Crisis on Infinite Earths is the gold standard for epic crossover event comics, and its adaptation into an Arrowverse crossover event (featuring episodes of the live-action television series Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow on The CW) is shaping up to be television’s equivalent.?
The brilliance of Marv Wolfman’s and George Perez’s comic book maxiseries was that it celebrated and incorporated multiple generations of fandoms. Before its release, DC had a continuity problem. To fix it, they canonized everything and explained inconsistencies as stories taking place in different universes. Then, Crisis consolidated those universes and established a cohesive continuity.
As great as that event was in comic book form, there is something much more impactful in seeing it play out on screen. Within the Arrowverse and starting with an episode of Supergirl, opening with a montage of three different generations of Batman supporting characters (Batman ’89’s Robert Wuhl, Titans‘ Brenton Thwaites, and ending with Batman ’66’s Burt Ward shouting, “Holy crimson skies of death!”) react to the ominous red skies of Crisis was a spectacular treat. Even if you have never read a comic book, chances are that you have probably seen at least one of these iterations and have some sort of nostalgic connection.
As of late, there are many conversations by fans and critics about whether the character of Superman is still relevant to modern audiences. For those who would argue that his relevancy has ceased, I would encourage you to experience Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal due to the moral weight that the actor imbues into the character. Most superheros have dual personalities, but, in this case, there are three: Clark Kent, Superman, and Kal-El. Clark Kent (the bumbling clutz) and Superman (the confident role model) are both masks—underneath is Kal-El (the insecure outsider plagued with self-doubt). It may be arguable that Hoechlin is the only actor since Christopher Reeve to be able to pull this off. Throughout the episode, you feel his pain, as no matter how many lives he saves, it is never enough, and he feels responsible for every loss.
It was a pleasant surprise that most of what was shown in the trailers for the Arrowverse event were found within this first episode. There is a lot that we still have not seen in the next few episodes. Looking ahead, there are several things that I am hoping to see.
- First, Lois and Clark recently had a son. So far, his story mimics Alexander Luthor’s arc from Earth-3 in the comic book. It would not surprise me if we see him age rapidly and fill that function in the adaptation.
- On another Earth, those characters have a similar story. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman ended with a cliffhanger that saw a baby left at the titular characters’ home, and it would be great if they bring back Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher to resolve that story.
- Since we know the Superman movies are going to be involved, it could be really interesting to see Helen Slater reprise her Supergirl role but to have her go by her Power Girl persona.
- I think it is highly likely that we could once again see Lynda Carter suit up as Wonder Woman, which could be absolutely amazing.
- I do not know how likely it is, but I am really hoping we see Michael Gray and Jackson Bostwick return as Billy Batson and Captain Marvel, respectively.
- For the record, I do not think this will happen… but I just really want to see it. Ben Affleck was in Hollywoodland, where he played George Reeves who famously played Superman in Adventures of Superman. Even if it was for one quick cameo, it would be so fun to see the 1950s Superman represented.
Lastly, it may be a little difficult to keep track of all of the connections in this crossover, so here is guide to help keep track of the franchises shown so far and their respective universes:
- Earth-1: Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, Vixen
- Earth-2 (Destroyed)
- Earth-9: Titans show on DC Universe
- Earth-16: The alternate future from Legends of Tomorrow (2046) with The Dark Knight Returns-inspired Oliver
- Earth-38 (Destroyed): Supergirl
- Earth-66: Batman TV show (1966), Batman: The Movie
- Earth-89: Batman movies: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin
- Earth-90: The Flash (1990)
- Earth-X: Crisis on Earth-X, Freedom Fighters: The Ray