Invasion! Every DC Comics Reference and Easter Egg in the CW Superhero Crossover

There was so much cool and crazy stuff hiding in the margins of this year's CW superhero crossover, Invasion!

So, the annual CW DC superhero crossover between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, appropriately known as “Invasion!” has come to an end. And as you might expect, it was packed to the gills with all kinds of crazy DC comics easter eggs and references. So let’s dig into each of these…

Oh, and click the blue episode titles to go to our reviews of each episode, too!

Supergirl Season 2 Episode 8: Medusa

Eliza (guest star Helen Slater) comes to town to celebrate Thanksgiving with her daughters. Alex (Chyler Leigh) decides it’s time to come out to her mother; Kara (Melisa Benoist) is shocked when Eliza suggests Mon-El (Chris Wood) has feelings for her, and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and James (Mehcad Brooks) consider telling Kara the truth about the Guardian. Meanwhile, CADMUS unleashes a virus that instantly kills any alien in the vicinity so Kara enlists an unexpected ally – Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath). The epic superhero crossover kicks off tonight when Barry Allen (guest star Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (guest star Carlos Valdes) seek Kara’s help with an alien invasion on their Earth.

OK, confession time: this episode had very little to do with the actual crossover. In fact, it was really just the Supergirl midseason finale. That’s fine, though. 

There is this much as far as the crossover goes, though: the floating dimensional gateway that initially “failed” during Thanksgiving dinner as Barry and Cisco tried to get to Supergirl’s Earth kinda reminded me of the weird Flash cameo from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where he couldn’t quite get through to Batman, and when he did, he came in at the wrong time. Given these shows’ notable departure from that stuff, though, it’s probably just a coincidence.

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The Flash Season 3 Episode 8: Invasion!

When aliens called the Dominators attack Central City, Barry (Grant Gustin) speeds over to Star City to ask the Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell) for help in stopping them. Realizing the battle against the Dominators is bigger than they thought, they track down the Legends of Tomorrow, and Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) create a breach to bring back a secret weapon – Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist). Once all of the super friends are assembled, they come up with a plan to attack but a shocking secret related to Flashpoint is revealed and suddenly no one is sure who they can trust. Meanwhile, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) wants to join the battle against the aliens but Iris (Candice Patton) tells him he’s not ready.

– “Invasion!” takes its title from a 1988 DC Comics crossover of the same name, which also featured the Dominators, although the goals of that one (and the cast involved) was considerably larger than what we’re getting here. So, you want to know more about this and about the Dominators, do you? There’s a whole article for that. 

– Holy moley…they actually put the Hall of Justice on TV! If you don’t recognize the building they were hanging out in, the Hall of Justice was the headquarters of the Super Friends, the original Justice League animated series that was pretty much most ’80s kids’ first exposure to DC superheroes.

I imagine we’ll be seeing this again. But if they’re hanging out in the Hall of Justice, at this point, there’s no reason whatsoever why they shouldn’t start calling this team the Justice League if this becomes a regular thing, right? Right?!?

– If Wally is indeed getting faster, and possibly faster than Barry, this might not be a great sign for him. In the comics, Wally had to hang up his Kid Flash tights for awhile because his speed started to kill him.

– They had to dig deep for that Julie Greer byline. This is a character who popped up like three times or something when Mark Waid returned for a brief stint writing The Flash again in 2007. That Julie Greer was a TV reporter. This isn’t a character of significance, though, so don’t worry about that.

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– Speaking of stuff they dug deep on…is this the first time we’ve heard that Supergirl takes place on Earth-38? Because this is kinda cool. According to Grant Morrison’s guide to the DC Multiverse, Multiversity, Earth-38 is the world where John Byrne’s series of minis called Generations takes place. What the hell is Generations? Well, the short version is that imagine a world where Superman first appeared in 1938 (when his comics first started getting published), and Batman followed in 1939 (again, with the comics). Now, on this world, they both aged and developed in real time, had kids, etc, and these stories follow them and their offspring through the present day and beyond. They’re kinda neat.

So why is this cool for Supergirl? Well, because since the world of Generations is a Superman/Batman-centric reality, and we already know that her Earth has Superman, and she kind of alluded to Batman existing on that world a few weeks ago, it’s just fun. I wouldn’t ready anything beyond that into it, though.

Or, more succinctly, Superman first appeared in 1938, so draw your own conclusions from that.

– Not that it matters, but going by the same map of the Multiverse, Earth-38’s parallel (it’s “mirror universe”) is Earth-36, home to Optiman, the Justice 9, and Red Racer, the Flash analogue whose encyclopedic knowledge of nerdery helped win the battle against the Gentry in Multiversity.

– “More powerful than a locomotive” is what follows “faster than a speeding bullet” and precedes “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” in the opening narration ot The Adventures of Superman radio show from the 1940s as well as the wonderful Max Fleischer cartoons.

– Diggle vomiting after Barry super speeds him away is kind of like how Silk Spectre always pukes whenever Dr. Manhattan teleports her anywhere in Watchmen. And for real, wouldn’t you?

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– Joe references Redmond, Oregon, which was indeed the site of a fairly well documented encounter between the US Air Force and UFOs. If you believe that sort of thing. Which I usually do, I might add. While we’re on the subject, the government trying to cover up the Central City alien ship as just a regular piece of flying whatever is perfectly in keeping with how the US of A covered up the crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Weather balloon, my clavicle. Harumph.

Arrow Season 5 Episode 8: Invasion!

Oliver (Stephen Amell) wakes up to a life where he never got on The Queen’s Gambit. Robert (guest star Jamey Sheridan) and Moira Queen (guest star Susanna Thompson) are alive and well.  Laurel (guest star Katie Cassidy) is his loving fiancée and their wedding is imminent. Everything seems perfect, but Oliver starts to notice small imperfections that make him question this new reality. Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and the recruits take on a new threat with help from The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist).

– Black Canary has been given that necklace before. In the comics, it was given to her by Oracle as a piece of tech that allowed Barbara Gordon to communicate with and track Dinah in the field.

– Laura Washington, the lady cyborg who got slingshot clotheslined by Kara and Barry, has no direct analogue in comics. However! There is a woman named LeTonya Charles who is a Cyborg and Wonder Woman villain who looks like she might be similar. She popped up around 2002 and was apparently only barely memorable to that one writer who put her in the show, because the internet is scouring itself right now trying to figure out who else Laura could be.

– Not that you probably haven’t already figured it out, but this episode bears a strong resemblance to the Superman classic “For The Man Who Has Everything,” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. If you haven’t read it, the Timm/Dini Justice League Unlimiteddid a very passable interpretation of it early in the first season of the retooled show. It is currently streaming on Netflix (at least in the States), so go watch that right now.

– Van Horn Industries is a reference to Bloodline. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, DC and Marvel used to use annuals to tell big crossover stories, and the 1993 theme at DC was “Bloodlines.” A race of parasitic aliens invaded Earth killing most of the humans they came in contact with. Something like 1% of them survived having their spinal fluid drained and came out the other end with super powers.

One of them was Andrew Van Horn, the son of a Parisian industrialist. He gained the power to make anything he held in his hand shoot energy bullets, and took the superhero name GUNFIRE. In case you can’t tell, these comics were awful.

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Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 7: Invasion!

After learning the Dominators’ plan for the world, the Legends must work together with The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin), Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist) and Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell) to kill them once and for all. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) figures out, with the help of others, how the team can terminate the Dominators, but is distracted by the aberration he realizes he created in 1987. Brandon Routh, Franz Drameh, Dominic Purcell, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Nick Zano and Caity Lotz also star.

– This is Felicity’s first time travelling through time, so her “linguistic disorientation” shows up in her shouting “darmokandjaladatTanagra,” and me yelling SHAKA WHEN THE WALLS FELL back at the TV. She is quoting “Darmok,” the second episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s fifth season.

– So I think we need to talk about this G-Man played by Doc Cottle from Battlestar Galactica. Kara calls him “Agent Smith,” and that is complete and utter horseshit because he is quite clearly King Faraday. Faraday was created by Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino in 1950. He floated around the DCU as a generic spy for a while, though he was notably involved in John Ostrander and Kim Yale’s Suicide Squad for a bit in the late ‘80s. He resurfaced in a big way in Darwyn Cooke’s utterly incredible The New Frontier, where he is basically this exact character: he doesn’t trust metas, really gives the Flash a hard time, and eventually comes around on aliens because of his relationship with the Martian Manhunter.

– Cisco to Felicity as they’re grabbing guns to go rescue the Legends the government captured in 1951: “Have you seen Stranger Things?” No I have not so I will thank both you and King T’Challa to stop referencing it.

– They have a little party in the Hall of Justice to celebrate their win, and as Kara’s leaving, Ray says to Felicity “You know what’s funny? She kinda looks like my cousin.” I love Brandon Routh’s superhero second act.

-Speaking of Superman’s cousin and Multiversity, on Earth-20, Al Pratt, the Atom, was that Earth’s Superman analogue. I’m certain this has nothing to do with the crossover, but it makes me happy (as you can probably tell).

– Kara to Ollie and Barry before she leaves: “You’re Earth’s mightiest heroes.” KARA SHH! D’YOU WANT TO GET SUED?

– The song playing when Ollie and Barry go drinking is “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)” by Charles Bradley, who is excellent. You may also recognize him from the third episode of Luke Cage – his band was playing in Cottonmouth’s club while Luke was busting up Cottonmouth’s organization.

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– Kara has a communicator that will let her chat with Barry and Ollie, or come back through if she wants. Smart money is on her only needing it one more time, though. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that next year’s crossover is some sort of…Crisis.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

And while we have you, check out our own behind-the-scenes video from the crossover, too!

How DC’s Superhero Universe Crossover Took Flight by denofgeek