INFINITE CRISIS #3 (Dan Abnett & Szymon Kudranski) is what happens when you expect license to carry something alone.
Tie-Ins are as old as fiction themselves. In the advent of popular comic books at the turn of the century, rising out of the old pulp comics from the early 1900’s, it was ‘a thing’ as early as magazine publishers knew they could get people to read twice as many magazines if you had to finish the story for one series in another strip being published.
INFINITE CRISIS is the latest in media tie-ins from the minds at DC Comics.
INFINITE CRISIS of course is a weekly title that’s releasing concurrent with prospected updates to its tie-in game with the same name.
Part of my goal in covering INFINITE CRISIS is to examine the relationship the comic itself has with the game, since it’s meant as both a tie-in but not strictly based on how events are plotted or introduced in the videogame.
Maybe it’s because of INFINITE CRISIS’ nature as a tie in that DC chose such a ‘cinematic’ artist to work on the title itself. Szymon Kudranski’s art gives an almost 3D cell look to an otherwise flat and uninspired issue, as a series of standalone panels Kudranski’s art looks like it could carry maybe a line of posters or merchandise themselves. Is he the ideal choice to carry a book based on a game DC is hoping to crack into the MOBA market with? Probably not.
In this issue we see unspecified-earth Batman who might be regular New 52 earth Batman, but I’m not sure. The best segments of this book are when we see little hints and glimpses at elseworld concepts, like the Catwoman of this 1920’s looking Gotham City showcased in this issue. By extension, the videogame is also mainly built around that “Elseworlds” vibe, with characters from Post-Apocalyptic inspired worlds and medieval fantasy versions of certain heroes.
What this series hasn’t accomplished so far is make me think any of these characters are actually compelling on their own, outside of the way they look. Maybe this will change with getting a glimpse at more of a team being built out of the alternate-earth heroes, but we’ll have to wait and see.
There’s a scene in this issue that could be seen as everything wrong with the issue itself. INFINITE CRISIS is meant to relate plot events that were made for a videogame, even if it does come from the bright minds at DC Comics. In that scene specifically, Atomic Two Face – Two Face as a gross mutant on one side and Regular Attorney on the other (superpower: not tipping over) chases Batman and Harbinger through a burning building.
In this chase – Atomic Two Face laments that Nonspecific Earth Batman and Harbinger have fallen for his clever ruse. The macguffin they’ve been talking about this whole issue turns out to not be the key to ending the crisis between worlds they’re dealing with.
Harbinger replies in frustration “Batman! The monster has played me.”and I almost put the issue down so I could laugh. Immediately after, she’s killed by Atomic Two-Face, who has ‘obtained the power of a god’ but decides to let normal non-superpowered Batman continue to live afterwards. I wish that was some kind of joke, but it’s not – the issue and tie in so far have really been that bad. I wonder what DC’s banking on – the success of the game alone or hoping to build some kind of cross-media titan between the Comic and The Game.
INFINITE CRISIS #3 is The Movie of The Game. More importantly, INFINITE CRISIS is a great example of how to not to a tie in with a freshly launched property.
What would have been a much better move for DC would have been to wait for the game to soldier on for a little while longer still, and plan an issue about the unique aspects of the game itself,
rather than trying to justify the plot that’s been laid out for a game that’s strictly played online with other combatants.