Post-Crisis is a term used to describe characters, items, realities or events that take place during DC Comics' publishing history following the 1985-86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. The term is used by industry professionals and consumers, and is widely considered to be an out-of-universe phrase; which is to say – characters within the DC universe continuity (with rare exception), do not use the term "Post-Crisis" when referring to events preceding the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Compare with Pre-Crisis.
The Crisis on Infinite Earths series effectively re-booted the internal DC universe from the dawn of time onward. A new history was written – one that rendered many of the older DC stories apocryphal. Characters, timelines, and events from the varying alternate realities were condensed into one modernized mainstream reality, excising many characters that would otherwise be construed as redundant.
The Great Migration
By the end of the series, all but five parallel Earths had been utterly destroyed for all time. Many of the characters from the surviving dimensions were folded over into one streamlined continuity.
- The Justice Society: All characters and history relating to the war-time heroes known as the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron migrated into the modern continuity. The Golden Age Wonder Woman was replaced with Miss America (and later with Queen Hippolyta) in the post-crisis timeline. Many of the JSA/JLA annual crossover events are considered apocryphal and non-canon.
- The Freedom Fighters: The Freedom Fighters assisted the Justice Society of America as members of the All-Star Squadron in the new continuity. Although the team members' individual Golden Age histories were preserved, their common history as heroes on Earth-X is considered non-canon.
- The 7 Soldiers of Victory: In the revised history, the Golden Age Green Arrow and Speedy were replaced by Wing (sidekick to the Crimson Avenger), and Stuff the Chinatown Kid. In some versions, Thomas Ludlow, alias the Spider, filled out the team’s roster.
- Infinity Inc.: While most Infinity Inc stories are considered canon, their adventures took place on the Post-Crisis Earth, and not on Earth-Two.
- Batman: Batman underwent several structural alterations, mostly relating to his upbringing and personality development from the previous incarnations. The core plot behind his decision to fight crime independent of the legal system which he considers ineffective remains, many of his Pre-Crisis adventures are abandoned in the modern canon, such as trusting his extended family and friends which was indicative of the Silver Age version who was best friends with Superman. The tone and flavor of these stories is indicative of a darker, grittier storytelling structure. The extent between which adventures are preserved in the modern era, and which ones are considered apocryphal remains a matter of speculation. Many of Batman's Silver Age adventures have been retold and changed in various formats over the past twenty years.
- Superman: Superman's history and background were completely retooled rendering nearly all Silver Age appearances apocryphal. As such, Superman's entire supporting cast and gallery of villains were reimagined for a more palatable, modern setting including having his foster parents survive into his adult life.
- Wonder Woman: The Post-Crisis Wonder Woman did not make her first appearance until nearly a year after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Like Superman, her history and supporting cast were retooled for the modern era. Though from the events of Infinite Crisis, many of the Silver Age elements have been brought back into canon such as her timeline which includes her actively forming the original Justice League.
The Great Unraveling
Harbinger's claim that there was only one Earth, one history quickly unraveled as it was revealed that the Legion of Super-Heroes trips back to Superboy's time were in fact to an artificial alternate timeline created by the Time Trapper. More over since post-Crisis Barry Allen had still faced Professor Zoom from the 25th century and Abra Kadabra from the 64th century the "present" was set up to their existence stories making events like Armageddon 2001 and later Zero Hour impossible.
The solution was hypertime which by its very nature meant there was a reality "out there" where the multiverse collapse didn't happen. That alternative reality become became the "main" reality with Convergence.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths
- Golden Age
- Infinite Crisis
- Silver Age
- The formal Multiverse ceased to exist with the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but there were indications that a different multiverse might exist. By the time of Armageddon 2001 and Zero Hour it was demonstrated that things were not quite right. Eventually hypertime was introduced with many stories that existed outside the continuity of the modern DC Universe (both Imaginary Stories and Elseworlds) being shown to be outside the events of Crisis.
- There are several alternate realities that continue to be accessed by the primary DC reality and its inhabitants or is accessed by extradimensional beings. The first of these other dimensional beings was Walter West a parallel version of Wally West who has since left the Primary DC universe for an undisclosed reality.
- Between Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 and Man of Steel #1 there was a short lived Post-Crisis reality that was more similar to Earth-One then the later New Earth.
Links and References
- History of the DC Universe #1
- History of the DC Universe #2
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Vol 1