Just when you thought we’d left Infinite Crisis behind, replaced by the likes of Civil War and 52, The Village Voice pulls us back with its critique of the miniseries as sweeping commentary on the contentious creator-creation-fan relationship:
In Infinite Crisis 4, Earth-Prime’s vindictive Superboy, angry over his prolonged incarceration and the loss of his loved ones and homeworld, picks a fight with DC’s current Superboy. Like The Simpsons‘ Comic Book Guy, the villainous Superboy is a whiny, awkward loner, who stammers, “You’re ruining me!” as he battles a group of heroes. The fact that Superboy’s Earth-Prime represents the readers’ world confirms his status as a stand-in for the ugly side of comics’ audience.
Readers seem to have largely missed the subtext; indeed, a trip to DC’s message boards reveals a fan base validating Johns’s characterization with its vitriol. A typical comment reads, “Thanks . . . for making my heroes the most disgusting, childish, nasty, ridiculous people ever.”
The portrayal of Infinite Crisis‘s villains reflects the comics industry’s contentious relationship with fans. The readers typified by the evil Superboy are fiercely loyal but resistant to change, much like the art form they love so dearly. DC finds itself forced to serve two masters: these fractious lifers and the children that were, in decades past, comics’ target demographic.
So, if Superboy-Prime equals fandom, then Alexander Luthor is … Geoff Johns? No, that can’t be right. Dan DiDio, maybe?