Quality: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Importance: 5 out of 5 stars
Recommended reading for: Newcomers to the DC universe with some (not a lot of) experience. No Virgins allowed!
(Before I launch into my first official post on Odin’s Thunderbolts, I’d like to make one statement that you can count on for all future posts: THIS IS A SPOILER FREE ZONE! I will not, under any circumstances, dive into specifics that will ruin your reading experience. If I slip up and do, please comment and let me know so I can fix it. Thanks!)
Although I’ve said I’ll predominately be focusing on the essential Marvel comics from 2004 onwards, I will also be looking back at the mega-epic events every comic book fan should be well aware of. To kick things off (first OTB review ever!), I’ll be taking a look at DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. This sprawling, galactic saga is a pretty terrific read for DC newbies looking to get a small taste of everyone in the DC universe. And speaking of the DC universe, it has some pretty far-reaching implications for the current state of things…
As I mentioned, Crisis on Infinite Earths is a good way for a DC newcomer to immerse themselves in the world. This is particularly applicable to me because although my entire comic book infatuation is still relatively young, I have taken a dive into way more Marvel series than I have DC. To be completely honest, before Crisis, I’ve only read a handful of relatively new Batman comics (Hush and Under the Red Hood most recently), one Green Lantern series (The Sinestro Corps War), and one (one!) Superman series (Braniac). For all intents and purposes, I am a DC comics virgin. And in my early twenties at that!
So do I think it’s a good idea for someone with NO DC experience to dive into Crisis on Infinite Earths? Not exactly; I think it’s great for newcomers with some idea what to expect, but not for complete virgins. I think you are better off picking up a few current series first (the above examples, particularly the Sinestro Corps War come to mind) to give you a feel for the characters.
But once you’ve gotten to the point where you understand some basics (that there are multiple Green Lanterns, that there have been multiple incarnations of The Flash, that The Spectre exists and kicks ass, etc) Crisis on Infinite Earths is a good way to lay a foundation for many important DC Comics characters.
Over the course of this twelve part series, author Marv Wolfman does an amazing job of incorporating just about every hero you’ve ever heard of… and then some. While reading, you’ll get a brief feel for The Losers, The Guardians of the Universe, Braniac, and Supergirl, just to name a few. Although you will often feel lost as Wolfman careens from hero to hero, if you keep pushing through you will ultimately leave with a much greater understanding of the DC Comics universe. Naturally, this can only help with current DC continuity.
Speaking of which, some major events occur in Crisis on Infinite Earths and the far-reaching ramifications were only really felt this decade with DC’s Infinite Crisis. Let me tell you now that unless you actually are Braniac (and you’re not, so stop deluding yourself), there is no chance in hell of you fully understanding DC’s mega Infinite Crisis or Final Crisis without having read Crisis on Infinite Earths. It lays the foundation for such central components as The Flash, the Anti-Monitor, Alexander Luthor, Superman Prime… and the entire flippin’ multiverse.
In short, this is a great read for DC completists interested in the foundation for DC’s current state of affairs. It is a huge, sprawling, cosmic epic that could really use some focus at times, but it sets you up nicely to dive into the current DC universe. I did not fall in love with the story here (it is too massive for you to really grow attached) but you have to love Wolfman’s ambition and the trial-by-fire learning experience it provides.