If you’re a comic fan and a fan of DC Comics then it will come as no surprise for me to say that DC Comics is in love with multiple universes. This started with Flash #123 (1961) titled “The Flash of Two Worlds” in which the Silver Age Flash meets and teams up with the Golden Age Flash. The explanation being that each Flash lives in an alternate universe separated by vibrations that they could overcome with their super-speed.
Prior to this the Golden Age Flash had only been seen as a comic book character that inspires Barry Allen into becoming the Silver Age Flash. However, with issue #123 it is revealed that the Golden Age Flash, and all of his cronies from the Golden Age, exist in their own alternate universe similar to the universe we are familiar with but with profound differences. And thus the concept of another universe, and therefore a multiverse, is born.
The Silver Age Flash’s universe was designated Earth One and the Golden Age Flash’s universe designated Earth Two. Why? Because Silver Age Flash is the one who crossed over to Golden Age Flash’s world and therefore his universe gets to be number one. Ahhh, comic book logic what a wonder to behold. Next came several more team-ups and then the Silver Age Justice League of America teamed-up with the Golden Age Justice Society of America in what soon became an annual comic event. This took place in Justice League of America #21 (1963).
It didn’t stop there. When other comic companies became defunct DC Comics would buy the rights to their characters. A short list of these companies includes Fawcett Comics (Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher, etc.), Quality Comics (Plastic Man, The Blackhawks, etc.), and Charlton Comics (Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, etc.). Instead of introducing these characters into the mainstream DC Universe they chose to give them each their own universe. To make matters worse they even invented their own alternate universes such as Earth X where everyone good on Earth One is evil on this Earth. It rapidly got to the point where you needed a scorecard to keep track of who was who and what universe they came from.
Even DC Comics realized it had gotten out of hand and in 1985 they gave us the multi-issue blockbuster “Crisis on Infinite Earth” – which completely reinvented the DC Universe by destroying some universes and combining others until there was just one universe left. At this point the main DC Universe was the only universe.
Fast forward to now! We have a DC television universe that started with Arrow (2012) and continues with the new Batwoman (2019). Arrow and its sister shows, Flash (2014)and Legends of Tomorrow (2016) all take place in a shared universe affectionately called the Arrowverse on the CW network. But the DC television universe also includes shows like Supergirl (2015) and Black Lightning (2018) that do not take place in the Arrowverse and instead take place in alternate universes. Here we go again with the alternate universes. Supergirl premiered on another network (CBS) and Black Lightning was expected to be in another network so that is why that happened. However, that has not prevented Supergirl from taking trips into the Arrowverse and teaming up with her super-hero friends there.
In fact, these crossovers have turned into an annual event. Here history repeats itself yet again. The following is a list of the crossover events in the Arrowverse:
FLASH VS. ARROW (2014-15)
HEROES JOIN FORCES (2015-16)
WORLD’S FINEST (2015-16)
CRISIS ON EARTH X (2017-18)
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (2019-20)
Take note of the last entry on the list. The comic book version of Crisis on Infinite Earths was designed to streamline the DC Universe into just one universe. The feeling was that things would be better if all their characters existed in one place. Could the same be true of the DC television universe? Is history repeating itself again with a new television version of Crisis on Infinite Earths?
Tomorrow I’ll talk about the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover for this year. I’ll tell what I know, I’ll tell you what I think, and you can tell me how wrong I am. Be gentle. So tune in tomorrow, same Bat time, same Bat Channel.