Superman in Crisis

SiC 36 — E Pluribus Oh No! (10:31:1985)

Reviewing Crisis on Infinite Earths 11 and a very minor cameo in Legionnaires Three 1, and responding to your feedback!

6 replies on “SiC 36 — E Pluribus Oh No! (10:31:1985)”

I remember loving the intial sequence in Crisis #11, in which the Earth-2 Superman, unaware that he is not on his own Earth, goes to the Daily Planet and goes to “his” Editor in Chief office, only to be confronted by Perry White. I’d love to see this in live action with George Reeves, made up as the older Superman, and John Hamilton at his “exasperated Perry White” best. Comedy gold, I think.
At the time, I remember feeling almost as confused as many of the characters about how they all ended up on one Earth, and how could some of them even exist without their original personal histories. I figured out, though, that, since this was issue #11 of a 12-issue series, further explanations might be coming later. I can’t say that I was pleased with all the explanations that would come, or with the time it took to get some of those explanations (Power Girl, e.g.), but I realized that none of those decisions were in my control.
You asked if I might see if Elliot S! Maggin would be agreeable to an interview to discuss when writers might have known that reboots were coming, post-Crisis, and how extensive those might be. I am “Facebook friends” with him, and we have had some discussions through Messenger, so I will reach out to him, but I can’t promise that I have any special “sway” with him. I’ll let you know how that goes.
I must mention again, how much I enjoy the “community” feel of your Feedback section, and the positive vibes that has. I will join many of your other listeners in sharing how much I enjoy that life seems to be bringing you greater happiness in recent months, and I hope that continues unabated.

Also, I should mention that the “lost” feeling that Earth-2 Superman felt with no world to return to, and no Lois to be with, was as profound a grief as I could imagine. It was deeply moving. Kudos to Mr. Wolfman for that.

Another great episode Jon. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in reference to this show, but I have always considered everything between Crisis on Infinite Earths
#1 and The Man of Steel #1 to be neither pre-Crisis nor post-Crisis, but MID-Crisis. Since DC continuity was in flux at that time, it seems like a pointless effort to debate “pre” vs “post”, especially for the eight months between Crisis #11 and MOS #1.

Here’s my take on the whole “Superman Kills” thing:

Clark Kent, in whatever continuity you choose, grew up on a farm. Farms are the very close to the life cycle, including killing. Even vegetable farmers need to kill pests that will eat their crop, whether directly (pesticide) or indirectly (having barn cats to kill mice). Then there’s the pain of having to put a beloved animal down, but knowing it’s the right thing to do but hating yourself for it regardless. A person growing up in that environment would see the necessity of killing, even if they did all they had to in order to avoid doing it.

That’s why the killing of Zod at the end of Man of Steel doesn’t bother me. It was painful, yes, but necessary. Like putting down a rabid dog. If Clark didn’t do it then and there, Zod would have gone on to kill more people. He was the only one who could, so he did. It’s the same in the comics, there are times when Superman must kill as in Superman #22, but a poor writer will leave it at that. The after effects of such acts are what tell you about the character and why, even though killing is necessary at times, it should not be relished.

Hi Jon! I managed to write in again! Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither. Gotta say great job covering Crisis #11. May I add some more thoughts? Well, they’re a-coming.

Back in 1985, when I was a freshman in college, I can’t recall if I saw the merged earths coming or not. I typically don’t *try* to predict where stories are going, so I bet not. And my goodness, the existential horror for the characters is tangible. “I don’t exist!” “Someone else is living my life!” “What I remember isn’t my life at all!” For the characters that remember the pre-merge history, it’s horrifying. Thank goodness for George Perez doing the art to express those raw emotions.

But for us readers, there’s the extra dimension of the characters we know of that are *not* addressed here, mostly villains, and what this means to them. For example, I’ve recently read some 70s comics for reasons, and encountered stories in All-Star Comics and Batman Family, featuring the Sportsmaster and original Huntress. But yes, it was those characters from Earth-1 and Earth-2. They even had a footnote in Batman Family explaining “This isn’t the same couple you saw in ASC.” Obviously, there’s now only one version of these characters because they weren’t at the dawn of time. But they had separate lives. Separate experiences. Different relationships outside of the supervillain lifestyle. What happened to all of them? And by extension, there’s all kinds of civilians who no longer exist after the merge. Yikes!

Another example I keep thinking of is Earth-1 version of the JSA’s Johnny Thunder. He appeared twice in JLA volume 1 to be an adversary in the JLA-JSA team-up, stealing control of Thunderbolt from the heroic Johnny. What happened to him? Were the stories he featured in disappear? One of which was the Black Canary retcon about Dinah being the daughter of the Golden Age BC. Yes, Canary’s story is eventually addressed, but in this moment, it’s so boggling to the fanboy-continuity mind. Alternately unsettling, and fascinating that this is a whole new world. Anything could happen! Which in the end, was the job of Crisis. Shake up the DC line out of the lingering silver age style stories and move forward fully into the modern era. Exciting stuff!

So a footnote: the scene with detectives finding the body of Angle Man. You didn’t say this, so I’m not positive you caught it, but the hotel had a sign “Welcome to Detective Convention”, and all of the sleuths were wearing nametags for it. Harvey Bullock was an established Gotham City Police detective, and not Jonni Thunder’s partner, she just addressed him in that comic book “include everyone’s name for the reader’s sake” voice. So it was a bunch of peers attending the same convention. If you already knew all this, apologies for Tim-splaining. (And footnote on the footnote: I’d love to have seen a mini-series or one shot of this convention!)

Footnote the second: yes, I have referred to the comic service as DCU Finite.

And now this podcast has passed the halfway mark! 1. Congrats! 2. Nooooooo! Until next time, thanks for reading.

Hello, Jon!

As predicted, I am definitely behind listening to and commenting on this episode. As I type this, I have one night left of played Patchy the Pirate in the Spongebob Musical and my wife’s high school in Wheatfield, Indiana. It’s been fun and the high school kids have accepted me as the husband of the director. And yes, Bloomington is a bit far afield for an easy lunch, but once summer rolls around, we can maybe make it happen.

Enjoyed your extensive coverage of Crisis #11. I remember liking the issue when it came out, in part because it covers so much ground and I loved seeing characters I knew and didn’t. I tell you, though, the tragedy of Earth-2 Superman hit much harder now that I’ve been with my wife for 3 decades instead of being a 14 year-old kid. Rough stuff.

It was also interesting to get the first glimpses of how the reordered one Earth would be. As a kid, I had no problem understanding the differences between earths and absolutely loved the concept. So, I didn’t really think the changes needed to happen. However, the epic scope and the incredible Perez/Ordway art had me fully onboard with the story. The aftermath gets tricky – you mention Power Girl, which certainly becomes a mess, and my beloved Legion suffers too. That said, I’m excited to get to #12 next month.

Loved hearing your Superman read-through thoughts, as always. I finished up the Man of Steel Omnibus Vol. 1 and will probably start Vol. 2 once the calendar rolls over. The feedback section was a ton of fun as well.

Okay, I’ll ring off for now. Still need to read DCCP and listen to this week’s episode. Can’t wait!

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