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Comic Book / Crisis on Infinite Earths

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An event so vast that it can barely be contained in this space!

"Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And nothing will ever be the same."

The mother of all Crisis Crossovers. Really: the original. Appeared as a 12-issue mini-series, lasting from April, 1985 to March, 1986.

As a child, little Marvin Wolfman wanted to do a big series where every hero in DC Comics, ever, would team up to fight a cosmic villain called "The Librarian". Then Marvin grew up and became Marv Wolfman, the man who managed to make the Teen Titans successful.

By this time, thanks to years of Alternate Universe stories, The DCU was teeming with different worlds. There was the main universe (Earth-1), the universe of the Golden Age heroes (Earth-2), the morality-switched Mirror Universe (Earth-3)... The Powers That Be thought it was getting confusing, and turning off new readers. So, in 1985, Marv got the go-ahead to clean it all up.

So, there's a Multiverse, which is just the unified set of all the different universes. The Multiverse is guarded by a Cosmic Entity called the Monitor, whose powers are related to positive matter. But his Evil Twin, the Anti-Monitor, who guards (naturally) the Anti-Matter Universe, has discovered that his powers can increase if he destroys positive-matter universes, and proceeds to destroy the entire Multiverse. Trying to stop him, the Monitor is pushed back and knocked into a coma. Awakening, the Monitor sees that the multiverse has been cut down to just the universes we've seen before. Panicking, he gathers a group of heroes from the Earths of the remaining universes, and sends them to hold back the Anti-Monitor's minions.


The series climaxes with (almost) all of the characters who ever got their own series, plus their team-mates, their Sidekicks, and their kitchen sink, ganging up to kick the crap out of the Anti-Monitor. There is (as you'd expect) an Earth-Shattering Kaboom...

And the heroes wake up the next morning on Earth. It's apparently Earth-1, and some of the heroes from other universes landed here. And the Multiverse no longer exists. And everyone remembers the heroes, even the ones that were from other Earths, being here all along. And the heroes remember the Multiverse, but no one else does, except for Psycho Pirate. It appears that it was All Just a Dream - but then the Anti-Monitor tries to destroy reality one last time. So the Superman from Earth-2 takes a level in Badass, screams "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!" and punches the Anti-Monitor so hard that the Anti-Monitor ceases to exist. Cue another Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Now nobody remembers the Multiverse, except for poor Psycho Pirate, who ended up locked in Arkham Asylum, raving about "how worlds lived, worlds died... nothing will ever be the same"... The End.


Crisis is notable for being one of the first comic "events" (Contest of Champions actually came first, as well as Secret Wars (1984), which was more of a merchandising promotion like DC's Super Powers), but also for promising "Everything you know will change! The DC Universe will never be the same!" and actually delivering. Unfortunately, for every continuity problem it fixed, three more sprang up in its place, leading The DCU to become even more convoluted and cluttered than it was before as writers scrambled to fill in the gaps left by characters and universes that no longer ever existed. Indeed, the changes wrought throughout the DC Universe by Crisis were so profound that, according to some, its publication marked the end of The Bronze Age of Comic Books.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was followed by a companion volume, The History of the DC Universe, which attempted to lay out a new, concise narrative for The DCU; it's still worth a read as a snapshot of a bygone time in comics with beautiful art by George Perez.

Because of the holes in continuity it left behind, Crisis on Infinite Earths has spawned several Crisis Crossover sequels that have attempted, with varying success, to make sense of the mess. These include 1994's Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, 2006's Infinite Crisis, 2007's 52, 2008's Final Crisis, and 2009's Blackest Night. Legends can be seen as an epilogue, as it allowed the new DCU to introduce themselves to each other; for example, it was the introduction of a young adult Wonder Woman to the other DC heroes. Much of the Geoff Johns era as head creative mind for Green Lantern also ties in directly with Crisis (specifically the Anti-Monitor). The in-universe ramifications of the Crisis were also a recurring theme of the late-'80s Mind Screw series Animal Man. Much of its imagery and backstory was referenced in JLA/Avengers.

The DC Universe would later pull another Continuity Reboot in 2011 with Flashpoint, followed by 2015’s Convergence effectively undoing the Crisis.

An adaptation of the story, set within The CW's Arrowverse, was revealed to be in development at the end of the 2018 crossover Elseworlds. It aired in December 2019 and January 2020 as a five-episode series.

Tropes invented by this crossover include:

  • C-List Fodder: Dozens of minor characters, from the Crime Syndicate to the Ten-Eyed Man, died. Also, averted by a lot of A List Fodder: Supergirl, Barry Allen (Flash), the original Dick Grayson (Robin), and the original Green Arrow are all among the fallen.
  • Cosmic Retcon: If not the first official use, then the one that everyone remembers out-of-universe, but nobody does in-universe. (Everyone but one man, locked in Arkham Asylum hint hint...)
  • Crisis Crossover: Although Marvel's Secret Wars was technically first, Crisis on Infinite Earths is really the Trope Maker.
  • Red Skies Crossover: Also the one that indicated that a red sky means a crossover.

Tropes used include:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Killer Frost in the eyes of Firestorm, as when she becomes friendly under the manipulations of Psycho-Pirate she ends up being so flirtatious it makes Firestorm feel sick. Firestorm eventually gets used to Killer Frost's attraction towards him, but it soon wears off.
  • Adult Fear: Lady Quark is introduced watching her daughter get erased by something she can't fight off.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: A big white one consuming the entire Multiverse.
  • All of Time at Once: During the chaos made in the Multiverse there are multiple different Earths fighting to not disappear at the hands of Anti-Monitor. In Earth-1, time is also collapsing, prompting different time periods to happen at the same time but also, it seems, different continuities of different times as there are multiple unthinkable alliances. This is how there are heroes from the present fighting alongside the post-apocalyptic Wild Man Kamandi, the Wild West Anti-Hero Jonah Hex and the WWII Sgt. Rock against the Anti-Monitor's Shadow Demons.
    Narration from a Swamp Thing crossover issue: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was all of them at once.
  • And I Must Scream: For the crime of (apparently) awakening the Anti-Monitor, Pariah has spent uncounted millennia dragged from universe to universe, forced to watch their destruction and unable to die himself. As he puts it on his first appearance, when blamed for the incoming doom:
    "No... mine is not the hand which slays worlds. I can do nothing more than cry."
  • Anti-Villain: The Crime Syndicate in issue #1, spending their last moments trying to save their world before it is devoured by anti-matter.
  • Apocalypse How: The complete destruction of multiple universes, followed by a merging of five remaining positive-matter universes into one.
  • Ascended Fanfic: Essentially. See the top of the page.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Anti-Monitor grows to giant-size in the latter half of the story and stays at that size while the heroes (and Darkseid) whittle him down to nothing more than a flaming head coming out of a star.
  • The Atoner: Pariah, for having destroyed his parallel universe by attempting to explore the origin of the universe, and believing himself to be responsible for the destruction of countless other parallel universes before the Anti-Monitor reveals he himself is responsible for the latter.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Subverted. While Darkseid probably gave the Anti-Monitor a fatal blow (the Anti-Monitor is only a decaying, exploding ball of energy after Darkseid uses Alex Luthor to fire Omega beams at him), it's ultimately Superman of Earth-Two that fittingly delivers the killing blow, punching the ball into a star.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Psycho-Pirate wanted a world he could control with his powers. The Anti-Monitor gave him three whole universes to control, and it was too much for him.
  • Between My Legs:
    • The cover of issue #8 (Barry Allen and a beaten-up Psycho-Pirate between the Anti-Monitor's legs).
    • Half of the panels with Harbinger in them have this.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Anti-Monitor is one of the biggest and baddest of all Big Bads. He eats universes, kills Kryptonians, wrestles the embodied Wrath of God, and battles scores of the most powerful heroes of eight universes, at once.
    • Just so you'll know how bad it is, even Darkseid won't dare mess with him. He spends the event laying low, biding his time for whatever may happen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Our heroes have saved reality!... or at least, a tiny fragment of it... Almost everything and everyone that ever existed is not just dead but erased from all memory. note  And the coming months will show that even the survivors have been drastically altered by the experience, mostly becoming more violent and depressed, and have no memory of ever having been otherwise, let alone of what caused it. So... yay?
  • The Blank: The Anti-Monitor briefly causes the Psycho-Pirate to lose his face in order to bring him to submission.
  • Blank White Void: The Dawn of Time, which eventually got populated by the Anti-Monitor and the superheroes who have travelled all the way there in their attempt to stop the Anti-Monitor from erasing the entire Multiverse and replacing it with his own universe.
  • Brainwashed: The Psycho-Pirate was initially called by Harbinger under the orders of the Monitor for the sake of manipulating Killer Frost's emotions so that she could act as an ally alongside her mutual enemy Firestorm. However, desiring a taste of power over his Enemy Mine comrades, he also manipulates the emotions of Pariah and the other heroes sent to protect one of the Monitor's giant vibrational tuning forks until he is captured by a mysterious entity that reveals himself to be the Anti-Monitor. With the Psycho-Pirate desiring a world he can control, the Anti-Monitor magnifies the villain's abilities so that he could not only cause the residents of Earths-4, S, and X to kill themselves, but also to fight against the heroes from the other universes that are sent to protect those remaining universes from destruction. Before his death, Barry Allen as the Flash uses the Psycho-Pirate to manipulate the emotions of the Thunderers to get them to attack the Anti-Monitor while he goes inside the anti-matter cannon to shut it down.
  • Burn the Witch!: Amethyst gets hassled by a bunch of people who are acting like this towards her in the latter part of the story, until Dr. Occult shows up and calms everybody down with his magic talisman.
  • Captain Obvious: There are a lot of points where characters state things that are patently obvious, either to themselves or the audience, such as Northwind screaming out when Doctor Phosphorous starts burning Hawkman that "he's killing Hawkman!"
  • Continuity Reboot: The Crisis' ending was essentially a reboot with an in-universe explanation. The most obvious are The Man of Steel, Batman: Year One, Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals, The Legend of Aquaman, Captain Atom, and Shazam!: The New Beginning/The Power Of Shazam!. Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn came a few years later.
  • Continuity Snarl: Occurs to Power Girl, The Legion of Super-Heroes, and Donna Troy, after the Crisis was over. Hawkman's Continuity Snarl came later and was only indirectly due to the Crisis - it came out of the ill-advised decision to set the Hawkworld mini-series in the present, after both the Golden and Silver Age Hawkmen were already established in Post-Crisis continuity.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Too many to list here. See Post-Crisis.
  • The Dark Age of Comic Books: The Retcon at the end of this series is the official end of The Bronze Age of Comic Books and the start of The Dark Age of Comic Books for the DCU.
    • Well, for some books. Other books (like the retooled Green Lantern series) remained more or less Bronze Age in tone for some years. Others (like the retooled Justice League) were considerably brighter in tone. A serious Dark Age treatment wouldn't set in for a few more years.
  • Defiant to the End: Oh man, pretty much everyone. No one surrenders in the face of the multiverse's annihilation, but a few deserve special mention.
    • Barry Allen, the Flash, discovers a superweapon made by the Anti-Monitor. He lacks the strength to pull it apart, so he does what he does best: he runs, wearing the machine down just a little with each footstep. Though the machine saps his strength and lifeforce, he remains determined to save the world. And he succeeds, at the cost of his own life.
    • Supergirl has probably the most epic last stand in all of comics. Facing down the Anti-Monitor itself, she just starts wailing on him, hitting him with everything she's got. And she almost wins, destroying the Anti-Monitor's body completely, and forcing him to retreat, though he gets in a lucky shot on her, killing her.
    • Even some of the villains get in on the action. When Earth-3 is consumed by the anti-matter wave, the Crime Syndicate, an Evil Counterpart to the Justice League, desperately try to fight it off. Ultraman, Superman's counterpart, even flashes a very superman-like smile, before flying into the wave, declaring that he intends to fight to the very end.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi).
    • Also a somewhat more literal and temporary example is Killer Frost, Firestorm's archenemy, who was emotionally altered by Psycho Pirate to fall in love with Firestorm so that they could actually work together. It was temporary as was intended.
  • Demoted to Extra: Given this was a giant cosmic apocalypse, if you were a Badass Normal (Nightwing, Green Arrow, even Batman), you had little to nothing to do the entire time.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: Supergirl nearly kills the Anti-Monitor all on her own halfway through the Crisis, he even admits it an issue later that she nearly got him.
  • The Dragon: The Psycho-Pirate, though he's more of like the Sycophantic Servant or The Igor to the Anti-Monitor.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ultraman, realizing how powerless he was and how hopeless it was for him and his Crime Syndicate partners to try saving Earth-3 from annihilation by the anti-matter energy wave, flies straight headlong into the energy wave and dies, with Power Ring watching before he too dies.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Not everyone gets to go out in a blaze of glory. Aquagirl is killed off-screen by Chemo when the supervillains attack every Earth. Huntress is slain instantly by a shadow-demon. Golden Age Alexei Luthor is vaporized by Brainiac for being surplus to requirements.
  • Dull Surprise: "They've got Prince Ra-Man."Shade, the Changing Man on witnessing Ra-Man's horrible death.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Supergirl's fight with Anti-Monitor. She manages to do him some serious injuries, bad enough to make him retreat, at the cost of her life.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: Barry Allen's form disintegrates as he pushes himself further and further into the Speed Force to destroy the anti-matter cannon, leaving just his superhero costume and his Flash ring behind.
  • The End Is Nigh: In issue #12, a random stranger carries a sign that says Repent! The end is near! when the Shadow Demons start their attack on the general populace.
  • Enemy Mine: The villains of the DC universes team together with the heroes with the intent of preventing the destruction of all existence of the positive-matter universe by the Anti-Monitor. Most notable is Darkseid getting his licks on the Anti-Monitor by using Alexander Luthor, Jr. as a conduit for striking him with his omega beams.
  • Epic Movie: Well, an Epic Comic actually, but contains many of the same elements of the genre of film. It features the entire DC Comics Superhero library and even those from Charlton and Fawcett Comics (whom were bought out by DC and now are part of their lineup) battling a foe that threatens existence itself on a cosmic level in a story that spans all of space and all of time. Every hero is pushed to their limits; Some will live while others will die, most notably Supergirl and Barry Allen. And indeed, "Nothing will ever be the same". One Hell of a way to celebrate 50 Years, DC.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: By the end of the story, all save one of the eponymous Infinite Earths are destroyed, and it just happens to (more or less) be the "real" one where most of DC's stories are set. And, therefore, the good guys are considered to have won.
    • If you were from Earth-Two with an exact counterpart on Earth-One, you were screwed. In some cases the Earth-Two version was retconned out of existence, in some cases they merged into a composite with some of the traits of the Earth-Two version and some of the traits of the Earth-One version. For cases where the Earth-Two and Earth-One versions of the heroes were different people (such as Green Lantern and Flash), since the Earth-Two heroes were significantly older (many of them fought in World War Two), the ones that made it through mostly became advisors/mentors to their modern counterparts (who should "only" be old enough to have fought in Vietnam or Korea, but Comic-Book Time).
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The real names of the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor were not given for decades. It won't be until 2010's when their names are established respectively as Mar Novu and Mobius.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s origin.
  • Forced to Watch: For freeing the Anti-Monitor (or so he thinks), Pariah is forced to endure the sight of countless universes being wiped out and helpless to stop it.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Anti-Monitor is such a dangerous threat that not only do various heroes and villains team up to fight him off (including Darkseid), but The Paragon Earth-Two Superman is completely willing to break his Thou Shall Not Kill rule on him without even an acknowledgment of angst.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: When Yolanda Montez was introduced as the second Wildcat during the series, she has a habit of letting Spanish phrases slip into her internal monologue followed immediately by the English translation as though she were trying to teach Spanish to any listening telepaths.
  • Guyliner: Pariah looks like he has used too much guyliner on his eyes, which in his origin story appears after he accidentally destroyed his parallel universe. Probably meant to represent bags under his eyes from weariness.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Harbinger, sent by the Monitor across the Multiverse to gather heroes and to warn them of the coming destruction of their universes. Also Pariah, though usually he comes when the universe is already in the process of being destroyed, serving more as a doomed witness.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Memorably, Supergirl and The Flash (Barry Allen). However, following the Man of Steel reboot, Supergirl did not exist due to the "Superman was the only Kryptonian survivor" edict. Both have since been brought back, although it took 18 years for Supergirl to return and 23 for Barry, which is really impressive for a comic book deathnote . So these stuck pretty good, considering the medium.
    • Oddly played with in the very beginning with Ultraman of Earth-Three. Despite being a super-villain, he smiles at Power Ring, tells him he'll fight until the very end, and charges into the anti-matter wall to his death. Goes to show, heroic and brave aren't the same thing.
  • Kill Them All: The Anti-Monitor's goal for the entire Multiverse, so only his universe can exist. Pretty much everyone in the entire Multiverse is erased except for the survivors of some universes and the five universes that the Anti-Monitor couldn't destroy. And even when the Multiverse merges and becomes one single universe, the copies of people from the surviving universes other than Earth-1 (except for those that survived the merging at the Dawn of Time or through certain other means — it all depended on who DC Comics wanted to keep alive or not) are also erased.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Ultraman, when he realizes that all his efforts and that of the Crime Syndicate to save Earth-3 have and would ultimately fail, leading to his exit via suicide.
  • Lack of Empathy: Lex Luthor is astoundingly chill after having just seen his alternate self get vaporized by Brainiac.
  • Last Kiss: Alexander Luthor and Lois Lane of Earth-3, as they are being swallowed by the anti-matter wave.
  • Last Villain Stand: The Anti-Monitor, multiple times. After his fortress and army get destroyed, he decides it's time to take on all the heroes by himself at the dawn of time. When this partially fails, he gets so angry that he essentially forgets his goal of multiversal conquest and concentrates solely on destroying Earth, slowly and painfully. And when that fails, and the heroes think him defeated, he clings to life through sheer force of will, multiple times, finally fighting a one-on-one duel in a weakened state with the original Superman.
    "SUPERMAN... I... WILL... NOT... DIE... UNTIL... YOU... DIE... WITH... ME..."
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title to issue 7, "Beyond the Silent Night", was a reference to Robert G. Ingersoll's 1889 poem, "Declaration of the Free"; the ending features an excerpt from the poem.
  • Madness Mantra:
    Psycho Pirate: I'm the only one left who remembers the infinite Earths. You see, I know the truth. I remember all that happened, and I'm not going to forget. Worlds lived, worlds died. Nothing will ever be the same. But those were great days for me... I had a good friend in the good old days, really. He was the Anti-Monitor. He was going to give me a world to rule. Now he's gone, too. But that's okay with me. You see, I like to remember the past because those were better times than now. I mean, I'd rather live in the past than today, wouldn't you? I mean, nothing's ever certain anymore. Nothing's ever predictable like it used to be. These days... y-you just never know who's going to die... and who's going to live.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: With one major exception, EVERY character who had their own series, ever. The Justice League of America, Legion of Super-Heroes, Justice Society of America, and Teen Titans of course, but also DC's World War II army heroes, the magic heroes, the legacy heroes, the Knights of the Round Table, Ambush Bug. Most epitomized by one scene where the Gotham heroes go to meet in Wayne Manor... and a glitch in time drops Anthro the Caveman and his supporting cast in the parlor. Long awkward silence, then the Gotham heroes decide to decamp to the kitchen for the duration.
    • The exception of course, is the fact that Hal Jordan does not appear AT ALL in the main mini-series, because, at that point, he resigned from the Green Lantern Corps, and was succeeded by John Stewart. He does contribute heavily to the plot in the main Green Lantern book, but he's nowhere to be found in the twelve issue mini-series.
      • Hal not appearing in the book was a blessing in disguise. When DC was first compiling their "death list" for characters they would kill off, Hal was on the list due to DC wanting to kill him off so they could counter claims that having John Stewart as Green Lantern was them ripping off James Rhodes as Iron Man, by killing Hal off so that no future writers could restore Hal as Green Lantern.
    • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! don't appear either; their world, Earth-C (a funny-animal counterpart to our Earth), and its sister planet Earth-C-Minus (with funny-animal counterparts to the DCU heroes), were grandfathered into Post-Crisis reality as "alternate dimensions" rather than "parallel Earths" (causing some head-scratching among readers of a genre where the two phrases were usually used interchangeably).
    • Also, with the exception of Darkseid, almost all of the New Gods are not involved in the series because they live outside of the multiverse.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Harbinger is a time traveler. One of her duplicates travels back in time 45,000 years to retrieve Arion, someone the Monitor needs. Her thoughts when she arrives? "Where is Arion? The Monitor will be furious if I cannot find him in time."
  • Merged Reality: The rebooted single Earth universe that emerges in issue #11, combining elements of Earths-1, 2, 4, S, and X together. The only concession is that the Golden Age versions of Superman, Batman, Dick Grayson/Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Speedy were never part of that rebooted universe's history, with their modern-age counterparts replacing them. In issue #5, Alexander Luthor Jr. does point out that the only way the Multiverse could survive is that it must be merged back into one universe.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: The Anti-Monitor.
  • The Multiverse: This event affects the entirety of the DC Comics Multiverse. In issue #7, the origin of the Multiverse was revealed: Krona of Oa had committed the crime of using science to peer into the beginnning of time and space, and because of that, he not only created multiple positive-matter universes that expanded into infinity, but he also created the anti-matter universe, from which the Monitor's equally powerful opposite, the Anti-Monitor, emerged. Of the positive-matter universes that appear in this event:
    • Earth-1, home of the Justice League of America, the Teen Titans, the Doom Patrol, The Outsiders, and most Silver Age/Bronze Age heroes.
    • Earth-2, home of the Justice Society of America, the All-Star Squadron, Infinity, Inc., and most Golden Age heroes.
    • Earth-3, home of the Crime Syndicate, which was destroyed in the first issue.
    • Earth-4, home of the Charlton Comics heroes such as Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and The Question.
    • Earth-6, home of Lady Quark, who was the only survivor of that world.
    • Earth-D, home of the racially diverse Justice Alliance of America, which was destroyed in the later-produced Legends Of The DC Universe tie-in story.
    • Earth-S, home of Captain Marvel and heroes owned by Fawcett Comics.
    • Earth-X, home of the Freedom Fighters and heroes owned by Quality Comics.
    • Earth-Prime, DC Comics' analog of "the real world", from which Superboy-Prime came, seen mostly in the Superman title tie-in stories.
    • Pariah's universe, which was destroyed in a flashback.
    • An unnamed parallel universe which was destroyed right before Earth-3 in the first issue.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Or in this case, Never the Earths Shall Meet, as when the universes of Earths-1 and 2 are shunted into the Netherverse, they start slowly merging with each other, with the Monitor explaining that if they should occupy the same space together, they will annihilate each other. The result of this merging is that all time becomes one, creating a "warp zone" between the Earths where all of Earth's history is mixed together in a strange hodgepodge. Also, people of both Earths could see ghostly counterparts of each other in their own worlds. The universes of Earths-4, S, and X also share the same problem, although the heroes realize that it is the Anti-Monitor that is causing the universes to merge together toward the end of mutual annihilation. It isn't until after the battle with the Anti-Monitor at the dawn of time that the multiple universes are safely merged together and rebooted as a single universe.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Anti-Monitor declares that he will travel to the dawn of time to change history from the beginning. The heroes pool their resources to follow him there. After completing that nearly-impossible journey, they find the Anti-Monitor waiting for them. He then effortlessly drains them all of their powers, explaining that he actually used up all of his own power just getting there, and he was counting on them following him so he could use their power to change the universe instead. So if the heroes never traveled back in time, the Anti-Monitor would have been stranded powerless in the void before creation forever.
    • You'd think that at the very least, somebody like Batman would have thought to say, "Wait. If he's already traveled to the dawn of time, how come we still exist?"
      • Actually addressed in story; the Spectre basically tells everyone the Anti-Monitor's scheme to wipe out existence at the dawn of time had not yet occurred, due to the Anti-Monitor waiting for the heroes to come stop him so he could destroy them at his moment of triumph.
    • This was lampshaded and mocked in one of the last issues of Quasar, a title published by DC's rival, Marvel Comics. A powerful alien being known as The Geometer wants to fix what it sees as "imperfections" in the multiverse. Quasar reasons with it that the multiverse is too big to fix one problem at a time, and tells it that it should go back before the dawn of time and fix all the imperfections before they can even begin. After it goes, Quasar mentions that either it'll be powerless to change anything and be stranded there, or the Big Bang will destroy it.
  • The Nothing After Death: After the surviving positive-matter universes are merged into one, the two Supermen of Earths-1 and 2 as well as Jay Garrick and Wally West use Barry Allen's Cosmic Treadmill to find out what has happened to Earth-2 after they awakened to find themselves on a merged Earth. They soon discover their answer when the Cosmic Treadmill leads them into a dark black void of nothingness. Earth-2 Superman feels himself being pulled into this void as if that's where he truly belongs, but Earth-1 Superman pulls him back and the four of them use the Cosmic Treadmill to return to the merged Earth, where the Cosmic Treadmill was destroyed.
  • Not So Different: When Harbinger is invoking Solovar, Gorilla City is shown as a place less brutal than human civilizations, but Solovar's guards atttempt to attack Harbinger show that they are still prone to violent methods.
  • Novelization: First released in 2005, with Wolfman on writing duties, and Pérez and Alex Ross doing cover art. The story is the Crisis as seen from Barry Allen's point-of-view.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Anti-Monitor, though his ultimate goal is to still rule the Anti-Matter universe after all other universes have been destroyed.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: After the Anti-Monitor seemingly flees the universe following Flash destroying his cannon, Luthor and Brainiac decide it's a great time to gather every single villain in the Multiverse that's still alive and conquer the remaining planets. Once the Spectre informs everyone that the Anti-Monitor is going to undo existence at the dawn of time, they agree that allying with the heroes must be done to ensure their own survival.
  • Original Generation: The Monitor and Anti-Monitor, Harbinger, Pariah, Alex Luthor, Superboy-Prime, Lady Quark, and the second Doctor Light.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Alexei Luthor takes umbrage at the thought of having to take orders from his Earth-One counterpart, and starts angrily ranting about it. Unfortunately for him, Braniac agrees. They don't need two Luthors. ZAP!
  • Pietà Plagiarism, for issue 7. Possible Trope Codifier for comics.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Alexander Luthor gets one.
  • Popularity Power: Averted with Batman who openly admits he can't do a thing against the Anti-Monitor.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: On the one end, the Penguin has an umbrella that lets him stalemate Firestorm. On the other, Maaldor the Darklord, a villain who could beat up Superman, was killed by the same blast that killed human villains Icicle and Mirror Master (and left their bodies recognizable).
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The Anti-Monitor uses the Psycho-Pirate's emotion-manipulating powers in an attempt to induce this among the residents of Earths-4, S, and X while the anti-matter energy waves are attacking their universes. The heroes from Earths-1 and 2 try to keep this from happening long enough for the Harbinger to use her powers to draw those remaining universes into the Netherverse, where Earths-1 and 2 were located for the time being.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Uncountable googol plexes worth of people die in meaningless terror and agony, and the sole remaining universe gets Retconned into a Darker and Edgier, Bloodier and Gorier universe for many years afterward. As Jonathan Woodward's The Annotated Crisis on Infinite Earths memorably put it, "The current DC Universe is built on a foundation of corpses."
  • Rasputinian Death: The Anti-Monitor takes the cake. After being weakened by his failed attempt to rewrite the Big Bang, he got attacked by the heroes in his home dimension. His powers were weakened further when a large portion of his anti-matter was drained out by Alexander Luthor and the energy of the star he was feeding on was absorbed by Dr. Light. After Negative Woman bound the Anti-Monitor with her burning radioactive body, everybody aside from the aforementioned three heroes started blasting him. Upon reaching full charge, Dr. Light unleashed all of the energy she had collected into a beam. The attack sent the Anti-Monitor flying right into a nearby planet, breaking his armor and burning all of his internal organs. This only knocked him out for a few minutes. When he woke up, he absorbed a large mass of his Shadow Demons to power up, shattering the planet with his energy. With a mouth blast, he seemingly killed the Earth-1 version of Wonder Woman. Unfortunately for him, the Demons, which had been poisoned by the magicians, began fighting against him. While he was suffering from the effects, Kal-L chucked a moon at the Anti-Monitor, which worked. Superboy-Prime showed up to help, but was blasted away. Seeing that his friend wasn't killed instantly by the attack, Kal-L took it as a sign that the Anti-Monitor was weakening and smashed him with two continent-sized asteroids before picking up a third equally large one and ramming him with it. This attack buried the Anti-Monitor alive on another planet and actually stopped the monster's heart, but only managed to take him down for a few seconds. He suddenly burst through the rocks, out of his armor and in his energy form, and started crushing both Kal-L and Superboy-Prime with his hands. Darkseid saved the two by channeling a beam through Alexander Luthor and knocking the Anti-Monitor into the star that Dr. Light had drained power from. That didn't even do the job, as the Anti-Monitor rushed out of the star in the form of a screaming fireball, still determined to kill Kal-L. Unfortunately for him, his essence was shattered by one final punch from the man he was trying to murder. Immediately afterwards, the pieces of his essence fell into the star, making it implode. The explosion utterly obliterated the Anti-Monitor. Of course, he returned later on.
  • The Real Heroes: Supergirl uses this to comfort Batgirl.
    Supergirl: Barbara, there are thousands of people out there — without powers like mine... the police, the firemen, the soldiers — they're all ordinary people trying to keep this world from falling apart before its time.
  • Ret-Gone: Happens to almost the entirety of existence!
  • Reset Button: This series was one for the entire DCU.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: More like "Ripple Effect Resistant Memory", after all the various Earths merged into one coherent history, all the superheroes who survived the transformation wake up the next day with their memories of their various Earths intact and have to read newspapers and history books to learn about the changes that occurred. Their previous memories faded in a few months, replaced with ones where they lived in the shared universe all their lives and the Crisis was replaced with memories of fighting in a battle against the Anti-Monitor in 1985.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Earth-3 is destroyed in the opening pages to establish the threat, and that's just the beginning; by the end, all but one of the infinite parallel universes has been wiped out.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The Flash Barry Allen runs so fast that he loses himself to the Speed Force, leaving just his uniform behind. Same thing with Wally West in Zero Hour.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: All of pre-Crisis continuity.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a reference to DC's early multiverse stories in Justice League of America, which had titles like "Crisis On Earth-1!" or "Crisis On Earth-2!" etc.
    • Elongated Man in issue 5 says of the Monitor's spaceship that it looks like he's on board "the Death Star squared."
    • Blue Beetle comments that the events of the Crisis remind him of something out of Stephen King.
    • Animal Man says that Braniac makes Frankenstein's bride look normal.
    • Beast Boy in issue 11 comments that the storm outside Titans Tower looks like something out of Ghostbusters, only worse.
  • Snowclone Title: The series' title was an Homage to the Earth-crossover titles between the JLA and JSA (Crisis on Earth-1, Crisis on Earth-2, and so on.)
  • Sole Survivor: Of the universes devoured by anti-matter: Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-3, Pariah of an unnamed parallel Earth, Lady Quark of Earth-6, and Superboy Prime of Earth-Prime.
  • Spacetime Eater: The Anti-Monitor, who ate an infinite amount of universes apparently.
  • Sticky Situation:
    • The Joker in his confrontation with Batman in issue #2 sprays the Dark Knight with a sticky substance to trap him long enough to try delivering the killing blow when he ends up being distracted by a future appearance of Barry Allen as the Flash.
    • The Earth-1 Flash was held prisoner by the Anti-Monitor spread-eagled in a gooey substance that he couldn't break out of... at first.
  • The Starscream: The Psycho-Pirate thinks of pulling this on the Anti-Monitor after Supergirl's Heroic Sacrifice, if only because he's afraid of what might happen to him, as he discusses to the Flash. He's only spared because the Anti-Monitor believes in Pragmatic Villainy.
    • Psimon does this in Luthor and Brainiac's cadre of villains. Fortunately for Luthor, Psimon underestimates Brainiac who completely obliterates Psimon's brain.
  • A Storm Is Coming: "Why the red skies?"
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know:
    • Everyone's problems started with the Malthusian scientist Krona, who was told not to look at the beginning of time, and went "pssh, whatever." He created the Monitor and Anti-Monitor, and broke the universe.
    • Pariah was warned not to do the exact same thing. He ignored them and looked anyway. He came to really regret that.
  • Time Travel: In issue #10, both the heroes and the villains use this in their attempt to prevent the Anti-Monitor from destroying all creation and replacing it with only his own universe. The heroes go back all the way to the Dawn of Time while the villains go to the point where Krona is about to make his discovery of the origin of the universe that set the whole Multiverse into motion.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Try not to think too hard about how all the time-fluxes work, or you'll see plotholes so big a Mack truck can drive through them. In particular, don't give too much thought to this line by Martian Manhunter: "Time must be interchanging earlier on this Earth!"
    • It's even lampshaded in the story. After all the Earths merge, it's noted that people know Supergirl died but can't remember how.
  • Villain Team-Up: The ultimate one as Lex Luthor and Brainiac gather together every single super-villain from the five Earths into a massive army. They actually manage to conquer THREE entire worlds before the heroes even know what's going on, showing just how strong these guys are when they stop bickering long enough to work together.
  • Wham Episode
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Skeletal, Bronze-Age Brainiac leads a group of heroes to Darkseid for help, and this is his last appearance. We know that anyone who survived the Crisis remained relatively unchanged, so this Brainiac could not have become the Milton Fine Brainiac. Is this version of Brainiac still out there?
    • History of the DC Universe #2 stated that this version of Brainiac was destroyed by the Omega Men during a failed attempt to conquer the Vegan system, possibly at some point after the Crisis. Then, it vaguely mentioned a new Brainiac was created on Earth two years of the original's death.
    • If you want to accept Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as the final chapter in Earth-One Superman's history, Brainiac is destroyed for good there.
    • Pre-Crisis Brainiac's fate was ultimately revealed in Convergence and Futures End. He became a universal singularity, connected to every subsequent incarnation that came to be in the DC Universe (and several which were tangibly related, such as Pulsar Stargrave and Vril Dox). He also managed to capture/clone countless pre-Crisis Earths into dome cities (including Earth 3) and additional cities circa Zero Hour and pre-Flashpoint DC Universe and had them on an alien world; from which he planned an invasion on Earth during the Future State timeline that the Authority/Stormwatch of the New 52 was created to stop. He also wasn't in his terminator body by this point, though that was due to Geoff Johns hating the Terminator look as he restored Brainiac back to a modified version of his green form.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: During his final run, Barry insists there is always hope to save the world.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: An infinite number of universes is destroyed... one at a time.
    • Word of God is that there was "only" 3000 universes or so.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After the five surviving Earth universes merge into one, the heroes of Earths-2, S, and X find out that they can't go back to their own home universes since they no longer exist, with Earth-2 Superman taking it the hardest because that meant his world's Lois Lane no longer exists — or so he thought, until Alexander Luthor Jr. reveals that he has kept her safe in another dimension prior to the merging. Superboy-Prime, having no home universe to return to, joins Earth-2 Superman, his wife Lois, and Alexander Luthor in this other dimension, while Pariah and Lady Quark join with Harbinger to explore the new Post-Crisis Earth together.
  • You Gotta Have Purple Hair: Pariah. In a story shortly following the Crisis, a punk rocker on the street comments that he likes the shade.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Brainiac to Alexei Luthor, with Brainiac saying there's no need for two Luthors in their supervillain superteam.

And the universe was never the same.

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