Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trade Marks: Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 3

When I was a kid, I saw the JLA-JSA crossovers as the greatest comic achievement of all time. With a bit more mileage, I can now see that they were pretty hit and miss. The third volume of the Crisis on Multiple Earths collection is a great example of this varying quality. The initial crossover story by Mike Friedrich is everything that was wrong with the JLA series of that era - it's just a lot of silly interplanetary nonsense. The next crossover re-introduces the Seven Soldiers of Victory and Len Wein has the herculean task of bringing them back within DCU continuity. It's actually a pretty gimmicky story, with some nice Dick Dillin splash pages that could be better if Joe Giella weren't inking them. The artwork comes across as stiff and flat. I much prefer the next storyline, which brings the Quality Comics characters back from comic book purgatory and introduces the Nazi-ruled Earth-X. Dick Giordano is on inks here, and it's a vast improvement as he adds a good deal of depth and texture. Wein does a good job giving each of the Quality characters a personality (it's a shame this tone wasn't carried into the Freedom Fighters series), while keeping it all to 2 issues. final entry is a bit convoluted, but the final few pages are quite touching (and a bit disturbing) as Wesley Dodds realizes that he's made a grave mistake. Overall, it's a nice package with an entertaining Len Wein introduction and a very striking Alex Ross cover, and I'm not always a fan of his stuff. Trade Mark: B


Argo Plummer said...

I have a much higher regard for the stories in this volume. Agreed, the first crossover is pretty painful. However, I love the SSOV story from #100-102 and the Freedom Fighters story. The Sandy story has always been a personal favorite of mine and I love the way it became relevant to the current DCU about 30 years after it's publication.

I believe this is a great example of how continuity should be used. Take something from an established story and expand upon it, but not make it necessary to have intimate knowledge of the original story.

Anyway, these stories will always have a special spot in my heart, as I began picking JLA up off the spinner racks in the #120's so these issues were some of the first back issues I picked up once I discovered Local Comic Stores. Admittedly, this might elevate their status in my mind, but I think most of them serve as a fine example of comic book stories from the early 70's.

Graeme said...

What I found funny about the JLA/JSA Sandman story is that, when you add Roy Thomas' own additions to the Golden Age mythos in All Star Squadron, you have Sandman's girlfriend Dian Belmont getting killed, traumatizing Sandman enough to abandon his old gas-mask-and-green-suit costume for the purple and yellow tights...then, 6 years later Sandy almost dies, traumatizing him enough to abandon the purple and yellow tights and re-adopt his old gas-mask-and-green-suit costume. Which seems just...odd.