There’s trouble brewing in the lives of DC Comics’s superheroes. As we previously saw in Identity Crisis, there’s someone out there who knows a lot about the superheroes, including their sacred secret identities. What we realise in this volume is how such a leak of information came about.
It turns out that Batman built a spy satellite network which, for reasons discussed in Identity Crisis, was partially trained on other superheroes. Unfortunately, the network and the super-computer that analyses the footage, fall into the hands of a shady organisation called Checkmate who, for reasons of their own, want to rid the world of dangerous and unpredictable superheroes.
Checkmate’s methods are brutal and spiralling further out of control, leaving Batman and the Justice League to try and clear up the mess. This collection pulls together the original Countdown to Infinite Crisis comic as a kind of further introduction to the series, as well as The OMAC Project and a relevant episode of Wonder Woman that ties in quite nicely.
Greg Rucka, the writer behind Grovel favourite Gotham Central, takes the reigns for most of this volume (the Countdown section is co-written with Geoff Johns and Judd Winick), and his grittiness is welcome. There are some not-so-subtle undertones of distrust amongst the heroes here, not least of all because Batman built spy satellites to spy on them and then lost them to a malicious organisation. There are also visible tensions between different tiers of heroes, with some of the lesser names struggling to get their voices heard by the core Justice Leaguers. It’s powerful writing and Rucka’s omnipotent computer, clearly influenced by Arthur C. Clarke’s HAL 9000, is as spooky and threatening as any comic-based artificial intelligence we can remember.
With the heroes continuing to remain under a significant threat, this isn’t really your standard superhero fare, but something quite superior. We still can’t recommend it as a crossover for those who like to occasionally dabble in superior superhero fiction though, because the investment in the Infinite Crisis series as a whole is going to be quite significant. However, if you’re in the market for some serious superhero action, this is right up there with the best genre storytelling around.
Other titles in the Infinite Crisis series