The Annotated Crisis on Infinite Earths

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Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths, February '99: "The Untold Story"

Also known as "Crisis 4.5".

Wolfman, Ryan, McLeod

Plot Summary: The Flash of Earth-1 attempts to travel from the 30th Century to the 20th, but accidentally ends up on Earth-D. There, he meets his counterpart, the Justice Alliance of America, Pariah, and Lady Quark. The skies of Earth-D turn red as the antimatter wave approaches, and Pariah brings an assortment of heroes from Earth-1 to Earth-D to help the JAA fight the threat. Though millions of civilians are succesfully transported to Earth-1, in the end the JAA is destroyed, and Earth-D falls. This story takes place during Crisis issues 3, 4, and 5.

cover

4½.Cover: Starfire II (Koriand'r), Superman II, Green Lantern III (John Stewart), Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), Batman II, Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Dawnstar, and Flash II (Barry Allen). The heroes of Earth-1 who come to Earth-D's aid in this issue.

4½.1: The Anti-Monitor and (reflected)Psycho-Pirate II. The first caption is identical to the first caption in #1.

4½.2: The panels down the left side are from, respectively, 4.5.3 (Lady quark, Lord Volt, Pariah, and the death of Earth-6), 4.13.3 (Firestorm defending one of the "tuning forks" in Arthurian England), 4.3.3-4 (Supergirl rescuing a pilot from the antimatter cloud), 4.13.6 (Arthurian England again, and the Shining Knight), a random view of a tuning fork, and (at bottom) either 3.18.11-12 or 4.14.11. It's probably the latter, but has an error either way; Dawnstar was teamed up with Superman I, not S2.

4½.3: A re-telling of 4.5-7 and the death of Earth-6.

4½.4: As every reader of Flash should know, Barry Allen spent the last few months of his life in the 30th Century with his wife, Iris. We see here the last few happy moments in his life.

4½.6: A re-telling of 3.4-5. The Flash trying desperately to slow down is amusingly ironic.

4½.7: In the original, it's strongly implied that the Flash's appearance on 3.9 comes right after 3.5. Here, it seems that this happens right after 3.5/4½.6. I'm not sure how to reconcile the two. Best guess: The Flash leaves the 30th Century, and goes to Earth-D. He is later snatched by the Anti-Monitor, but the trip to the Anti-Monitor's citadel involves him briefly appearing in New York of Earth-1, in front of the Outsiders, the Titans, and Batman II.
These events happen in a different order for Batman II, the most important witness. He sees Flash snatched by the Anti-Monitor while visiting New York. He assumes that this event corresponds with the vision he saw in #2 of Flash dying. He then later goes to Earth-D and is startled to see the Flash.
There's no clear explanation why Flash appears in New York, or why he does so at an earlier point than the point Pariah gets Batman from. Given that the question involves at least three separate techniques of interdimensional travel, plus time travel, I'm not going to bother fabricating a pseudo-science answer. Let's just assume all this jumping about involves a certain margin of error, and move on.

4½.7.1: This is the first appearance of Earth-D. I'll refer to the inhabitants of this world as "Superman D", et cetera. I'll also be commenting on apparent ethnicity, since Earth-D is different from most DC Earths in having more geneticly diverse superhumans. In this panel, we have Mirror Master D (apparently of African descent), and...

Note that all the inhabitants of Earth-D have a different style speech balloon. It's more rounded and "cloudy", and is vaguely suggestive of a more innocent time.

4½.9: We meet Hoshi Rei. I don't completely understand Flash's angsting. Sure, he left his wife in imminent danger from an antimatter cloud, but that's 1000 years in the future. He's got time to fix things.

4½.10: Meet the Justice Alliance of America, premiere heroes of Earth-D. The ones we meet here are:

We also meet here the low-key and amusing villains Mollusk the Marauder and Medulla, Master of Mental Might.

4½.10.4: We finally learn where Pariah took Lady Quark after the destruction of Earth-6.

4½.11.8: I have no idea who "Daxxon" is.

4½.12.3: The cartoon is probably an alternate version of a real-world cartoon, but I'm not sure which one.

4½.13.5: We learn that Flash II's adventures are being "picked up" and fictionalized in Earth-D, as well as in Earth-Prime.

4½.13.7: It seems Tan was inspired by Barry in exactly the same way Barry was inspired by Jay Garrick's adventures.

4½.13.8: Flash D keeps his costume in a pen, much as Flash II keeps his in his ring. More room for the boots in a pen, I bet.

4½.14.2: I assume Flash D told Hoshi these details during the explanations alluded to on the previous page. It's clear she doesn't read the comics about him.

4½.14.5: Flash D talks about how the stories got dark. He's probably referring to Flash in particular; Barry's life was one hell of a mess towards the end.

4½.15.2-3: We meet the rest of the JAA, who are already hard at work trying to save their world, thanks to Pariah's warning. The rest of the team includes:

4½.16.2: Wonder Woman D comments, "We've never faced anything so... cosmic before." It's possible that threats like Mollusk the Marauder are the worst they've ever faced.

4½.17.4: Note that Wonder Woman D addresses Atom D as "hon".

4½.18.4: A pre-echo of the destruction of the JLA satellite in #8.

4½.19: This Fortress of Solitude is mostly identical to that of Superman II, but is located in the Antarctic, like the current Superman.

4½.20.1: This is the first revelation that Pariah has his dimension-hopping powers under this much control. It's also possible he had to travel through time to get these heroes. Batman II came from issue #4 and the 20th Century, but some of the others were scattered across time.

4½.21: Dawnstar, Starfire II, GL3, Firestorm, Cyborg (Vic Stone), Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Pariah, Superman II, Batman II, Supergirl. (In the foreground, Flash II, Robin D, Batman D, Wonder Woman D, and Martian Manhunter D. Also note Bottle City of Kandor.) The heroes Pariah retrieved are fairly multi-ethnic, for Earth-1. Right off the (ahem) bat the writer establishes that Batman II is "gritty". The Manhunter's comment is interesting. The Earth-D heroes probaly see themselves as regular people trying to help out. To them, the Earth-1 heroes look like gods who have faced down challenges they can only dream of. (I'm not sure I like that aspect, but it's the way it's written.)
An interesting side thought: Remember the first time you saw the Kingdom Come Superman logo? The bold, slashed "S"? Superman D's logo is round and friendly. Superman II's logo must look as hard and uncompromising to him as the KC logo does to us.

4½.22.1: Note how Martian Manhunter D is reacting to Firestorm's flame. Also note how Robin D is gesturing; I bet his speech balloon originally was an astonished comment on Starfire II.

4½.22.5: Err... Do we ever see where this bomb goes or what it does?

4½.23.1: It's a little disturbing that the world is being wiped out while the heroes socialize.

4½.23.3-4: Batman II and Flash II try to resolve the knotted timeline. More grittiness from Batman.

4½.24.4: Dawnstar's coloring fluctuates throughout the rest of the comic.

4½.27.1: Hawkman D dies. Hawkgirl D dies.

4½.28.4: Superman D dies.

4½.28.5-12: All the heroes are shocked, but Superman II looks freaked out, and Batman D is already grieving.

4½.29.2: Apparently the JAA's med-ward wasn't in the underwater base.

4½.29.4: A narrow escape.

4½.30.6: Between three uninjured Kryptonians, a Martian, Dawnstar, and two Flashes, you'd think someone could have gotten the Phantom Zone Projector out.

4½.31: The heroes have odd priorities. Isn't a good chunk of the Earth already gone, with more vanishing every minute? I have a sneaking suspicion the captions detailing what parts of the world have been destroyed were added fairly late in the editorial process. If you remove them, the heroes lollygagging suddenly makes more sense. Anyway, important and interesting details of Superman D and Supergirl D's life here.

4½.34-36: The death of one GL and the origin of another.

Tagin Sur's ship looks a lot like classic Klingon ships from Star Trek. [shrug]

4½.35.7: Most fighter planes can't land without a runway.

4½.36.4: Green Lantern D1 dies.

4½.37.7: Robin D dies.

4½.38.5: Wonder Woman D dies.

4½.39.1: "Flash of Two Worlds" was the title of the first true multiverse story.

4½.43.1: To power the vehicular cosmic treadmill, they use the two Flashes, the three Kryptonians, and the Manhunter. Let me point out that Dawnstar can fly at interstellar velocities; doesn't that count as "speed powers"?

4½.44.3: This is the first time I've heard that inter-Earth travelers "merge" like described here.

4½.46.2: The Anti-Monitor snatches Flash II.

4½.48.5: Green Lantern D2 dies.

4½.50.6: Supergirl D dies.

4½.52.1: Atom D, Aquaman D, Batman D, Martian Manhunter D, Flash D, and Green Arrow D die. The Justice Alliance of America dies. Earth-D dies.

4½.52.1: The tentacles are a surprise. Possibly Mollusk the Marauder has decided to aid the JAA, or destroy them.

4½.52.2: A retelling of 5.7-8 and following. Above the crowd, Colossal Boy, Mist, Plastic Man, and Luthor IV. At crowd-level, Star Sapphire, GL3, Mon-El, Batman II, Superman II, Clayface II, Supergirl, Atom I, Hawkman II (miscolored), Ragman, Hawkwoman (miscolored), Power Girl, Flash I, and Cyborg.

4½.53.1: L4 and Harbinger.

4½.53.2: Kid Flash, Atom I, Jade, Sgt. Rock, Mercury, and Obsidian. Kid Flash shouldn't be here - he was retired at the time.

4½.53.3: Pariah and L4.

4½.53.4: Doctor Fate, Superman II, Spectre, Supergirl.

4½.53.7: Doctor Light II, Changeling, Hourman I, Blackhawk, Superman II, Batman II, Supergirl, GL1, GL3, an unidentified cowboy, Dream Girl, Brainiac 5.

4½.54: Harbinger, Mercury. Next row: Dolphin, Nuklon, Elongated Man, Dawnstar, Mist, the Challengers of the Unknown, Wonder Woman II, Plastic Man, Wildcat I, Spectre, Robin I, Phantom Stranger. Next row: Swamp Thing, Easy Company, Solomon Grundy, Aquaman, GL1, GL3, Starfire II, Nightwing, L4. Next row: Riddler, Black Lightning, Robotman II, Amazing Man, Batman II, Star Sapphire, Captain Comet, Atom I, Deathstroke. Next row: Sun Boy, Colossal Boy, Creeper, Kamandi, Superman II, Supergirl. Next row: Platinum, the Sea Devils, Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, Wonder Girl, Pariah, Martian Manhunter, F1, Batgirl. Last row: Lead, Plasmus.

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