This is the storyline that redefined DC Comics in the 1980s. If you were collecting comics back then or in the 1990s, when the topic turned to major DC storylines this was the top one. Even post-Superman revamp, post-Kingdom Come, post-Dan Didio, and all those other...
This is the storyline that redefined DC Comics in the 1980s. If you were collecting comics back then or in the 1990s, when the topic turned to major DC storylines this was the top one. Even post-Superman revamp, post-Kingdom Come, post-Dan Didio, and all those other things, this is the most critical piece of DC''s publishing in the last 40 years.
I suppose how well the storyline holds up for you depends on a number of factors but what could help WITHOUT having an encyclopedic knowledge of all DC characters and major stories is 1) being able to wrap your mind around the idea of parallel worlds, alternate dimensions with divergent timelines; 2) being able to accept that multiple versions of people can exist across these worlds who are fundamentally alike but have somewhat different storylines and personalities; and 3) knowing about at least Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. It helps knowing about The Flash/Barry Allen in particular, too, and some exposure to the Justice League of America, Justice Society of America, and The Legion of Super-Heroes doesn''t hurt, either.
That said, the basic idea of Crisis on Infinite Earths was to compress DC''s then 50-year-publishing history into a simplified continuity with ONE major version of the prime characters. This arguably never worked because DC editorial and all the various factions of writers never agreed on primary directions for much more than 6 months at a time it seems! Marvel Comics had a more centralized editorial department headed by ONE GUY over all and a much simpler continuity which was generally 1961 onwards. DC tried to keep all the stories and various editors ruled over characters and groups of books like fiefdoms and that''s why the plan for COIE never quite held. By the mid-1990s, a lot of the changes instituted by COIE were undone the situation reverted to a Superman who was more godlike again, a Justice League that had a Wonder Woman as a more regular cast member after being mostly absent for 10 years, and a Flash (Wally West) who ran as fast or faster than his predecessor (Barry Allen).
With all that out of way, what''s to say about this collection that''s very good? It seems to be VERY complete collecting all the major Justice League/Justice Society crossovers (mainly published in the original Justice League of America comic) from the early 1960s to 1985 and about every crossover and significant comic that tied into or directly crossed over into the main Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline.
Unlike modern comics, you don''t have to collect EVERY issue to understand COIE. Honestly, you can read COIE on its own and it should still make sense. It did for me and I hardly touched any of the Crisis crossover tie-ins for decades!
There are so many beats and so many memorable moments in the core COIE but I don''t want to spoil these things. For me, this was George Perez near his height as a comic book artist and Marv Wolfman trying his best to craft a cohesive storyline from so much history and generally succeeding at least 85% of the time. I think the storyline generally has held up and I''m NOT surprised the "television adaptation" was almost nothing like the original comic book version of COIE and that the comic book is still superior to any later adaptation of it including Wolfman''s own novelization. I would probably second the novelization as the best COIE prose after the original comic book mini-series but it''s scaled down and primarily told from Barry Allen''s POV.
What is good about this collection from a physical standpoint? A) it''s very complete. Virtually every major JLA/JSA crossover pre-1990s is in this collection. The cream of the crop is here and you don''t need to buy 10-15 $50 books to get all these stories; the classics are all here. B) ALL the pre-1986 COIE tie-ins are in here. I can''t speak to later books and things like The Last Days of the JSA or the DC Legends: COIE tie-in book printed alongside the original hardcover collection of COIE but all the contemporary 1980s comics are here. C) There is SIGNIFICANT amounts of development artwork and reprints of articles from fanzines like Amazing Heroes that are contemporary and detail the changes being made to the DCU back then as well as the fates of certain characters. To my knowledge, this is maybe only the second or third time many of these things HAVE been reprinted.
But what about the quality of the presentation? I like the fold-up box the hardcover collections come in. The covers on the books (all 12-15? I just got the thing in the mail today and it will take me WEEKS if not MONTHS to read everything!) are all nice, too. I really didn''t care for the fact DC never printed a bunch of these things (mainly the JLA/JSA crossover stories) in hardcover to being with. I prefer to buy hardcover over trade paperback when I can.
Now, my big BUGABOO about of this collection -- I don''t like the paper stock it was printed on. It''s a cheaper variety that''s more like typical trade paperback paper. I would have preferred paperstock closer to what the DC Archives used but non-glossy. Okay, the paperstock IS non-glossy so you won''t be BLINDED looking at it but it''s not the best paper DC could have had the collection printed on.
I suppose the collection was printed on this stock to reduce costs and the weight of the collection. I''m surprised my box came in as good a condition as it did today considering it took a week for it to be shipped to me. The corner dings are not that significant and it''s about the condition I''d expect to get it in had I gotten it from a comic book shop.
I think I''ve seen two of the COIE tie-in/crossover collections (NOT the JLA/JSA books) printed in hardcover separately and my impression was the paper stock used for those editions was BETTER than what''s in this box.
This box is its own editions and it''s NOT a reprint of other editions of COIE or any of the crossovers bundled with the main COIE book.
IF you can find this collection at discount like I did, buy it at discount. I don''t think it''s worth MSRP/$500 as it is IMHO. 40% off or better, I could justify and did. But over $350 it''s not worth it IMHO.
This is my own POV. I''m just a fan -- I don''t work in the comic book field and I don''t consider myself a FANBOY. There are things I like from both Marvel and DC as well as many other companies and independents. Without a doubt in my mind, Crisis on Infinite Earths is THE big crossover/multi-dimensional comic book series of the last 40 years. Everything else is pretty much derivative of it included DC''s own sequels to COIE (Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis). This is STILL the best "Crisis" storyline DC ever published in my opinion. Even if you can''t follow all the story beats and plot points, the artwork is fantastic. At least 3 of these issues rank among George Perez''s best work and half the covers are classics with 2 in particular (issues 7 and 8 of COIE) homaged as statues in the late 1990s/early 2000s I believe.