Last week was Marvelous, but now for the conclusion of Crisis On Infinite Earths! (Can you believe the first chunk aired last decade?) The CW gave early renewals to all its DC shows except Arrow, so that may be a pretty big spoiler. Now read onward for the more specific SPOILERS!
The scale of this crossover is bewildering. The destruction of Earth-2 was the Anti-Monitor testing his antimatter cannon, but he wasn’t released until Pariah Wells inadvertently freed him. So does the Anti-Montior have time travel powers? If he does, why destroy the multiverse in the present instead of before any superheroes existed? If he could fire off his cannon whilst imprisoned, however, did it even matter whether he was released?
There’s a two issue comic book tie-in to hopefully fill in the gaps. Yay for comics spun off comic book adaptations being canon! Boo to needing to buy them to get the complete story. (This truly gives you the crossover experience.) Supposedly it features Felicity Smoak, Kid-Flash, the Ray, & lots more Lexes. I would’ve liked to see them on TV.
Marv Wolfman, author of the original maxi-series, co-wrote the penultimate episode. The Flash combined him & artist George Perez to form Marv Perez. Maybe that’s the same character as the lucky autograph hound he plays in the finale. (There should also be a George Wolfman who’s literally a werewolf.)
Pariah & Harbinger still barely matter. They were key players in the original crossover, but their roles could’ve been merged into other characters to streamline things. Lyla & Wells don’t even get to keep their power upgrades.
The Paragons rarely demonstrate why they’re the specific exemplars needed to reboot the universe. Despite substituting himself, Lex is an appropriate Paragon of Truth since he’s honest about his self-interest. (He had deceived Kaznian Kara though.) Batwoman doesn’t contribute much, especially in these final two installments. (It’s refreshing to finally get a shared DC universe that doesn’t revolve around a Batperson.) White Canary already has badass normal covered. Ryan Choi is also redundant since Luthor has tech genius on lock. Cut them both & have more room to incorporate Black Lightning. (His show’s filming schedule probably prevented him from being it it more, but other characters could’ve definitely used that screentime.) It would’ve been more organic if they’d just been the only characters Pariah managed to teleport away.
What purpose does the Paragons having spent months at The Vanishing Point serve? What’ve they been eating? Ryan Choi’s beard is the only indication that time has passed. Martian Manhunter is still expending effort to appear in his human disguise? (By now you’d expect them to budget his alien face more frequently.) Supergirl holds Superman’s cape in the most direct reference to COIE #7 that’s still unfulfilling. Oliver Queen as The Spectre is just him wearing a hooded bathrobe instead of a cloak that shows off his albino abs as if Stephen Amell did all that salmon laddering for nothing!
The best part of the penultimate episode was the cameo by Erza Miller’s cinematic Flash! I was not expecting this! They were on set together despite the odd blurriness making them look green-screened. It’s gratuitous, but I was delighted by both Barrys complementing each other. Hopefully Grant Gustin can return the favor by cameoing in The Flash movie if it ever gets made.
He persuades Mar Novu to resurrect him in exchange for fixing his experiment. (He has Krona’s origin of a botched jaunt to the moment of creation giving him Godlike powers & creating the Anti-Monitor. That’s pretty much all the explanation we get aside from his wife designing his costume.) Except Ryan Choi convinces Novu not to go through with at all, so there is no closed loop time travel explanation for Novu resurrecting Lex. The other Paragons are separated through the Speed Force in Oliver’s memories (plus one he wasn’t present for?), & Barry has to gather them up. The other paragon’s jaunt to lavender-tinted Maltus already satisfied Arrow’s obligatory flashback quotient. This is all a waste of time.
Ryan’s effort was for naught as a Mar Novu from another universe travels to the antimatter universe (of Qward) thus creating the Anti-Monitor. He summons Dementors for a seriously unthrilling quarry battle against the assembled Paragons at the dawn of time. How is Choi holding his own? Meanwhile Spectre defeats the Anti-Monitor in an equally unengaging manner without meting out any arabesque punishments. Then Oliver dies again despite being a ghost with bonus Wrath of God attributes. This allows the paragons to reshape the world with Luthor’s stolen page from The Book of Destiny.
The penultimate episode was so bad it’s almost the reason to shut down the entire CW-verse. Fortunately its epilogue is a solid episode that ties everything together in an intriguing new status quo. Legends of Tomorrow’s season five premiere sees the Beeboverse officially become Post-Crisis with all its series merged into Prime Earth. I look forward to not having to jump through interdimensional hoops to get Supergirl & Black Lightning to hang out with the Earth-1 crew. (Vibe’s portable portal devices, however, made it pretty painless already.) Will Black Lightning move production to Vancouver to facilitate crossovers more often?
Everybody loves Lex Luthor! He made himself the DEO’s boss too! What does this mean for Lena Luthor’s grievance with Supergirl? Atom was delighted by a telepathic infodump of the crossover. I expected Toyman, but rampaging Beebo was an illusion by Sargon the Sorcerer. Since he’s usually a hero, I suspect this would’ve been Abra Kadabra if David Dastmalchian wasn’t preoccupied filming The Suicide Squad. Sara Diggle exists again in addition to JJ. Maybe she’ll keep him from becoming Deathstroke? Superman & Lois now have two sons, whom we’ll hear more of in their forthcoming & potentially redundant spinoff. (Broke: Lois Lane can’t spell. Woke: Lois Lane will literally get you hammered.) Is it possible Jesse Quick & Harry Wells were merged into Earth Prime, or will they remain the token non-Oliver casualties?
The Anti-Monitor is not dead because Spectre Arrow half-assed his vengeance. He makes himself giant-size to swat at flying heroes. This incredibly cheesy & therefore more exciting than his previous attack. So that’s like a more fun Apocalypse fight than X-Men: Apocalypse delivered. Since he’s not wearing his iconic helmet, he even looks like Apocalypse! (That’s how you know it’s a lackluster redesign.) Considering at least three Earths merged, not as many superheroes pitch in against multiversal genocide as expected. (Not only did he diss crossovers, Nate Heywood didn’t help fight the Anti-Monitor because he’s THE WORST. People without powers risked their lives, but Discount Colossus couldn’t be bothered?) Atom, Choi, &
Pariah Nash Wells build a shrink-grenade to permanently shrink the Anti-Monitor into the Atomverse. (Despite the trademark issues, they still namedrop the catchier Microverse unlike the MCU.) I don’t understand why being incredibly tiny would nullify his power though.
The President giving a televised eulogy for Oliver Queen was awkward. Since Prime Earth’s collective memory had been retconned not to be aware of the multiversal catastrophe, how would she know of his heroic demise? (The Paragons put it into her brain, which still isn’t a satisfying reason to crowbar it into the story.) Just the private eulogy by the superheros was enough. White Canary & Flash already handle all the emotional heavy lifting without being ordered to mourn Green Arrow.
The Hall of Justice finally becomes the official team-up headquarters. It seems like they’ll need a much bigger table for Justice League meetings. (They don’t formally call themselves the Justice League yet, although Speedy told Talia al Ghul the League of Assassins should be replaced by a League of Justice. Neither are present here, so they can snatch up the name with a rival team.) I appreciate they welcomed Black Lightning with a seat, but there are lots of superheroes the Paragons know better. His reaction to finding out the world is imperiled regularly was hilarious. Since there isn’t a discrete Justice League series, where will the escaped yet unseen Gleek spend most of his time? Whither the Wonder Twins?
Earth-1 Barry Allen definitely doesn’t die. I feel cheated! The other Barry Allen sacrificing himself might’ve been great closure to fans of the short-lived 90’s series, but they’ve spent the whole first chunk of The Flash season six stressing that its star was definitely dying this crossover. The Monitor & Speed Force didn’t tell him “A Barry Allen will die in Crisis. It could be you, or it might not. The Multiverse is infinite now so we’re warning all your dopplegangers just to be on the safe side.” They told him after Oliver traded his life for Barry’s & Kara’s, so they should’ve known by then whether his destiny changed. (Dr. Destiny & Psycho Pirate don’t appear despite last crossover’s tease.) Not only is this a rehash of the Iris death fakeout, it invalidates one of the series’ key plotlines. Unless there’s another crisis with red skies on the way that Reverse-Flash will vanquish Barry during?
Although The CW Earths are merged into a single Prime Earth thanks to the Paragons, the Multiverse is reborn anyway & hidden from our CW crew. This is the best possible outcome. (It’ll save me from having to spend paragraphs explaining Harley Quinn & Birds of Prey can’t exist because the Beeboverse was the only portion of the DC multiverse salvaged.) According to the titles, each DC Universe streaming service show exists on separate Earths. (So Titans & Doom Patrol are officially out of continuity to each other.) Add Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, & Stargirl to the list of series taking part. So I’m considering it a sixteen series crossover! (While ostensibly teasing HBO Max’s Green Lantern show, it actually used footage from the overly maligned movie. Sadly there was no altverse Diggle as John Stewart.)
Crisis On Infinite Earths is almost crushed under its gargantuan ambitions. It has plenty of fan service, but most of it distracted from the narrative rather than serving it. Of course this story does need as many cameos as possible to sell that it has stakes beyond The CW shows. (It doesn’t, but they help the illusion.) The odd numbered installments were the best since they featured the least obnoxious levels of filler. Either it needed a trim or more episodes to let the rapid fire events breathe. Regardless, it sets up a promising new status quo for the Beeboverse without negating other DC adaptations. Seeing the TV shows officially acknowledged as valid as the movies warms my softcore nerd soul. It really replicates the highs & lows of a linewide crossover. While overall it didn’t match the zenith of Crisis on Earth-X, fortunately it’s superior to Elseworlds! Now bring on more magnificent bastard Lex!
Next week we’ll be back with either a new custom or CAOS Part 3 review, whichever is finished first. While you’re waiting, you can now watch the critically acclaimed second season of Lodge 49 on Hulu!