Crisis on Infinite Earths Review

(Welcome to The Clock Tower, where we’ll break down the goings on of the The CW network’s Arrowverse. We’ll touch on things like themes, cultural impact, lead-ins to major events, ships, and more every week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)

Every major event, whether it be on the big screen or small, tells you that its world will never be the same by the time the credits roll. I’m pleasantly surprised to report that Crisis on Infinite Earths managed to deliver on that promise in spades. After a long break, the Arrowverse’s biggest crossover yet concluded in a spectacular fashion. Though I personally felt that the first three episodes were stronger as a whole, a lot went down in the last two episodes that truly does change the landscape of DC forever.

Yes, There Was That Cameo

DC has always compartmentalized to an infuriating degree. Their strange desire to keep their worlds separated has done them more harm than good both in television and in film. But it seems those days may finally be coming to an end. Back when I first started writing round these parts, I put together a Crisis wish list. The final item on that list came with a preamble acknowledging just how insane I knew it was considering said compartmentalization. Turns out, a DCEU actor appearance wasn’t that insane after all! (Even if I did guess the wrong Justice League member.)

Though Ezra Miller’s inclusion spread like wildfire the moment the episode aired, the teams involved in the show miraculously managed to keep the cameo under wraps beforehand. Miller and Grant Gustin played off each other remarkably well, both illustrating Barry Allen’s trademark humor and excitement. Let’s just hope the Flashpoint movie doesn’t muck it all up. You know, should the film ever actually happen.

We Need to Talk About Lex Luthor

What an addition to the universe Jon Cryer’s been. Megalomania looks good on him, and man oh man is he hilarious. Galaxies are literally being wiped out all around him and he’s still out there trying to conquer what’s left. We have a little more to discuss than just the actor behind the character though. 

When the Paragons return to the newly recreated Earth Prime, they’re the only ones who remember what’s occurred. J’onn quickly works to solve that problem with the rest of the heroes, but we get no answers about what’s going on with Lex. He accepts his Nobel Peace Prize, we learn that all of National City (and possibly the world) supports him, and that’s it! But if the Paragons remember then Lex should surely remember, right? And still have superpowers? The real answer here is that we won’t know until Supergirl continues, but there’s a lot of questions over what’s going on with the worst Luthor in the world. 

For Oliver

The last half of Crisis on Infinite Earths fell into a “show, don’t tell” kind of trap. As in, they gave us The Spectre, they told us he had insane powers, but did very little to actually illustrate that. He bops The Flash on the forehead and says he’s unlocked his potential. Ok? Then he has a sixty-second fight with the Anti-Monitor and everything explodes. Though there were some struggles surrounding this new character, but I get the sense that we’re not done with him just yet. You shouldn’t rely on your viewership reading the comics, you should be explaining those kind of things in your narratives. But hey, that’s what columns like The Clock Tower are for. 

The long and short of it is that The Spectre is immortal. He can also warp reality and has limitless matter control. We also know that the Monitor came to collect Felicity Smoak in 2040 to take her to her husband. What I’m trying to say here is that we mourned Oliver Queen dying twice but the dude isn’t dead. He’s just a little different than he was before, and likely occupying a fun little pocket universe carved out just for him and Felicity. 

Though he may not actually be gone, I feel like we have to take the time to acknowledge the sheer devastation of Team Arrow when they found out that they weren’t able to be there for him either time he died. Particularly John Diggle, whose narrative purpose has always been to keep his idiot brother alive. I suspect David Paul Ramsey, Rick Gonzalez and Juliana Harkavy didn’t have to act too hard here. The casts of all of these shows have always been so close, and it’s still rough to think that we’re saying goodbye to Arrow soon. 

It’s All Gleek to Me

The second half of Crisis didn’t have a whole lot of time for character beats. We got a couple neat moments, like Kate Kane watching the news with the Danvers sisters, and Barry and Sara having a heart-to-heart after losing Oliver. But most of it was saved until the very end of the crossover. The team (including the criminally underused Black Lightning) are all standing before the Green Arrow’s memorial in the mostly barren and yet-to-be-named Hall of Justice. The Flash is excitedly going on about the hall’s potential when he takes the team over to a table. The table. 

Each hero has a space, even if the hall is empty outside of the table and memorial for now. There’s a brief moment when you wonder if DC would stop compartmentalizing enough to let the CW use “Justice League”. But just as you begin to wonder you hear a monkey cry out in the distance. Zoom to Gleek’s cage, and the realization that it was probably always going to be Super Friends. And that’s more than enough. 

A Multiverse Rebirthed

I can’t help but think that “Rebirth” was a very specific and intentional choice of verbiage on their part. We’ll just have to see as the stories start to unfold in a post-crisis landscape. Before we get to that, we need to talk about this insane new multiverse and what it means for DC as a whole. 

Gone are the walls that used to separate their streaming, network, and film offerings. As we speed through from earth to earth, we see familiar places, familiar favorites, and exciting new possibilities (hello, Latern Corps!). The theme of the latter half of the crossover was that endings can bring big new beginnings, and they used that as a thrilling springboard to finally create what will hopefully become their own version of a cohesive universe. It’s unlikely we’ll see these earths come into contact with each other often, but just knowing that it’s on the table feels like a new day for the franchise.

Things close out with Brandon Routh back in the suit he was always meant to wear, flying in a familiar orbit, giving a familiar grin, while familiar music swells. At the very least, it was the moment he deserved, though I desperately hope it’s not the last time we see him in those trunks. 

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

That’s it. The Crisis is over. Now our heroes have to figure out what their new normal looks like as they all try to figure out how to navigate occupying one earth. Star City will have to learn to truck on without the Green Arrow until 2040 when Mia Smoak takes on the mantle. Which makes this a good time to drop a reminder that if you’re looking forward to seeing more Canary hijinks after Arrow concludes, you’re going to want to tune into the backdoor pilot next Tuesday. 

Everyone’s back to their regularly scheduled adventures next week, including our beloved Legends of Tomorrow. We’ll see a mix of Crisis aftermath combined with new storylines. We’ll also probably have a whole host of new questions! There’s a lot that has to unravel itself over such a big event, and I can’t wait to dive in together. 

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