Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Review: Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #6

Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #6 came out this week, the penultimate issue of this universe redefining epic. 

Can someone explain it to me?

In the 14 years I have been running this site, the DCU has set and reset several times. I must admit I am getting a bit fatigued with these events and these configuring of continuity. In the end, the DCU usually settles down. We usually end up back near classics. But that doesn't mean the telling and retelling and forming and reforming isn't exhausting.

Still, if the story is intriguing or compelling or fun, I am usually on board. Final Crisis made very little sense but it felt big and bold and made me think. 

I don't think I can say the same for Dark Crisis.

I don't quite understand how Pariah is doing what he is doing. How he contaminated a primeval force. What he hopes to gain or what it will bring him. I don't know how he is controlling all the villains. I don't know why he needed the original JLA on dream worlds or why the worlds they were on were their dreams. I can blur my mind and sort of get it. But that is also tiring.

And then we get this issue which sort of ends the main plot before I can say I understood it. There are key points in the plot which are explained via 'comic book science' in small panels to move things along. I don't understand why these things work. And how it brings things to a close.

But then it opens up one last subplot which I understand even less.

There are moments to like here. Writer Joshua Williamson gives legacy heroes, the target of Deathstroke, bright moments. Green Arrow has a nice spotlight scene. 

But overall, this series has left me wanting. I didn't feel there were any really stakes here. That might be more about my event fatigue than anything. But things don't flow here.

All that said, Daniel Sampere is a revelation. His art is spectacular. He gives us big battle scenes and small emotional scenes. The art is crisp and clear and eye-catching.

But we only have one more issue to wrap it up. And then, another 'new' universe.

On to the specifics. 

The book starts out dark. There are two pages of pitch black except for word balloons, Pariah talking to the Great Darkness it seems.

Pariah was lost and only hear this voice for a while. Here the darkness echoes the lesson learned in Swamp Thing #50, that life springs from the darkness.

I suppose the implication of Pariah not hearing a voice for a while and then hearing it again might suggest that he has gone mad, the second voice some inner auditory hallucination and not the Darkness itself which is above the happenings of our little world.

Still, two pages ... that is a lot of room that could have been used for story to help explain or debrief me more on big plot points.

For example, the JLA needs to get back to Earth 0 now that they have been pulled away from their dream worlds.

Luckily, Green Lantern says he can use Nekron's connection to the darkness to go home with Barry using his multiverse experience as an extra guide.

It is nice to see Barry and Hal together again as pals semi-saving the day. And Sampere draws the hell out of the Green Lantern Corp. (Please give him a Lantern book!) 

But this was all told, not shown or hinted at before ... at least I don't think.

Of course, it is risky. They might not all make it back. 

Green Arrow gives a good speech about how you always might miss the mark but you have to take the shot. It is a nice moment. The weakest of the Leaguers showing his courage.

I will give you three guesses which Leaguer doesn't seem to make it back with the rest.

Back on Earth, Nightwing's army is battling Deathstroke's army. The universe is under two threats. The power of the Great Darkness itself as well as the unstable nature of all the multiverses. 

Luckily, we get more exposition. Remember Pariah's machine was corrupting the Darkness. Now that it is out, the heroes can use the 'cannon'. Mr. Terrific tells us that if he can get Pariah's machine activated, he can cut off the Darkness energy.

Okay ...

Here is where Williamson amps up the Trinity Legacy heroes. Jace Fox can help Mr. Terrific.

Meanwhile, Jon Kent knows that he needs to be Superman and hold off Pariah's elite. He jumps into the fray fighting all the big bads.

And Wonder Girl uses her own Lasso of Truth to try and make Pariah see the errors of his ways. 

With Metal and 5G and Future State and Deathstroke's obsession with legacy heroes, it is clear that Williamson is leaning into DC's history. DC is known for its legacies. So it is a nice touch to see these three get there moment to shine.

Deathstroke's army is too strong and they are getting the upper hand.

Luckily, again, we get some exposition. Jace realizes that they need to think about the device backwards. This allows Mr. Terrific to turn it on.

The machine encapsulates Pariah in a cube of energy, just like in his origin from Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Inside the cube, Pariah disintegrates.

I don't know if I understand why any of this works or happens. 

With Pariah dead, the connection of the Darkness to the armies is severed. The villains begin to weaken.

The power is severed but not gone. Things still look grim. But just then the League and the GL Corps arrive to help mop up.

There is a very nice moment where Superman the elder jumps in to save Jon from being killed by Doomsday. 

Very nice. 

So maybe it is all over? Pariah is gone.  

But no.

All that dark energy is still out there. It needs to go somewhere. And it ends up in Deathstroke.

I don't think I needed this. 

Maybe it'll all make sense. We know next issue is called the Dawn of the DCU. Maybe from this great darkness life will bloom. Maybe we will get Rebirth v2.0. 

But I don't know if this particular story has got me to a point where it makes sense. I don't feel the stakes I felt in the original Crisis, or Legends, or Final Crisis, or even Event Leviathan

Maybe I am being too rough. 

Overall grade: C


Steve said...

I think Crisis Fatigu sums up how I feel. I still like most of Marvel's Events but I've not enjoyed very many of DC's and probably none since the end of Infinite Crisis.

Anonymous said...

I've read all the books and tie-ins so far (not a single tie-in has been any good), and this has devolved into nonsense. Not that Pariah's plans and methods of operation ever made sense. It's just getting worse, so that even small plot mechanics are hard to follow, and half the time I don't even know what's going on.

Black beings fly out of the giant lantern? Or, the Lanterns flew into the big lantern? And then what happens to them? And how does this mean Hal is signaling them? What the heck is going on?

Darkseid rips someone in half?

Firestorm, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Ethan Hawk and Steel get disintegrated?

Green Arrow is making speeches into an empty landscape? He and DInah are with the others, or are somewhere else first?

Almost no panels have backgrounds, so one can't tell where anything is happening - except that in one panel, there are suddenly 3 cars? Weird. That has to be a lame reference to something.

Pariah doesn't need his machine anymore, so it's off - so, just turn it on the put the engines in reverse! Reconfigure the deflector shield too, ensign.

This was a mess.

I can't imagine this event will have a significant impact on DC going forward. Maybe it will leave us with a multi-omni-iinfinite-earths-verse. Maybe Earth-0 will revert to pre-Crisis Earth-1. Big deal.

If they don't bring Linda Danvers back, I want a refund!


Martin Gray said...

I suppose if you’re going to rip someone in half, Frankenstein is the best choice. Just grab some thread…

Yep, this is a good looking corpse if ever there was one. It’s just words that make no sense.

I disagree with my pal TN that there are no backgrounds, sure, Alejandro Sanchez is doing a lot of lifting with the colours, but we’re not looking at Vince Colletta-erased backgrounds.

I think the cars are just sausages.

Scipio said...

"Maybe I am being too rough."

You are not.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Martin - I thought it could be Frankenstein but wasn't sure. True, there are minimal backgrounds a few times, of outlines of buildings, but I thought only once the level of details with the cars. For some reason it stuck out to me.

Sampere doesn't often have anyone else drawing layouts, but keeping an extra-sized book like this on schedule is not easy. I wonder how many pages Sandoval actually did the layouts for - probably not many, as usually layout artists get credited first, and Sampere's art and layouts came before his. Sandoval is also not on the cover. Anyway, Sampere is a superb artist!


Anonymous said...

Its a confusing hopelessly boring mess…I can’t even get invested in it as a “hate read”, I am sort of glad Supergirl has been relegated to a “cameo in the background” given past practices in these Crisis Minis. Put me down on the “I have crisis fatigue” list as well. I doubt this storyline will have any influence on current DCU Continuity, since no one will ever figure what the heck was going on here to begin with…