[notes | author | edition | ownership] full list | no notes | titles only
Below is my best attempt at creating a list of important tie-ins to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis. The goal is to give readers a list and order
of books to read that will give them the whole
story and still fit nicely on one shelf. I don't want every
major event in DC history that happened between the Crises, just those that somehow tie in to the Crises themselves.
I tried to group these logically while still keeping them in the correct reading order. Bolded items would be considered essential reading while all others would be considered important tie-ins or backstory. "Also suggested" books are italicized. These books are generally less important tie-ins or are tie-ins to the tie-ins and do not fall into my "fits on one shelf" concept. Asterisks indicate books that I do not (yet) own, so my knowledge of their contents is limited to online research and my memory of their individual issues.
If you're interested in Countdown and Final Crisis, keep this page bookmarked. I've decided to add them as they start coming out in trade.
I hope you find this list useful. If you do, tell your friends!
viewing by story-arc is a work in progress
Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups - Volume 1
Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups - Volume 2
Volume 1 of Team-Ups contains several very important events that would eventually lead to Crisis on Infinite Earths, including the story that first introduced the concept of Multiple Earths, the original meeting of the Flashes of Earth-1 and Earth-2. Also found here are the origin of the Psycho Pirate and the original story of Krona of Oa, both of which are central to the Crisis. Volume 2 includes battles between Atoms, Green Lanterns, Flashes, and more.
Crisis on Multiple Earths - Volume 1
Crisis on Multiple Earths - Volume 2
Crisis on Multiple Earths - Volume 3
Crisis on Multiple Earths - Volume 4
Crisis on Multiple Earths - Volume 5*
Several volumes of Multiple Earths stories that team-up the Earth-1 JLA and the Earth-2 JSA, as well as introducing the the heroes and villains of many other Earths.
Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman (Hardcover, Absolute Edition)
History of the DC Universe by Marv Wolfman
The end of the Multiverse and the creation of the streamlined DC Universe. The Absolute Edition includes loads of extra information and cool stuff and is highly recommended, though the companion book contains a lot of spoilers for post-Crisis events, so don't read it until you've read ad least up to Identity Crisis. History of the DC Universe, originally planned as issues 11-12 of Crisis on Infinite Earths, lays the groundwork for Post-Crisis continuity. (After the Crisis, many characters still remembered the events of the Crisis, which kind of hurt the idea of a complete reboot. This was corrected later by explaining that two entities had, up to a point, been holding back the full effects of the Crisis. Unfortunately these stories are not collected in any trade that I am currently aware of, but they are briefly described in the Absolute Edition companion book.)
New Teen Titans: Who is Donna Troy? by Marv Wolfman
Donna Troy's multiple and contradictory origins have played a major role in Infinite Crisis and are important backstory to her death and return below. The tales in this book also span both Pre- and Post-Crisis. As you'll see mentioned later, DC makes it rather difficult to follow the story of Donna Troy and Titans in any sort of logical order. Who Is Donna Troy? includes a few pages from The Death and Return of Donna Troy. It is interesting to read these pages here, because characters who show up are fresh in your memory, but really the story doesn't take place until much later in continuity. Up to you, but I highly recommend closing this book after reading the first page (and not the second page) of "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes..."
Justice League: A New Beginning
In Legends, Darkseid prompts a government ban on superheroes the dissolution of the Justice League. This is the first major hero team-up since Crisis on Infinite Earths, and is the book that launched Checkmate and the Suicide Squad under Amanda Waller. The Post-Crisis Wonder Woman makes her first foray into "Man's World," and the Enchantress, Captain Boomerang, Blue Beetle, the Joker, and Jason Todd also make appearances in Legends. In a New Beginning, under the leadership of Maxwell Lord, a new Justice League is born.
Animal Man by Grant Morrison
Animal Man: Origin of the Species by Grant Morrison
Animal Man: Deus Ex Machina by Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man reflects the Crisis's effect on his life as he tries to cope with the feeling that all is not now how it once was. This is expanded upon by Psycho Pirate, a major player in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The final chapter, Deus Ex Machina, exposes major revelations for the entire DC Universe. In fact the Absolute Edition companion book mentioned above puts enough importance on these events that they are referenced once as Crisis on Infinite Earths II.
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
Batman: A Death in the Family (Hardcover)
Two classic and historically important Batman tales. Two allies lost. Two villains created. The Killing Joke ends Barbara Gordon's run as Batgirl, while a Death in the Family ends Jason Todd's run as Robin. Hard to say which is the more tragic end. Also found here are the origins of the Joker and the Red Hood.
The Death of Superman by Dan Jurgens, et al
World Without a Superman by Dan Jurgens, et al
The Return of Superman by Dan Jurgens, et al
The Death of Superman chronicles Superman's death at the hands of a fierce new enemy, Doomsday. World Without a Superman includes Kal-El's funeral and reactions from the super-hero community and the rest of the world. The Return of Superman also includes the Reign of the Supermen story-lines in which four new heroes attempt to take Superman's palce. Look here for the origins of Superboy, Steel, the Cyborg (of the Superman variety, not the Vic Stone variety), and a new incarnation of the Eradicator. Their four separate tales eventually converge upon the resurrection of the Man of Steel himself and the birth of his stylish new 90's haircut. There is a lot of talk in Infinite Crisis about Superman's return from the grave being the event that first pushed open the door between life and death. The final events of The Return of Superman also lead directly to Emerald Twilight and Zero Hour.
Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight & A New Dawn by Ron Marz
Zero Hour: Crisis in Time by Dan Jurgens
The Final Night by Ron Marz
Emerald Twilight & a New Dawn brings us the end of Hal Jordan's career as Green Lantern and the beginning of Kyle Rayner's. Zero Hour was DC's attempt to clean up the continuity issues still left over from Crisis on Infinite Earths. Time is unraveling due to the plotting of Extant, and all the heroes must band together to hold the timestream together. But even if they defeat Extant, Parallax may help time to fully unravel, giving all of DC continuity a fresh start. Also seen here is the origin of Impulse, the aging of most of the original JSA, and Jack Knight's takeover of the Starman mantle. Final Night concludes Parallax's story and alludes to the death of Green Arrow, which as far as I can find is not collected in any trade.
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid (Absolute Edition)
The Kingdom by Mark Waid
Though not originally considered to be in-continuity, the Elseworlds tale of Kingdom Come was a groundbreaking work featuring a dark alternative future with appearances by almost every DC character and their children. The Kingdom brings the world of Kingdom Come into continuity by introducing the concept of HyperTime, which is that any timeline that can exist or has ever been written about, does exist. The Kingdom also subtly foreshadows Infinite Crisis and Red Son.
Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar
Another often referenced Elseworlds tale. This one poses the question, What if Superman had landed in the Soviet Union rathern than in Smallivlle, Kansas?
JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison (Hardcover)
JLA: Tower of Babel by Mark Waid*
Earth 2 reintroduces several Pre-Crisis concepts by bringing back the Crime Syndicate of Amerika of Earth-3, though this time as inhabitants of Earth-2, which now resides in the Anti-Matter Universe of Qward. In Tower of Babel, Batman has concocted contingency plans to take out all of the other members of the Justice League. You know, just in case.
Superman: Emperor Joker by Jeph Loeb, J.M. DeMatteis, Joe Kelly, Mark Schultz
Wonderfully, amazingly, perfectly, awesomely, twisted story. By far one of my favorite Superman stories of all time. The experience of reading this in single-issue form cannot be re-captured in this graphic novel if for no other reason than because the halfway-through shocker is revelaed right in the title, but that just means that I can actually tell you what it's about without worrying I'm ruining anything. Ready for this? The Joker has obtained nearly infinite cosmic power. Period. The End. That's it. Just let your mind run wild with that one. Characters are introduced here that last well into the pages of Infinite Crisis. Though not the main-character, Batman plays an absolutely essential role in this twisted tale.
Superman: President Lex by Jeph Loeb, Greg Rucka, et al*
In the 2000 election, the DC United States of America elected Lex Luthor as president, "a murderous, scheming multimillionaire who'd sell out the helpless for his own glory." Good thing we don't live in that kind of America, huh? Oh wait, nevermind. In Lex's absence from Lexcorp, Ra's Al Ghul's daughter, Talia, takes over as CEO.
Green Arrow: Quiver by Kevin Smith (Hardcover)
Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence by Kevin Smith (Hardcover)
Green Arrow: Archer's Quest by Brad Meltzer (Hardcover)
Green Arrow's return in Quiver is brilliantly written by Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith). The events contained herein do not tie directly into the Crises per se, but they are referenced in several books leading up to Infinite Crisis, including Under the Hood. (Also, if you want a way to tie modern Superhero books back into the continuity of the books in the Vertigo line, look for it here.) Sounds of Violence and Archer's Quest are less important than the first book, but do provide a good follow-up to its story as well as alluding to Crisis on Infinite Earths in the latter. Incidentally, you might notice that Archer's Quest is written by Brad Meltzer, the author of Identity Crisis.
JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice by Geoff Johns (Hardcover)
An excellent story that highlights the modern JLA and JSA as well as several other characters that will play an important role in the Countdown to Infinite Crisis.
Bruce Wayne: Murderer?*
Bruce Wayne: Fugitive - Volume 1*
Bruce Wayne: Fugitive - Volume 2*
Bruce Wayne: Fugitive - Volume 3*
Bruce Wayne is found with a dead Vesper Fairchild in his arms and is arrested for her Murder. Unfortunately, the Batman is his only alibi. Rather than reveal his dual identity, Batman decides that the only obvious course of action is to drop the Bruce Wayne persona alltogether, since of course Batman is the real man and Bruce Wayne is the mask. Batman is backed-up by bat-buddies in bulk, including Bruce's bodyguard, Sasha Bordeaux. The final volume in this series tells of Sasha Bordeaux's departure from Batman and her induction into the secret agency Checkmate.
Batman: Hush - Volume 1 by Jeph Loeb (Hardcover, Absolute Edition)
Batman: Hush - Volume 2 by Jeph Loeb (Hardcover)
Hush gives us a brilliant new Gotham villain. An amazing story that features a wide cast of DC characters, including, perhaps, a brief glimpse of Jason Todd? Hush will play a major part in Batman's life from this point forward. The Absolute Edition collects both Volume 1 and 2 in an oversized slipcase edition, which looks just lovely beside the Absolute Edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Death and Return of Donna Troy
Teen Titans: A Kids Game by Geoff Johns
Outsiders: Looking for Trouble
You may notice that The Death and Return of Donna Troy is mentioned twice. This is because DC decided it would be fun to include two stories in one book that happen years apart just to make it dificult to place it in any sort of order. I struggled over where to put this for quite a while and just decided that I should put it both places. Having said that, the first half of the Death and Return of Donna Troy shows us the end of Young Justice and The Titans. When this story is over, on the page that reads "Sometime later," close the book and put it away. We'll come back to it later. A Kids game brings us the first of two new teams formed from the ashes of the old, the Teen Titans. Looking for Trouble brings us the second such team, the Outsiders.
Batman: As the Crow Flies by Judd Winick*
In As the Crow Flies, the Batman faces the terrifying Scarebeast, manifested by the partnership of Scarecrow and Penguin. Under the Scarecrow's influence, Batman receives visions of Jason Todd.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies by Jeph Loeb (Hardcover)
Superman/Batman: Supergirl by Jeph Loeb (Hardcover)
Superman/Batman: Absolute Power by Jeph Loeb (Hardcover)
Superman/Batman: Vengeance by Jeph Loeb (Hardcover)
Jeph Loeb's run on Superman/Batman was epic and amazing. In Public Enemies, Superman and Batman work together with and against almost every current DC hero to conclude the presdiential reign of Lex Luthor, who, with the final words of this book, foreshadows the coming of a Crisis. Supergirl reintroduces Kara Zor-El as Superman's Kryptonian cousin and also brings us a return of Harbinger as Supergirl struggles to find her place in the world, first being taken in by the Amazons of Paradise Island and then by Darkseid! In Absolute Power we are shown Superman and Batman on multiple Earths and in multiple timlines. They begin the story as the ruthless rulers of a conquered Earth as an uprising of heroes joins together to battle them, an uprising of heroes that includes Uncle Sam, the Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, the Ray, Doll Man, and Wonder Woman. But when Wonder Woman kills Batman, and Superman kills her in return, the Superman of Kingdom Come must step in to help set things right. The story contines with appearances by Kamandi and Tufta... Cinnamon, Bat Lash, El Diablo, Jonah Hex, and Scalphunter... Darkseid, Metron, and Etrigan... Sgt. Rock, and the Easy Company... the Blackhawks... and even Ra's Al Ghul and the Legion of Superheroes. Consider this a fantastic refresher on the breadth of the DC Universe as we lead into the beginnings of Infinite Crisis. In addition to bringing together all of the stories that go back to the beginning of Public Enemies, Vengeance brings us the extra special bonus of referring back to one of my favorite storylines of all time, Superman Arkham / Emperor Joker. Vengeance also ushers in the return of Bizarro, Batzarro, and almost every other incarnation of Superman or Batman that has ever existed or been imagined (including the Superman of Red Son and the Batman of Batman Beyond).
One note I should make about Vengeance. At the point that the last chapters of this book were originally released, Infinite Crisis was already well underway, so references are made to characters that have not yet been introduced at this point in your reading. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely where this book goes as far as continuity is concerned, but Jeph Loeb took advantage of characters that, if you had been reading DC comics monthly, you would recognize when he brings them in. If you really want to see every character's first appearance at the point that it actually happened, you could save Vengeance until just prior to Infinite Crisis, but by then you'll have forgotten the previous three Superman/Batman books and it just won't make as much sense. However, these characters are used in a way that does not actually reveal anything about them, so it is still perfectly safe to read this book right here, where it belongs.
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer (Hardcover)
Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen by Geoff Johns
Identity Crisis is an incredible story that shakes the foundation of much of the DC Universe and sets forth events that pave the way for Infinite Crisis. A hero's wife is murdered and the members of the Justice League, old and current, must band together to find the killer before their own spouses are next. But as the investigations continue, a potentially more sinister crime is revealed. The Secret of Barry Allen contains events transpiring before and during Identity Crisis. It is not required reading, but it does provide a good companion piece to Identity Crisis. This story follows Wally West's exploration of Barry Allen's role in some of the events exposed in Identity Crisis as well as exploring the direct affect Identity Crisis had on Wally. To be more accurate, more than half of this book actually takes place prior to Identity Crisis. If these were two separate books, I would have rated the first half a lower priority than the second (and might have left it off entirely). Unfortunately there are no page numbers, so if you want the best reading experience possible, read the Secret of Barry Allen up to the point where Wally is in a garage and says "I made a horrible mistake" and do not read the rest of that page. If you're flipping through, this is a page and a half prior to the page with the title "The Secret of Barry Allen Part One." Pick up with the second half of this page after reading Identity Crisis.
Manhunter - Volume 1: Street Justice by Marc Andreyko*
District Attourney Katie Spencer becomes the new Manhunter and is drawn into the aftermath of Identity Crisis.
Superman: Unconventional Warfare by Greg Rucka
Superman: That Healing Touch by Greg Rucka
Unconventional Warfare begins the three-part story of Ruin, a new villain out to destroy Superman through his friends and family. Lois is shot while on location in Umec. Could Ruin be responsible? That Healing Touch, the second part of Ruin's tale, ties into the aftermath of Identity Crisis, including a good look at differing moralities of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Pete Ross takes over as President in Luthor's absence and we get some hints of Checkmate. Myxzptlk also makes several appearances during these first two chapters, warning the Man of Steel of an upcoming Crisis. These warnings are my biggest reason for including the Ruin story. The third pard of this story, Ruin Revealed, takes place during OMAC Project, so look for it a bit later.
JLA: Syndicate Rules*
Take no stock in my opinion that (with the possible exception of Crisis of Conscience) every JLA series collection since John Byrne's absolutely aweful Tenth Circle has been infinitely below the par set by Morrison and Waid. Syndicate Rules is still relevant for its inclusion of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, which was reintroduced to continuity in Morrison's Earth 2.
Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns (Hardcover)
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge by Geoff Johns*
Rebirth frees Hal Jordan from his role as the Spectre, a role that was given to him as a chance to redeem himself for his actions during Zero Hour. (Sadly there is not yet a trade for Day of Judgement in which Hal Jordan first becomes the Spectre.) In Recharge, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner help rebuild the Green Lantern Corps that was destroyed in Emerald Twilight.
Teen Titans: The Future is Now by Geoff Johns, Mark Waid
The Teen Titans get a glimpse of their possible future selves and warnings of an upcoming Crisis.
Countdown to Infinite Crisis: The OMAC Project by Greg Rucka
The OMAC Project includes the original Countdown to Infinite Crisis one-shot that leads into the other Countdown books and therefore into Infinite Crisis itself. Maxwell Lord leads Checkmate and has unleashed an army of OMACs upon the superhuman community. Superman: Sacrifice expands upon the events of The OMAC Project and is in fact intended to be read about halfway through finishing that book. When reading The OMAC Project, switch to Sacrifice when you get to the page that says "Previously in Sacrifice" at the top. These books overlap during one chapter, so after reading sacrifice, you can skip ahead in The OMAC Project to the page that starts "Part four..." Complicated, I know.
Birds of Prey: The Battle Within by Gail Simone
Oracle is infected with the Brainiac virus, Booster Gold asks for help looking into the Blue Beetle, and Brother Eye briefly considers Oracle as its next target.
Batman: Under the Hood - Volume 1 by Judd Winick
In Under the Hood, a new vigilante has appeared in Gotham who does not share Batman's opposition to killing criminals. The Red Hood pits himself directly against the Black Mask, the new crime head of Gotham City. Shocking revelations and Hush tie-ins abound.
Manhunter - Volume 2: Trial by Fire by Marc Andreyko
DA Kate Spencer takes on the trial of the year, prosecuting the Shadow Theif, who was responsible for the apparent muder of Firestorm during Identity Crisis. By the end of this book, Manhunter finds herself the target of an OMAC attack.
Countdown to Infinite Crisis: Villains United by Gail Simone
The Villains of the DC Universe have United against the heroes, but not all of the villains are interested in embracing this new Society. In Villains United, a new Secret Six oppose the rule of the Society, mysteriously led by the unknown "Mockingbird."
Superman: Ruin Revealed by Greg Rucka
Ruin Revealed is the third part of the Ruin story and this book does just what it says. In the first several pages, we finally learn the true face behind Ruin. Or do we? OMAC attacks abound in this Countdown tie-in. The first two issues contained here actually take place before Sacrifice, but there's not really any need to flip back and forth between the two.
Countdown to Infinite Crisis: Day of Vengeance by Bill Willingham
JSA: Black Vengeance by Geoff Johns
Rebirth left the Spectre open to ouside influence from the new Eclipso, who convinces the Spectre that the only way to rid the universe of evil is to rid it of magic. The Shadowpact is formed to attemp to stop him. Meanwhile, the JSA battles Per Degaton through time, making reference to JSA members who never existed in this universe. On the way back to the present, they notice a bit of an anomily in the timestream in 1985, though they don't particularly note that this was the year of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Upon their return, they must face off against the new duet of the Spectre and Eclipso.
Adam Strange: Planet Heist by Andy Diggle
Countdown to Infinite Crisis: Rann-Thanagar War by Dave Gibbons
Adam Strange discovers that the planet he calls his home, Rann, has vanished. In an attempt to return Rann to its correct location in the Universe, Thanagar is destroyed and its people are relocated to Rann. Peace does not last long in the new merged world of Rann and Thanager. Hawkman and Hawkgirl join Adam Strange on a quest to end the Rann-Thanagar War.
Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Insiders by Judd Winick, Geoff Johns
The latter half of Wanted leads directly into the opening of the Insiders as Nightwing accuses one of the team's members of being a traitor. Insiders is a major Villains United tie-in in which both teams discover that the enemy is amongst them.
Prelude to Infinite Crisis
Contains snippets of stories leading up to and foreshadowing all of the Countdown to Infinite Crisis books. Consider this a refresher course before digging into the Infinite Crisis tie-ins. Most of the stories referenced here have already been included elsewhere on the list, so this book is only Essential if you are sticking to JUST reading the essentials, but I still recommend it for anyone who whants to make sure they haven't missed anything up to this point.
Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Death and Return of Donna Troy
If this is the second time you've seen The Death and Return of Donna Troy on this list, puck up the book at the page that says "Sometime later..." for the Return of Donna Troy. I can't tell you how much I wish DC had split The Death and Return of Donna Troy into two books. Donna will play a major role in the events of Infinite Crisis just after Rann-Thanagar War. Much of her conflicting origin story is finally resolved here. (Or made more complicated depending on your viewpoint.)
JSA: Mixed Signals by Geoff Johns, Keith Champagne
Following the Events of all of the Countdown books, Mordru attacks, Atom Smasher goes to court for his crimes, and Green Lantern and Airwave are drafted by Donna Troy. This book is actually mostly about Jakeem Thunder, but the "extra" issues before and hafter his story are crisis-related.
Supergirl: Power by Jeph Loeb
Supergirl: Power picks up right where Superman/Batman: Supergirl left off and even includes an appearance by Harbinger! Lex Luthor appears in his classic green suit, somehow separating Supergirl into both a good half and an evil half. But which is the real Supergirl? And who is Superman's Kryptonian cousin? Is it Supergirl or is it Power Girl? Why do their powers fluctuate when they are in close proximity to one another? Power Girl is an immediate precursor to Infinite Crisis, in which she attempts to correlate her conflicting origins, just as we have seen previously with Donna Troy. Yet another major player from the original Crisis returns as Power Girl battles with the Psycho Pirate. Not only does this book include the Infinite Crisis lead-up story from JSA Classified, but it also includes Power Girl's two much older origin stories. If you want to read those in the absolutely correct order, pages 1-57 should be read prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths (yes, that far back), pages 58-74 should be read just after History of the DC Universe, and the rest should be read here. There is nothing wrong with reading the entire book right here though. You won't give anything away, I promise, and it'll keep all of her history fresh in your memory to read it all together.
Superman: The Journey by Mark Verheiden
Superman: Strange Attractors by Gail Simone
The Journey follows Superman's life just before the opening chapter of Infinite Crisis. But just to confuse matters, the first part of the book (up to page 25) actually takes place before OMAC Project. It is not imperative that it is read prior to OMAC, but that's where it goes chronologically. Just make sure not to read page 26, "Our Story Continues," before reading OMAC Project and Sacrifice. Also found here are two of my favorite characters that were introduced during Emperor Joker, plus a new Blackrock. Strange Attractors happens somewhat concurrently with the Journey, and is also pre-OMAC up to page 51. In this story, Superman faces off against Black Adam, Satanus, Livewire, and the Doctors Polaris and Psycho.
Captain Atom: Armageddon by Will Pfeifer*
You may be confused by the fact that this is a Wildstorm book, but your eyes do not decieve you. Between the events of Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis, Captain Atom spent a year in the Wildstorm Universe. Though not directly important to the Infinite Crisis story, this book tells the tale of where he's been.
Seven Soldiers of Victory - Volume 1 by Grant Morrison
Seven Soldiers of Victory - Volume 2 by Grant Morrison
Seven Soldiers of Victory - Volume 3 by Grant Morrison
Seven Soldiers of Victory - Volume 4 by Grant Morrison*
While Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory does not tie-in directly, the Soldiers do show up in Infinite Crisis. Morrison has stated that Seven Soldiers takes place in the week prior to Infinite Crisis, which makes sense based on the references in Seven Soldiers to a crisis that is keeping most of the other heroes busy. This is really a fantastic set of books, though not required Crisis reading.
Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch*
The Calculator determines that the best way to flush out Oracle is through her allies, and so he has the Society kidnap Savant. The second half of this book may actually take place after Infinite Crisis. I'll clarify if needed once the book is released.
JLA: Crisis of Conscience
The events of Identity Crisis finally come full-circle in Crisis of Conscience, driving the Justice League of America to disband. The last page of this book leads directly to the first page of Infinite Crisis.
The Infinite Crisis Companion by Greg Rucka
Twenty years after Crisis on Infinite Earths, a true sequel is finally published. I cannot possibly give a proper synopsis of this book without giving too much away, but if you've made it this far, you probably already know enough about this book to know that you need it. The Infinite Crisis Companion contains all of the Infinite Crisis Specials that were released alongside Infinite Crisis. These are the final chapters of each of the Countdown to Infinite Crisis books. It is good that these have been collected in trade, but collecting them separately from Infinite Crisis itself makes it impossible to read everything in the proper order without skipping back and forth. Don't get be wrong, Infinite Crisis can be read by itself without reading the Companion, but if the only book you wanted to read was Infinite Crisis, you wouldn't be here, would you? So here's what you do: read Infinite Crisis (IC) to page 105, Infinite Crisis Companion (ICC) to page 44, IC to page 137, ICC to page 84, IC to page 209, ICC to to end, and finally IC to the end.
During Infinite Crisis
Of course none of the above takes into account the other books that took place during Infinite Crisis.
Around the fifth issue of Infinite Crisis, all of the books in the DC universe closed up their storylines in preparation for the One Year Later jump. The following books all either include their title's final issue prior to the jump or otherwise take place during Infinite Crisis.
As you can imagine, this makes reading these books in the "correct" order difficult, though not impossible. I will try to lay out within each of these books how to read them alongside Infinite Crisis by skipping around, however, it may be less confusing for you if instead you simply read all of Infinite Crisis first, then read the following books as a look at different viewpoints regarding the same story. Entirely up to you, but as long as you're flipping back and forth to Infinite Crisis Companion, why not read all of these in exactly the correct order as well?
Wonder Woman: Mission's End by Greg Rucka
The first half of Mission's End yet again reprints the cross-over portion of OMAC Project and Superman: Sacrifice. However, it also expands upon the ramifications of these events within Wonder Woman's life and the lives of all of the Amazons of Themiscyra. The second half takes place during the pages of Infinite Crisis itself. Unfortunately, there are no page numbers, so get ready for some confusing instructions. The first half of Mission's End can be read right after OMAC Project and Sacrifice (skipping the parts you've already read) up to the page that ends with the line "It has killed my name." This is also the last page of the middle section of the book where every page has a black background, making it a relatively easy point to find. From here, read Infinite Crisis up to page 67, then pick up Mission's end up until the end of the chapter titled "Marathon Part One" which ends with the line "Doom for ourselves." Then pick Infinite Crisis back up until page 79. Now get back to Mission's End and read the "Marathon Part Two" chapter, which ends on the line "a very long time to be absolutely alone." Then go back again to Infinite Crisis up to page 94 for some repeating of what you just read in Mission's End, but with a little more detail at the end. Now you can finally come back and finish up Mission's End.
JSA: Ghost Stories by Paul Levitz
I struggled with the inclusion of Ghost Stories, because only the very first issue contained in this collection actually takes place during Infinite Crisis, but it is a very important part of the story, at least for a couple of the characters, so here you have it. Power Girl receives a gift on page 84 of Infinite Crisis. The first chapter of Ghost Stories is an exploration of that gift. Just be sure to read this before page 101 of Infinite Crisis. Anywhere inbetween 84 and 101 would be perfectly fine. The rest of the story takes place One Year Later and actually does have some rather interesting pre-Crisis (on Infinite Earths) ties, so it is definitely worth reading within in the scheme of this whole story, just don't read it until after you've finished up with the rest of IC.
Outsiders: Crisis Intervention by Judd Winick
Due to the early events of Infinite Crisis, Sabbac now has the power of the Seven Deadly Sins. Also, Donna Troy recruits half the team, along with other heroes, for an important mission in space, while the rest must contend with the Society. This book takes place just after the Day of Vengeance Special, which ends on page 44 of the Infinite Crisis Companion.
Robin: Days of Fire and Madness by Bill Willingham
The first have of this book takes place prior to the start of Infinite Crisis and is mostly about Robin joining up with a military group. There's nothing really Crisis-related going on until page 75 when we get a visit from some OMACs and the Shadowpact. Their appearance here seems to place this part of the story at least after page 44 of the Infinite Crisis Companion and prior to page 108 of Infinite Crisis. Thefore, if you choose to read this book, I would suggest reading it immediately after page 44 of IC, but prior to Under the Hood Volume 2 (if you're reading that as well).
JLA: World Without a Justice League by Bob Harrass
Batman has dissolved the Justice League of America, but with the impending Crisis, heroes still need to band together to battle countless foes, including the embodiment of Envy itself. This book also takes place after the Day of Vengeance finale and should therefore be read after page 44 of Infinite Crisis Companion. There is no chronology between Crisis Intervention and World Without a Justice Leage, but this book definitely takes place prior to Heading Into the Light, below.
Batman: Under the Hood - Volume 2 by Judd Winick
Continues the battle between Batman, the Red Hood, and Black Mask, while also throwing in the Joker just for a laugh. This book presents a bit of a conundrum. Much of its story seems to take place absolutely prior to Infinite Crisis, because no references are made to anything that is going on in IC up until the end of Chapter 5, which parallels page 108 of Infinite Crisis. Of course things happen prior to page 108 of IC relating to Batman, none of which are mentioned in Under the Hood Part Deux. Hence the conundrum. My advice is to read IC up to page 105 and Infinite Crisis Companion up to page 44 as mentioned above, then read Under the Hood Volume 2 up to the end of Chapter 6. Do NOT read the chapter titled "The Return of Jason Todd," where the Red Hood's true origin is finally revealed, until after you've read Superman: Infinite Crisis, listed below.
Teen Titans: Life and Death by Geoff Johns
The door between life and death has been creeking open ever since the return of Superman after his battle with Doomsday. Since then, we've seen the returns of Green Arrow, Hal Jordan, and others, and now the Teen Titans must face off against Brother Blood's resurrected Titans West, as Superboy must battle... Superboy. These Superboy battles take place concurrently with Infinite Crisis, pages 115-208. That's a long concurrency, so here's how you can properly skip back and forth to get the whole story approximately in the order that it was intended to be read. First, read Life and Death (LD) up to page 61, the end of Kid Eternity's story, then read Infinite Crisis (IC) up to page 105, then LD to page 84, IC to page 137, LD to page 136, IC to page 173, then back to LD to finish up to page 190, then back again to finish up the rest of IC. There's no need to read Life and Death passed page 190. Those last pages reprint material from Infinite Crisis, which is best read alongside Infinite Crisis itself.
Green Arrow: Heading Into the Light by Judd Winick
Heading into the Light opens as Oliver Queen, Connor Hawk, and Mia discover that their home has been destroyed, which begs the question: How did anyone know that it was their home? As the Crisis mounts, Green Arrow joins with Black Lightning to face Dr. Light in a battle that ultimately pits the Emerald Archer against the deadly Merlin. The opening chapter takes place prior to the close of Crisis of Concience, but if you just treat that as a bit of a flashback, you should be able to read this in its entirety after reading Infinite Crisis Companion page up to page 84. However, unless you're worried about absolute ordering, I'd just save this until after reading the rest of IC and treat it as a "meanwhile" type of story.
Superman: Infinite Crisis
Superman: Infinite Crisis looks at the lives of two Supermen as they may have played out had their roles been reversed. This Earths-shattering event takes place in the cracks in the Multiverse between pages 143 and 160 of Infinite Crisis, as Superman battles Superman. My suggestion is to read this book in its entirety after reading Infinite Crisis up to page 150.
Supergirl: Candor by Joe Kelly, Greg Rucka
Up to page 56, this book simply reprints material already found in other collections (Power Girl, Superman: The Journey, and JLA: World Without a Justice League). However, pages 57-80 take place between the cracks in reality during Infinte Crisis. The second half of the book takes place One Year Later, but is noteworthy as a rather interesting followup to stories from JLA: Earth Two, Superman/Batman Absolute Power, and of course Supergirl: Power.
52: The Companion*
52 - Weeks 1-13: Volume 1 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
52 - Weeks 14-26: Volume 2 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
52 - Weeks 27-39: Volume 3 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
52 - Weeks 40-52: Volume 4 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid*
World War III by Keith Champagne, John Ostrander *
The year following Infinite Crisis was a year without Superman, a year without Batman, a year without Wonder Woman, but not a year without heroes. In this unique series, the lives of the inhabitants of the DC universe are chronicled in a weekly "real-time" basis. Where each chapter represents one week of these characters' lives. 52 stars nearly the entire cast of the DC Universe, most notibly: The Question, Steel, Ralph Dibney, Booster Gold, Renee Montoya, Lobo, Starfire, Animal Man, Lex Luthor, Adam Strange, and Black Adam. World War III expands upon events that take place within the pages of Week 50. The Companion contains older background stories about 52's main characters: Adam Strange, the Metal Men, Booster Gold, Steel, Black Adam, The Question, and others.
After Infinite Crisis drew to a close, two mini-series were plublished under the Crisis Aftermath moniker. I had expected these to take place immediately after the Crisis, which they do, briefly, before taking the One Year Later jump that all other titles in the DC Universe have taken. However, since they do contain important follow-up or back-story to Infinite Crisis, they are included here. As it turns out, other books that were released near the close of Infinite Crisis also follow this pattern, so I will be adding those as I get my hands on them.
Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen
The first two issues of the six contained in this volume tell the story of how Jaime became the new Blue Beetle during Infinite Crisis. The remaining four take place One Year Later and explore the beginnings of the Tenth Age of Magic with a visit from the Phantom Stranger.
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven by Jason Gray
Following the destruction of Blüdhaven in Infinite Crisis, the area is now a radioactive disaster zone. The government has quarrantined the area and noone may leave or enter. Well, not without being sneaky or forceful anyway, and when has that ever been a problem for the Teen Titans? This story starts off just after the end of Infinite Crisis, but quickly jumps to One Year Later to tell the tale of what has happened to the citizens of Blüdhaven since the disaster.
Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre by Will Pfeifer, David Lapham*
Detective Crispus Allen, the new Spectre via the events of Infinite Crisis, must come to terms with his role as the Spirit of Vengeance. In addition to collecting the Crisis Aftermath mini-series, this book also collects lead stories from the first three issues of Allen's second mini-series, Tales of the Unexpected.