Monday, November 14, 2005

Infinite Crisis #2

The second installment of Infinite Crisis places the character of Power Girl front and center, and follows issue 1 in nimbly balancing the universal and personal spheres of activity. In "Power Trip," a four part story in JSA Classified, Power Girl emerged as a likeable and vulnerable superhero grappling with the confusing jumble of facts related to her identity. In part 4, the story's villain informed Power Girl of her true origins: she is a survivor of the planet Krypton, the younger cousin of the golden age Superman, and for many years she fought crime on Earth-2. (This was the world that contained DC comics' golden age heroes. At the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths the surviving alternate worlds were folded into the earth containing the present-day heroes. Subsequently, the origin stories of characters from the alternate earths such as Power Girl needed to be reconfigured. See Troy Brownfield's "Who's That (Power) Girl" for a full run-down.)

In Infinite Crisis #2 Power Girl is again told the truth, this time by the golden age Superman himself (whom she doesn't recognize). Although she also fails to recall an ailing Lois Lane, when the older woman touches her hand, Power Girl experiences a wrenching moment of clarity: the truth she's so far only heard becomes real to her and is legitimated by a torrent of restored memories and the feelings that accompany them. We learn that Superman was not only Power Girl's cousin on Earth-2, but he and Lois actually treated her as if she were their own daughter. Again, the artwork is superb, effectively conveying the emotional jolt of this central development through effective page layout and the arrangement of images. After telling Superman that she remembers everything, Power Girl actually smiles, which she has not done in a while (and which few other figures in the pages of Infinite Crisis have been seen doing).

As in issue #1, there's a major revelation on the comic's final page. Sure, it's all well and good for us to see a superhero's adoptive parents restored to her, but how does a now-happy Power Girl fit into the general story? It seems that her happiness is going to be rather short-lived, because, soon after she regains her memories of Earth-2, Superman reveals why he has returned from his exile. Power Girl will soon be compelled to make some difficult choices.

Sounding a bit like a politician, Superman says
I need your support and help, cousin. We can save Lois. We can save her if we can take her home. This corrupted and darkened earth must be forgotten as ours was ... So that the right earth can return.

The greying hero, whose appearance on the last page of issue #1 was such an unexpected joy, has now revealed himself to be something of a nostalgia-addicted crackpot. How exactly can the "right" earth be coaxed back into existence? Certainly doing this must involve serious inconvenience to the denizens of the "wrong" earth? So once again, the writer of the series Geoff Johns has both satisfied and frustrated our expectations at the same time. Each new plot development has direct and immediate ramifications. Johns is certainly keeping up the pressure; reading the series is like riding on a whip-sawing rollercoaster. (Old-timey Supes is back! Yay! Power Girl is indeed Superman's cousin, and she knows it, now! Woo-Hoo! But wait, shouldn't someone stop Supes? Will Power Girl be ready to do this? Oh man, if she does, she'll basically be betraying the "father" she's been searching for her whole life...)

As I look forward to issue #3, I can't help but note that it's my good fortune to have picked the right moment to rekindle my interest in superhero comics.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?