Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Infinite Crisis 2.0: The Completely Complete List of Changes Made to the Original Series When it was Colletcted
If any of you out there in Internet Land ever wondered whether or not I actually had an actual life, this post ought to answer that question for you definitiely.
I wasn’t too terribly shocked when I heard the Infinite Crisis trade was going to have a few minor changes; reading Infinite Crisis #7, it was quite clear that it was extremely rushed, so rushed that even the ever growing number of artists couldn’t get it done in time, hence that three-fourths done “Battle of Metropolis” spread.
I was pretty surprised at the number of and nature of the changes made in the book. This is the first time I know of where a publisher took the opportunity of collecting a story to retouch it, in much the same way that George Lucas retouched his original Star Wars trilogy for their twentieth anniversary releases.
Since I’d already spent some $21 on the story, I wasn’t planning on buying the hardcover collection, so it wasn’t until recently I sat down with the collection (borrowed from the library) and spread it on the floor with the originals. And then, like a lunatic, I went about reading every page of both versions of Infinite Crisis, looking for changes.
They seemed to fall into three major categories. Cosmetic changes either major or minor (the Battle of Metropolis, minor coloring here and there), corrections made for either the sake of accuracy or clarity (Johns referring to Tempest’s son as a girl, dialogue that didn’t really make much snese), and major changes in dialogue that effected the story.
It’s the third one that is most troubling, and sort of falls along the lines of Greedo shooting first, but with greater impact. Somewhere between the time Infinite Crisis was finished being written and the time it was collected into book format, the decision seems to have been made that the traditional DC Multiverse, that which was destroyed in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, was going to return.
During the course of Infinite Crisis, we meet six survivors of COIE who weren’t properly rejiggered with the billions of people from the five surviving earths, and one of them manages to recreate the Multiverse for a few minutes before it is again collapsed into one earth, an action which causes it’s history to be altered.
But according to the trade, Earth-Two might never have been destroyed after all, and is apparently still out there. Or it was destroyed, but when the just-re-created Multiverse is collapsed again, it somehow survives. Or something. It’s not all that clear here, but what is clear is that this story went from not saying something at all to hinting very strongly to something.
Though these changes, which increase in frequency as the story unfolds, are each relatively minor, their existence raises all sorts of questions about the relationship between monthly comics and how they’re collected. The trade came out later and will be around far, far longer, giving it the final say and, eventually, the wider readership. We can assume then that what it says is the “real” story, and what we originally read in the single issues is no longer the real story.
It’s not exactly the ideal way to treat your direct market readership/fanbase (“Thanks for following our big-ass event faithfully but, um, we changed it up a bit, would you mind buying it all over again in this format, please?”), and it underscores the fact that Infinite Crisis, for all the hard work and exceptional talent that was poured into it, wasn’t done as thoughtfully and methodically as it probably should have been. If DC had started planning it a few months earlier than they did (and/or not tinkered with the story so much during production, as the interview in the back of the collection implies happened quite a bit), maybe Jimenez and Perez would have had the opportunity to finish drawing the whole thing, and maybe they DC wouldn’t have need to go back and rewrite so much of it.
At any rate, here’s the list of changes. I’ve formatted it to correspond to the issues of the original series that the changed pages are new versions of.
Infinite Crisis #1
Page 20: In the third panel, Vril Dox of LEGION is on the Omega Men’s ship, and talking to Kyle Rayner. The monitor directly in front of him, one of a bank of several such monitors, shows some random looking Rannian soldier on it. In the hardcover, Kyle Rayner’s face is now on the monitor; it seems to be the exact same image of Rayner from the previous panel. The random looking Rannian has been bumped to another monitor further down the bank.
Presumably this was done so as not to confuse readers, who might think Dox is talking to Rayner via space-TV. I had just assumed he was talking to him via some sort of space-radio, while watching a variety of space-TVs, but whatever.
Page 34: Dialogue added. Superman has knocked Mongol flat on his back, and Wonder Woman flies at the fallen alien warlord, her sword drawn back over her head, while saying, “I’m going to keep him there!” Superman blocks her swing, and Batman asks, “What are you doing?”
In the original series, she says “What did you think I was going to do?” Superman responded, “I…I don’t know who you are anymore.”
In the trade, Wonder Woman responds to Batman by saying, “What did you think I was going to do? Kill him? I was going to pin him to the floor.”
Why the change? The original certainly read better, as it essentially put the reader in Batman and Superman’s positions—now that we know Diana has killed before, we’re not sure what to think of her. Will she kill this time, too? The changes clear up that ambiguity, but they do so a little too obviously.
That is, if she never was going to kill him. Looking at the art, and trying to deconstruct the script from it, it’s fairly clear that if she wasn’t going to kill him, she was at least going to inflict a rather grievous head wound on the poor bastard. If she was just going to pin him to the floor, then why is she swinging the edge of the sword at him from over her head, instead of pointing the tip of it at him? And why is she using her sword to “pin” him at all? It’s not like she doesn’t always carry a means of magically capturing and holding her opponents around her hip at all times.
Pages 36 and 37: Art added. Three images of Uncle Sam getting kicked around by the Society villains who decimated the rest of his Freedom Fighters are interposed on top of these two pages. It doesn’t really add anything or change any meaning, and seems more like a simple aesthetic choice.
Infinite Crisis #2
Page 61: Coloring change. Alexander Luthor’s little glowing energy computer things are green on this page in the original series; they’re re-colored red in the trade.
Infinite Crisis #3
Page 76: Dialogue corrected. In the original series, when the host-less Spectre turns his attention to Atlantis, Tempest shouts to his wife, “Dolphin…get… get our daugther out of here.”
Their child Cerdian is a boy, and thus actually their son. The trade corrects the mistake.
Page 79: With an army of OMACs attacking their island, the Amazons retaliate with their ultimate weapon, the offensive version of their purple healing ray.
In the original series, the second panel of this page has the PDR’s operator saying,“We already have. The purple death ray has been completed.”
But in the trade, the operator says simply, “We already have.”
I have two problems with this change. First off, yes, “purple death ray” is a pretty silly word, and it might be a little difficult to explain in mixed company (i.e. comics readers and non-comics readers). But you know what else is a silly word? Wonder Woman. And Batman. And Superman. And parallel worlds with cute little nicknames like “Earth-One” and “Earth-Two.” How about Booster Gold, Skeets, Detective Chimp, Psycho-Pirate, Dr. Psycho and a flying dog with superpowers?
Infinite Crisis may very well be the single nerdiest story in DC’s entire publishing history, so it seems strange to see Johns and DC visibly recoiling form the nerdiness of a single name. Is this really where they draw the line?
Secondly, it’s sort of confusing just to see some random Amazon sitting in some random giant gun shooting out purple energy. Just what the heck is that thing supposed to be, now that it’s name is taken out of the story?
Page 86: Dialogue corrected. In the original series, Superman appears in time to catch the top half of a falling sky scraper that was knocked down by a chunk of the Rock of Eternity. He looks down at the Shadowpact and declares simply “I got it.”
In the trade, his grammar has improved, and he says instead, “I’ve got it.”
Page 97: Dialgoue changed. In panel seven, the Superman from Earth-Two is trying to talk Batman into helping him recreate Earth-Two, where everyone is better off then they are on the “real” DC Earth.
In the series, Batman asks E-2 Supes about Dick Grayson, “Is he a better man on your earth than he is on mine?”
In the trade, Batman instead says “You said this earth corrupts everything. Is the Dick Grayson of my earth a corrupted version of yours?
It’s not really a big deal, and seems to be a slight improvement over the original, which is a little confusing (The original could be read as Batman insulting Grayson, as if he thought he wasn’t a good man).
Page 99: Dialogue added. In panel six, Lex Luthor shoots one of Alex Luthor’s computers, which shorts out Alex’s holographic disguise. In thetrade, the line “My hologram…” was added, apparently to clarify that Luthor had a holographic disguise on.
Infinite Crisis #4
Page 112: Coloring change. In panel nine, a great deal more energy and lighting effects are added around the Alex Luthor/Power Girl kiss for whatever reason. The closest I can come up with is an editor staring down at it and thinking, “You know what this image needs? More lighting.” Actaully, I still haven’t figured out how Luthor knocks her out with a kiss anyway, regardless of the amount of lighting it causes.
Page 113: Coloring change. In the trade, in panel six, there’s a red and blue striped tornado in the middle of the destruction in the background, presumably to show Superman at work. (Nightwing says in the next panel “Superman’s already in the heart of it”). It’s kind of goofy, and doesn’t add anything. And unless Superman is eight stories tall and wearing an eight-story long red cape, the blur is incredibly out of scale anyway.
Page 119: Dialgoue subtracted. IN the original series, the eight panel of this page shows Superboy emerging from the rubble, saying “ Come on, you mother—“ In the trade, his language has been cleaned up a bit, and he says simply “ Come on--! (Of course, Phantom Lady is still shown with her top torn off and impaled to death on a sword; different standards for language and violence against women, natch.)
A better change would have been “Come on, you—,” which sounds more natural and avoids an implied “mother fucker” between two Superboys.
Infinite Crisis #5
Pages 140-141: A two-page spread by Jimenez is inserted. It’s a gigantic one with a bunch of people standing around, some of whom are making their last appearances here before getting killed in IC #7. Members of the Seven Soldiers, various members of various Doom Patrols, Samurai from the Superfiriends, the Power Company, Angel and the Ape, Outsidersrs new and old, New Bloods and even Anima, who hasn’t been seen since the Wonder Woman arc guest-starring all of the DCU’s female supeheros and supervillains, which, incidentally, was written and penciled by Jimenez. (Are Jimenz and I the last two people who remember Anima? Even her entry in the big-ass DC Comics Encyclopedia (co-written by Jimenez) had a picture of supporting character Liv shown instead of Anima herself).
(Above: A detail from Jimenez's crowd in the church scene; anyone know who that little red bat thing is? I have no clue. What about the white dude with the star on his belt? Or the black person right behind Black Lightning? Or the kid with the teddy bear? Man, Jimenez broke out some obscure cameos in this one, didn't he?)
To make the spread fit in slightly more naturally, the box of dialogue from the last panel of page 139 was moved to the bottom of this spread. It’s still forced pretty forced (to Jimenez’s credit, the characters seem to be talking to one another rather than just standing they’re posing), as this huge assemblage of characters sort of mills about in a big, open, back-groundless part of a church. Still, it’s awesome to see so many of these characters appear here, and this spread is definitely one of only two reasons to pick up the trade if you already have the original series.
Page 149: Dialgoue change. Returning multiverse clue! Earth-Two Lois is dying, Earth-Two Superman says to her, “I can’t be another survivor of a dead world. Not without you.”
In the original series he responds, “With all your powers, with everything you saw and did… you still never…”
But in the trade she responds, “I see the truth now, Clark. A truth even Alexander didn’t see… there’s something else out there…out there…”
On the one hand, this could just be a clarification of what she was going to say (she never finishes her thought in the original series), but it adds a rather significant amount of meaning. Originally she didn’t say anything that could be read as a hint to the multiverse’s existence, now she does.
Page 156: Dialogue change. Multiverse Clue #2! In the original series, Earth-Two Wonder Woman says, “But now that I’ve left Olympus, the gods’ blessings are fading. Soon I’ll no longer exist.”
In the trade that line becomes, “But now that I’ve left Olympus, the gods’ blessings to keep me here are fading. I’m being pulled…somewhere.”
Page 165: Coloring changes. In panel four, the male Marvel pictured was wearing a blue costume in the original series, which would make him Captain Marvel Jr. In the trade he’s wearing a red costume, which makes him Cpatian Marvel.
In the next panel, the color of the fading Marvels has also been changed. Instead of a bluish color it’s now much brighter (which distinguishes them from Firehawk’s flames). Oddly, even though someone thought to recolor certain things on this very page, nobody fixed the coloration on Mr. Miracle’s collar, which was mis-colored red in both the singles and in the trade.
Infinite Crisis #6
Page182: Diaglouge changes. In the sixth and seventh panels, the exchange between Psycho-Pirate and Alexander Luthor has been pretty dramatically changed.
Originally, Psycho-Pirate said, “I can feel them. Phantom beings fom the fabric of Earth-One and Earth-Two, pulled from their restful peace, reborn in pain and given essence-- --then destroyed. Billions at a time.”
To which Luthor replies, “ I planted this garden, Psycho-Pirate. I have every right to tend it.
In the trade, Pscyho-Pirate instead says, “I can feel phantom beings pulled from the fabrics of the multiverse, recreated and destroyed. For some reason Earth-Two remains vacant. Why when billions of other beings appear across the multiverse like ghosts. Reborn… …then destroyed.”
Luthor responds, “The anomalies of Earth-Two are not my concern. Finding the perfect earth is.”
Pages 212-213: This is the infamous un-finished spread, a giant battle between as many heroes and villains as Jimenez could draw in combat in the streets of metropolis. It looked horrible in the original series, and it was quite clear that although Jimenez seems to have finished penciling it in time, there wasn’t time to have all of it inked, and to cover that up, everything but a few of the figures in the foreground were colored red. The effect was that of a rush-job being poorly concealed with an unusual artistic choice. It was an ugly, ugly page, and stuck out like a sore thumb from the rest of the book. It’s pretty remarkable that it was unfinished, considereding DC had four pencillers and six inkers working on this particular issue of the series.
In the trade, they rightly went back and finished the spread. With inks and colors, many more characters that Jiminez had sketched out in the originally are now much more visible (I didn’t even notice Plastic Man saving a derailed train in the original, and I was wondering where the hell Plas was through the whole Crisis). It’s worth noting that even inked and colored, the spread still looks off, like the characters were cut-and-pasted into the scene rather than designed there. For example, what are Sivana and Aquaman looking up at? This should be one of the climaxes of the book, and it’s one of the most disappointing spreads.
Page 214: Dialogue added. This page is a random, seven-panel montage of the Battle of Metropolis. Some of the panels were completely silent in the original series, and dialogue has since been added. In the first panel, we see an image of Band breaking Judomaster’s back over his knee (complete with a KRRAKK sound effect). In the trade he says, “I finally know who I am. I am Bane. I break people.” (No, I don’t know what he’s talking about either).
In panel four, we see Shining Knight II leaping off her Pegasus to bash the Riddler’s head with a mace (Is this the headblow that made him forget Batman’s secret identity and become a relatively good guy in the pages of OYL Detective?). In the trade, she shouts, “Good night, jester!” while doing so.
Finally, in the sixth panel, a quintet of New Bloods (Nightblade, Razorsharp, Geist, Ballistic and Mongerel) struggle with a silent Solomon Grundy. The trade adds the word “RRRARRR—“ coming from Grundy for some reason.
Page 215: Dialogue changed. More Alexander Luthor dialogue confusion! In the third and fourth panels, he argues with a temper-tantrum-throwing Superboy-Prime when SbP calls the DCU’s Earth, the one we’ve been reading about since Crisis on Infinite Earths, “Earth-One.”
In the original series, Luthor says, “This isn’t Earth-One, Superboy. It never really was. And now this “unified” world, this New Earth, has been altered again. There are changes within it’s history.” When Superboy says he wants Earth-Prime back, Luthor responds “We can’t bring it back again.”
Meanwhile, in the trade, Luthor responds to SbP’s reference to Earth-One thusly: “This isn’t Earth-One, Superboy. In fact, it never was. I miscalculated. I tried to divide a new earth. Instead, I only altered its history” (I\Interestingly, forgot the period at the end of the sentence. Another actual mistake made in the correction process). When Superboy-Prime asks for his earth back, Luthor now says, “I need time to rebuild.”
I don’t really understand the changes. And this is the one part of the IC that should be crystal clear, as this is the part where Alexander Luthor explains that continuity has been re-jiggered. When he temporarily re-created the multiverse, and then it re-collapsed, history was altered. He lists a few examples (Wonder Woman founded the League, Batman caught his parents’ killers, etc). This is the central event of IC, and it seems to have changed between the publication of the series and the trade.
Orginally, it was clear that Luthor recreated a multiverse and the heroes re-collapsed it, altering continuity in the process. Now it sounds like Earth-Two at least has always existed, or at least survived the multiverse collapse. If there even was a multiverse collapse…perhaps the multiverse Luthor recreated simply started vibrating at it’s original frequency again, and all those Earths slid back into parallel dimensions. (And this is the biggest weakeness of IC versus Crisis on Infinite Earths. During COIE, DC at least told readers what happened; with IC not only have they been coy about their fictional universes current cosmology, they seem to not know themselves, as many of the more significant changes here indicate).
Page 217: Art change. In the first panel, in which Superman says “Like hell”, we get a spread of some of the biggest heroes swooping to the rescue.
In the singles, this panel is very rough and sparsely drawn (Black Canary’s missing an arm, there’s little to no detail on anyone, etc).
In the trade, it looks like Jiminez may have penciled on top of someone’s roughs (Bennett’s?), and Lanning most certainly re-inked the, adding all sorts of details to everyone (adding an arm on to Canary, fishscales on Aquaman’s shirt, wounds on his body, etc), but still not making sense out of a couple details (What’s Aquaman holding? What’s up with Hal’s torso?). It’s also been re-colored with all sorts of effects on the metal objects and light sources.
The last panel has different dialogue, making a confusing bit about the multiverse less confusing. In the original, E-2 Superman says it’s good to fight with the Justice Society again, and Wildcat asks who he is, to which Power Girl responds, “Who do you think?”
In the original, he says, “I think I remember. That’s him,” as if he remembers his time on Earth-Two Pre-Crisis. But in the trade, he instead responds simply, “It looks like Superman.”
Page 223: New page added. There’s an all-new six-panel sequence inserted showing the Bat-family duking it out with Deathstroke (hee hee!) in which Batman questions why Slade is working with the Society.
Page 229: Dialgoue added. On the last panel of the page, the two Supermen grab Superboy-Prime and fly off with him. In the original series, its a silent panel. But in the trade, one of the Supermen shouts telepathically, “For tomorrow!” (How is that any less cheesy than the term “Purple Death Ray?” God!)
Page 230: New page added. Four more panels are added to the Battle of Metropolis. The first is another big fight scene, in the the second some villains notice Robin and the wounded Nightwing, and rush at him. Then the new Flash and an assortment of not-massacred Titans show up to push the villains away. In the last panel, Raven and Dr. Mid-Nite crowd around Nighwing, and Robin asks fairly calmly, “Dr. Mid-Nite? Is Nightwing--?”, to which the good dctor responds, “He’ll be all reight. I give you my word.”
This doesn’t add much, other than a scene making the Titans look a little less like cannon fodder than they did earlier in the story. It does detract from the drama on the very next page, however. When an image of Nighwing’s (much bloodier) head and a clearly freaking out Robin are inserted among panels of Batman and Luthor squaring off, it seems sort of nonsensical after the page we’d just read. We (and Robin) were just told Nightwing is definitely cool, so why should we worry, and why should Robin be acting like his fellow Bat-protégé is dying before his eyes?
Page 231: Sound effect subtracted. This here’s a big change. Batman knocks Alexander Luthor down, and picks up a handgun that Deathstroke has dropped (this is a pretty big deal right here; it’s the equivalent of Indiana Jones picking up a snake with his bare hands). Batman points the gun at Luthor, asks “What do you deserve?” and then we get a close up of Batman’s narrowed eyes, followed by the gun barrel an inch from Luthor’s brow, with a “CHAK” sound effect.
In the trade, the “CHAK” has been removed, so there’s only the image of Batman holding the gun barrel to Luthor’s forehead.
Why the change? Apparently, there was some confusion as to whether Batman pulled the trigger and it was empty, the “CHAK” the sound of an empty gun clicking, or if it was instead him cocking the gun, getting ready to fire, the “CHAK” being the sound of the gun loading.
Johns and company say (and they say so again in an interview in the back of the book), that it was supposed to be the sound of Batman loading the gun. That probably makes the most sense; “CHAK” or “Ch-CHAK” are pretty universal loading gun noises in comic books, whereas an empty chamber usually has a “klick” or “click” sound.
Page 232: In the original, Batman looks away from the avalanche of rubble that separates him from Alexander Luthor and sees Robin kneeling over Nightwing (now with no blood nearby, and Raven and Dr. Mid-Nite mysteriously missing). The only dialogue is in a narration box, and is actually coming from the next scene.
In the trade, the narration box is missing, and a voice comes from somewhere behind Robin saying “He’s going to be fine.” Is this Batman assessing the situation from off-panel, or Dr. Mid-Nite re-reassuring Robin from off-panel? Who knows.
Page 240: Dialogue added. More Multiverse-related changes! Earth-Two Superman is dying after the fight with Superboy-Prime, and Power Girl leans over him, while he says his last words to her. In the original series, there are two silent panels on the page. In panel seven, we see Superman-2’s
eyes half-closing, and then, in panel eight,an image of a glowing star he seems to be focusing on.
In the trade, more last words are added to these two panels. Superman says “…one day you’ll see…they’re still out there…”
Pages 246-247: New art. Remember that awful two-page spread Apparently by Joe Bennett that showed all of the 52 and “One Year Later” heroes in one big image? That extremely hurried-looking, badly composed and half-assedly colored image where we got our first looks at “Shazam”’s stupid new look, Captain Marvel II, and J’onn Jonn’z horrible makeover?
Well, George Perez has redrawn it, as only George Perez could have. He’s packed it with even more characters, and filled up the space so that there’s very little left blank. He’s also put some thought into the characters and their posing on the page. Originally the heroes were all drawn willy nilly, most of them flying toward the viewer, whether they could fly or not (Lobo, Cyborg, the Metal Men, et cetera). Perez has those that can fly flying, and those that can’t running toward the viewer.
(Above: A detail from the lower left-hand corner of the Bennet spread, followed by a detail from the lower left-hand corner of the Perez spread)
He also seems to have drawn the entire 52 and “One Year Later” DCU. Or at least all of the heroes. All all of them. In addition to those that were in the original spread, he’s added Katana, Lady Blackhawk, Gypsy, Kid Devil, “Jade Canary,” Isis, Doc Magnus, the Helmet of Fate, a new Metal Man, Thunder, the OMAC from that stupid OMAC series, Teekel, Elongated Man, Plastic Man, Adam Strange, Donna Troy, Firestorm, Firehawk, Manhunter, The Doom Patrol, Black Lighting, Animal Man, The Monolith and Dr. Mid-Nite’s owl Charlie. Whew!
This spread is reason to buy the trade #2, following Jimenez’s church spread of random heroes. Like the covers and an awful lot of the interior panels of Perez’s JLA/Avengers series, the spread rewards long minutes of staring hard at it and drinking in its many details.