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You Decide – What Was the Best Crime Syndicate Story?

In honor of Forever Evil, we decided to ask you all which Crime Syndicate storyline was your favorite.

Read on for the choices!

19 Comments

Sad as it is that the SSOSV storyline was never finished, I had to give it some love.

Sad as it is that the SSOSV storyline was never finished, I had to give it some love.

I was thinking the same thing.

Until I saw the cross-over with JLA and the All-Star Squadron. All-Star Squadron and SSOSV are two longtime favorites and I don’t often get to vote on them. In this case, JLA/All-Star Squadron gets the vote just because it’s better overall than the SSOSV story (which, much as I loved it at the time (and still do), is a bit of a mess.)

And my computer crashes every time I try to vote (my computer is quite old), thus rendering my whole process moot.

Tough not voting for the original appearance, but the graphic novel was just too good.

I’ll be shocked if anything other than Morrison/Quietly wins–although the weird thing is that the JLA never battles their counterparts in that story. There’s ONE panel where Wonder Woman sucker-punches Super Woman, but that’s it.

(Yeah, I know J’onn and Arthur battle the CSA, but it’s not like we see a Superman/Ultraman or Batman/Owlman fight.)

I would have voted for the 2009 DVD release Crisis on Two Earths .

SSOSV is a fascinating book to reread. The constant changes in writing staff and editorial direction meant it whipsawed every which way, but because it was a villain book, I found that made it entertainingly unpredictable rather than confused. I’d have liked to see the endgame too, and to learn the origin of their Star Sapphire.
I’d vote for the original story, simply because Part 2 was my first comic ever.
Capper, I love Batman’s one line in that to Owlman at the end: “We both gazed into the abyss—but when it gazed back, one of us blinked.”

@ Capper: me, too. I also would have given an honorable mention to “Justice Lords” from JLU.

Was Alan Davis’ THE NAIL really a Crime Syndicate story? I’m confused by its inclusion. Am I missing something here?

On the other hand, it’s a totally boss story so who cares.

Oh, heck, if we’re going to include cartoons, then I demand mention of Batman: The Brave & The Bold’s “Deep Cover for Batman” and “Game Over for Owlman.” Technically not a CSA story, but Owlman made it close.

I’ve haven’t seen that Batman:The Brave & The Bold episode (or many), but I like that they’re called the Injustice Syndicate there. I always thought that the Crime Syndicate would make more sense for a group of villains on “our” world pooling their resources, and the Injustice Gang (or League) would be the expected name for the parallel, evil versions of the Justice League. Crime Syndicate is a cool name, has a real “Murder, Inc.” vibe to it.

I voted for Earth 2 in terms of overall quality, but in the all-important category of “seeing Ultraman power up by snorting crack rock”, I have to go with Forever Evil…

I wish there was an option to vote Crisis On Infinite Earths #1

Crisis is still my all-time favorite Crime Syndicate moment, but I can see how it isn’t really a CS story.

Nothing comes close to Morrison’s book.

Earth 2 is a great story, yes, but the triple team JLA/JSA/ASS crossover also manages to juggle the evil team and do it magnificently. It’s not only my top choice here, it’s one of my favourites ever.

Decided to pull this response from the recommendations thread on the forums to here, because it’d spoil the story being recommended to the first post’s writer.

– JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (think the DC Universe if ontologically reoriented to always reward evil and punish good)

This one is actually kind of meta, because the premise is that the main DCU is also ontologically “wired” so that good is ultimately rewarded and evil ultimately punished. The idea seems to be that you need one universe to have the other, as kind of a karmic zeroing out of the multiverse. But really, the point is that the Crime Syndicate’s world is [I]narratively[/I] opposed to the JLA’s, which (since it’s all made up anyway) is the same thing for the characters as ontologically opposed. Essentially, in the Crime Syndicate’s world-as-narrative the villains are the protagonists of fiction about costumed superhumans. Since their whole being is as “story characters.” All stories set on that world play out so that evil triumphs, even if all the characters intend good.

That’s why it ends the way it does; only the setting-appropriate characters can end a threat in one or the other setting, and then using only setting-appropriate means. Thus only the CSA can defeat anti-Brainiac, and the only way for it to happen is in an immoral fashion: the JLA abandoning their duties, and Ultraman lobotomizing his long-suffering victim. (This is also more obviously why Anti-Thomas Wayne, Sr. turns out to be a fascist thug rather than a reformer, and why everything reverts so fast at the end. And the CSA could never have “won” on the JLA’ s world, either.)

Another way to think of Antimatter Earth is that it’s the place where all the nasty consequences of superviolence play out because the main story and genre can’t allow them in. Morrison seems to suggest that some compensatory fiction must exist to acknowledge the other side of unrestrained physical power and the hidden costs of solving moral dilemmas with violence so that the simplified, monovalent moral fiction of the aspirational DCU can keep playing out as it does.

This one is actually kind of meta, because the premise is that the main DCU is also ontologically “wired” so that good is ultimately rewarded and evil ultimately punished. The idea seems to be that you need one universe to have the other, as kind of a karmic zeroing out of the multiverse. But really, the point is that the Crime Syndicate’s world is [I]narratively[/I] opposed to the JLA’s, which (since it’s all made up anyway) is the same thing for the characters as ontologically opposed. Essentially, in the Crime Syndicate’s world-as-narrative the villains are the protagonists of fiction about costumed superhumans. Since their whole being is as “story characters.” All stories set on that world play out so that evil triumphs, even if all the characters intend good.

This is a great idea but as executed it left me a little cold.

If we’re supposed to imagine this as the Crime Syndicate being protagnists in their own fiction where evil always wins, then to me we have to imagine the Crime Syndicate companion book that would come out on Earth-3 depicting this adventure. You would basically have a story where the Crime Syndicate gets their ass kicked by the good guys on their earth, while some of them get their asses kicked by the good guys on our Earth, then end up being back in control because the good guys realize the world is wired against them. The Crime Syndicate just reacts to things but have little to no agency.

I think it would have been far more interesting to have the Justice League think they won and think it was a typical Justice League story of them beating bad guys, but gradually realize they are actually the antagonists in a Crime Syndicate story rather than protagonists in a Justice League story, and realize that their win is just the second act in a three act Crime Syndicate story just before the Crime Syndicate comes back to utterly demolish them in the third act and send them home packing. The twist being that they were actually the Villain of the Month on Earth 3 rather than the hero of the tale.

I think it would have been far more interesting to have the Justice League think they won and think it was a typical Justice League story of them beating bad guys, but gradually realize they are actually the antagonists in a Crime Syndicate story rather than protagonists in a Justice League story, and realize that their win is just the second act in a three act Crime Syndicate story just before the Crime Syndicate comes back to utterly demolish them in the third act and send them home packing. The twist being that they were actually the Villain of the Month on Earth 3 rather than the hero of the tale.

Isn’t that essentially what does happen in Earth-2? The JLA decide to reform the CSA’s world, and they even think they’ve done so…but then it all goes bad. Thomas Wayne Sr. defeats the corrupt Gordon, but Batman realizes that Wayne is a fascist thug rather than a noble reformer. The JLA defeat the Crime Syndicate, but then it turns out that was the only thing really holding anti-Brainiac back from destroying both worlds, and so the CSA gets to destroy anti-Brainiac and restore the status quo on their world. From the CSA’s perspective, as Ultraman puts it, it’s just another tale of “poor Luthor” who never wins, not even when he drags flashy guest stars in from that other narrative continuum.

Adam: what also was disappointing about JLA: Earth 2 is that we never saw any CSA equivalents of J’onn and Arthur. Why did they not get an evil doppelganger in the first place?

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