumsily written gonzo nonsense yet even THAT had more to it than this gobbledegooked-up blandness.
    As for the complete demolition of Pariah’s character, it is striking that someone who deserves sympathy and was emphatically NOT a bad guy gets treated like THIS while Black Adam and Deathstroke… Well, I think you know where I’m going with this. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Not only that but the use of Alan Moore ideas was as limp as week-old lettuce. Note to current DC writers: if you can’t use the concepts/characters of other writers as well or better than they you might consider not using them or retconning them (cf. The origins of the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor, Watchmen et al).
    “Resting” the Justice League seems a baffling idea especially with the ridiculous waffling about legacy tacked on. The Justice League are the Justice League not a bunch of @$$hole$ so why on Earth would they talk about “legacy”? “We can’t save the world until we settle on what our “legacy” should be.” “Legacy? We’re the Justice League and your the goddamned Batman who gives a damn about legacy!” “Shut up, Beetle!” It maketh no sense.
    They’ve brought back a version of the multiverse/omniverse/whateververse but by deciding to put their eggs in a Titans basket they’ve missed the point entirely; the point being the DC Universe’s diversity (and not the dull cryptoconservative narrow definition of that term) and variety, the JLA/JLI/JL aren’t the NewOld Teen Titans and vice versa so I’m not quite sure why the Titans being presented as a replacement to the League is a good thing. Asking for logic might be too much but c’mon you goofballs!
    I don’t know if you’ve read this week’s Flash, Martin, but that is great fun with much better art than much of this. I hope you review it, if not I will leave another comment if you like (which I presume you wouldn’t but… Ha!) as I have some thoughts on it, not least the few peculiar elements that detract from but don’t entirely reduce its shine.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Great to see. My only quibble is that I wish they’d give him back his original red hair. But that’s it. Fantastic to see him back. Heartwarming too!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read the Flash now, I should get to it. For now, Let It Be Known that I share your bafflement at DC’s down the years decision you darken the heroes of the Crisis in Infinite Earths. They seem to be saying that just remembering the concept of infinite realities is enough to drive a person crazy.

      And yes Indeedy, the JL and the Titans and any number of super groups can sit alongside e another, the idea of a primacy among hero teams makes as little sense to me as the ideal that the DC heroes recognise an ‘in-universe’ ‘Trinity’ (I so hate that therm being applied to superheroes). Why, for example, is Superman so significant to them? His powers aren’t unique, he wasn’t the first hero, he’s not the most powerful – are they really so impressed by his speech making?


  6. The other problem here is Dick Grayson already “graduated” to the big leagues when he became Batman during Morrison’s run and also with Donna Troy led a version of the Justice League penned by James Robinson. So this notion Dick has been reluctant to do so makes no sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, you are a wise one Mr Gray! (Sing it to the tune of “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch”) I would like to deliver a metaphorical slap (with a half-frozen haddock) to writers who can’t get a simple idea or insist in treating characters in bizarre ways that seem to hint they have something against them. Puzzling.
      The “Trinity”. Yep, another deeply irritating idea. Superman as the first hero and one with incredible powers as well as a purity of nature and a true humanity could be inspiring but they keep throwing that in the bin. Batman is often portrayed as a paranoid nutcase. Diana? They never seem quite to know what do with her. Odd trinity. Using the term is annoying anyway, in-universe, as you say. They may as well call them the “Trio” (the Terrible Trio might cry copyright infringement though) or, I dunno, the Three SuperStooges – Diannarry, Kal-Urly (or Suhemp), and Bat-Mo. The hierarchy of heroes nonsense (apart from the Justice Society, who make sense as the first super-team) is probably influenced by the retrograde modern “Alpha”, “Beta” bullshizzle based on since discredited theories of animal kingdom hierarchies (the person who originally introduced the “alpha male” theory later disowned it. Yes, I do watch Q.I.). I’m not sure the new take on Doom Patrol looks a good idea, by the way, but who knows!
      Happy Christmas and a Prosperous Better New Year to you, Marty.
      #BRINGBACKCHUNK The campaign begins here. Mason Troll ridge and Capitalist Couriers while they are at it. (No, Mopee, YOU can’t come back. Return whence you came)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Martin, you too.
        Yep, that’s the order I think of them. It’s like (old) movie and television credits, first is the biggest star and after the “and” is the special one. What was that? I think I heard someone throw a batarang at the window! Calm down, Bruce, I like you too…or used to do so. I liked you when you were Adam West and Michael Keaton, Bale as well!

        I was just reflecting on what an awful year it has been in terms of comic book creator deaths but then the last five, six, years have been pretty merciless with the passing of so many great creative artists in many fields. Very sad. Oh, uh, well… Ho ho ho!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It has been a sad year, people are dying far too young.

        Having said that, one of the things I do in my day job is organise the Obituaries page for my paper, and this time of year is great… so many famous people pop off between Christmas and New Year that it makes for good reading. Today we’ll be sorting Vivienne Westwood, Rita Rusk and some footballer. Heaven! (Hopefully literally…)


      3. That’s fascinating. Rita Rusk, one of your own! (I’m almost ashamed to say I had never heard of her. My defence is I know the names of few hairdressers…!) “…and some footballer.” I like the cut of your job, sonny Jim! Interesting the running order of obits on the news, Pelè first, then Vivienne Westwood (I liked seeing her in a tank protesting against fracking…and her getting frustrated with a Wogan audience laughing at her creations. Hilarious.). Imagine if Beckham had died on the same day as the Queen, they wouldn’t have known what to do. Enjoy your, er, obituary-arranging!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. “I like the look of Jamal Campbell’s art but the storytelling isn’t always the best; there was one issue of Naomi, in particular, in which I could barely tell what was happening from panel to panel.”

    Yup. The last couple of issues of Naomi Season Two left me furious, and quite anxious about his upcoming work on Superman.

    He does his own coloring so you can’t blame anyone else for the disaster.

    Everything was dark, dark, dark – and tiny, tiny, tiny.

    I read print, and just couldn’t make any of it out.

    Artists always get comps of their work – they show them off on Instagram. So Campbell absolutely knows that this art looks like crap in print. I wonder why he doesn’t care.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Unless you are trying to do something really original, Metal Heavy Death, successful or not, all that you can do is contract or expand the Multiverse. Some version of the Multiverse is going to be there, and the “Crisis Events” are forever tied to that concept.
    If the DC powers-that-be want to hold on to the traditional characters, and also want to try new versions, they should take full advantage of the Multiverse. Instead of trying to present stories about future versions, create the alternative universe where they are established.
    The concept of alternative timeline realities has seeped into the general pop culture, that most of the audience will not be confused. The other thing is make that universe in current time. It is 2023, and in one universe the Clark and Bruce generation are still active, and in the other one, the ‘younger’ generation has stepped into the dominant roles.
    You don’t have to worry about continuity, trying to match up the present and the future narrative events. No worry trying to predict the next decade’s fashion, technology, and politics. You don’t have to give in to the American fascination with a dystopian future & dark heroes.
    From a publishing point of view you have: 1) similar to the Marvel Ultimate Universe, 2 comic lines being published, 2) let sales dictate which comics in either line survive, the lines are not competing with each other.
    ** Another publishing possibility: turn the comic into a larger format magazine, and feature both lines in one magazine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m all for the multiverse being used to it’s full potential. It would be great for the
      likes of Yara Flora and I Am Batman being off in their own corner, where I could happily ignore them!


  9. I have to admit, I really liked the Multiversity: Teen Justice miniseries that came out recently. A lot of fun ideas and self-contained action!

    That said, I think DC should get into the habit of having events that have nothing to do with the multiverse. Stuff like Final Night, Millennium, and even Identity Crisis. Every time the multiverse is invoked, instead of raising the stakes, it diminishes them, making it easy to kill off characters for shock and bring them back through interdimensional shenanigans by the end of the story.

    I used to love the multiverse, and in a lot of ways I still do. But when it wasn’t around, what happened on the ONLY earth seemed to have a lot more weight than things have since they were brought back. It’s a get-out-of-plot-device-free card for lazy writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read the TJ preview strip in some giant or other – the Pride one? – and wasn’t grabbed so never bothered with the mini. I shall have a look on DC Infinite, thanks.

      And yes to non-Crisis events. So very, very yes.


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