Are golden-age superheroes going to make a comeback and take over the DC comics universe?

The second issue of DC Comics' "Infinite Crisis" has the original golden-age Superman proclaiming that he saved the wrong Earth back in the 1985 DC Comics' first "Crisis." As a result, he says, "This corrupted and darkened Earth must be forgotten as ours was . . . so that the right Earth can return."

With a slightly different "S" emblem and graying hair, this Man of Steel was from DC's "Earth Two." He threw the winning punch against the 1985 supervillain, the "Anti-Monitor," to save Earth One" 20 years ago — before going into exile. His Earth ceased to exist in 1985.

Now "Superman Two" has returned, and with his cousin "Power Girl" (distinctive in her provocative costume), another version of Superboy, a senior-citizen Lois Lane and even a wholesome Lex Luthor, he seems intent on somehow changing the past.

Confused?

For the past two decades, DC Comics has kept its universe more simplified, with only a single Earth to deal with, instead of having the "Infinite Earths" concept of parallel dimensions.

Also in this former "Earth One," the Justice Society of America was the rule, not the Justice League of America. Batman had married Catwoman and had a child, The Huntress. And the Flash in that Earth wore a silver helmet — among other subtle differences.

This latest "Crisis" saga comes on the heels of Wonder Woman killing a villain to stop him from controlling the contemporary Superman, while Batman (almost killed by a mind-controlled Man of Steel) helped build a powerful spy satellite that can create an army of "Omacs" to counter a threat of too many super-powered humans on Earth. Now a heartless computer controls the army of Omacs.

As a result, these top three superheroes of DC Comics have gone their separate ways, the Justice League has disbanded, and some new universe-spanning evil has threatened Earth, other planets and even the world of magic.

Besides the good Lex Luthor

appearing, there's also a clone of the evil Luthor in this new story, and so two evil geniuses are loose, plus a society of supervillains has been organized. Who this universe-size villain is isn't clear yet.

Artwork for the new "Crisis" is first-class, but the story is complex enough that it may require multiple readings to understand the action.

DC has said some characters will die in this story and that for years to come its aftermath will shape the new DC universe.

Each issue of the seven-part "Infinite Crisis" sells for $3.99. The third issue is due out Dec. 14.

The Superman titles in February will retell how the Earth Two Superman came to be, got married and lost his version of the Earth. Issue No. 5 of "Infinite Crisis" on Feb. 15 will pit the two Supermen against each other.

Once the "Crisis" is over, DC will jump its characters in time one year and then use a weekly issue to fill in the gaps of a missing year.

IF YOU WANT A LIGHTER, more positive accent on the DC universe, the "All Star" comics series (highlighting more of the original mythology of superheroes) may fit the bill. For example, "All Star Superman" No. 1 came out Nov. 16 and holds more true to the classic concepts of the Last Son of Krypton.

It's also more along the lines of the former "Superman for All Seasons" miniseries a few years ago.

"All Star Superman" is a 12-issue story, and each book sells for $2.99.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com