The last four issues spent time setting us up with what was at stake and in INFINITE CRISIS #5 (Dan Abnett & Tom Raney) we finally figure out just how much of a threat The Two-Faced is going to be. We also get introduced to another good chunk of our principle cast this time.
The more I spend with INFINITE CRISIS the more I can draw parallels between it and the Marvel series EXILES. Where they differ is EXILES didn’t use a previously-existing character to hold the group together, which is something I can see our cast needing further down the road. A big part of Batman being included as the lynchpin in all of this is that characters continuously mention him lacking something that the other Batmen have had. That, to me, is the most interesting story hook that INFINITE CRISIS has introduced so far.
Tom Raney continues on art here, and Dan Abnett is storytelling. I wonder if Abnett is conscious of his standout line in his series – it’s repeated here, but in a much better way. There’s actually quite a few choice bits of dialogue here! You can always tell what kind of Batman a writer likes as soon as a story kicks in to high gear – we have a kind of dry, witty Batman in these books admonishing the knight version of Hal Jordan for his constant trumpeting and heralding.
Raney does his best bits at the end of this issue – having Emerald Knight Hal Jordan create a giant fortress out of Green Lantern energy, as the world is destroyed around them. Of course – this could have manifested better than looking like our alternate universe JLA anologues going up against a giant dust storm, but it’s the best thing we’ve had so far. When he’s handling the wide angles, Raney’s art does fine. It’s the character shots where the fidelity breaks down.
Partly, Raney’s art is just to ‘soft’ the only person that gets a really well defined face is Wonder Woman, who’s seemingly drawn with a more defined hand than the rest of the cast in almost every shot she appears in. I’m sure with more practice Raney will get it eventually. There’s a mark of a developing stlye in his art, I would hate to see it turn into something filled with bad habits ten years from now.
Do you remember the 90’s infatuation with terrible C-List Superheroes? We had The Avengers cartoon, featuring none of the A-List avengers. A TV show based on the only soft-jazz saxophone superhero, Night Man, too. There were awful TV superheroes and cartoons and just about everything else, filled with characters nobody really cared about. INFINITE CRISIS feels like it would be a cartoon or something adapted during that decade. A series where Batman, as our one A-lister, leads a group of alternate universe DC heroes with conflicting personalities to stop Two Face.
Nobody ever punches anybody and at the end of things, we all wrap up and learned new lessons on friendship. I made that last part up, but that’s where I feel this series is headed. Everyone’s going to start out with a kind of predictable animosity towards their new group leader, save Hal Jordan, and by the end of things will go their separate ways with new found respect. INFINITE CRISIS feels, as a series – predictable. If you can predict where a series is going, it’s probably not very exciting, either. So while Abnett and Raney continue to improve as individuals – the series is a little stagnant five issues in.
This issue ends on a pretty undramatic cliffhanger as the world slowly erodes around them, being erased from the multiverse. I’m most interested in seeing how Batman manages to get out of the situation – and everyone else s reactions to him when he does. That’s kind of a shot against INFINITE CRISIS. Nothing feels as compelling as the writing makes you believe.
INFINITE CRISIS #5 is watching an episode of TV’s THE AVENGERS: United They Stand. We’re still just sitting around building drama through dialogue and rhetoric, instead of allowing it to climb through reaction and interaction. There’s something missing from INFINITE CRISIS, and maybe it’s a villain that’s worthy enough to be a threat – maybe it’s more danger. I don’t know, but it’ll become clear over the next few issues, I’m sure.