In recent months, Fanzing has been approached by not one but TWO individuals wanting to re-tell the Crisis as it happened POST-Crisis. We've decided to present BOTH for your perusal
and an issue focusing on death seemed to be the best occasion for it!
Dueling Crisises, Part One:
Crisis On The
Infinite Worlds #s 1-3
by Gary Ancheta
CRISIS IN THE POSITIVE UNIVERSE: An Introduction
It actually started off pretty innocently enough. I was on the Comic Book Resources Board and someone got into another discussion as to how Crisis on the Infinite Earths could have possibly happened in a post-Crisis world. In the Post-Crisis world, there wasn't a Supergirl to make a sacrifice. In the Post-Crisis world, there would be no Golden Age Superman to knock down the Anti-Monitor. There would be no Alexander Luthor from Earth 3. Things were just different.
But Barry Allen did die in the Crisis. Negative Woman remembers fighting Chemo during the villain war. Everyone remembers the reign of shadow-demons attacking Earth. In every yearly crisis since the first Crisis, someone has mentioned how the "red skies" and "temporal displacements" seems very "familiar." Now that Hypertime (sigh!) is here, there's no need to have to explain these inconsistencies and what people remember from Crisis. We can just brush it off an say it's an alternate Hypertimeline and leave it at that.
But what if there was no Hypertime?
What if DC stuck to their guns and kept their editors straight? What if DC finally decided that continuity mattered and aged their characters? What if those stupid timelines in the back of those Secret Files actually used the same, consistent timeline from the Big Bang to the End of Time?
What if there was only one timeline?
Well, if there was only one timeline, there could be no Superboy/Pocket Universe/Supergirl (only one Universe), there could be no Zero Hour (no temporal anomalies because there's only one timeline), and there could be no Hypertime (because there is only one timeline). And Crisis, well, Crisis still occurs.
In my version of Crisis, there is only one timeline but everything will still be there. There will still be an elder Superman who defeats the Anti-Monitor. There will still be planets in peril of being destroyed by anti-matter. There will still be a Pariah, a Lady Quark, a Dr. Light, an Alexander, and a Harbinger. And there will still be sacrifices made to save the universe.
These outlines have taken a lot of hours and a lot of hard work. I hope to have three posted in the next four months. It is my sincere hope that you folks enjoy these summaries as much as I've enjoyed writing them.
Crisis On The Infinite Worlds, ISSUE #1
Story: "The Summoning!"
Sometime after Creation, the universe was split and divided into a matter and an anti-matter universe. Each of these universes were kept separate from its counterpart by a vibrational barrier. History sometimes repeated in both universes (in the Matter Universe there was the planet OA, in the Anti-Matter Universe there was a similar planet named Qward), but both universes were in balance.
Now, in July of 1994, there is an imbalance as the matter universe is getting absorbed into the anti-matter universe. On a planet in the Alpha Centauri sector of the galaxy, a white Anti-Matter wave is creating temporal distortions and engulfing the planet known as Rann in a horrible whiteness.
Suspended in mid-air before the curtain of energy is a man known as Pariah who is forced to observe the destruction of each galaxy in the path of the anti-matter, but helpless to interfere and completely invulnerable to harm. When greater danger threatens another part of the universe adjacent to the galaxy he occupies, he is drawn to it. Thus, just before the death of this world, Pariah vanishes to another plane of existence.
On Rann itself, the Crime Syndicate members (Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring) attempt to halt their mad master's schemes but one by one they fall before the Anti-matter wave. The planet's only hero, Adam Strange, returns to the side of his wife, Alanna. They have an infant son, Alexander. Adam Strange confesses that his world is doomed and that the only hope for their son is to send him, via a Zeta Beam, to Earth. The Earth-born hero places bathes his only son with Zeta radiation and sends a beam to Earth, materializing him in the headquarters of the Justice League of America. The heroes of Earth, he thinks, will care for his son. With that, Adam Strange and Alanna Strange hold each other, as the horrific whiteness engulfs their world and the rest of their Solar System.
Alexander Strange does indeed appear in the Justice League satellite, but, unknown to Adam Strange, the headquarters had been abandoned months ago when the old Justice League disbanded. The child is alone in the artificial environment of the satellite.
Fortunately, the Monitor, who had been cataloguing the spread of the Anti-matter wave, finds Alexander in time and teleports him onto his satellite. He instructs Lyla, his assistant to energize in order to bring certain super-heroes and super-villains from different times and places though out Earth's past, present, and future, to his orbiting HQ. Lyla descends into the core of the satellite, where energy in a special chamber wraps around her and changes her into Harbinger, a multiple, super-powered being. Thus, she can visit different points in the time continuum to summon the beings instrumental in the Monitor's plan to save the Universe.
In present day Gorilla City (1994), King Solovar is busy sentencing a murderer to "conversion." Afterwards, having retired to his chambers, he is confronted by Harbinger, who takes him in hand, against his will, and vanishes with him back to the satellite.
In the late 30th Century (2995), Harbinger teleports the woman known as Laurel Gand seconds before she is destroyed by a Khundian Neutron-Bomb. Laurel is reluctant to go at with Harbinger at first, but eventually she convinces Laurel that if she doesn't go, her ancestor Valor will die in the upcoming Crisis.
In America, on April 1, 1942, at a Manhattan USO Bond rally, Danette Reilly is secretly using her flame-power to light a stubborn stove when Harbinger appears to her, transforms her civilian clothes to her Firebrand costume, and summons her to the Monitor. A shadowy figure, unseen by anyone, observes them leaving.
In the recent past of Hub City (1985), the first Blue Beetle is rescuing a hostage from terrorists when Harbinger and Firebrand appear, gains his willing aid, and takes him to her headquarters.
Forty-five thousand years ago, somewhere on the ancient continent of Atlantis, Harbinger appears over the icy stretches surrounding Atlantis, looking for Arion. Before she can locate him, she is attacked and possessed by a shadowy demon.
On present day Earth (1994), the Harbinger-self who had recruited Firebrand appears in the padded cell of Roger Hayden, the modern Psycho-Pirate. Hayden is in a straitjacket due to the painful convulsions he suffers from manipulating and contacting other peoples' emotions. Harbinger relieves him by providing him with the mystical mask with which Dr. Fate once converted his face with (which Hayden mistakenly calls the "Medusa Mask"). Then she teleports him to their next destination.
In the near future (2031), Harbinger arrives on the day of Johnathan Kent's (the son of Wonder Woman and Superman) birth. Harbinger calls upon the elder Superman's help in the upcoming Crisis. Superman gives his wife and his new son a kiss on the cheek, before, reluctantly, leaving his family behind.
Back in ancient Atlantis, Arion feels his once-abated power growing due to a recent flux of energy, and conjures up an ice bridge to enable him to cross between mountain peaks. While he is in the middle of the bridge, the corrupted self of Harbinger alights near him and insists that he accompany her. Thinking her an enemy, he prepares to launch a bolt of sorcery. Harbinger responds by shattering the bridge with her powers and sending Arion plummeting to the ground many feet below. Just before he would have hit, the evil version of Harbinger dematerializes him and herself, to reappear in the Monitor's HQ.
In 2985, Valor of the Legion of Superheroes has tracked a mental summons, and an eerie light, to the depths of Suicide Slum in Metropolis. Harbinger's hand reaches through a wall, and causes them both to vanish.
On present day Earth, Firestorm, at the bidding of Haribinger (who had arrived with the Psycho-Pirate) releases his old enemy Killer Frost from an icy prison. Killer Frost instantly attacks her foe, but the Psycho-Pirate causes her to fall in love with Firestorm. This accomplished, the foursome vanish, as the Monitor watches on his view screen. He ruefully muses that his adversary will not allow them much time to act. He also notes that Lyla, whom he found twenty years ago, a shipwreck survivor, and whom he loves as dearly as a daughter, now must become his killer. Then, she will hold the fate of the entire universe in her hands.
In another chamber, the various beings whom Harbinger has summoned now gather; Blue Beetle I, Valor, Tiger-Rose (a disguised Laurel Gand), Solovar, Geoforce, Cyborg, Psycho-Pirate, The Superman of 2031, Firebrand, Obsidian, John Stewart (the new Green Lantern of Earth sector), Arion, Dr. Polaris, Psimon, Firestorm, and Killer Frost. Their assembly is secretly watched by the shadow-demons, but Psimon senses the presence of these enemies just before they attack. The heroes give vigorous opposition, but the shadow-beings are resistant to their powers. Finally, a bright light fills the chamber, and the shadow demons are driven off. The Monitor then shuts down his light weapon, and introduces himself to the assembly. He has summoned them, he says, because their Earth, is going to be destroyed by being absorbed into the Anti-Matter Universe.
Crisis On The Infinite Worlds, ISSUE #2
Story: "Time and Time Again!"
Written by: Marv Wolfman (original plot and breakdowns) Mark Waid and Lou Mougin (writers of the crisis index summaries) Gary Ancheta (re-writer of the crisis index summaries)
Thousands of years ago, on Earth, in caveman times, Anthro leaps atop the neck of a great wooly mammoth, the leader of a rampaging herd, charging toward the village of the Bear People, and Anthro's Family, including his father Ne-Ahn, his pregnant wife Embra, and his little brother Lart. Anthro turns the herd away in time by jabbing his spear into the mammoth's neck, but he is knocked off the beast by a tree branch. When he gets to his feet, he finds that the herd has vanished and on the horizon is a strange, futuristic city.
In 2985, just as Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Lightning Lass and Colossal Boy begin to deal with the problem of controlling a herd of wild woolly mammoths, the beasts inexplicable vanish. The befuddled Legionaries report these proceedings to Brainiac 5, who in turns reports that his computers have detected a mass of anti-matter moving toward Earth, enough to destroy the entire universe.
In July of 1994, the Joker stands over the corpse of millionaire Harold J. Standish III, whom he has murdered to gain ownership of the copyrights to many silent films which the tycoon owned. The Batman smashes through a window to confront his nemesis. He had successfully deduced who the Joker's target was to be, although too late to save him. Batman knocks the Clown Prince of Crime down, but the Joker spatters Batman with a spray of thick super-glue form a flower-pump on his lapel, and then stands over the gummed-up Masked Manhunter with a .45. Suddenly, both are distracted by an apparition of the Flash, materializing before their eyes, ravaged by fiery energy, begs for help. The Joker, shaken, fires at the ghostly Flash. Batman, having had time to melt off the glue with solvent from his utility belt, stands before the Joker, but his attention is drawn to the Flash, who seems to be literally dissolving before his eyes. The Flash-image babbles about his wife, Iris, and the, while Batman watches, Flash's body dissolves to bone within his costume, and then both skeleton and costume vanish. Oblivious to the Joker, who made his getaway, Batman wonders what's happening.
In his satellite, the Monitor is addressing the super-beings assembled by Harbinger. He explains that over one thousand galaxies have already been absorbed into the anti-matter universe. Untold billions have perished. Now their home world stands threatened by the tide of anti-matter. Firestorm angrily protests that they have heard of him before, when he was selling weaponry to super-villains over the past couple of years. Wearily, the Monitor promises to explain everything to them. Psimon, still angry that the Monitor wouldn't sell him weapons before, attacks with a mental bolt, but the Monitor easily shields himself and explains that Psimon's scheme would have endangered some of the very beings he required. Lyla confers with the Monitor in whispers, and wonders why she now feels hate for their mentor. Meanwhile, the older Superman convinces his fellows to hear the Monitor out.
The Monitor explains that he is linked with all positive matter and thus derives his power from this universe. As each positive matter galaxy perishes, it saps some of his strength. If the super-beings before him fall, he cannot prevent his adversary from destroying all that exists. The others are divided in their response. He demonstrates that they have all been picked because of certain abilities and powers he needed from each of them, and afterwards others may be summoned as required. At stake now, he says, is more than Good or Evil; all life will depend upon their response and actions. So saying, the Monitor almost collapses in weariness. Dr. Polaris is in favor of rushing him, but Arion insists that he be heard out, if Atlantis is truly endangered.
The Psycho-Pirate confesses his faith in the Monitor and Harbinger, reappearing, demands that they all pledge aid to her mentor. He has, she says, placed five devises in crucial eras of Earth to stem the flow of anti-matter by keeping Earth out of temporal phase from the rest of the universe, creating a positive matter barrier around Earth. Each era is populated by heroes that creates a focal point, and these devices must be protected to save them from being destroyed by their enemy. Arion sense corruption within Harbinger, but says nothing. When she asks for their answer, the older Superman answers for them all; they will help, and they will soon know of they have been told the truth.
With that, Harbinger divides the heroes into five groups and teleports them to their respective destinations. Then, while the Monitor rests, she contacts his adversary, referred only as the Other.
On the planet Oa, the Guardians of the Universe have detected the onrush of anti-matter and, standing before the great Primal Power Battery, prepare to alert the entire Green Lantern Corps. But before they can, an eerie voice calls from the depths of the Battery, and a green bolt of force blasts out at them, knocking all of them unconscious.
On present day Earth (1994), Superman meets Batman on the roof of the Daily Planet. After Batman tells him of the strange image of the Flash, the two startled heroes are confronted by Pariah. The newcomer explains that he senses greatness in these two individuals and now he needs their help. He reveals that the Earth, the entire universe, is dying, but before he can say anymore, he is drawn away and vanishes before their eyes.
At the time after the nuclear exchange, one of the Monitor's devises--actually a super-complex "tuning fork", many stories high--has materialized in New York within sight of the Statue of Liberty. The eternal villain known as Vandal Savage and the eternal hero known as the Ressurection Man are fighting atop the tuning fork. Suddenly, they both notice a shadow demon emerging from the machine. The shadow demons overwhelm and kills Vandal Savage. The Resurrection Man, unsure of this new threat, leaps off the Tuning Fork, but his fall is halted by the Future-Age Superman, who is accompanied by Valor, Tiger Rose and Solovar. The five are soon assaulted by shadow demons, whose touch burns even invulnerable flesh. The heroes succeed in repulsing the demons for the moment, but they agree that the shadow-shapes are only the prelude to a greater menace. Harbinger, watching from nearby, says that their efforts are in vain.
Back in 1992, in the Monitor's satellite, another Harbinger -self approaches the bubble containing Alexander, who was teleported to the Monitor's satellite earlier. She halts, astonished, when she sees him, for Alexander Strange, in the time of less than one day, has grown to the size of a six-year-old!
In Ancient Atlantis, 43,000 BC, Arion, Psycho Pirate, and Obsidian stand on a hillside overlooking the Monitor's giant machine, which has materialized inside the city gates. Arion warns Psycho Pirate against manipulating any of the emotions of any of his subjects, and the Psycho Pirate agrees, for now. Arion and Obsidian are greeted by Lady Chian, the Resurrection Man, Vandal Savage and other Atlanteans. Abruptly, the Pirate is caught in a tube of yellow light from above, and vanishes.
The Psycho-Pirate materializes in a chamber of utter darkness. An icy voice tells him his services are needed. The Pirate refuses, daring his host to face him. The mysterious speaker transforms the Pirate's face into a featureless mask, trapping his emotion power within him. If the Psycho Pirate doesn't swear allegiance to his host, he will die. The Psycho-Pirates features are restored, so he swears allegiance.
Back at the satellite, the Monitor tells Harbinger that he regrets the loss of the Pirate. She answers that the loss wasn't great, but he replies that the Pirate was more necessary than Arion or Obsidian, as the menace they face is "one of emotion." Since the Teen Titan , Raven, is not detectable on Earth, he must seek another way, so he orders Harbinger to bring the file of the new Dr. Light. It is time to create her.
Meanwhile, in Atlantis, Arion and Obsidian converse with Pariah, who reveals that he is from the first planet that was destroyed by the anti-matter and now threatens all other galaxies. His presence here is evidence that tragedy is soon to strike. Sure enough, they behold a wave of utter whiteness approaching from above as temporal fissures begin to open up. Arion shouts that the Monitor must have lied to them.
In the satellite, the Monitor himself notes that the anti-matter destruction has begun anew, and that he has not yet completed the creation of the new Dr. Light, and that soon, he will be killed.
In the utter darkness of the lair of the Monitor's adversary, another Harbinger-self reveals the plans of the Monitor to his enemy. The villain says that his opponent is doomed to failure, for his strength is stolen as his enemy's increases, and his champions are pitted against each other. He dispatches her to her next task, declaring that the entire matter universe shall soon be destroyed and his own will rule supreme. Harbinger finds that she is torn by two impulses--the compulsion to obey the adversary, and her love for the Monitor.
Crisis On The Infinite Worlds, ISSUE #3
Story: "Oblivion upon us!"
Written by: Marv Wolfman (original plot and breakdowns) Mark Waid and Lou Mougin (writers of the crisis index summaries) Gary Ancheta (re-writer of the crisis index summaries)
In his satellite, the Monitor is observing and testing Alexander Strange, who has grown to adolescence in mere days. Alex asks why he is being made a human guinea pig, and the Monitor replies that he is an anomaly, composed of both positive and negative matter, and must have changed when by his trip via Zeta beam from Rann to Earth. Somehow, he must be the key to the salvation of the universe.
Harbinger attempts to attract the Monitor attention, fails, and wonders if he suspects her changed nature. She leaves, and reappears in the lair of the unknown, unseen adversary. The Psycho-Pirate taunts her with knowledge of her fear, and says that their master will give him a world of people whose emotions he can manipulate. The adversary silences the Pirate and orders Harbinger to destroy Alexander, and she leaves to do his bidding. The Pirate asks why the Master doesn't let him instill blind loyalty in her, but the shadowy figure replies that it isn't necessary. Before long, she will kill the Monitor.
In the 30th century, the Flash, speeding along a street in Central City, has been reunited with his wife Iris for an entire month. Now, in a driving rainstorm, he has been called out to repair damaged caused by disasters beyond the power of the 30th century to stem. While attempting to halt a flash-flood, the Scarlet Speedster is captured and taken to parts unknown.
In Egypt of 2031, Brainiac awakens from his long sleep. When Superman had defeated him last, Brainiac had made a backup copy of his brain in a space ship hidden in the Sphinx where he has been running scenerios on how to defeat various superheroes. Now, Brainiac observes the Superman of 2031 leaving to go into the past with Harbinger and realizes that he has a golden opportunity to dominate the world of 1994 with his vast technology. He breaks free from the Spinx and, using stolen Linear Men technology, journeys into the past looking for an ally.
In late June of 1944 on Earth, the tiny European kingdom of Markovia is still occupied by the Nazis (lead by the illustrious Vandal Savage), but it is being liberated by American forces, led by the mysterious Unknown Soldier (aka the Resurrection Man), Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, Lt. Jeb Stuart and the Haunted Take and the Losers. Two wild cards have been thrown into the battle: the Monitor's giant machine, which has materialized in the capital city of Markovia, befuddling Germans and American alike, and the appearance of the first Blue Beetle, Geoforce, and Dr. Polaris. The ghost of Confederate General JEB Stuart appears to the lieutenant and warns him that today, "losers shall lose and never be seen again." Dr. Polaris and Geo-Force join the Allied forces in wiping up the Nazis, but Blue Beetle decides to protect the machine.
The Losers -- Capt. Storm, Gunner, Sarge, and Johnny Cloud -- approach the machine. Capt. Storm scales the device to try to discover its use, when a shadow emerges from its interior and grabs him. The other three Losers attack and are grabbed by more shadow demons. The Resurrection Man attempts to save the Losers, but Vandal Savage gets a lucky shot out with a sniper rifle and kills him. As the soldiers and super-beings watch, Capt. Storm, Gunner, Sarge, and Johnny Cloud are killed by the shadows.
Sgt. Rock and Easy Company attack the shadows with rifle-fire. Flower, one of the Rock's soldiers, is killed by a shadow demon. Meanwhile, the Blue Beetle has landed near the machine from overhead. Using his scarab and his ingenuity, the Blue Beetle succeeds in momentarily holding back the tide of shadow demons, but is eventually overwhelmed. The Monitor uses his waning strength to return the injured Blue Beetle back to his time period.
In the world of Earth after the Nuclear Exchange, the Future age Superman, Tiger Rose, Valor, Solovar, and the Resurrection Man notice the sky turning red and becoming streaked with electrical storms. When Solivar is taken down by a shadow demon, the Resurrection Man comes to his aid and attempts to stop Solivar's hemorrhaging with his newly developed healing powers.
In 1879, in an abandoned mine in Coyote, Texas, Bat Lash, Scalphunter, Jonah Hex, Johnny Thunder, and Nighthawk face a mystery: the Monitor's machine. Suddenly, Psimon, Cyborg, Green Lantern (John Stewart), and Firebrand II appears out of thin air. As the time-lost heroes explain their mission to the Westerners, they are abruptly attacked by another contingent of shadow-beings. Outside, Nighthawk (aka the Resurrection Man), is being chased by Vandal Savage across the western plain on horseback. When they get to the mine shaft, dozens of shadow demons attack and kill them both.
In the 30th century, the Legionaries are busy saving citizens caught in the ecological and environmental disasters happening around him. Kid Psycho, aiding evacuation efforts in Britain, is killed by a falling building.
Meanwhile, the Monitor watches the devastation of different time periods on his screens, and regrets that his adversary has moved more quickly than he had expected. Still, his machines are in place, and his plan can begin.
Continued Next Month
All characters are DC Comics
This column is © 1999 by Gary Ancheta.