The final installments of Pre-Crisis TV have aired. The crossover even that’s been foreshadowed ever since The Flash’s series premiere is finally here! Not even the DCAU attempted a direct Crisis On Infinite Earths adaptation! I have some concerns over how they’ll pull off the whole shebang in just five episodes (if you don’t count all the prior build-up), especially with Marc Guggenheim is overseeing it. It’s at a disadvantage of not being able to include characters from every DC adaptation ever made. I’m gonna watch it anyway!
This crossover is instantly better than last year’s for including the
Feet of the Future Leg-Ends of Tomorrow! It also contains more Elseworlds. Wasn’t it established The CW’s multiverse only has fifty-three alternate universes? Why are these Earth #’s so high? Granted Crisis On Fifty-Three Earths doesn’t sound as thrilling. Maybe the real Crisis On Infinite Earths is needing to save Lodge 49? (Which Earths has it not been cancelled on?) It’s a SPOILER that nothing below will make a lick of sense if you’re not up on your CW DC, although that may make it more entertaining.
The event kicks off with antimatter oblitterating assorted realities. Alan Ritchson was unable to reprise Smallville’s Aquaman, but a clip of him as Hawk from
Teen Titans is used in the opening montage of eradicated Earths. So the DC Universe streaming service is destroyed! But I was promised a second season of Doom Patrol!
The Batsignal for Earth-89 is wrong! The newspaper talks about Batman defeating the Joker, but Alexander Knox is older than he was in Batman so this scene doesn’t take place concurrently with that movie. So they specifically went out of their way to do a callback to one of the most prominent DC movies & messed up all the details. It felt like the CW version of the movie instead of the real McCoy. At least Earth-66’s Dick Grayson cameo is comically brief without obvious discrepancies.
The Monitor released Ma’alefa’ak from the Phantom Zone to prepare Martian Manhunter for this crisis. His early contribution is to ask all the alien immigrants if Earthlings can share their ships as they evacuate to Earth-1. This seems like something he would’ve done anyway & is coordinated with ludicrous speed. Alex Danvers tries to apologize to Lena Luthor, who builds a giant transmat portal to evacuate Earth-38 whilst cosplaying as Janet from The Good Place. Alex’s belief that she’d need to grovel to convince her to save the world agitates Lena further.
Argo needs more than single person pods. Baby Jonathan Kent’s pod somehow winds up in Star City of 2046 on Earth-16. White Cary implies she’s been there already, but its Green Arrow confirms the Legends went to pre-Flashpoint Earth-1 instead. Sara tells this Oliver he’s a good man on every Earth, ignoring the one where he was King Nazi. This whole sequence was an odd detour.
Mia Smoak officially becomes the new Green Arrow. (Good for her, but Connor Hawke continues being shafted. This is like how Jason Rusch didn’t get to be half of Firestorm.) This will lead into her headlining Green Arrow & the (Black) Canaries. There’s also foreshadowing for Superman & Lois spinoff. Aside from their baby, I don’t know what they’d do on the series as most Superman friends, foes, & tales have already been used by Supergirl. Is the Beeboverse already cannibalizing itself because DC Universe & HBO Max are now getting first dibs on new properties?
Mar Novu refuses to tell Oliver about the Anti-Monitor thinking it’d help him prepare for every possibility. How monstrously unhelpful! Oliver had an anti-Monitor arrow (not to be confused with an anti-Anti-Monitor arrow) in his quiver? Oliver Queen dies on Supergirl with three episodes of his own series left. Shadow demons were successful at only killing him whilst he bought time for an extra billion beings to evacuate from Earth-38.
Never mind! They resurrect him with a Lazarus Pit in part 2! Lucifer of Fox & Netflix pops in to help get Oliver’s soul back from Purgatory & pronounce John Constantine’s name correctly. Jim Corrigan pays off a Constantine dangler by making Oliver the new Spectre though. The Wrath of God is going to tell the Anti-Monitor “YOU HAVE FAILED THIS MULTIVERSE!”
Nash Wells becomes Pariah with a spiffy costume, explaining it’s his fault the Anti-Monitor was freed. Apparently that was a result of him touching the Eternium wall he thought belonged to The Monitor, which was not well presented in the repeated stinger. Pariah & Harbinger just feel like third wheels in a story with umpteen bicycles.
The second installment felt like a bunch of side quests. Where are all the red skies? It saps the tension if they’re only traveling to altverses not on the brink of destruction. (Black Lightning’s mid-season finale may have only been a loose tie-in, but it felt more urgent in its focus.) It’s mostly about finding seven paragons, but there’s too much filler.
White Canary arbitrarily doesn’t want The Monitor using her Waverider as a base to save the Multiverse, but fans still say Lena is the petty one? They get another Waverider from an altverse where all the Legends are dead except Heatwave. He seems identical to Earth-1’s Heatwave & it’s an all hands on deck apocalypse situation, so I don’t get why they added this extra step. His ship’s AI is Snart, so at least there’s that. (I also enjoyed hearing Dina Myer as Oracle again. Weirdly Rachel Skarsten doesn’t reprise her Birds of Prey role too.)
Lex Luthor steals The Book of Destiny (Mar Novu wisely saved that Deus ex machina too) & goes dimension-hopping on a quest to destroy all Supermen. (Even Nic Cage?) When gets to Smallville, he’s incredulous that its Superman is Clark Kent. Even accepting arrogant Lex doesn’t already know the alter ego of Earth-38’s Superman, wouldn’t The Book have alerted him? He should be sensing a pattern from the majority of Supermen. This Kent has forsaken his Kryptonian powers, so he gets a reprieve. Tom Welling convincingly portrays someone opposed to fun. He still doesn’t wear a proper Superman suit. Too bad they couldn’t get Michael Rosenbaum back as Lex Luthor as well.
Brandon Routh’s Superman is a reference to both Superman Returns & Kingdom Come, so that universe got dystopian in the intervening years. (I’m not even sure if Superman Returns is even the same universe as Donner’s Superman given the timeline discrepancy & complete recasting.) His performance suggests there are no bad Superman actors, just bad Superman movies. Lex makes him fight Earth-38 Supes (part of journalist trio with his wife & Iris West-Allen) because nobody ever gets sick of heroes fighting each other. The Supermen fight looks great, but Supergirl does a super-doppelganger brawl at least once a year. Lois takes Lex down, but sadly not with one of her hammers. Unable to use The Book, Lois deprograms this Clark with a pep talk because tropes.
For the first time in live action, BTAS’s Kevin Conroy portrays Bruce Wayne! He’s wearing an orthopedic exoskeleton like in Kingdom Come, but his presence in a separate universe than Routh’s Superman is a tip-off that something’s amiss. It turns out he’s more like a TDKR Batman who’s really into killing. (Earth-2’s Jennifer Pierce knows that feel!) Batwoman electrocutes him before he can slay Supergirl. I was hoping they’d all meet Van Wayne from Powerless! So far the Beeboverse isn’t making Batman look good. I would still accept Conroy as Earth-1 Batman should WB ever loosen up to let him appear as such.
Mar Novu reveals he let Luthor go on a killing spree to lead the three reporters to the paragon Superman. The Atom’s device shows the “Bat of the future” is actually Batwoman not The Goddamn Batman. So The Monitor pointlessly wasted everyone’s effort instead of waiting for Ray’s results. Surely there was a less gratuitous way to include all the fan service?
It turns out Earth-90’s Barry Allen wasn’t vaporized last crossover. The Anti-Monitor stuck him on the Cosmic Treadmill to power his universe-annihilating antimatter cannon. Earth-1 Barry tries to sacrifice himself to destroy it, but his predecessor insists on doing it for him. (Note how the cinematic Flash didn’t even offer.) So was this whole half season of The Flash foreshadowing a fake-out or is his death to come? (The after show implies this is the loophole cop out they’re going with even though Reverse-Flash promised he’d be there.) It was cool seeing Black Lightning brought in to help out.
Much like Infinity War, this story leaves off on a cliffhanger where the heroes lose that will definitely be undone. The Anti-Monitor hijacks Harbinger’s body to kill The Monitor & the last remaining universe of Earth-1. Pariah teleports the seven paragons (White Canary, Flash, Batwoman, pre-Atom Ryan Choi, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, & KC Superman) to The Vanishing Point. Lex Luthor usurps Superman’s place as the Paragon of Truth via The Book of Destiny. (Is truth a lie?) That’s such a magnificent bastard surprise!
Wonder Woman isn’t a multiverse paragon? The CW was developing a series about her called Amazon to star Amy Manson, but it was scuttled once movie plans coalesced. Much like the Joker, WB is loath to have Diana Prince return to the small screen now that she’s amassed cinematic success. (Tell me now, how do I feel about Wonder Woman 1984? The real villain is George Orwell’s ghost!) Can we get Adrianne Palicki back with darkened pants? They really need to pay off all those Diggle as Green Lantern teases too.
This is an ambitious crossover of thirteen TV shows so far (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, Black Lightning, The Flash ’90, Batman ’66, Birds of Prey, Constantine, Titans, Smallville, Lucifer) with too much going on to really evaluate before it finishes. What I can tell you is that The Monitor is dumber than a sack of Lois Lane’s hammers! He spent so much time tormenting his champions instead of adequately preparing them. He didn’t even know which Barry Allen was going to die when he had The Book of Destiny! Since he foresaw Anti-Monitor’s release, why not do something to avert it? The Multiverse was destroyed because he sent the 90’s Flash right to the Anti-Monitor. What was the purpose of upgrading Lyla via Oliver’s fetch quest when he instantly repowered Vibe to better result? Letting Lex be his wild card is the canniest decision he made. (Ex-SlamBall player LaMonica Garrett wore an Alexander Luthor shirt, which means someone went to the trouble of making one.)
In the first instance Post-Crisis recasting, Thomas Lenon will be the new Mr. Mxyzptlk. He’ll be better than the last dude, but I’d rather have Warwick Davis. What’s The CW got against casting dwarfs?
The final two installments air January 14. Will the Anti-Monitor wear his iconic helmet? The climax will be in a quarry like Doctor Who intended! I’m going to feel so cheated if Earth-1’s Flash doesn’t at least temporarily die!
At 8 PM EST on Friday, there will be another collective screaming on the Twitter to save Lodge 49. Third time’s the charm! (I missed out on the last one.) While many other prematurely cancelled shows are adaptations, this is urgent because TV is its original & possibly only medium. If everyone could put their campaigns to resurrect other shows on pause until somebody agrees to give Lodge 49 the final two seasons it needs to finish, that’d be splendid. Thank you kindly.