This article contains major Crisis on Infinite Earths spoilers.
Believe it or not, the final two chapters of Crisis on Infinite Earths, officially an Arrow episode and a Legends of Tomorrow episode that collectively make up the massive finale, are RELATIVELY light on DC Comics Easter eggs. By “relatively” I really just mean in relation to the three earlier ridiculously huge chapters. But these final two hours are ridiculously huge enough that they don’t have to wink and nod at every opportunity to get the job done.
However, if you haven’t read Crisis on Infinite Earths, it’s enough to know that, like those previous chapters, the broad strokes of the story are mostly in place. Here, the big comic book things you need to know are that the main thrust of this story is that the hero’s return to the past to try and stop the act that unleashes the Anti-Monitor. Failing that, they battle the Anti-Monitor at the dawn of time, and their victory results in the creation of a new multiverse with streamlined continuity. So let’s start at the beginning before we start jumping around.
THE ORIGIN OF THE MONITOR
They significantly changed the Monitor’s origin for TV, but in this case, it’s not a bad thing since his comics origin is pretty comics-y. Here, they’ve combined Mar Novu with Krona, an important figure in DC Comics lore in general, but to Green Lantern in particular. The first clue is that the episode opens on the planet Maltus, which is where the Guardians of the Universe, the beings who ultimately created the Green Lantern Corps first evolved.
Krona was a Maltusian scientist obsessed with witnessing the dawn of creation. We see that here with Novu, although even here he is far less of a dick than Krona was. Interestingly, when Novu steps into the dawn of time, the energy of creation he sees sure looks like what we would expect to emanate from a Green Lantern ring. While Novu is dead, perhaps LaMonica Garrett will return as one of the Guardians of the Universe when we inevitably get the Green Lantern Corps on our TV screens (and which the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths similarly hinted at).
However, the ultimate result here, the creation of the antimatter universe (and hence the Anti-Monitor), isn’t that far off with what happened with Krona, whose meddling created the Multiverse. This is a pretty solid way to streamline that whole messy story for TV.
– The Anti-Monitor “fakeout death” is right from the comics, as is his growing to massive size for a final showdown with the heroes. It’s pretty awesome.
– “You are insects fated to be crushed beneath my heel without a moment’s thought,” sounds like it COULD be a direct quote from the Anti-Monitor in the comics, but there’s just no way I can verify that right now. That book is frakkin’ massive.
ARROW, OLIVER QUEEN, AND THE SPECTRE
“I’ll light the spark, you fan the flame” is one of the many meta-touches this finale had regarding Oliver’s role, and especially Arrow’s role, in the shaping of the Arrowverse. Arrow did indeed light the spark, and all of these other shows have fanned the flame. Hopefully they will continue to do so for many years to come.
– The Spectre physically fighting the Anti-Monitor while a new universe forms around them is straight out of the original book.
– Oliver narrating the “creation” narration is similar to how Spock did the “space…the final frontier” narration after he (spoiler!) croaked in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
As it happened in the comics, a number of key universes were collapsed into one to streamline continuity. Only the characters who were present for that battle at the dawn of time will remember the Crisis itself, or that things were ever any different.
Interestingly, the designation Earth-Prime in classic DC Comics was meant to refer to OUR Earth, the world of the readers, where there were no superheroes or metahumans at all.
EZRA MILLER AS DCEU FLASH
No, you most certainly are not hallucinating, that is an honest-to-goodness core member of the DCEU Justice League appearing on an Arrowverse TV series. Ezra Miller appears to be having tremendous fun here, and there’s a couple of points worth noting:
1. He loves Barry’s costume. As he should. It’s more appropriate for running and far superior to that weird, clunky thing he wears.
2. Nobody has yet called DCEU Barry by “the Flash” in that world. So it seems he’s getting ideas.
3. DCEU Barry didn’t have proof that the multiverse existed, but he clearly had his suspicions. His line about “I told Victor this was possible,” refers to his Justice League movie teammate Victor Stone, Cyborg.
And you know what? This isn’t even the coolest cameo of the finale! We’ll get to that in a minute.
This is kind of a random note, but while Barry thinks he was gone for seconds, the team lets him know that he was actually gone for “months.” Meanwhile it has been ALMOST two months since the last chapter of Crisis aired, and you have to figure the team is probably having trouble keeping track of the passage of time at Vanishing Point. My point here is that this little detail helps continue the tradition that these shows more or less take place in real time.
– Oliver/Spectre says that “the Speed Force is the key to saving everyone.” Making the Speed Force the key to the multiverse feels like a nod to the fact that the very concept of the DC Multiverse was first introduced in the pages of The Flash, in the classic “Flash of Two Worlds” story which saw Barry Allen meet Jay Garrick for the first time.
The big battle at the Dawn of Time is also central in the comics, and there it was also the Spectre (not the Oliver Queen version) who physically took on the Monitor while channeling the powers of other heroes. In that case it was magical ones, but whatever.
There are so many ways Oliver “passes the torch” to Barry in this, but his “I’ve unlocked your potential, Barry” (with no special effects) might be the best. In a meta-sense, he certainly did. It took a Green Arrow TV show to make a The Flash TV series a success. Who could have guessed?
Barry does indeed appear to be wearing the outfit he wore in his first appearance in the Arrowverse, in the Arrow season 2 episode “The Scientist.” We also get flashbacks to the Elseworlds and Invasion crossovers, as well as several episodes of Arrow.
Lex Luthor abusing someone for not being quite as smart as he is is one of the least charming hallmarks of the character and perfectly on brand. But Ryan insisting on calling Lex “Mr. Luthor” unintentionally plays into classic Lex henchman-speak, notably Otis as played by Ned Beatty in Richard Donner’s Superman movies.
“I don’t cotton to aliens” is just one of many lines when Jon Cryer cements himself as the greatest Lex Luthor actor ever. Just the delivery of those five words, there’s a little Gene Hackman there, but there’s also a ton of the Luthor from the Elliot S. Maggin novels, where Lex’s curmudgeonly demeanor feels as much like Robert A. Heinlein’s Jubal Harshaw as anything else.
There is some precedent for Lex gaining powers, notably in the current Justice League comics where he has “evolved” into “Apex Lex.”
In the new reality (and in a convenient development for the Superman and Lois TV series) Lex Luthor is a “respectable” individual, so all of his villainy and hatred of Kryptonians will have to be “behind the scenes” as it was during Marv Wolfman and John Byrne’s tenure on the Superman books in the ‘80s and ‘90s. But Lex is one of the characters who remembers everything from the way it used to be, so don’t think he has actually turned over a new leaf.
The guy who helps Barry and Kara figure out their new reality (by accident) is Marv Wolfman, the writer of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, the co-creator of the New Teen Titans, and legitimately one of the greatest writers and editors in comic book history. He is a legend who deserves to be celebrated.
THE NEW DC MULTIVERSE
Oliver saying that they must “Rebirth the universe” is a pretty significant choice of words. Rebirth was a DC Comics publishing initiative that subtly retconned recent continuity to make the line of books more cohesive and the characters slightly more recognizable to TV and movie fans.
– It’s fitting that everything faded to white before the “new” world wakes up, as that’s also exactly what happened in the comics. Interestingly, Kara waking up and being the first to realize something is “off” and then having to figure things out with other heroes, is similar to what happened in the book, only there it was the Earth-2 Superman, who was also coming to the realization that the world he woke up in wasn’t quite the one he had gone to sleep in.
We caught glimpses of the state of the rest of the new DC multiverse as well. Those include:
– A new Earth-2, which is where the Stargirl TV series will take place. We see here Stargirl and STRIPE, along with modern versions of classic JSA characters Dr. Mid-Nite, Hourman, and the Yolanda Montez version of Wildcat. One other fun connection to the comics, it was in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths that Yolanda Montez took over the Wildcat mantle from Ted Grant.
– Earth-12 is the home of the Green Lantern Corps, and possibly where the upcoming HBO Max TV series will take place.
– All of the other DC Universe live action shows are accounted for, with the Titans back on Earth-9, and the revelation that the dearly departed Swamp Thing series took place on Earth-19, and our beloved Doom Patrol on Earth-21. I haven’t really figured out what the numeric significance of any of these might be, so please feel free to speculate away in the comments.
RYAN CHOI AND THE ATOM
The “microverse” that he and Ray are referring to is straight out of the comics, and it’s a realm that Ray himself got lost in. Wait…uh-oh…
Incidentally, Ryan’s daughter is named “Simone.” As in, brilliant comic book writer Gail Simone, his co-creator.
SARGON THE SORCERER
I can’t believe they put Sargon the Sorcerer in this. Sargon has been around in the comics since 1941, although he isn’t a villain, and is actually one of DC’s classic magical heroes who pops up from time to time (notably in the original Crisis book).
At Vanishing Point, when we see Supergirl carrying the tattered cape of Earth-96 Superman, it’s a kind of reverse nod to the famous cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, which featured Superman holding Kara’s corpse.
– Is Kara’s “Up, up, and away” the first time we’ve heard those three words uttered in the Arrowverse? Granted, it’s a little quaint, but it once served a purpose: it was invented for The Adventures of Superman radio show so that audiences would know when Supes was taking off.
– A determined Kara looks pretty willing to sacrifice her life to save her cousin when Superman is literally caught in the grip of the Anti-Monitor. Thankfully, unlike in the comics, she survives this time.
When Ray was getting caught up, after he said “there’s a me? There’s a super-me?” he struck the classic Superman pose.
It’s wonderful to see that Earth-96 Superman is restored (and we get another listen to that triumphant John Williams music!). That shot mimics the classic “flyby” that ended each of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Interestingly, the logo on this costume appears to be the New 52 Earth-2 version of the “S” which is an awesome variant and one that has never been seen in live action!
Clark is surprised to learn that he and Lois have sons PLURAL. Might one of them possibly be an ADOPTED son? We wrote about this possibility in more detail here.
No, you’re not going crazy. That abandoned STAR Labs facility absolutely looks like the Hall of Justice from the classic Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon. And yes, that is the original Super Friends theme song you hear playing.
What the hell is a Gleek? I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED! Gleek is a blue space monkey who was the pet of Zan and Jayna, better known as the Wonder Twins. On the Super Friends cartoon, the Wonder Twins were basically junior members of the team (and in the current comic series, which is one of the funniest superhero books of all time, they are Justice League interns) and Gleek has a super strong tail that assists on adventures.
– Some of the climactic action takes place around Gardner Pier. Gardner Fox was the co-writer of The Flash #123, “The Flash of Two Worlds” which introduced the concept of the multiverse fo the DC Universe.
– More action takes place at Perez Landing. By now, I shouldn’t have to tell you that George Perez was the artist and co-creator of the Crisis on Infinite Earths comics (not to mention The New Teen Titans and some of the best Wonder Woman comics of all time). The guy is a once in a generation talent.
– “Rory, huh? We had a Rory once on our team,” refers to Rory Regan, the superheroic Ragman, who hasn’t been seen on our screens in quite some time.
– Speaking of Arrow stuff, John once again has TWO children, with little Sara Diggle returning to reality after Barry botched everything with Flashpoint a few years back.
– Can anyone identify who this President is? Also, she refers to Green Arrow as “the first of our heroes,” presumably because Batman is an urban legend.
– The fact that Beebo basically dissolves into ectoplasm after Sargon is exposed is just the final perfect Ghostbusters-esque nod that whole thing needed.
– Ryan Choi telling Oliver his “outfit” is “very Sith” was a cute touch. Hey, in the absence of Cisco, someone’s gotta do it!
– Lex referencing “chestbursters” and “predators” while on Maltus was a nice touch…even though he was totally being racist about Kryptonians.
– Lex jokes to the Monitor about their team-up being “The brave and the bald.” The Brave and the Bold was a classic Batman team-up comic book and terrifically underrated animated series.
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