“Dark Crisis: Big Bang”
Writers: Mark Waid
Artists: Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund
Color Artists: Federico Blee
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Bryant Lucas
Barry Allen goes toe-to-toe with the Anti-Monitor, as The Flash and Kid Flash traverse a newly minted Multiverse in Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1.
Well folks, it’s official. DC has a new (old?) Multiverse. Thanks to Pariah in Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #4, DC has come full circle, as the “Divine Continuity” now sports a revived Infinite Multiverse modeled on the Multiverse pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Is this the exact same Multiverse that imploded back in 1985? No, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Despite Pariah’s best efforts to revive the original Multiverse, DC’s post-Dark Crisis multiverse seems to be an amalgamation of The New 52/Rebirth, the Original Multiverse, and various popular “Elseworlds” such as Dark Knights Of Steel, Injustice and Jurassic League.
So, what’s The Fastest Man Alive to do when a new Multiverse has been established? Obviously, dimension-hop with your sidekick in search of the cosmic horror that destroyed the first Multiverse. However, despite Barry’s best efforts to keep his jaunt a recognizance mission, Kid flash is captured by the Anti-Monitor, forcing the Scarlet Speedster to confront his murderer.
The Definitive List
Since the Multiverse was reestablished in 2006-07 in 52, it’s gone through multiple incarnations. Seriously, DC changes its cosmology like the rest of us change underwear. In years past when DC has done this, they’ve been slow to catalog its Multiverse. In fact, it wasn’t until Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity (2014-15) that readers had a definitive map. That’s seven years between 52 and The Multiversity.
Well, it’s been another seven years and now it seems that Grant Morrison’s map of the Multiverse is now obsolete, as Mark Waid outlines a new list of universes in Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1. It’s nice heading into a new era of DC comics having a definitive list of Earths to reference, as this hasn’t usually been the case.
In terms of narrative, Waid essentially uses Barry Allen as a tour guide while Kid Flash serves as an analog for the reader. As the two speedsters hop from one universe to the next, The Flash gives a one-sentence description of each Earth before moving to the next. At first, this makes for a choppy script. However, when Waid finally introduces the Anti-Monitor, the issue becomes a traditional one-and-done story.
I did find it unusual that Waid would use such an epic villain for such a minor story. The Anti-Monitor is usually treated as a big deal. He usually gets at minimum an arc if not an entire event. The whole issue felt a little like small potatoes, despite the magnitude of its villain.
The OG Returns
Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund are credited as artists for this issue, and man does it look good. Usually, when Jurgens returns as an artist on a title, the book often looks dated. He has a distinct style that’s heavily influenced by the comics of the late 80s and early 90s. Yet Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1 looks distinctly modern. I’m not sure if it’s Rapmund’s inks or Federico Blee’s colors, but the book feels very slick and in-vogue in a way that Jurgens’s work sometimes isn’t. Please don’t misunderstand; Dan Jurgens is a fantastic artist. However, if left unchecked, he’ll draw comics like its 1993. Nevertheless, he escapes this pitfall and absolutely kills it in this issue.
Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1 is an interesting read. For those of you who are Multiverse junkies, you need to grab this issue. Despite its thin narrative it does a great job establishing the lay of the land post-Dark Crisis. However, if you don’t give a damn about the Multiverse, then this book isn’t for you. The entire story’s devoted to showcasing a wide variety of heroes from the Multiverse, and if that’s not your cup of tea, then you need to find something else to read.
Final Verdict: It’s a fun romp with major implications for the DCU moving forward.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment