Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (1985)

Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October, 1985)
“Beyond the Silent Night”
Writer/Editor – Marv Wolfman
Penciller – George Perez
Inkers – Jerry Ordway & Dick Giordano
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Tom Ziuko
Cover Price: $1.25

If you listen carefully… you can hear the sound of a bugle solemnly belting out Taps.  Ya see, we stand on the precipice of… the end.  For today, Super-Blog Team-Up passes into the great hereafter.  Nothing lasts forever (and we both know hearts can change).

With the heaviest of hearts I welcome you to… the Death of the Super-Blog Team-Up.

Now, we’ve covered some pretty big deaths here at the ol’ blogfront… from Superman to Terry Long!  Today we’re going to discuss one I’d long shied away from… because it’s a biggie, and boy howdy is it dense!  This one’s gonna be tough to synopsize…

We open with Lyla, Pariah, and Alexander Luthor stood on a rock which hovers above the final five universes remaining in the multiverse.  Pariah utilizes his superpower of whining to question why he’s still involved with this whole Crisis mishegoss.  Whattaya mean whining’s not his superpower?  It’s gotta be!  Anyhoo, with all of the questions still lingering, it’s decided that it might finally be time for some ‘splainin’.

We shift over to Earth-S, home of the Marvel Family.  Here we see Dr. Sivana who is flanked by Ibbac while he attempts to concoct a plan to conquer the last remaining Earths.  Captain Marvel arrives on the scene… now free of the Psycho Pirate’s influence (earlier in the series he was attacking other heroes).  Before any actual physical confrontation can begin, Sivana and Ibbac vanish from sight… only to arrive aboard Brainiac’s ship, where they are greeted by a whole slew of other baddies.

The Marvels are joined by other heroes including Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Black Canary.  They try to make sense of things, however are interrupted by Lyla.  She requires one representative from each Earth so she can share the mysteries of the Universe(s).  At the same time, similar meetings are occurring throughout the abbreviated multiverse.  To catch us up, five universes remain… however, representatives from six still live (discounting Earth-3’s Alexander Luthor since he’s hangin’ with the big-wigs).  The representatives present for the big explanation will be Superman (Earth-1), Superman (Earth-2), Captain Marvel (Earth-S), Blue Beetle (Earth-4), Uncle Sam (Earth-X), and Lady Quark (Earth-6).

Now, with the representatives accounted for, Lyla begins sharing the story of the origins of the present Crisis.  Like so many things in the DC Universe, her story begins on Oa.  We learn of the curious Krona, who sought knowledge of the origin of the very universe.  Oan legend dictates that seeking such knowledge would lead to great calamity.  Well, Krona ain’t got the time for none’a that blibbuh blabbah, so he continued his research.  A 1965 Green Lantern story is cited, in which Krona used Oan technology to witness the origin of the universe… and in so doing, created a great evil.

That great evil was the Anti-Matter Universe… the Multiverse was also a result, though your multiversal evil-ness mileage may vary.  The only planet without a doppelganger is Oa itself… though Qward is referred to as Oa’s “sister planet”.

Krona is stood before council and found guilty of unlawful universal knowledge.  He is sentenced to being reduced to atoms and an eternity of floating throughout the universe.  Sounds just as bad at the Phantom Zone!  From here we get some more Oa-gins (yeah, yeah, they can’t all be winners).  From the Oan’s use of the Manhunters, to the formation of the Green Lantern Corps… the latter of which caused a schism within the community, and a great civil war.

Now, both Oa and Qward had moons (boy, this is dry)… Oa’s moon birthed the Monitor… and Qward’s birthed his opposite number… the Anti-Monitor!  It wasn’t long before the Anti-Monitor (and his army of Thunderers) took over Qward.  Not satisfied with what he’d conquered, the Anti-Monitor wanted more.

This is when he began to sense that he wasn’t alone in the vast universe(s).  He sensed his “other” self… out there, being, ya know… not evil.  And so, they go to war… a war that lasts one million years, and only ended when they kayoed one another.  They lay unconscious for over nine billion years!  Dassalongtime.  Superman thinks this is all fine and dandy… but how then, did the Anti-Monitor awaken and free himself?  Well… this is where our old friend Pariah comes into play.  He did it… in what he calls the first of his sins.

Now our story shifts to a Pariah flashback… brace yourselves for excitement.  Turns out he was a brilliant scientist on his unnamed/unnumbered Earth… he’d cured disease, done a lotta good stuff for the folks.  He, however, like Krona before him… had a curiosity about the origins of the Universe.  His Earth has similar legends as Oa… where, ya don’t look too deeply into the origins of the Universe, lest some bad hoo-doo go down.  Despite all that, Pariah did the thing.  Now, his experiment was a bit more tragic than Krona’s… ya see, he built a protective chamber so all the icky anti-matter wouldn’t get all over him.  That, unfortunately, doesn’t take into account what would happen to… ya know, the rest of the universe.  The Anti-Matter winds up destroying all life in his universe… except him!  He winds up floating in nothingness all alone for… millions of years!

Tapping into the antimatter caused the Anti-Monitor to awaken… which he refers to as his second sin… but, I thought it was his first?  Didn’t he just say that?  Hmm, okay… maybe destroying his home universe is Sin #1… Waking the Anti-Monitor can be Sin #2.  Anyhoo, the Anti-Monitor’s strength grew through destruction of Universes… that is to say, the more “worlds will die”, the more powerful he will become.  You can probably guess where this is headed.

Next, Lyla pipes in… revealing that while Pariah is responsible for the Anti-Monitor’s awakening… it’s also because of him that the Monitor was revived.  The Monitor got right to work trying to stop his “brother” from destroying the Multiverse… and decided to use Pariah to aid in this endeavor.  Pariah had a sense about what worlds were about to go kaput… and so, the Monitor would simply follow him from one doomed universe to the next.  Oh, and the more “worlds will die” the less powerful the Monitor becomes… ya follow?

Superman interrupts the story to inquire just where in the world Lyla came from.  She reveals that the Monitor had found her drifting in the sea as a little girl… nice chap that he is, he saved her… and, ya know… put her to work as his assistant.

As the Earths grow ever closer, we get some vignettes bouncing around the severalverse to explain why certain heroes will be taking part in a trip to the Anti-Matter Universe… while others will not.  Alexander Luthor uses his “positive matter self” to open a portal to the Anti-Monitor’s stomping grounds.

As they pass through, the heroes face all of their fears and uncertainties, however press on in spite of them all.  Once on the other side, Pariah uses the Anti-Monitor’s own evil to lead the way… to a glowing asteroid.  I think Captain Marvel’s “Holy Moley!” says it best…

Inside the strange structure waits the Anti-Monitor… and his fair-weather friend, the Psycho Pirate.  The former commands the latter to use his emotion-controlling powers to overcome the invaders.  Well, unfortunately for the A-M, P.P. is quite exhausted from controlling the emotions on three Earths at once!  The big-bad realizes he’s on his own this time around.

The heroes arrive, and begin working their way through the odd architecture… when it begins attacking them!  Of particular note the Earth-2 Superman gets socked in the mush… which actually causes him to see his own blood!

The heroes continue battling the bricks.  While Superman (Earth-1) struggles to free himself from their grasp, Captain Atom blasts a portion of the structure into bits.  Supergirl then uses her super-breath to scatter the pieces throughout space… buying the good guys a bit of time before the rocks reform.

Superman (Earth-1) breaks away and begins searching for the Anti-Monitor.  Along the way he runs into Dr. Light… er, make that “the female” Dr. Light (it’s what they call her)… who just watched Pariah get crushed under a pillar of stone!  Don’t worry, he’ll get better.

“The Female” Dr. Light then guides Superman into the heart of the structure… the housing of a solar collector, with which the Anti-Monitor can convert starlight into energy… and probably make “worlds die”.  Superman decides the best course of action is… ya know, smashing it up.  The Anti-Monitor, as you might imagine, has a different idea.

Anti-Monitor unleashes a blast of energy into Superman’s back putting him down for the count.  From afar, Supergirl can hear her cousin call out in pain… and rushes to his aid.  She plows through the planetoid past her allies (including the now-okay Pariah) and delivers a kapow to the big bad.

This punch shatters the Anti-Monitor’s “body”… he is rapidly becoming a being of pure (negative?) energy.  He realizes time is short, and decides to drop the hammer.  Supergirl asks “The female” Dr. Light to take her cousin to safety… and goes in for another go-round with the big A-M.

After a brief tussle, Supergirl becomes momentarily distracted by Dr. Light… at which time, the Anti-Monitor delivers the killing blow.

Amid the chaos he has wrought, the Anti-Monitor flees to lick his wounds.  Superman rushes to his cousin’s side.  She tells him not to be sad, she knew exactly what she was doing.  She says she did it all for him… then, she passes away.

Superman swears vengeance… but is brought back to his senses by his Earth-2 self.  He reminds him that Kara died to give them the opportunity to save their worlds… and not to waste such an opportunity on foolish revenge.  The younger Kal agrees.

The chapter ends with the world (assuming this is Earth-1) and it’s heroes celebrate the life of Supergirl.  Batgirl delivers a eulogy to a packed crowd.  Meanwhile at the Fortress of Solitude, Superman wraps his cousin in her cape to take her into space one final time.

Whew… some stuff happened here.

I gotta say, it’s been… dang, over twenty years since I’d last dug my teeth into Crisis.  When I started this blog, these were some of the issues I told myself I’d never be able to cover (which is kinda weird considering the name of this blog).  The synopsizing was just so overwhelming.  When I started writing today… I felt like I was just listing characters… and not really covering a story.

But… there was a story.  A couple of ’em actually.  First we went through the origins of the Monitor Bros.  It’s so weird to consider that by this point we’re already halfway through Crisis on Infinite Earths… the Monitor is already dead… and we’re just now getting the backstory.  My first time through this was in collected edition so this didn’t really stand out… I was just reading one giant story and not a single chapter.  Crisis was actually one of the first DC bookshelf books I’d ever bought… which probably wasn’t the best way to come in… but, whatayagonnado?

I really dug how Marv brought some Oan lore into the start of the Crisis.  Even tying it in to Krona’s quest for knowledge… seems a relatively deep cut referring to Green Lantern (vol.2) #40, but I’m glad it was there.  Anytime a writer can pull from an older story and make it work within the wider continuity is welcome.

Pariah is as annoying as ever.  I found it strange that we start the issue with him whining… questioning why he’s even involved… then a few pages later, he’s whining… revealing that the entire Crisis is sorta-kinda his fault.  Oh yeah, and he also wiped out his home dimension.

Then… Supergirl dies.  I think I’ve said it before, but outside of the Peter David run, I was never really big into Supergirl.  I think it’s more my post-Crisis upbringing more than any real distaste for the character… but I unfortunately didn’t really get the gravity of this the first time I read it.  I’m sure knowing about it ahead of time might have tempered my reaction a bit though.

The scene itself is quite well done… which is no surprise considering the folks crafting it.  Kara gives her all so that her cousin might have the opportunity to save the multiverse.  I felt like Superman (Earth-1) didn’t really get the best showing here, but it served the story, and facilitated Supergirl’s sacrifice.  I think I’ve said this before, but perhaps not… I often find characters most vital, just before they die!  I felt the same way about The New-52! Superman.  Thought he was a jerk most of the time… but right before he died, felt he really came into his own.  Supergirl, while never a jerk, didn’t feel all that important to me… however, in watching her final battle, I almost “get it”.  There’s that panel where she’s grimacing… readying herself for one last burst of offense.  She’s bleeding from her face and her eyes show such fire.  That’s a character I hate to lose… however, I suppose that’s the point.

Overall, if you haven’t read this issue… or the series, you really ought to.  Marv and George bring there… is there anything higher than A? game, and deliver an unforgettable chapter… of an incomparable event series.  It’s been collected a whole lotta times, and not surprisingly… you can also get it digitally.

In closing… If this really is the end… (and c’mon, if we’ve learned anything from comics it’s… without seeing a body it’s wise to be skeptical…) I would like to humbly and sincerely extend a thank you to the Super-Blog Team-Up for including this nobody comics blogger… and making him feel like a somebody comics blogger a few times a year.  My bloggy-brother, Mike Carlyle of The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu recommended me to the head honcho very early on in my blogging “career”, and I am most grateful for the opportunities, fun, and friendships being part of the group has afforded me over the past year and a half.

After our usual “interesting ads” section you can find the offerings from the rest of my cohorts.  Please give’m a look!

Interesting Ads:

Super-Blog Team-Up Continues… One Last Time:

The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu
The SuperHero Satellite
The Retroist 

Comic Reviews by Walt
Between the Pages
Longbox Graveyard
Coffee and Comics Blog
In My Not So Humble Opinion

Chris is on Infinite Earths


3 thoughts on “Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (1985)

  • SonOfCthulhu

    It was my honor to recommend you, Chris. Your blogs are some of the best on the net. Sorry the Team Up is dead now, but glad you are still around doing what you do.

  • Anonymous

    Another great post…and saves me trying to crack one of my editions of CoIE just to read the issue for immediacy. 🙂

    As we've talked before…very similar backstories on the Superman stuff. Reading this does kinda make me want to re-read the Convergence Adventures of Superman 2-parter (I think that was the one with Supergirl).

    And I must thank you for your recommendation/introduction for me into the SBTU…though I'm part of the Death of SBTU, it was a blast, and great to feel a part of something bigger than just spoutin' words in my own little corner. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    This thing just ate my comment.

    To rehash what I'd eloquently thought out and written: great post, and makes me want to re-read the Convergence Adventures of Superman issues that had Supergirl right before this.

    Thank you for recommending me to/inviting me into SBTU…it was a blast!


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