With the thirtieth anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths coming up next year, many fans have wondered whether the newly-reborn DC Universe would have any way of acknowledging the significance of the story that marked the dawn of event-driven comics -- and now DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has chimed in to suggest that, yeah, that might be in the cards.
Along with a photograph of what appears to be the "Crisis Counseling" column from the back of Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1 back in 2005, DiDio posted a message on Facebook tonight that said, "Spending a Sunday night working on the comics (the real never ending battle), and came across this. Definitely one of the highlights of my time at DC, but it gets me thinking, has it really been almost ten years since then, and maybe its time to do it one better."
Of course, DC was in "Crisis mode" for about three years in the mid-2000s, starting with Countdown to Infinite Crisis and followed by a series of miniseries that tied into the event, then the event itself, then 52, then Countdown, which became Countdown to Final Crisis, then Final Crisis itself, along with a number of satellite miniseries and tie-iins. So it's hardly been ten years since a Crisis-level event happened, even if you don't count Flashpoint, which most fans do since it launched a new DC Universe.
Rumors have swirled for months that a new Crisis might be coming -- especially since the Anti-Monitor showed up at the end of the final issue of Forever Evil, the latest crossover event by Infinite Crisis and 52's Geoff Johns, now the Chief Creative Officer at DC.
The upcoming Earth 2: World's End will likely deal with Darkseid, as he's been a prime motivator of every story to happen on that parallel world since the launch of the New 52. Darkseid will also appear in Robin Rises, tying into a Batman and Robin story that is said to reverberate through the DC Universe. And, as readers of Forever Evil #7 discovered, Darkseid is the target of the Anti-Monitor, the villain behind Crisis on Infinite Earths and indisputably the DC Comics villain with the bloodiest hands.
The first Crisis sequel, Infinite Crisis, saw a through-line from The Anti-Monitor as his fellow Sinestro Corps member Superboy-Prime gained the remains of the Anti-Monitor's armor and wore it while serving as the principal antagonist for that story. The third installment of DC's Crisis trilogy, Final Crisis, featured Darkseid as the villain but brought back recognizably Crisis-flavored elements like Superboy-Prime and Barry Allen.
That, then, lays the groundwork for a reason why the Anti-Monitor could have an interest in Darkseid...assuming that either or both of those beings remember those previous tales. The New Gods, like the Anti-Monitor, are unique entities within the DC Universe and some of the only beings who are not replicated between multiple earths. There's just one Anti-Monitor, one Darkseid, etc. So whether or not they remember the events of the pre-Flashpoint universe, the Fourth World -- home to the New Gods -- would almost certainly be of interest to the Anti-Monitor, who gained much of his power in Crisis on Infinite Earths by destroying innumerable parallel earths and folding them into his antimatter domain.
Talk of a Crisis-level story ramped up when it was revealed (also on DiDio's Facebook page) that all three of the major weekly series that DC is currently publishing -- The New 52: Futures End, Earth 2: World's End and Batman Eternal would end (or, in the case of Batman, go on hiatus) at the same time.
As an aside, while Infinite Crisis was the first official sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC's Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time event clearly was a sequel, but they never said as much. You can see an exclusive interview with writer/artist Dan Jurgens about that series here. Similarly, Mark Waid's The Kingdom dealt with fallout from Crisis and undid some of its more severe impacts on the DC Universe, but was never officially recognized as doing so.
While Batman Eternal, The New 52: Futures End and Earth 2: Worlds End will all launch at different times, the three will end on the same week in March 2015, DiDio had previously confirmed.
Asked about the publishing schedule for the three weeklies on Facebook, Didio responded, "Batman Eternal started this April and runs to next March after which it takes a brief hiatus,Futures End starts this May and ends the last week of March 2015, and Worlds End starts in October and ends the same week as the others next March, hope that clears things up."
It may clear up the scheduling, but more than that it seems to suggest something fairly massive for that week in March. A time/space storyline that could impact both the alternate future of The New 52: Futures End and the multiversal aspect of Earth 2: Worlds End could explain both of them blowing up at the same time, but it could also hint at a massive shift in the structure of the DC multiverse.
A multiverse-spanning event, Grant Morrison's The Multiversity just launched and, contrary to what many fans expected, it was solicited as a New 52 title, implying that the comic would take place in the canonical DC Universe. Based on the first issue, it is apparent that the story is a direct sequel to Final Crisis, which Morrison also wrote.
Depending on how far you want to take this, and whether or not Smallville is one of the 52 earths of the official DC Multiverse, it may be worth noting that the Monitors and the red skies indicative of a Crisis-level event are appearing in Smallville: Continuity, which launched last week.
Back in July, Johns tweeted a tease of The Darkseid War, which many fans assumed would tie into the Anti-Monitor's plans and perhaps into a new Crisis.