Of the many revelations and happenings in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, perhaps the biggest deals with the Multiverse. As we learned in issue #5, Pariah has brought it all back after the original Infinite Crisis on Earths (way back in 1985) condensed reality. But as big as the revelation is, it’s still only the beginning.
We’ll ultimately see what happens with the Multiverse and the entire Dark Crisis saga when issue #7 debuts on December 20. In the meantime, though, we’re getting a tour through the many worlds of the DCU thanks to the a veritable multiverse of talent: Mark Waid, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Federico Blee, and Troy Peteri. And that journey comes in the aptly-named Dark Crisis: Big Bang.
The one-shot is described as a “haunting journey through these newly re-formed realities, from The Jurassic League to DC: Mech…from Dark Knights of Steel to Batman ’89 and back again.” It’s a star-studded adventure — you may recognize one of your main tour guides — that reminds us of the sheer fun and creative potential that the Multiverse presents. It’s also a fun slice of old-school, extra hopeful DC storytelling in the lead up to the extra optimistic Dawn of DC.
With the Big Bang out today (December 13), both Waid and Jurgens were kind enough to answer some Qs during a recent Zoom call. That includes (slightly spoiler-centric) insights about the Flash’s involvement, why the Multiverse remains so vital, and their favorite universes.
Some questions and answers have been edited for clarity.
AIPT: I guess I want to start with, what is it about the Multiverse that still makes it so interesting and compelling?
Mark Waid: I think it’s just about expansive storytelling. I think that it’s about the fact that this is just a demonstration that anything you come up with, any idea that you can imagine that’s clever and fun, can be done in a comic.
Dan Jurgens: Totally; 100%. And the other part of that is, in a way, it was always DC that had claim to the multiverse. And I think it was actually sort of unfortunate that they gave that up and allowed others to come in and play around in that sandbox, and it’s great to take it back.
AIPT: I grew up on DC, but was wee baby during the first Crisis. And I just love that it allows you to get as wild and weird as possible.
MW: I mean, I think that what’s interesting is that it favors casual fans in that they don’t have to know continuity to find out to do that enjoy a good story. And it also favors hardcore collectors who like to categorize stuff.
In terms of this issues, was there anything specific about this “configuration” of heroes helping Flash out at the end?
MW: Aa lot of them were chosen, specifically, because they weren’t shown in the previous bunch of pages, right. So we kind of pull from other to maje sure we had as many representatives from as many worlds as we could. That’s really all there was to it.
AIPT: When you’re working your way through all those universes, was there anything that struck you as novel or that maybe you’d not known or forgotten about those questions.
MW: I think your question is based on a flawed premise, which is that there’s something about DC comics that I don’t know.
MW: Dan, is there anything in particular that struck you as, ‘Hey, this could be worth exploring?’
DJ: You know, I don’t know if it was that so much as a certain level of reminder. I was familiar with all these characters. It just had been a while since I had seen some of them though. Super Demon being an example of something that was quite different that way. So it wasn’t a lack of familiarity.
But I think one of the things that happens then is when you draw them, there’s this idea that you start to develop maybe more of an interest then you woulv’e had, or I would have had, as a reader. It’s weird how that works. Sometimes it won’t be the character you would suspect going into it. It’s what you come out with.
AIPT: Flash is a big part of this story. Besides his powers and huge history with these Crisis events, what makes him a natural lens for these multiversal stories?
MW: No, it really wasn’t that. In terms of the logic of DC, he’s the one who found the multiverse in DC continuity. He’s the trailblazers. That’s it — full stop.
DJ: He is the single most logical character to use in this story out of every character that’s in the DCU. You would start with Barry, and he would be the first name on the list. I mean, there’s no question about that. And then everything else sort of revolves around him — just for those reasons that Mark mentioned.
AIPT: You’re both veterans of the industry, and especially these big-time events. How effective would you say Dark Crisis is? Or how much have you enjoyed gettign to put your names onto at least this part of it?
MW: I do think it’s certainly a really good story. And it hits the points that we want to make right now. And by we, I am speaking of DC fans and DC writers and DC creators in general. It’s that sense of hopefulness and this excitement — this sense that not everything has to be dark and gloomy all the time. Or gritty and dark.
DJ: And I would also add that — and we’re talking about the overall story here. It’s a story that has a goal. And I think often what we see is events, where the goal was the story itself, they saud, ‘Gee, we’re going to do a big story, and it’s going to be a crossover; this was a story that had a very particular goal in mind. And for that reason, it is worth reading, because it does build to a point that is going to be a foundational piece of what DC is going to become.
AIPT: Do you have a favorite part of the multiverse or a favorite character or moment?
MW: I really cannot wait to revisit the world of Earth-162 — Batman grey and blue. There’s also one world that’s listed in the in the back matter that, of all the worlds that I chose to put there that really doesn’t belong there except to amuse me. It’s Earth-387, where everyone is exactly the same as here, but they’re all werewolves. I read that description and remembered that story and I just burst out laughing. That’s too good not to not to put in.
AIPT: Yeah, that’s a story that writes itself. Dan, any any particular favorites?
DJ: For me, I just enjoyed drawing Superboy in this story. And I don’t know if Mark noticed, but I snuck him into more panels in the screen. And when you’re the artist, that’s what you get do do. And I didn’t think I’d get any objections. So there’s a little more Superboy than asked for here.
AIPT: I think we have time for just one last question.
We talked about the accessibility of the multiverse. Is there a hope at all that you can invite fans in with this and let them be as weird and wild as they want, and to pick and choose how they experience the DC Universe.
MW: Yes. Dan?
DJ: If this is a good access point, I think that any comic book can be a good access point — when the creative team knows what they’re doing and they know how to set up a story and tell the story. I think we did that here. I’m pretty confident we did actually. If this happens to be sort of your entry point into the DCU, I think they got a big story. And I think they got a fun story and hopefully enough of a story that intrigues them to pick up the next story. And that’s what as storytellers we try and do all the time.
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