A Crisis on Infinite Earths Recap — Part I

I want to say a few things before doing this recap. The Beard did an awesome job during Geektoberfest last year previewing the major themes he believed would be important in the Arrow-verse crossover event this season. He certainly got me excited to watch what I knew would be something special. He got a lot of things right and I have no desire to rehash an article we’ve already written.

So this is me telling you what actually happened in the event and how it ties to the original DC Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, which was a BIG deal. It was a 12 part maxi-series in the comics written by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and others. Some of the issues were over-sized because the story couldn’t be contained in the 22 – 26 pages most comic books number. The Crisis shown on the Arrow-verse shows only ran 5 episodes, but were an absolute treat to any dyed-in-the-wool comic book fan.

There were some awesome cameos that I will enumerate going forward. There were even two Aftermath shows hosted by Kevin Smith where he talked about the important changes wrought into and out of the continuity. One show was aired right after the first episode. The second aired after the third episode. Crisis was supposed to unite the disparate DC universes including Supergirl (from another network), Black Lightning from a parallel universe, and the DC Cinematic Universe. There’s still some confusion, but I will give you all I know to the best I can.

Another caveat is that this is a series of episodes that I will be covering, consequently there are some important plot points that are built upon from episode to episode. So in order to cover the entire series there will be spoilers. I will tread lightly when I can. I hate that some people feel they have to demonstrate their knowledge by trampling on another person’s joy. I hate that they make themselves feel important by spoiling stuff. It makes me mad. I have no intention of spoiling something that I think will make you go, “Awwww!” or “AHHHH!” However there are some important points that are significantly different from the comics that alter Crisis in wonderful and amazing ways.

So consider this a SPOILER ALERT! If you trust me, go watch Crisis for free. Did you read that, FREE! Watch it for free on the CW app or go.cwtv.com. Then come back and read this article. I really believe that you won’t regret it. Even if you haven’t followed all of the shows, you will still be able to follow and learn the relationships. You will, of course, miss some of the nuance and the incredible homages, but I’m sure even such a Grey Geek as I, probably missed some stuff. That’s why we re-watch stuff, to get the touches we missed the first time around.

Okay, so no more caveats and without further ado. Lights! Camera! Action!

Crisis begins with Supergirl Season 5, Episode 9, or 509 as they’re enumerated. Supergirl’s Earth is Earth-38. There is an antimatter wave approaching Argo City. This is where Lois Lane and Kal-El (Superman/Clark Kent) have gone to live their happily ever after. They, along with Alura Zor-El (Kara Danvers’/Supergirl’s mom) and the survivors of Krypton live on Argo City that revolves around a red sun. This is important because it means that not one of the residents has super powers.

Kara warns her mother, Clark, and Lois that the wave is imminent, and it is minutes away. Alura says that there is only a baby-sized pod available to send Lois and Clark’s baby to Earth. Clark and Lois literally word-for-word utter the Marlon Brando send-off from the Christopher Reeves Superman movie. Before the first commercial, Argo City, Alura, Lois, and a powerless Superman are dead.

I was clapping, not because I’m a sadist and love to watch an entire race of people die, but because I couldn’t think of a better way to start off this very dramatic and moving story. When we return from commercial, we are in the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations), where Supergirl and Alex, her adopted sister work. Harbinger arrives with Flash, Batwoman, White Canary, Atom, Superman, and Lois Lane. Apparently, she was able to save Lois and Kal-El, but not Alura.

There are two important things here to understand. The Beard and I talk constantly about the “Sacrificial Lamb.” Not only does Alura fill that trope as a demonstration of the danger taken on by our heroes, but the destruction of an entire race of people is designed to demonstrate the immense scope of the danger. Secondly, the “Gathering of Heroes” also underscores how huge this threat must be. Not only do you have Supergirl, but you need Superman, too. Not only do you need the Flash, but you need White Canary, the Atom, AND Batwoman.

Harbinger tells the gathering that the Anti-Monitor (our God-like villain) sent the antimatter wave. The Monitor has erected a tower to stall the wave, but Earth-38 should be evacuated. While the DEO and Lena Luthor attempt to evacuate the citizens of Earth-38, Brainiac 5 (an employee of the DEO and superhero) detects where the baby has landed. He, Lois, and White Canary (Sara Lance) go to retrieve the baby, while the other heroes head toward the tower to fend off the Anti-Monitor’s army, but before they all go Oliver, the Green Arrow, passes his mantle to his daughter, Mia.

In the original comic book versions of Crisis on Infinite Earths, both Supergirl and the Flash die. This would present a problem to Greg Berlanti and the CW since those two shows are very popular. However, since early on, Green Arrow has communicated that he would sacrifice himself for Flash and Supergirl. Also, Stephen Amell has grown tired of playing Green Arrow. It is well-documented that he wanted his character arc to end with his death. So it should not come as a surprise that he hands his daughter a Green Arrow costume.

Our heroes make their last stand at the tower, fighting off the Anti-Monitor’s army until it is clear that they will lose. The Monitor arrives to call a retreat. They refuse to go. Not everyone has managed to evacuate Earth-38. Lena Luthor has created a wormhole to transport people to Earth-1, but there aren’t enough space vehicles for everyone.

The Monitor begins to teleport the heroes one-by-one away from the battle. Green Arrow temporarily disables the Monitor and continues to fight, almost to his dying breath. Eventually, the Monitor transports a barely living Green Arrow to Earth-1, just in time for Lois, Brainiac 5, and Sara Lance to say goodbye to Oliver Queen. There’s more but this is pretty much the first episode.

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