Few comic book events have had the ambition, scope, or impact of DC’s 1985 to 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. The 12 issue event series is such a defining point, DC fans mark “Pre-Crisis” and “Post-Crisis” eras of comics to this day.
Why reset the DC Universe so drastically? Here’s a piece of how writer Marv Wolfman explains it in his forward to the collected graphic novel:
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, this is exactly what DC Comics attempted to do, relaunching Superman in Man of Steel, Batman in Year One
, and Wonder Woman in the George Perez ongoing.
Crisis also makes a number of strides towards increasing DC’s overall legacy characters (at least temporarily), with a new female Doctor Light, Wildcat, and Doctor Mid-Nite.
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Broadly speaking, many comics readers new to the DC Universe will be best suited simply diving in to the 12 issue event series, and checking out a handful of tie-ins they find particularly interesting. Truly from Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 to #3, the majority of tie-ins are simply references to the reddening of the sky, or appearances from the new “Harbinger” as she recruits legends from the DCU.
Crisis on Infinite Earths Collected Edition Checklist
Collects: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 to #12, History of the DC Universe Special #1
Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 1
Collects: Justice League Of America #244, Justice League Of America Annual #3, Green Lantern #194, Wonder Woman #327-328, Infinity Inc. 318 to 320, Dc Comics Presents #87-88, Omega Men #31, Blue Devil #17-18, All-Star Squadron #50-51 And Fury Of Firestorm #41 to #42
Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2
Collects: Detective Comics #558, DC Comics Presents #86, Swamp Thing #44, Losers Special #1, Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, Infinity Inc. #18-25, Justice League of America #244-245, Infinity Inc. Annual #1 and New Teen Titans #13-14
Crisis on Infinite Earths Issue by Issue Reading Order
Crisis on Infinite Earths #1
Fury of Firestorm #41
All-Star Squadron #50
I’d note that unless you’re all in on All-Star Squadron’s 80’s reliving of the classic DC JLA (as written by Marvel legend Roy Thomas), all of the All-Star Squadron comics are pretty passable. Again, for most modern readers trying out the event for the first time, making it through these particular tie-ins will require huge reserves of endurance.
All-Star Squadron #51
All-Star Squadron #52
Infinity, Inc. #18
Take what I said above for All-Star Squadron and double it for Infinity, Inc. This despite more writing from Roy Thomas and art by future comics superstar Todd McFarlane.
Crisis on Infinite Earths #2
Although it’s not a direct tie-in or prequel, Flash #350 is referenced for the first time here as contextual background knowledge for the appearances of The Flash!
Detective Comics #556
Detective Comics #557
Detective Comics #558
This Batman and Detective Comics 6 issue crossover does not include the “Crisis” tie-in label on covers, although it does make reference to the red skies. Worth a read for dedicated Bat-fans, pretty light on connection to Crisis as a whole!
Green Lantern #194
Infinity, Inc. #19
Justice League of America #244
Infinity, Inc. #20
Crisis on Infinite Earths #3
Losers Special #1
Occurs alongside main event issue #3 in a story titled “Losers Die Twice.”
DC Comics Presents #86
The DC Comics Presents tie-ins are easily some of the most interesting and relevant connected stories within Crisis, expanding the Superman family in particularly meaningful ways.
Swamp Thing #44
While this remains true for most comics on the list, it’s particularly true that DC fans of all stripes should check out the full run on Swamp Thing by writer Alan Moore and artists John Totleben and Stephen Bissette (among others). The run begins in earnest with Saga of The Swamp Thing #21. It’s a very clear indicator of where DC Comics were going as opposed to where they’d been.
Swamp Thing #45
Infinity, Inc. Annual #1
Infinity, Inc. #21
Crisis on Infinite Earths #4
Although it’s some minor place-setting, main event issue #4 does reference Omega Men #26 for context. This is for die-hards only!
Crisis on Infinite Earths #5
Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1
This giant-size issue retroactively fills in Flash details, from original event writer Marvel Wolfman.
Swamp Thing #46
All-Star Squadron #53
All-Star Squadron #54
All-Star Squadron #55
All-Star Squadron #56
Infinity, Inc. #22
Crisis on Infinite Earths #6
Main event issue #6 does also reference Superman #413 for context.
Infinity, Inc. #23
Wonder Woman #327
Wonder Woman #328
Wonder Woman #329
Crisis on Infinite Earths #7
Green Lantern Vol. 2 #195
Infinity, Inc. #24
Legion of Super-Heroes #16
Legion of Super-Heroes #17
Legion of Super-Heroes #18
DC Comics Presents #87
For my money, the single most compelling tie-in comic!
Omega Men #31
Crisis on Infinite Earths #8
Blue Devil #18
DC Comics Presents #88
Justice League of America Annual #3
Crisis on Infinite Earths #9
Justice League of America #245
Fury of Firestorm #42
New Teen Titans #13
New Teen Titans #14
Crisis on Infinite Earths #10
Crisis on Infinite Earths #11
Amethyst Vol. 2 #13
Green Lantern Vol. 2 #196
Green Lantern Vol. 2 #197
Crisis on Infinite Earths #12
Green Lantern Vol. 2 #198
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Love that you’ve put this whole list together, must’ve taken a lot of work. But if you’re someone like me who only wants to read the main crisis comics, which tie-ins would be crucial to understanding the storyline?
I have the same doubt! Can someone answer?
Chris Osman says
Having just finished it, I would say if you grab the DC Comics Presents, Legion of Super-Heroes, Green Lantern, Swamp Thing, and Superman tie-ins then you’re good. A lot of the other stuff simply makes mentions of what’s happening, but the ‘stakes’ are present in the above. Have fun!
Dave: If you’ve answered this question 100 times, I apologize but I’ve obviously not seen it. Here goes: Is there an exhaustive compilation book which has ALL of the comic issues you mentioned above? Or do I need to buy the three Deluxe Editions? (I noticed #3 is coming out soon). In other words, a book where I could read all of them in order as you’ve listed above? By the way: thanks for all the hard work that must’ve went into compiling that list! Kudos!
So to my knowledge there’s single Omnibus for all the issues, but I just searched for it on Amazon and found DC’s planning a MEGA boxset of all of this in the coming months. For the Crisis die-hard! https://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Infinite-Earths-Box-Set/dp/1401295177/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=crisis+on+infinite+earths+omnibus&qid=1569875236&sr=8-2
That box looks amazing, any idea what would be the reading order of it?
Where is blue devil 17 on this list?
Where is omega men #33?