The DC TV crossover event of 2017 event was amazing! The CW superheroes faced a “Crisis on Earth X” and, guess what? Just like the relatively obscure DC Comics story it’s (very loosely) based on, this baby is packed with more DC superhero mythology per minute than pretty much all of these shows combined have managed to pull off all year.
First of all, what exactly is “Crisis on Earth X?” Well, that’s a long story, but fortunately for you, we have a whole history of it right here for you! In the spirit of the comic book easter egg goodness we are about to bestow upon you, let’s just kick it off with this awesome Phil Jimenez comic book tribute cover…
So here’s how this works…if you want the full reviews, you’re in the wrong article. Hit the blue episode titles that offset each section to be taken to actual critical analysis. This is just for folks looking to play spot the DC Comics references.
– Right out of the gate with this one, we get “red skies” on Earth X. For DC Comics fans, we all know that red skies always signal some kind of multiversal Crisis.
– The idea of restoring “hope” to a corner of the DC Universe is similar to what DC Comics had to do from a publishing standpoint with their Rebirth initiative in 2016. It worked, too.
– The Earth X Nazis use the “hail victory” line, which is something we’ve heard that pathetic limpdick with a bad haircut, Richard Spencer, say when he mumbles incomprehensible nonsense disguised as obscure “philosophy” at one of his stupid rallies for tiny crowds of suckers here in the real world.
– So, Earth X Jimmy’s Guardian armor is pretty patriotic, and his shield ends up looking like the golden age Captain America’s original shield. But this is my question: since we’re meeting the Freedom Fighters in later episodes of this, and they were led by a patriotic hero named Uncle Sam (who I am pretty sure we are not going to meet on TV), does that mean that Patriotic Guardian Jimmy is the show’s stand-in for Uncle Sam?
– We have our obligatory King Shark appearance in this episode. I’m joking, there is nothing obligatory about a King Shark appearance. He graces your screen with his presence.
– Aside from the “last year” joke with Supergirl fighting a Dominator, there’s a little more significance here. The Dominators are primarily known as a race that menaces the Legion of Super-Heroes, and they are most definitely going to figure heavily on this show going forward. So why did a pissed off Dominator show up out of nowhere? Probably because he’s chasing Mon-El and the rest of the crew of that mystery ship from last week.
– I want to go back in time and tell 10 year old me that there will one day be an episode of TV where Heat Wave attends Barry Allen’s wedding. That is all. This is by far the least important thing happening at the WestAllen wedding, though…
– Who is the mysterious waitress at the wedding? I will bet you an adult beverage that this is Dawn Allen, one half of twins born to Barry and Iris in the far future. How far in the future? Well, remember how I keep saying the Legion of Super-Heroes is about to become a really, really important part of this world? Yeah. There’s also speculation that this is a Legionnaire named XS, another WestAllen descendant, but I’m sticking to my Dawn Allen guns on this one. And if I’m wrong? Well, I’ll still be pretty happy.
– The priest who gets vaporized? That, my friends, is former Greatest American Hero star William Katt. This is amazing. What was The Greatest American Hero, you ask? Only the superhero TV show with the second greatest superhero TV show theme song ever!
– Cisco calling Harry “Squidward” is priceless.
– I love that Marvel Comics exist as fiction in the CW-verse.
I am very excited about this. I am also going to be very sad if I am wrong.
– I feel like these shows long ago established that there are, in fact, “infinite earths” and not just the standard (current) line of 52 (well, 53), but I could be wrong. But as I’ve always said, if there are 52, they each have their own 52, and each of those has their own 52, and thus…yeah, infinite.
– The heist goes down at Dayton Optical Systems. Y’know, Steven Dayton was a rich scientist connected to the Doom Patrol, so he could certainly afford his own company.
– The fact that this isn’t another alternate version of Harry or Reverse-Flash but rather actually Eobard Thawne from yet another point in the timeline that we can’t fathom yet brings me lots of joy. This is so perfectly in keeping with how Reverse-Flash always appears in the comics. We don’t know where he is relative to us in his lifespan. It’s great. In general, though, it’s a good idea to keep Eobard Thawne away from Barry Allen wedding days.
– I love that their evaluation of Hitler was that he was “driven by passion and childish need” which sounds like it’s ripped right from everyone’s Twitter feed every morning around 6 am or so, am I right, folks?
– When Supergirl…ahem…Overgirl tells Oliver to “burn” it reminds me of this awesome moment in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘ equally awesome “For The Man Who Has Everything.”
– There are a couple of neat Grant Morrison connections with Supergirl here, believe it or not. For one thing, Nazi Supergirl seems really inspired by Morrison and Jim Lee’s take on Earth X in Multiversity. The color scheme and SS logo are in keeping with that (as well as the idea of the rocket landing in “the Fatherland.” But the reason that Supergirl is dying comes from a slightly more unlikely place.
Supergirl is dying because she absorbed too much solar radiation and her cells are basically exploding. The reason is that “she flew too close to the sun.” While this is can be read as a tired Icarus reference, flying “too close to the sun” is literally what kicked off the events of Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, which is essential reading, the best Superman story of this century, if not my entire life.
– Also, I love the fact that she’s a General on Earth X. When Kryptonians go bad, they sure do love the rank of General, don’t they? If we don’t get her telling someone to “kneel” before this is all over, I’m gonna want my money back.
– Harry’s bouncing a ball in his cell is like Steve McQueen at the start of The Great Escape, one of the very best Nazi fightin’ movies you will ever see. I cannot say enough good things about that flick.
– Iris and Felicity sneaking around in the ventilation ducts, as well as the “McClane” crack is, of course, Die Hard. After all, it’s nearly Christmas.
– Len Snart as “Citizen Cold” is the heroic version of the character from the comics version of Flashpoint. He’s busting out some of his signature moves from Injustice 2, too.
– The Ray has been around comics since the 1940s, but the version that our TV Ray most closely resembles is the one introduced in 1992’s really cool The Ray mini-series by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada.
– Winn’s “Kingdom Come” reference is not, in fact, a reference to Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ classic comic book story. Chill out.
– The fact that Eobard has fought Superman in “the future” leads me to believe that he’s referring to a Crisis/crossover event we haven’t seen yet, which I am 100% in favor of. I really, really want to see this happen.
– “Come with me if you want to live,” is, of course, from The Terminator and related sequels.
– I missed a ton of the pop culture references because I was crying there were so many of them, especially in the scene where the Legends wrecked Metallo and Cisco freaked out about there being so many pop culture references. That said, Metallo’s exploding head was definitely another The Terminatorreference.
– Wells has an impossibly high opinion of Cisco. “Cut the chatter, Red 2,” was said by Red Leader Garven Dreis to Wedge Antilles during the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars: A New Hope.
– Wells’ “Walk in the park Kazansky” when he takes over is from Top Gun.
– Cisco’s “A Nazi Waverider?” was said by me literally 35 minutes earlier. Also, Star Raiders was very much a real game for the Atari (and a good one, too). How old is Cisco, again?
– KILLER FROST CAME IN ON AN ICE SLIDE! I’m a week behind on Flashbut I haven’t seen her do that on TV yet. It’s a very Iceman thing to do. X-Men Iceman, not Top GunIceman.
– Fun callback to last year’s crossover (where Brandon Routh said “She looks like my cousin” about Supergirl): Kara falling back to Earth after Overgirl explodes bears more than a passing resemblance to…Brandon Routh falling back to Earth at the end of Superman Returns.
– Although a far cooler Superman movie reference is Kara’s perfect arms folded “General, care to step outside?” line, a wonderful homage to Superman II.
– We don’t need to explain Harry’s “up, up, and away” line, right? And no, it’s not that stupid “Beautiful Balloon” song.
– Eobard’s gloating about how Barry won’t kill is absolutely going to come back and haunt Barry in the future, in a storyline that will almost certainly fuel an entire season of TV. It’s my favorite Flash story ever, and they’re totally gonna do it.
– Dig yakking after Barry makes him go at super-speed is almost a DC TV crossover tradition at this point.
– They forgot to say “I do…”
Spot something I missed? That’s what Twitter is for, hero! Or the comments. You can drop stuff in the comments, too.