Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis #1
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Lettering by Rob Leigh
Published by DC
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
The original Infinite Crisis was a wild and wooly period for the DC Universe, and writer James Tynion IV and artist Aaron Lopresti do an admirable job remixing this sprawling epic in Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis #1. By sparing Ted Kord’s life, Tynion and Lopresti set off a chain reaction that nimbly ties together threads ranging from The OMAC Project to The Rann-Thanagar War, yet maintains the gleefully overstuffed quality that made this event a true Crisis in the first place.
Ever since his untimely demise in the pages of the original Infinite Crisis, Ted Kord has been a cult favorite of many DC fans - and similar to his boosting of Tim Drake in Detective Comics, Tynion elevates Ted in a way that would likely make his fans cheer. But there’s also a monkey’s paw element to his high concept that seems to be a common thread throughout the Multiverse - namely, seeing how power always seems to corrupt. What starts as simple self-defense and heroic proactiveness soon snowballs into something more cold, even sinister.
But unlike the other Dark Multiverse storylines, where things were clearly black and white, Tynion seems to revel in painting with shades of gray. Yes, Ted kills Maxwell Lord and usurps the Brother Eye network, but he also stops incoming threats like the Rann-Thanagar War or Jean Loring’s possession by Eclipso. While some readers might cry foul that Ted might be smart, but he’s not that smart, I’d argue that Tynion is building upon Geoff Johns’ original threads from Infinite Crisis - and by nipping threats like the Secret Society or the Spectre in the bud early, he’s able to deftly touch upon all the sprawling tie-ins to the series without having to delve into them too deeply.
While I would ordinarily critique a book for being as densely paced as this, the original Infinite Crisis was stuffed to the brim with content as well, and artist Aaron Lopresti does a masterful job at evoking the same jam-packed art style as Phil Jimenez, George Perez and Jerry Ordway. This is the exact opposite of widescreen storytelling, and it’s honestly refreshing - given how much narrative ground Tynion and Lopresti have to cover, there’s no room to be precious, and Lopresti makes sure that every inch of page space is utilized. It’s also a great way to remind readers that there are ways of creating impactful moments that don’t have to exist in a splash page - in particular, seeing Beetle’s OMAC armor is a truly exciting moment, even as he’s just the first image in a page filled with characters.
Out of all the Dark Multiverse one-shots, I’d say that Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis #1 is the storyline that feels like is most true to the spirit of the original storyline, rather than a dark riff using the original event as a launching point. Tynion and Lopresti take readers down memory lane in a way that might take you off-guard with its level of scale and ambitiousness, even as most of the narrative math seems to check out in the end. If you’re unfamiliar with the original Infinite Crisis, this book might not be for you, but if you read the event as it was first coming out, you’ll likely enjoy the empire of Ted Kord these creators have built.