So in preparation for reading the whole Convergence miniseries we have been catching up on the various multiverse-smashing events in DC’s history. Infinite Crisis has been many peoples’ recent favorite, and when starting out we thought this would be one of the smaller miniseries to catch up with. We were as wrong as wrong can be! Instead, this is one of the more multifaceted and complete when you look at its actual massive line-up of tie ins, crossovers, pre and post stories, etc. This massive reading order was put together, in part, by CompleteInfiniteCrisis.blogspot.com,
who did an excellent job putting this together. People should continue to check in on their great work.
Considering the size of this event, it is totally reasonable if you just want to stay with the essential items. To do this, the trade paperback may be the best choice: Infinite Crisis
The Complete Guide to Infinite Crisis!
This Reading Order sequences the various hints and clues about the coming Infinite Crisis, including Identity Crisis as part of the Countdown. After the Countdown commenced, things happened fast and furious in the DCU, so the separate mini-series are best read as sequenced together, not separately, as being sequenced recreates the feel of the Crisis as it was happening.
JSA #32 – Upon rejoining the Justice Society, Power Girl undergoes a thorough physical by Dr. Mid-Nite, who reveals that Karen’s powers are definitely not magic-based, as she was told by her presumed-grandfather, Arion the Sorcerer.
Detective #775 – Six months after her supposed death (“Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive”), Sasha Bordeaux is discovered by Batman to now be an agent of the revived Checkmate. Bruce reveals to Sasha his deepest feelings, realizing how cold he has become. Not wanting to get that way again, he asks Sasha to return to him. Knowing his duty as Batman will preclude any kind of true relationship, Sasha chooses to leave him and return to Checkmate, stating, “Don’t try to find me.” The potential for Bruce to come back from the edge of his darkness is destroyed, leading to an even colder Batman in the coming months.
Superman #189 – While flying through Metropolis to thank Superman for inspiring her, Power Girl assists him in the capture of the elementally-powered villain, Mr. 104. To her surprise, 104’s Kryptonite affects her as well as Superman. Her intervention allows Superman to take out the criminal, but Karen is left with more questions about her origins and her connection to Krypton and Superman.
JSA #50 – While in the magical Gem World, Power Girl frees Arion’s spirit from imprisonment. In thanks, Arion confirms for Karen that she is not his granddaughter, apologizing for deceiving her on a promise to her mother. Arion says that her mother will need her help very soon. As Arion’s spirit leaves to confront Mordru, Power Girl is left more confused than ever. NOTE: Originally, Geoff Johns had envisioned a non-Kryptonian origin for Power Girl after freeing her from the 1986 Atlantean origin. Presumably, this “mother” Arion mentions would have been involved in this scuttled origin. This “mother needing Kara’s help” is never mentioned again.
Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1-3 – When a damaged artificial being from the far future attempts to repair itself, a Superman robot inadvertently kills Titans Donna Troy and Lilith Clay. This leads to the disbanding of both hero teams and the eventual forming of the new Outsiders and Teen Titans groupings. Donna Troy, however, is not truly deceased, having been spirited away by her former mentors, the Greek Titans of Myth, who are desperate for the help that only Donna can provide.
Flash #200 – Seeing his nephew, Wally West, despondent over the loss of his unborn twins, a time-traveling Barry Allen summons Hal Jordan, the Spectre. Since Wally’s heroic identity was public knowledge, he feels this is what caused the insane Professor Zoom to target Wally’s wife and kill their children. Hal then uses his near-infinte power as the Spectre to mind-wipe the entire planet of all knowledge of Wally and Barry’s secret identities as the Flash, including Wally!
Flash #205 – Batman investigates his and the Justice League’s sudden non-knowledge of the secret identity of their teammate the Flash. Batman revealing his own identity as Bruce Wayne triggers Wally’s full remembrance of his heroic legacy. After Wally tells him this was the doing of the Spectre, Batman is angered at Hal Jordan again “playing God”, as Hal attempted to do as Parallax during the Zero Hour Crisis. Mind-wiping is rearing its ugly head for the League…
Superman/Batman #1-6 – The story of Lex Luthor’s downfall from the U.S. Presidency contains many allusions to the coming Crisis, including a Superman seemingly from a future where Earth has been destroyed due to Superman’s actions. However, later storylines in this series seem to peg this Superman as the one from Alan Moore’s 1986 classic “Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?”, thus making him from another Earth, rather than a possible timeline. Also, Superman’s then-recent origin changes (seen in BIRTHRIGHT) are reflected here with Kal-el arriving on Earth as an infant, rather than the birthing matrix of 1986. Lastly, defeated but determined, a crazed Lex Luthor vows: “There will be a reckoning… a CRISIS…”
Hawkman #23 – The Justice Society travels to St. Roch, Louisiana, for Hawkman’s birthday. While partying on the street, Power Girl is convinced to get a palm reading. The reader reveals to Karen: “You were sent here, child… Ya still have much t’learn about who you are and where you’re from. Yet this is not something that weighs heavy upon your soul or mind. You concentratin’ on the here and now. Showing this planet that you deserve to exist. That you are important.”
Flash #207-209 – The Flash is confronted by his fellow Justice Leaguers about their sudden amnesia concerning his secret identity. Strangely enough, several inactive Leaguers are present also for the confrontation: Hawkman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Elongated Man, the Atom and Zatanna. Eventually, Wally reveals his identity to his heroic friends and allies and their stolen memories are returned. Again, Batman is perturbed by Hal Jordan’s mind-wiping.
JLA #94-99 – The members of the Justice League meet the Doom Patrol for the very first time! Rita Farr is alive and well, too. This is one of the first indications that reality has been altered by something or someone. The JLA have no previous memories of the Doom Patrol. As later revealed, the retcon punching power of Superboy Prime has changed the history of the Doom Patrol in the DC Universe.
Adventures of Superman #627-628 – Hints to parts of the coming Crisis are sprinkled including Lex Luthor, in hiding, hiring new villain Ruin to test Superman’s limits.
JSA #60-62 – Although trying to be the Spirit of Redemption, Hal Jordan is losing control of the blood-thirsty, wrathful Spectre. After consuming the Spirit King, the Spectre disappears. The JSA alerts Batman that the Spectre has once again embraced vengeance.
Superman: Secret Files and Origins 2004 – An ad hoc grouping of the Suicide Squad, including Captain Boomerang, attempts to kill Amanda Waller, who is saved by Superman. It is revealed that, behind the scenes, Maxwell Lord engineered this merely to get Sarge Steel out of the way. Max and his shadowy cohort are shown having the blueprints to the Brother Eye satellite. Pete Ross resigns as President of the United States, as manipulated by Max.
Teen Titans #15 – Ares lets Wonder Girl know that he definitely is not her father, but that he is teaching her new skills to prepare for an upcoming battle. After Cassie leaves him, Ares uses his mirror to look in on the sword-wielding warrior, Donna Troy!
Superman/Batman #8-13 – More Crisis-connections include the arrival of Kara Zor-El from Krypton in her first appearance in the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reality. The Monitor’s assistant, Harbinger, is killed on Themyscira by the Female Furies. Lyla has a vision of her death beforehand, and it is a visual reference to the death of the Earth-One Kara Zor-El in COIE. Later Crises are also evident when Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman go to Apokolips to retrieve Kara. The Demon Dogs which hunt Batman later appear in Final Crisis. Superman throws Darkseid into the Source Wall, where he will remain until Countdown to Final Crisis (May 2007). The new Supergirl mentions that she has a lot to talk about with Power Girl, who once thought she also was Superman’s cousin.
You can get a trade of the complete Superman/Batman #1-13, which you can just break up when you read it in Infinite Crisis order: Superman/Batman Vol. 1.
Batman #626-630 – While hallucinating on Fear Beast toxin, Batman is confronted by Jason Todd. Afterwards, Batman and Robin assume Jason’s appearance was merely part of the hallucinations, Alfred finds Jason’s mask in the Batmobile. Thus, Jason Todd has returned to life, later revealed to be due to the reality-punching powers of Superboy Prime.
Adventures of Superman #629-632 – Ruin continues to torment Superman. Also, Lois Lane is nearly-fatally shot. The later reveal of shooter and motive are very Crisis-connected.
JSA #63-66 – With the help of the Hourman from the 853rd Century, Rex Tyler is rescued from his impending death at the hands of Extant in the Zero Hour Crisis. Later in Kahdaq, time traveler Rip Hunter arrives to recruit Atom Smasher in order to help “the Justice Societies”.
Teen Titans #16 / Teen Titans-The Legion Special – Superboy returns from the future and recruits the Teen Titans to help the Legion in the 31st Century against the Fatal Five Hundred. The alternate reality villains are assailing the Legion who desperately need assistance. After defeating the villains, Brainiac 5 notes that “There’s some other force out there… something that’s pounding against reality.” This pounding casts the Legion adrift in Time/Space, while Legionnaire Shikari arrives seemingly on another Earth. The “pounding against reality” will be revealed to be Superboy Prime as he attempts to escape from the dimension that Alexander Luthor took him and the Superman and Lois Lane of Earth-Two to after the first Crisis retroactively erased them from continuity.
Teen Titans #17-19 – The Teen Titans land ten years into the future and meet their darker, more militaristic selves. They learn most of the older heroes died in a Crisis, and this caused the Titans to become this way. While hiding out in the Flash Museum of the future, portraits of Bart Allen’s greatest allies are seen, including Donna Troy! Cassie is confused since Bart barely knew Donna before she died. The younger heroes return to the present with the knowledge of an impending Crisis, as well knowing that their downfall happens because they break-up.
Manhunter #1-3 – Los Angeles District Attorney Kate Spencer dispenses justice as the new Manhunter. News of Copperhead’s murder spreads, and his frequent partner, The Shadow Thief, vows vengeance on this new Manhunter. He attacks the new Manhunter, Kate Spencer, almost killing her before he leaves to go join a grouping of other villains on an unknown mission.
Identity Crisis #1 – The Calculator, once a minor foe of the Justice League, has reinvented himself as an information broker for the villains community, much like Oracle is for the super-heroes. He gives information to Bolt, who wants to get his hands on a potentially valuable crate, which may contain guns or other weapons he can either use or sell (it actually contains one of Lex Luthor’s battle suits). The Elongated Man and Firehawk are staking out the scene while Ralph’s wife, Sue Dibny, prepares for his birthday celebration. Sue is surprised by someone and is killed. After her funeral, Ralph asks certain former members of the JLA to help him go get Dr. Light!
Flash #213 – Professor Zoom secretly escapes from Iron Heights (but still maintains the pretense of being incarcerated), as news of Sue Dibny’s murder spreads.
Identity Crisis #2 – The former Justice Leaguers with Ralph reveal a stunning secret to Wally West and Kyle Rayner: that years ago, Sue Dibny was attacked and raped by the villainous Dr. Light. The JLAers then present took a vote, and it was decided that Zatanna should, not only wipe Light’s mind of the incident, but that she would also attempt to “clean him up” a bit, i.e., “fix” him with a magical lobotomy. Meanwhile, many of the villains are holed up in the old Injustice Gang satellite, where Dr. Light appears, offering to pay for help against the JLA, who assume that he killed Sue as his memory returned. When the former JLAers, along with Kyle & Wally, find Light, he has procured the services of Deathstroke the Terminator.
Identity Crisis #3 – Deathstroke easily takes down the JLA in battle, during which Dr. Light truly does regain his memories of how Zatanna “fixed” him. After he and Slade leave, Superman finds his defeated colleagues, who keep mum on their true reasons for tracking down Light. Wally learns that the old JLA regularly used mind-wiping tactics on their foes who learned JLA secrets. Captain Boomerang watches his previously-unknown son, Owen Mercer. The Atom’s ex-wife, Jean Loring (whom he has been seeing again romantically), is seemingly attacked in her home!
Flash #214 – Recovering from his wounds in the battle with Deathstroke, Wally realizes that the non-current JLAers, who confronted him with the regular JLA when the Spectre mind-wiped the planet, had been there because of their own mind-wiping guilt. After Green Arrow admits to him that Dr. Light wasn’t the only one they tried to “fix”, Oliver hands Wally a letter from Barry, written before Barry’s death.
Identity Crisis #4 – The Atom saves his ex-wife Jean from an apparent hanging. The villains begin to hear rumours of the JLA mind-wiping their foes, and vow vengeance. Captain Boomerang meets his son Owen for the first time. Heroes begin to worry for their loved ones even more, and Lois Lane gets a threatening letter.
Flash #215 – Barry’s letter explains his reasoning for voting for the magical lobotomy of Dr. Light. He also details his attempt to reform the Top via Zatanna’s powers. However, it seemed to have a decidedly mixed effect on the Top. Wally decides to have Zatanna help him “fix” the Top’s mind again.
Identity Crisis #5 – While various groupings of past and present JLAers, JSAers, Outsiders and Titans confront and attack different villains in hopes of finding out who is threatening their loved ones, the Shadow Thief uses the magical sword of the Shining Knight to kill Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond). Dr. Mid-Nite begins his autopsy of Sue Dibny’s corpse. Owen Mercer discovers his own latent super-speed, while his father, Captain Boomerang, is hired to kill someone. Robin’s father, Jack Drake, receives a package with a letter warning him to protect himself with the gun inside. Jack is the person that Boomerang was hired to murder, and both men end up killing each other.
Manhunter #4 – Kate Spencer learns that the Shadow Thief just murdered Firestorm.
Firestorm #1-6 – After Ronnie Raymond is killed, the Firestorm matrix bonds with teen Jason Rusch. He later meets Batman and the Martian Manhunter at the JLA Watchtower. They warn him to use his powers compassionately, not for selfish reasons.
Flash #216 – Wally learns that the Top attempted his own mind-wiping of certain fellow Rogues after Zatanna returns the Top’s mind to its original state.
JSA #67 – The JSA watch out for their loved ones while searching for the person behind the threats. Power Girl reveals to Superman her despondency over not knowing who she really is, especially with the revelation that Supergirl is his true cousin. Dr. Mid-Nite realizes who killed Sue Dibny. In 1951, Per Degaton watches over the Atom and Johnny Thunder after the disbanding of the JSA.
Identity Crisis #6 – The Rogues learn of Owen Mercer, who becomes the new Captain Boomerang in the wake of his father’s death. When Wally confronts Green Arrow about a discrepancy in the related events of Sue’s rape and the lobotomy of Dr. Light, Oliver reveals the hidden, even darker secret: Batman arrived on the satellite as the magical lobotomy was taking place and attempted to stop the process. Zatanna froze him with a spell, and the majority of JLAers present voted to have her wipe away that memory from Bruce’s mind. Batman had his memories stolen from him! Meanwhile, just as Dr. Mid-Nite discovers tiny footprints on Sue’s brain, Batman realizes who Sue’s murderer actually is. He telepathically calls for the Martian Manhunter to find the Atom immediately!
Identity Crisis #7 – Jean Loring is exposed as Sue’s killer, and she is remanded to Arkham Asylum for treatment for her insanity. Her actions (killing Sue, hiring Boomerang, threatening Lois) were part of her deranged plan to secure Ray Palmer’s love and concern for her. The Atom, in his despair, later shrinks down and disappears into the Microverse. It appears that Batman has regained his memories of what the Justice League did to his mind.
Robin #132, Batgirl #58, Robin #133, Batgirl #59 – “Fresh Blood” – In the wake of IDENTITY CRISIS and “War Games” (and the funerals of Jake Drake and Stephanie Brown), both Robin and Batgirl move to Bludhaven. However, the Penguin has also set up shop there, dealing high-tech arms, and is angered by the teen heroes’ presence in his new city.
Manhunter #5 – Several current and past Justice Leaguers visit Kate Spencer to discuss Firestorm’s killer, the Shadow Thief, whom Kate intends to prosecute when he is apprehended. Later, the Shadow Thief ambushes Manhunter, who defeats him with the help of the JLA.
Wonder Woman #206-207 – Circe plots with Medousa to destroy Diana, and then enlist Veronica Cale into their plans. Dr. Psycho lets Diana know he was freed by Circe, and then he escapes (presumably now to join the Society).
Outsiders #20 – The Outsiders are attacked by Shrapnel in their own headquarters. Note: This appears here due to Shrapnel mentioning he has another job in Los Angeles to complete (in Manhunter #6).
Manhunter #6 – Fearing what secrets the incarcerated Shadow Thief might give up concerning the super-villain community, the Calculator sends Shrapnel to kill the Shadow Thief. After the new Manhunter defeats Shrapnel, the Calculator is told (by rest of the Society in the shadows) that Shrapnel is needed elsewhere, and to find someone else to take care of the Shadow Thief. Calculator then calls up Phobia. Note: Wonder Woman has her sight here in the JLA satellite, so this issue happens before Wonder Woman #210.
Wonder Woman #208-211 – President Horne seeks a treaty with Themyscira, but Artemis and Phillipus refuse to break neutrality. In order to defeat Medousa, Diana blinds herself with Medousa’s serpents’ venom. At Iron Heights prison, the Cheetah arrives to break Zoom out of jail (#211). Note: This must occur before Flash #217.
Flash #217 – The Rogues hold a wake for Captain Boomerang at Avernus, the secret burial ground for super-villains. At Iron Heights, the Cheetah discovers that Zoom is not truly in captivity, and she asks for his help. Owen Mercer officially joins the Rogues. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the Trickster, now an FBI agent, tells Pied Piper that the agency wants the Rogues taken down, and that they will use the deceased Captain Boomerang to accomplish it! Note: Although the Society is not mentioned, Cheetah is working on their behalf to recruit Zoom to their cause.
Flash #218 – Heat Wave thinks over his origin, as he wonders if the JLA’s mind-wiping made him turn law-abiding. The Rogues are continuing to divide into opposing camps.
JSA #68-72 – The JSA travels back to 1951 in order to help the Justice Society of that era defeat the schemes of Per Degaton. The villain speaks of how malleable Time has become. Black Adam accepts his invitation from the Society (#70). On the JSA’s way back to the present, Rip Hunter says they’ve hit a time storm at the year 1985, and Power Girl is greatly affected, briefly manifesting alternate versions of herself (#72). Note: JSA #70 is the first appearance of the Society in print. It precedes others because of Black Adam’s new membership in the Society.
Wonder Woman #212-213 – Diana has the Justice League test her battle readiness and combat ability in her new blindness. She ten defeats Zeus’ protector, and Athena becomes the new Lord of Olympus. Veronica Cale and Circe are seen in a meeting with President Horne, while the Amazons are shown readying themselves against the US ships which are in the waters off the shores of Themyscira. The Cheetah and Zoom are seen kissing.
Adventures Of Superman #633-635 – As Lois Lane continues to recover from her shooting, Superman is assailed by Ruin and the new Parasites, as well as annoyed by Mr. Myxyzptlk.
Adventures Of Superman #636 – Although blind, Wonder Woman is able to deflect machine gun fire, as she gathers Batman for a conference that Superman has called. After Superman tells his allies about Ruin’s schemes to destroy all that he loves, comparing him to Dr. Light, Diana finally learns of the JLA’s mind-wiping of Dr. Light. She then proclaims that monsters like Light and Ruin should be slain instead of letting them live to create more atrocities.
Robin #135 – The Pengiun attends a video conference meeting of the Society, where he is charged with weapons acquisitions. One unseen member wonders when their “retribution” will start against the super-heroes, and Deathstroke asks for a list to be given to him so that they can begin ceasing to exist. Luthor, however, nixes this plan for the moment, stating that the Society needs to finish consolidating its power.
Batgirl #60-62 – At the request of the Society, the Penguin hires the Brotherhood of Evil to kill Batgirl, but she eventually defeats them.
Flash #219, Wonder Woman #214 – Diana and Wally team up to battle the new duo of the Cheetah and Zoom, who have been increasing Cheetah’s speed to super-human levels. The villains are defeated, but escape, and Cheetah takes Zoom to meet Doctor Psycho, who greets Zoom into the Society.
Wonder Woman #215-217 – Accompanied by Wonder Girl and Ferdinand, Diana goes to Tartarus on Athena’s request to retrieve Hermes and bring him back to the world of the living. After her success in this task, one of the rewards Athena bestows is the return of Diana’s sight. Also, Wonder Girl discovers that her true father is, in fact, Zeus himself.
Teen Titans #20-23 – In retaliation for the Justice League tampering with his mind, Dr. Light vows to get his revenge by kidnapping Green Arrow and luring the Teen Titans to him in hopes of destroying them, thus devastating the League. However, many former Titans return to help the current team, and Dr. Light is defeated. Batman and Batgirl arrive to take Light into custody, but they are later revealed to truly be Deathstroke and his daughter, the Ravager, recruiting Dr. Light for the Society.
Action Comics #820-825 – Superman is assailed by the triple-threat returns of Doomsday, Preus, and Gog. After defeating Preus and Doomsday, Superman finds the dead body of Gog. However, Superman has little time to ponder this mystery as future versions of Gog and Doomsday appear before him, thanking him for saving them from themselves. As they vanish back into the Timestream, Gog cryptically adds, “But the future lies unwritten now. You have changed its course… But danger remains… A great Crisis…”
Manhunter #7-10 – As Kate Spencer continues her prosecution of the Shadow Thief for the death of Firestorm, as Manhunter she has to deal with the threat of the deadly assassin, Cheshire, who is trying to either free or kill the Shadow Thief. After Cheshire fails, the Society has Merlyn, the Monacle, and Phobia try their own attempt to kill him before the Shadow Thief decides to take a deal and reveal what he knows about the Society. Manhunter and Firehawk defeat the assassins, while Shadow Thief remains in custody but comatose.
Superman/Batman #14-18 – Reality twists and bends when the Legion of Super-Villains from the 31st Century go back in Time, changing the lives of Superman and Batman completely by inserting themselves into the heroes’ young lives and raising the two boys as their “children.” Clark and Bruce eventually realize their true selves but endure different alternate realities in their quest to return to their true lives. Eventually, the Adult Legion of Super-Heroes arrive to take the Super-Villains into custody and back to the 31st Century, as well as sending Superman and Batman back to their correct reality. However, on their trip home, both heroes experience images of “things that may have been or never were,” including a scene of Superman holding the dead Kara Zor-El in his arms (from Crisis On Infinite Earths). Additionally, the older Superman who had previously encountered them discovers that he has succeeded in changing the timeline, as he is reunited with his wife, Lois Lane, and their son. This sequence would indicate that this Superman is the Earth-One Superman from the classic 1986 story, “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?,” which ended the history of the Earth-One Superman before the continuity changes wrought by the Crisis wiped him away.
Birds Of Prey #80 – Barbara Gordon uses cyber-technology, which she’s been infected with by the Brainiac-13 virus, to find damning information on corrupt Metropolis police for Black Canary. As Oracle finds answers using Lexcorp satellites, she is suddenly confronted in cyberspace by the image of a gigantic eye which speaks of her as an unauthorized hybrid who is not authorized to access these files. The eye entity promptly Barbara’s connection to the information. (This is the very first published appearance of Brother Eye).
Adventures Of Superman #637, 638, 640 – While dealing with the continuing threat of Ruin, Superman is visited by Mr. Mxyzptlk, who warns Clark and Lois that dark times are ahead for them, foreshadowing the looming Crisis. Later, Ruin is captured and appears to truly be President Pete Ross.
Superman/Batman #19 (Reprinted as Supergirl #0) – As Kara is settling into her new life on Earth, she is assaulted by Clayface, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Supergirl defeats all three, but it is revealed that the Society’s Calculator arranged the assault per arrangement with an armor-suited Lex Luthor. Lex is shown to have multiple forms of Kryptonite on his armor’s gauntlet, inferring that he is the one who received the Kryptonite from the Red Hood.
Batman #635-638 – Kord Industries is bought out from under Bruce Wayne’s nose while Batman is dealing with a new vigilante in Gotham City, the Red Hood, who is a ruthless killer. Nightwing assists Batman in investigating the break-in at a Kord warehouse in Gotham, where they encounter and defeat an Amazo robot. Afterwards, they discover that what was stolen from the warehouse was 100 pounds of Kryptonite which landed on Earth with Supergirl’s recent arrival on the planet. The Kryptonite was stolen by the Red Hood, who is revealed to be once-very dead Jason Todd.
Breach #3 – At a meeting of the Society, Talia al Ghul’s Kobra minions reveal their failure to capture the new quantum-powered being known as Breach. Luthor agrees with Talia that power such as Breach’s could help their ultimate goal.
Superman/Batman #20-25 – The quantum-powered hero, Captain Atom, believed to have died trying to save the world from the asteroid bringing Kara Zor-El (and a whole lot of Kryptonite!) to Earth, suddenly reappears in Tokyo, possessed by a Kryptonite-powered energy being. Superman and Batman contain the energy entity as Captain Atom seems to vanish from reality. After the energy being is taken to Wayne Tech in Gotham City for study, the Atomic Skull accepts an assignment from the Society to retrieve this being who had been bonded with Captain Atom. Soon, Batman and Superman are sent on another trip through various realities and continuities, before it is revealed to all have been due to the machinations of the Joker, who had still possessed some of the reality-altering power given to him by Mr. Mxyzptlk (during the Emperor Joker storyline of 2000). Mxy takes back his power and reality seemingly reasserts itself correctly.
Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6 – The legendary Hal Jordan is freed not only from his bond with the Spectre but all from the parasitic influence of the yellow entity known as Parallax, which caused Hal to turn against the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps. Exonerated and returned to life, Hal once again takes his place as Green Lantern, as the Guardians dedicate themselves to rebuilding their once-mighty Corps. The Spectre, however, is now without a human host to temper its immense power.
You can also read this entire miniseries in trade: Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Adventures Of Superman #637, 638, 640 – After many attacks, Superman finally unmasks Ruin, who appears to be United States President, Pete Ross! Also, another visit from Mxyzptlk has him again warning Clark and Lois about a looming Crisis and that their love may be the only thing that can overcome it.
Adam Strange: Planet Heist #1-8 – Interplanetary adventurer, Adam Strange, discovers that his adopted home planet of Rann has been seemingly destroyed. In time, through the help of the Omega Men and Vril Dox, Adam finds that his father-in-law, Saradath, had Zeta-Beamed Rann into a “dead parallel Universe” in order to escape what Rannians considered to be the End of the Universe: the coming of Starbreaker. The cosmic vampire, who had previously been defeated twice by Earth’s Justice League, was now a source of worship for Thanagarian Death Cultists. Starbreaker would use the new Omega Beam to convert all matter into the Universe into energy which he would then consume. Sardath manages to transport Rann back into its own Universe, trapping Starbreaker in the dead Universe,but not before the Omega Beam is tampered with, causing Rann to materialize in the Polaris star system. This disruption in the solar system seems to cause Thanagar to begin to drift towards its sun due to the new imbalance caused by Rann’s mass. Adam Strange rallies his allies to help save the Thanagarian people from this disaster.
Action Comics #826, Adventures Of Superman #639, Superman #216 – The ancient Wizard, Shazam, dispatches his champion, Captain Marvel, to free Superman from the clutches of the evil god of rage, Eclipso. In order to help Captain Marvel succeed, Shazam calls upon the Spectre to assist them in trapping Eclipso once more inside the black diamond which is his prison. The Spectre is now without a human host to temper its mission of vengeance with “the comprehension of compassion that can only come from living beings.” After Superman is freed from Eclipso’s domination, the black diamond mysteriously disappears. No one involved knows who has taken the diamond, nor do they know where it has been taken. The unknown thief takes the black diamond to Arkham Asylum, where the insane murderess, Jean Loring, is being incarcerated.
Countdown To Infinite Crisis – The Blue Beetle uncovers a mystery involving a new incarnation of the government agency, Checkmate. Ted’s journey reveals many different aspects of crisis arising throughout the DCU. Despite his efforts, Ted is killed by the Black King of Checkmate, former Justice League associate, Maxwell Lord.
The OMAC Project #1 – Maxwell Lord has taken control of Batman’s spy satellite, Brother Eye, which Batman created to monitor all metahumans, Bruce Wayne’s former bodyguard, Sasha Bordeaux, who is the Black King’s Knight, sneaks a message to Bruce about the Blue Beetle’s death.
Superman #217 – While trying to save a South American village, Superman is attacked by an OMAC centurion, causing the village to be decimated.
Day Of Vengeance #1 – The Spectre, now host-less without Hal Jordan, teams up with the new Eclipso, Jean Loring, in an attempt to destroy all evil, which Eclipso has convinced the Spectre is caused by magic. The wizard, Shazam, sends his champion, Captain Marvel, to stop the Spectre’s mad rampage.
JSA #73-75 – Captain Marvel and his Justice Society associates battle the Spectre and Eclipso in Kahndaq. The Spectre has also banished Hector Hall (Dr. Fate) and his wife, Lyta (Fury), to an icy realm.
Birds Of Prey #81-85 – Booster Gold asks Oracle to help him find the missing Blue Beetle. As she tries, Barbara again gains the notice of Brother Eye as she hijacks twelve secret satellites of Luthor’s.
Batman #639-641 – Batman visits Green Arrow, Zatanna, and Superman in order to understand how Jason Todd could possibly be alive once more. After a confrontation with the Red Hood, DNA evidence proves that he is, indeed, a living Jason Todd.
Blood Of The Demon #6-7 – The Spectre and Eclipso torment Etrigan.
Action Comics #832 – The Spectre sets his sights on Lord Satanus in Metropolis. Note: Although published in October 2005, this issue actually reflects earlier events when the Spectre was on his rampage, eliminating magic throughout the DCU.
Action Comics #827-828 – After Superman defeats the delusional Dr. Polaris, Black Adam and Dr. Psycho arrive to take Polaris to join the Society.
Villains United #1 – The six ruling members of the Society (Lex Luthor, Talia, Deathstroke, Black Adam, Dr. Psycho, and the Calculator) are shown recruiting various villains to help them strike back at the Justice League for their psychic lobotomy of Dr. Light. A group of dissenters are gathered by a mysterious unseen figure called Mockingbird, who sends this new Secret Six on missions to stymie the Society.
Though these issues are broken up in the reading order, you can still get a trade paperback of these issues: Villains United (Countdown to Infinite Crisis).
Batman: Gotham Knights #66 – Talia and Deathstroke have Hush captured and force him to use his medical skills to save the life of injured villain, Prometheus. The Society wants to obtain Prometheus’ key which can unlock time and space, opening the doorway to other dimensions. Prometheus has hidden the key and the Society want to know where it is. Even after his life is saved, Prometheus remains comatose, with the location
of the key a secret to the Society. However, it is shown that the key is discovered in the museum at the New York City headquarters of the Justice Society of America by Ma Hunkel.
Villains United #2-3 – The Society captures and tortures the Secret Six in an attempt to use them as an example to any othe villains who would refuse Society membership. However, the Six eventually escape and are even more dedicated to bringing down the Society.
Breach #7-8 – Luthor and Talia observe the latest creation of H.I.V.E.: an enhanced Kobra minion, whose mission is to capture Breach so that the Society may use his quantum powers for their secret goals. With the aid of Superman, Breach defeats and destroys the Kobra warrior. While Talia is furious, Luthor is pleased with the information the battle gave them, “Data we will need for the coming Crisis.”
Green Arrow #52 – While using the Watchtower’s computers to help him discover who bombed his home, Green Arrow has another minor confrontation with Batman, who clearly remembers how the JLA stole his memories when he tried to stop them from mind-altering Dr. Light. Green Arrow is worried for his family, especially after Sue Dibney’s death. He has Zatanna keep an eye on Speedy, who quickly discovers her follower. Green Arrow asks for and receives Black Lightning’s help in tracking down Dr. Light, whom Oliver suspects is behind the attacks on his home and family.
Superman #218 – While using his heat vision to defeat the new Black Rock, Superman almost becomes a danger to the citizens of Metropolis.
Adventures Of Superman #641 – An OMAC centurion kills one of the two new Parasites before escaping Superman. A shadowy figure watching Superman on a video screen states that the time has almost come to begin the final phase of his plan.
The OMAC Project #2-3 – At the JLA Watchtower, Batman discloses to Superman, Wonder Woman, and Booster Gold that he has proof of Blue Beetle’s death. Booster and Diana leave to find Batman’s rogue satellite, Brother Eye, and they are confronted by Guy Gardner, who has learned of Ted Kord’s death. Guy convinces Booster to leave with him and go round up the rest of the former Justice League International, in order to track down Ted’s killers. Batman finds Sasha Bordeaux and is almost killed by a unit of OMAC centurions, but is saved at the last minute by Superman. Max Lord has the other ruling members of Checkmate assassinated, using his metahuman ability to control minds. He is unable to control the traitorous Sasha, whom he has thrown into captivity. Max tells Brother Eye that his final plan is about to commence, as he telepathically talks to Superman in the guise of Superman’s adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, revealing that he is in complete control of Superman.
Wonder Woman #218 – Diana discovers that one of her Embassy staff, Jonah, is secretly a mole for Checkmate. Jonah escapes from Ferdinand, injuring the bull-man in the process. Also, Wonder Girl discusses with Superboy her feelings about discovering that Zeus is her father.
Outsiders #21-23 – Deathstroke is revealed to have been masquerading as Batman, acting as Arsenal’s secret contact, feeding Roy the information on which criminals to go after. The Outsiders then discover their headquarters has been breached, their computers tampered with, all seemingly due to a traitor in their midst. Arsenal believes it to be Shift and has him contained.
Teen Titans #24, Outsiders #24, Teen Titans #25, Outsiders #25 – “The Insiders” crossover reveals that Superboy’s human DNA donor, Lex Luthor, has encoded programming into Conner’s psyche, allowing Luthor to control Superboy and send him against the Titans. At the same time, Indigo unveils her true identity as the future incarnation of Brainiac – Brainiac 8.0 – who was sent to the past to kill Donna Troy, who was one day fated to bring about revolution on Brainiac’s homeworld of Colu. Outed to the Outsiders, Indigo joins the present day Brainiac and Luthor to destroy the two teams of heroes. Facing defeat, Luthor and the present day Brainiac escape, while Indigo’s good side temporarily takes over, pleading with Shift to take her life, which he does. Afterwards, Nightwing announces that he is through with the Outsiders, still feeling the pain of losing his friends Lilith and Donna. However, far from Earth, Donna Troy is shown on New Cronus, alive once more!
Teen Titans #26 – “The Insiders” Aftermath – Superboy has secluded himself on the Kent farm near Smallville, worried that his programming from Luthor will cause him to betray his friends again. Raven arrives to show him that he indeed has a soul and is in control of his own destiny. She reminds him that in their trip to ten years in the future, the Titans learned that their breaking apart before the upcoming Crisis is what leads to them becoming so dark and twisted in the future. Raven gives him a Titans communicator before she leaves urging Conner not to give up on his friends or himself.
Day Of Vengeance #2-4 – Enchantress learns how Eclipso was able to seduce the host-less Spectre, as the remaining magical heroes mount an attack against the rampaging spirit. The heroes nearly succeed, but the Spectre eventually prevails, despite needing to retreat with Eclipso to regain his energies.
Manhunter #11-14 – The activation of Mark Shaw’s Manhunter technology causes Shaw, Manhunter Kate Spencer, and Cameron Chase to be assaulted by an OMAC centurion. After Shaw destroys the device embedded in his neck, the OMAC leaves.
Batgirl #63-64 – Deathstroke and Ravager attack Batgirl in Bludhaven on behalf of the Society. Batgirl manages to wound Ravager, causing Deathstroke to take his daughter to medical help, but vowing revenge on Batgirl.
Nightwing #107-115 – The Society uses Black Mask’s criminal organization to increase its presence in Bludhaven. Nightwing goes undercover as a member of the mob and also as a rogue super-hero, attempting to convince Deathstroke that he has turned his back on Batman and the rest of the heroes. Deathstroke and a recovered Ravager see through his ruse, but a truce is made, with Deathstroke agreeing that Bludhaven is off-limits to the Secret Society.
JSA Classified #1 – Power Girl’s true origin begins to emerge as she is confronted by conflicting versions of her past. Dr. Mid-Nite notes Karen’s recent power fluxes are not mystical in nature, negating her supposed Atlantean origin.
JSA #76 – As the Society watches Atom-Smasher’s trial on television, the Calculator interrupts with news which eclipses what the Justice League did to Dr. Light’s mind. Somehow, Calculator has discovered that Batman also had his memories erased by his own teammates. At Justice Society headquarters, Metamorpho and Fire arrive to tell their former Justice League International teammate, Power Girl, about the Blue Beetle’s death. Meanwhile, other members of the JSA are attacked by an OMAC outside of the courthouse where Atom-Smasher is being tried. The OMAC has counter measures for the JSA and is defeating them until Atom-Smasher intervenes and stops it. Later, in his cell, Atom-Smasher is approached by Amanda Waller with an offer to become a member of her Task Force X. Note: Hawkman makes an allusion to the JLA’s mind-wiping of Dr. Light while discussing Atom-Smasher’s fate with his JSA teammates.
Supergirl #1-5 – Kara Zor-El meets and teams up with many hero teams, including the Justice Society, which goes awry when Power Girl loses control of her powers around Supergirl. Mt. Terrific concludes that Supergirl and Power Girl are “like the same person trying to occupy a single space.” Calculator is spying on Supergirl on orders from Luthor, who is wearing his battle armor, waiting for the right time to confront Kara. After meeting the Teen Titans and training with the Outsiders, Supergirl is assaulted by Luthor, who uses Black Kryptonite on her, causing a dark duplicate of herself to form. With help from the JLA, Supergirl is restored to her true self, but still left with questions about her own past.
Outsiders #28 – Having helped the Outsiders train Supergirl, Nightwing finally makes good on his desire to leave the team (after a final romantic encounter with Starfire). Jade and Arsenal destroy the Outsiders’ headquarters, which had been breached time and again, and vow to make the team even stronger.
Superman #219, Action #829, Adventures Of Superman #642, Wonder Woman #219, The OMAC Project #4, Wonder Woman #220, Adventures Of Superman #643 – “Sacrifice” – Max Lord takes control of Superman, causing him to hallucinate various scenarios, leading him to attack and severely wound Batman. Wonder Woman attempts to subdue Superman. As their battle takes them to Checkmate headquarters, Diana uses her golden lasso on Max, who tells her that his power over Superman is unbreakable, and that the only way to free her friend is to kill Max, so she does, by breaking Max’s neck.
Both Superman and Batman are horrified by the lengths that Diana went in order to defeat Max, but their concerns are over-ridden by various calamities set in motion by Brother Eye upon Max’s death.
Firestorm #14-16 – The Society causes the creation of a new energy-powered villain, the Pionic Man, in order to capture Firestorm. After that fails, Amazo is successful in obtaining Firestorm for the Society.
Villains United #4 – The Society has Firestorm powering their machine which will supposedly leave all of the heroes mind-wiped. The Secret Six destroy the machine and Firestorm is freed.
Firestorm #17 – Firestorm’s view of his captivity by the Society and his escape are detailed.
Superman #220 – The Eradicator returns, intent on killing Superman and Superboy, but is, instead, neutralized by an OMAC centurion.
Flash #1/2, Flash #220-225 – During the Rogue War, Flash is helped again by Barry Allen. After the war ends, most of the Rogues go with Weather Wizard to continue working with the Society. Owen Mercer becomes the new Captain Boomerang to honor his dead father. It is also learned that Owen is Bart Allen’s half-brother due to time-traveling Captain Boomerang and Meloni Thawne.
Hawkman #34-45 – While Hawkman and Hawgirl battle a group of their own villains teamed up against them, several things occur which point to instability in the timeline and reality. Golden Eagle was killed during the Titans Hunt of a few years earlier, but some mysterious force returns him to life. He assumes it is because of the Nth metal (however, it could also be because of the reality-altering punches of Superboy-Prime). The Golden Eagle’s memories have the teen hero, Bumblebee, being male instead of female. Golden Eagle also remembers Hawkwoman wearing a version of her costume as seen only in the Elseworlds story, JLA: The Nail. Hawkgirl herself has memories of her previous lives, not only as the Golden Age Hawkgirl, Shiera Sanders, but also as the Silver Age Hawkgirl, Shayera Thal, who was erased from continuity soon after the Crisis On Infinite Earths.
Batman #645 – While examining Jason Todd’s empty coffin after having it exhumed, Batman recalls his time with Jason. Finally, analysis proves that there was never any body in Jason’s coffin, creating even more mystery surrounding Jason’s return to life.
Superman #221, Action #830-831 – Black Adam, Zoom, and Dr. Psycho recruit Bizarro to the ranks of the Society.
The OMAC Project #6 – Sasha Bordeaux is taken over by a sleeper form of the OMAC virus as an backup plan by Brother Eye. Sasha manages to free herself from the satellite’s control, but she is left partially infected with the OMAC virus. Batman and a large group of heroes manage to free most of the humans taken over as OMACs but about 200,000 remain at large. In retaliation for this setback, Brother Eye releases video footage all across the Earth of Wonder Woman’s killing of Max Lord.
Wonder Woman #221 – Brother Eye’s “Vengeance” protocol has OMACs attacking Diana at her embassy. After she defeats the centurions, Diana is shocked to see the video footage of her killing Maxwell Lord as it is across the Earth for everyone to see.
Superman #222 – Brother Eye’s “Elimination” protocol has targeted Lois Lane, the wife of Superman, but she is finally rescued by her husband. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has sent new Society recruit, Bizarro, to retrieve the Black Rock gem from the Sun.
Firestorm #18 – While Firestorm is undergoing tests at S.T.A.R. Labs, Brother Eye activates an OMAC there to capture the nuclear-powered hero but is unsuccessful.
Batgirl #66 – Batgirl’s encounter with an unruly metahuman biker attracts the attention of an OMAC, which defeats the biker but loses track of Batgirl.
Villains United #5-6 – Luthor has sent Sinestro into outer space to capture former L.E.G.I.O.N. member, LAdy Quark, for mysterious reasons. The Fearsome Five return with their own target for Luthor: the mysterious entity known as Pariah. Luthor says that he’s heard that Pariah only appears when a world’s destruction is imminent, and Pariah (or Luthor?) has a memory of Pariah arriving at the onset of the destruction of Earth-Three in the Crisis On Infinite Earths. Pariah warns Luthor that he will not survive this oncoming new Crisis.
While Deathstroke leads a large detachment of Society members against the Secret Six, Luthor interrogates Pariah, who states, “There are other worlds, other possibilities. And… there is another Luthor.” Lex reveals he already knows the other Luthor is secretly Mockingbird and leading the Secret Six against the Society. This other Luthor is shown putting on his battle suit, determined to overcome his doppelgänger and make him pay for taking his place.
Batman #646-647 – Black Mask has Deathstroke bring in the Society to kill the Red Hood, who is disrupting Black Mask’s business. However, the team of Batman and Red Hood are able to defeat the Society.
DC Special: The Return Of Donna Troy #1-4 – A grouping of Teen Titans and Outsiders travel to New Cronus to rescue their believed-dead teammate, Donna Troy, who is under the thrall of the Titans of Myth. It is revealed that the Titans of Myth secreted Donna away to their planet after it appeared that Donna had been killed. Donna escapes their dominion and learns that they needed her help to escape this plane of existence. They had foreseen the Universe ending and sought escape using Donna, who was uniquely attuned to the previous Multiverse. After banishing the Titans of Myth to their previous prison of Tartarus, Donna Troy learns her true history, as a child of the Multiverse, having lived lives on various Earths, including Earth-One, where she was adopted by Hippolyta as a toddler. She suddenly recalls the previous continuity and the friends who no longer existed. Receiving the History Of The Universe Orb which belonged to Harbinger in her work for the Monitor in combating the Crisis, Donna sees the creation of the Multiverse, the Crisis On Infinite Earths, and the present, as well the future, where she sees why the Titans of Myth sought to escape this Universe:
“I see old friends returning, but also death. I see the end of everything, coming far too quickly. And it is terrible. This is too much — too big! I need help!”
Catwoman #44-49 – The Society targets the East End of Gotham City to extend their power base. Note: The Epilogue with Zatanna needs to be read with Catwoman #50 below, not here.
JLA #115-119 – “Crisis Of Conscience” has the JLA dealing with the old Secret Society of Super-Villains, who have had their memories returned due to Despero’s powers. After the JLA defeats the villains, Zatanna chooses to use her powers once again to make them forget the heroes’ secret identities. The Epilogue with J’onn J’onzz leads right into Infinite Crisis #1, as a mysterious figure incapacitates J’onn and causes the Watchtower to explode.
Adventures Of Superman #644 – After the events of “Crisis Of Conscience,” Superman has Zatanna help him with the Toyman. Meanwhile, the battle-suited Lex Luthor finds and obtains the new female Parasite.
Catwoman #50-51 – Catwoman confronts Zatanna after realizing that Zatanna had used her powers to nudge Selina away from a life of crime.
JSA Classified #5-7 – Yes, in-between #1 and #2. The Wizard, on the run after the events of “Crisis Of Conscience,” rallies former members of his Injustice Society to retrieve Prometheus’ key from JSA headquarters in order to bring Johnny Sorrow back to the physical plane of existence.
Hawkman #46 – After receiving Dr. Mid-Nite’s help in freeing one of their police colleagues from the OMAC nanobytes, Hawkman and Hawkgirl open a mysterious package from which bursts a phoenix, leading into…
Rann-Thanagar War #1-6 – Adam Strange recruits the Hawks to help him bring peace about between the planets, Rann and Thanagar, whose war is bringing allies from all over the Universe into conflict with each other. After much of the fighting is over, the allied heroes are shocked when a cosmic anomaly appears space, which Sardath proclaims “is rupturing the fabric of Space-Time!”
You can also read this entire miniseries in trade: The Rann-Thanagar War (Countdown to Infinite Crisis).
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1-5 – As the Green Lantern Corps is being rebuilt, the Guardians of the Universe declare that the Time-Space rift in the Polaris system needs immediate investigation. They all agree that Kyle Rayner’s destiny lies there.
Teen Titans / Outsiders: Secret Files and Origins 2005 – Having foreseen the cosmic devastation threatening the Universe, Donna Troy begins her travel to Earth on her mobile planet, New Cronus. On her journey, Donna uses her orb to view her Titans/Outsiders comrades, who combat a new Wildebeest, who was part of an experiment using OMAC technology.
JSA #77 – Donna Troy arrives near Earth, recruiting Air Wave and Alan Scott to her mission in space to stop the cosmic anomaly. Meanwhile, Hector Hall awakes elsewhere, wondering where the Spectre has sent him and his wife.
JSA Classified #2-3 – Despondent over the arrival of Supergirl precluding any hope Karen might have had about being Superman’s cousin, Power Girl is again assaulted by various beings representing her multiple conflicting possible origins. It is revealed to be the work of the Psycho Pirate on behalf of the Society. The Pirate tells Power Girl, “Worlds lived, worlds died… but you survived!,” alluding to the now-forgotten true scope of the Crisis On Infinite Earths.
Adventures Of Superman #645 – OMAC centurions begin amassing over several large cities, including Metropolis, as the footage of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord continues to cause ordinary citizens to question their so-called heroes. The battle-suited Lex Luthor is having intense headaches as he continues to secretly direct the Secret Six. Lex later taunts Superman, and they are interrupted by Ruin, who attacks Superman but teleports to safety once more. Superman then learns of the explosion at the Justice League’s Watchtower on the Moon.
JLA #120-123 – Members of the Justice League, past and present, have an ad hoc memorial for the team, which is now seemingly irrevocably torn apart. Batman is making plans to go investigate the explosion at the Watchtower on the Moon. League villain, the Key, begins a new nefarious plan in Gotham City, as Donna Troy arrives and recruits Red Tornado and Supergirl for her space mission.
JSA #78-80 – As the Justice Society retrieves JJ Thunder from the Thunderbolt dimension, the raging battle spills over to other realities, including those of Justice League: The Nail and Kingdom Come. Lyta Hall is shown being granted refuge for herself and her husband, Hector, in the realm of Dream, whose essence is in the body of their son, Daniel. Mordru briefly escapes imprisonment from the Tower of Fate, but is then recaptured by the now host-less Dr. Fate. The Spectre begins his assault on the Rock of Eternity.
Day Of Vengeance #5-6 – The magical heroes, now called the Shadowpact, attempt to stop the Spectre’s final siege against magic. Nightshade succeeds in teleporting Eclipso into a permanent orbit around the Sun, negating her powers. The Spectre finally destroys the wizard, Shazam, causing the Rock of Eternity to materialize over Gotham City and exploding.
Infinite Crisis #1 – “… where every villain is united, the forces of magic remain unchecked, inhuman sentries watch over the populace, and galactic conflict runs rampant. Meanwhile, the world’s greatest heroes – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman – are divided over irreconcilable differences. The INFINITE CRISIS has begun!” While the Trinity bicker amongst themselves (and battle Mongul) in the wreckage of the Watchtower on the Moon, Donna Troy and Starfire say goodbye to Nightwing, who notices the OMACs gathering over Bludhaven. Gotham City deals with the fallout of the Rock of Eternity. The Freedom Fighters are ambushed by the Society and most are seemingly killed except for the Ray, who is taken by the Psycho Pirate, who says, “Luthor needs you alive.” Meanwhile, the four survivors of the Crisis On Infinite Earths – Superman and Lois Lane of Earth-Two, Superboy from Earth-Prime, and Alexander Luthor from Earth-Three – escape from the paradise dimension in which they’ve dwelled since the original Crisis ended.
Gotham Central #37 – After the Rock of Eternity explodes, Captain Marvel lands in Gotham City. He helps the police officers confront the effects of the Seven Deadly Sins of Man on innocent people.
JLA #124-125 – The freed Sins also influence Green Arrow, Batman, and the Key in Gotham City, but after the Key drives away Envy, the Sins are drawn elsewhere.
Outsiders #29-30 – The Outsiders are forced to confront the newly-repowered Sabbac, who is in possession of the Seven Deadly Sins of Man. Katana and Donna Troy aid the team in defeating Sabbac and the Fearsome Five, after which Donna recruits Jade, Starfire, and Shift for her cosmic mission.
Teen Titans #29 – Jason Todd ambushes Tim Drake at Titans Tower. Later, Donna Troy arrives to recruit Cyborg for her space team.
Wonder Woman #222 – Wonder Woman surrenders herself to the International Criminal Court, who will be investigating her killing of Maxwell Lord. Diana’s sister, Donna Troy, arrives with Supergirl with the intent of enlisting Diana’s help on the space mission. Diana chooses to remain on Earth and clear her name. After Diana defeats the ambushing Cheetah, the Amazons are shocked when an army of OMACs amasses over Themyscira.
Superman #223 – Supergirl says her farewells to her cousin, Superman, before leaving with Donna Troy on the mission in the Polaris Galaxy. Talia recruits the new Black Rock for the Society.
Firestorm #19 – Firestorm is enlisted for Donna Troy’s team.
Teen Titans #30-31 – The Teen Titans battle dead members and demons released from the Underworld by Brother Blood. Raven and Beast Boy learn that something has been keeping the door between Life and Death open for a long time, at least since Superman’s death.
Green Lantern #7-8 – After escaping the Trinity in Infinite Crisis #1, Mongul battles Green Lantern and Green Arrow, utilizing the power of the Black Mercy plants.
Birds Of Prey #86-90 – The Calculator sends Society members to destroy the agents of his opposite number, Oracle. Black Canary and the Huntress gladly seek vengeance against Deathstroke for his murder of Phantom Lady and the Freedom Fighters.
Aquaman #32-36 – Brother Eye activates an OMAC to destroy Aquaman, but the hero is victorious. While Aquaman is healing from the battle, the Spectre takes notice of the sorcerers in Atlantis.
Adventures Of Superman #646-647 – Lois Lane visits Diana, who is sequestered by the International Criminal Court. Diana set Lois off on a journey where she learns that her attempted assassination was by Sasha Bordeaux on orders from Maxwell Lord of Checkmate, in an experiment to control Superman. A dying Mxyzptlk helps Superman realize that Ruin is, in actuality, his scientific ally, Emil Hamilton.
Gotham Central #38-40 – Corrupt policeman, Jim Corrigan, kills Detective Crispus Allen, sending Allen’s partner, Rene Montoya, into a downward spiral of despair.
Superman #224 – The battle-suited Lex Luthor steals an airplane in an attempt to track down his double, who is in control of the Society. An OMAC downs the plane, but Lex survives. Superman is ambushed by the new Black Rock, but he prevails.
Wonder Woman #223 – Diana learns of the OMAC assault on Themyscira and leaves the International Criminal Court’s detention in order to help her fellow Amazons.
JSA Classified #4 – The Psycho Pirate reveals to Power Girl that she is a survivor of the previous now non-existent Multiverse, having been a member of the Justice Society of America on Earth-Two. He wants her to remember what everyone else but he has forgotten: the infinite parallel Earths of the Multiverse. After the Pirate escapes, Karen is left with even more questions about her origin, when Clayface attacks her on orders from the Society.
Infinite Crisis #2 – Power Girl’s assault by Clayface includes several other Society members, but they are dispersed by the arrival of the Superman of Earth-Two, who tries to get Karen to remember him as his cousin from the old Multiverse. Once Lois touches her hand, Power Girl’s memories of Earth-Two and her life there come flooding back. Superman wants her help in restoring Earth-Two into existence. Donna Troy’s team picks up Animal Man and they begin their journey to the tear in Space-Time in the Polaris Galaxy. Despite the power of Wonder Woman and the Golden Age Fury, the Amazons are losing the battle with the OMACs on Paradise Island.
Firestorm #20 – Firestorm and Animal Man aid some Rannians, during which Jason has brief mental contact with Professor Martin Stein, formerly part of the Firestorm Matrix with Ronnie Raymond.
Outsiders #31-33 – While Starfire, Shift, and Jade battle Kori’s sister, Blackfire, in space, Arsenal and Grace attempt to infiltrate the Society on Earth. The Society needs a member of the Marvel Family for Luthor’s mysterious plan, but Katana and Thunder help Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel fend off the villains.
Hawkman #47-49 – Hawkman and Hawkgirl help Adam Strange, L.E.G.I.O.N., and the Green Lantern Corps keep peace on Rann and the Polaris Galaxy while the space anomaly threatens to destroy them all.
Superman #225 – Superman battles Society members with fire-based powers. Superboy learns of Superman’s predicament but chooses to remain on the Kent farm. On New Cronus, heading towards the space rift, Supergirl gets to know Firestorm.
JSA #81 – The Justice Society aids Liberty Belle in the aftermath of her battle with several Society villains in Philadelphia.
Aquaman #37 – While Tempest and other Atlantean sorcerers try to save Atlantis from the Spectre’s destruction, Aquaman battles the Deep Six and several other water-based villains of the Society.
Wonder Woman #224 – Even using the Purple Ray, the Amazons’ defense against the OMACs is failing. They realize they they will have to escape, fleeing this reality through the powers of their gods.
Infinite Crisis #3 – Read until Superboy-Prime gives Power Girl Lois Lane’s journal. Then read:
JSA #82 – Power Girl and Ma Hunkel read Lois’ account of an adventure on Earth-Two shortly after the Justice Society had disbanded in 1951. Power Girl is torn by what Superman expects of her.
Infinite Crisis #3 – Resume reading where the Shadowpact arrives in El Paso to find pieces of the Rock of Eternity. Luthor learns his double is really Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three, as does Batman. Power Girl discovers the corpse of the Anti-Monitor where the Martian Manhunter is imprisoned, but she is knocked unconscious by Alex’s partner, Superboy-Prime.
Aquaman #38-39 – Aquaman learns of the scope of Atlantis’ devastation at the hands of the Spectre.
Robin #143-145 – Robin combats OMACs and the Society with the help of some members of the Shadowpact. They discover that there is a complex under Bludhaven where metahumans are experimented on.
Day Of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special #1 – The Shadowpact leads the magical heroes in reassembling the Rock of Eternity, where Captain Marvel must remain as its guardian. The Spectre is defeated by Dr. Fate. Nightshade is captured by the Society for Luthor’s mysterious plan.
JSA Classified #8-9 – As the Crisis rages, the JSA take a moment to remember their fallen friends and comrades. Flash and Wildcat defeat the Dragon King in his bid for power.
Batman #648-650 – Batman battles Black Mask and attempts to save the Joker from the Red Hood. Batman watches in horror as nearby Bludhaven is rocked by a gigantic explosion.
Infinite Crisis #4 – The Society drops the toxic Chemo on Bludhaven, annihilating much of the city’s population. The Amazons leave this dimension, leaving Wonder Woman behind. The Spectre is bonded to the spirit of slain Detective Crispus Allen. The Teen Titans, Justice Society, and the Doom Patrol defend Conner Kent from the attack of Superboy-Prime, who is taken by the Flashes into the Speed Force. Afterwards, several members of the JSA are transported to a new Earth-Two, along with the Superman and Lois Lane of Earth-Two.
Nightwing #116 – Nightwing tries to save friends within the toxic wasteland of Bludhaven.
Teen Titans #32 – The battle with Superboy-Prime is seen from the Titans’ view. Due to the reality warping presence of Superboy-Prime, the Doom Patrol suddenly remember their previous lives and their connection to Gar Logan.
Wonder Woman #225 – After the Amazons leave this plane of existence, Diana returns to the United States, where her spirits are lifted by the support of regular citizens who believe in her still.
Day of Vengeance (Countdown to Infinite Crisis)
Robin #146-147 – Robin and the Teen Titans travel to Luthor’s secret lab in order to find a cure for the dying Conner Kent.
Firestorm #21-22 – After his friend and other half of the Firestorm Matrix, Mick, is killed in the space battle, Jason Rusch meets Martin Stein. Together, the two form the newest version of Firestorm, who then returns to the conflict in space.
Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special #1 – After Jade is killed and transfers her power to Kyle Rayner, he is visibly changed and now calls himself Ion again. Sardath reveals that Rann did not actually cause Thanagar to hurtle too close to the sun: it was the work of Superboy-Prime.
Manhunter #16-19 – Alan Scott sends a message to his son, Obsidian, about the death of Obsidian’s sister, Jade. Manhunter deals with the menace of Society members, Phobia and the Crime Doctor.
Catwoman #52 – As the Crisis rages, Selina takes a pistol and kills Black Mask.
Birds Of Prey #91 – The Huntress combats Society members, the new Royal Flush Gang.
Wonder Woman #226 – The relationship of Superman and Womder Woman is remembered through many Crises as well as possible happenings in other realities.
Adventures Of Superman #648 – Superman leads the Teen Titans and other heroes in the evacuation and clean-up in Chemo-destroyed Bludhaven. After Chemo’s remains are collected, Superman hauls it into space.
Teen Titans Annual #1 – The Teen Titans continue their efforts in Bludhaven while Wonder Girl visits the convalescing Superboy, with whom she shares an intimate evening before returning to the front lines of the Crisis.
Nightwing #117 – After Deathstroke’s part in the destruction of Bludhaven, Nightwing is successful in turning Slade’s daughter, the Ravager, against him for good.
Infinite Crisis #5 – Read until the Earth-Two Superman throws a car on top of Superman in grief over Lois’ death. Then read:
Superman #226, Action Comics #836, Adventures Of Superman #649 – “This Is Your Life” – As the two Supermen battle, their blows cause them to relive the other’s life, both thinking they could have done a better job.
Infinite Crisis #5 – Then continue reading right before the Earth-Two Wonder Woman tells Diana her story.
Teen Titans #33 – Superboy and Nightwing travel across great distances to Alexander Luthor’s tower in the Arctic.
Infinite Crisis Secret Files and Origins 2006 – The lives of the four survivors of the Crisis On Infinite Earths within their “paradise” dimension is shown, as well as their escape. Alexander Luthor discovers that Superboy-Prime is able to warp reality whenever he strikes the wall to their paradise with his fists.
Batman Annual #25 – Jason Todd’s resurrection is revealed to have been due to the reality-warping punches of Superboy-Prime.
Infinite Crisis #6 – Batman leads an attack force, which includes the new Blue Beetle, against Brother Eye. Multiple Earths begin to form in the sky. After destroying Alex Luthor’s Multiverse Machine, Superboy dies due to his wounds at the hands of Superboy-Prime. A New Earth is formed from the fragments of the multiple unstable Earths.
The OMAC Project: Infinite Crisis Special #1 – Sasha Bordeaux and Fire destroy the last remains of Brother Eye on Earth as a new Checkmate is formed.
Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1 – The Society arranges for the escape of the most dangerous villains from prisons all across the world. The villains amass in Metropolis for a final showdown with the heroes.
Infinite Crisis #7 – The villains are defeated in Metropolis. Superboy-Prime attempts to re-start the Universe but is stopped by both Supermen, resulting in the death of the Superman of Earth-Two. Superman is left powerless as a result of traveling through Krypton’s red sun. Later, he, Batman, and Wonder Woman vow to never let their differences keep them distanced from each other. Batman leaves on a healing journey with Robin and Nightwing. The Green Lantern Corps has Superboy-Prime imprisoned but he is already planning his escape.
Green Arrow #54-59 – Green Arrow and Black Lightning deal with the remaining Society members in Star City, resulting in Green Arrow’s near death from the arrows of Merlyn.
Superman/Batman #26 – Robin and the Teen Titans attend a memorial for Superboy before Robin Leaves on his journey with Batman and Nightwing.
Superman #712 – Krypto recalls the battle with Superboy-Prime and is devastated when he cannot find Conner later.
You can read this entire miniseries in trade: Captain Atom: Armageddon.
Captain Atom: Armageddon #1-9 – Captain Atom is transported to the Wildstorm Universe. After many battles and new friendships, he returns to New Earth in the ruins of the devastated Bludhaven.
If you are thinking about diving into Infinite Crisis but are not going to spend the time going through back issue bins, than the various Trade Paperback collections may be useful. This is not a complete list of the tie-ins since those will need to be addressed with each individual title, but are a few of the good trade options for the main titles.
This is the main trade paperback collecting the primary seven issue miniseries.
The Infinite Crisis Companion
Collecting some of the miniseries and one-shots that are important for ramping up to Infinite Crisis, this is a good addition. It includes OMAC Project, Day of Vengeance, and Hand of Fate, and amazing work from Bill Willingham and Dave Gibbons. If you are not interested in all three miniseries, you can buy independent trade paperbacks for each miniseries.
The Infinite Crisis Omnibus
This is one of the most complete collections that you are going to find for this event. It collects a great deal of the crossovers, including a lot that would have been included in the previous two mentioned trade paperbacks. This volume includes:
Action Comics 826, 829, Adventures Of Superman 639, 642, Countdown To Infinite Crisis, Day Of Vengeance 1-6, Day Of Vengeance Infinite Crisis Special, JLA 115-119, Infinite Crisis 1-6, Infinite Crisis Secret Files 2006, The OMAC Project 1-6, The OMAC Project Infinite Crisis Special, Rann-Thanagar War 1-6, The Rann-Thanagar Infinite Crisis Special, Superman 216, 219, Villains United 1-6, Villains United Infinite Crisis Special, Wonder Woman 219