Book Review: Crisis on Infinite Earths
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
· Marv Wolfman
Jacket art by George Perez and Alex Ross.
by R.J. Carter
Published: January 9, 2007
If you see the novelization of Crisis on Infinite Earths and pick it up expecting it to answer unresolved questions from the comic book maxi-series, be forewarned your expectations will not only be unmet, but you'll be left with even more confusion than before.
Told mostly from the perspective of the deceased Barry Allen -- in a written journal, no less, just to add to the confusion -- Crisis on Infinite Earths, the novel, is the story of how, although you never could see it, Barry Allen singlehandedly saved the universe. And no, I don't mean by his already documented tachyon chase seen in the classic comic book chronicling his heroic death.
By the way, that is not the single-handed save I mentioned before. That comes later. A couple of times, in fact. The specter of Barry Allen is the bondo that fills in every little plot hole of the original series in this story that doesn't even have the same ending as the comic -- which is saying something, given that the novelization is written by Marv Wolfman, who scripted the original adventure as well as the recent novelization of Superman Returns. The Earth-2 Robin and Huntress die before the Earths merge. And for the Infinite Crisis fans, Alexander Luthor of Earth-3 does not create his pocket universe. The older Superman-2 is thus rejoined with his wife, Lois, through more standard means, and there's no mention whatsoever of the Superboy from Earth-Prime.
When the Monitor's machines were activated before they were ready, he let himself die so his own body could become its new source of power.
Now, when Harbinger needed to move the final three Earths into the Monitor's universe, she knew she needed far more power than even she had been given.
The Monitor analyzed me as he had all the heroes he had brought to him. He understood who I was, understood how I became what I am, but more importantly, he understood how I could be used.
The moment those lightning-charged chemicals worked their way through my pores and turned me into the Flash, everything in my body had irrevocably changed.
The Anti-Monitor was the only one who understood what that change meant.
I had become a source of power and energy that unleashed itself through the speed force. To gain the power she needed, Harbinger had to tap into what I had become.
But I was actually even more than that.
Those last three universes were already being eaten alive by the same antimatter that destroyed millions of universes before them. To enter the Monitor's limbo, the infection had to be removed.
I was not only the battery that would save the Multiverse, I was the filter through which they had to flow.
Universes hurtled through Harbinger's tunnels at beyond light speed. Even my eyes could catch only glimpses of the planets if, by chance, they happened to be angled to reflect the glow of a passing sun.
I swear to God I wished I was blind: All of existence charged directly at me and that I wasn't its final target provided little comfort. To get past me and into the Monitor's limboverse this... starstuff had to go through me.
Who in their right mind would want to be the butt end of a cosmic enema?
Perhaps because the novel was published through iBooks instead of through a standard Warner imprint, the text seems to have skipped much of the process of editing, being more than slightly peppered with typographical errors and simple grammatical mistakes.
Crisis on Infinite Earths does not explain the events that transpired in the comic book series, nor does it provide a continuity that could serve as a springboard into the Infinite Crisis adventure that was so closely tied to the events of the first saga.
It doesn't even try to explain itself.